Monday, 11/22/10

BEQ 4:21
LAT 2:47
NYT 2:35
CS 6:02 (Evad)

David Poole’s New York Times crossword

Region capture 9Well, the clues are pegged to a Monday level all right, but I’m not sure the theme is meant for a Monday. Each theme entry is a food item clued as [Meal money in {place}], and the first word’s a place name while the second word’s slang for money. Except…I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anyone call money “bacon.” So while the California MONTEREY JACK, Tuscan ITALIAN BREAD, and Massachusetts BOSTON LETTUCE work for me (although I know “lettuce” as slang for money pretty much only from crosswords), I’m unsure about CANADIAN BACON. I give the theme bonus points for being a little complex and absolutely more interesting than “the last word can follow {blah}” themes.

Crosswordese to watch out for:

  • 6d. [Home of Zeno] is ELEA, in ancient Greece.
  • 14a. The Gillette ATRA is a [Pioneering razor with a pivoting head]. The other 4-letter razor brand you may encounter is TRAC.
  • 40a. The ERSE language is [Scots Gaelic].
  • 51a. ESA and ESO are [Spanish "that"], depending on gender.
  • 68a. OTERO is a [New Mexico County whose seat is Alamogordo]. Not to be confused with Cheri OTERI, who was on Saturday Night Live (24a: SNL) and most famously played one of a pair of overly enthused high school cheerleaders; Will Ferrell was the other.

With 16 non-theme answers in the 6- to 8-letter range, there’s some non-stale fill here. GADFLY, GOING FAR, and MAMA BEAR are particularly nice.

Updated Monday morning:

Gail Grabowski’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, “Conversation Piece”—Evad’s review

cs1122 Constructor Gail Grabowski wants to strike up a conversation with us today, coming up with four theme entries which end in words related to a discussion:

  • A LOYAL SUBJECT is an “Emperor’s minion.” Not many emperors around these days, are there? We’ve been watching the excellent BBC period costume drama The Tudors on DVD, and, given all the intrigue that surrounds the royal family, I would say very few of his subjects are what I would call “loyal.”
  • The simple clue “Brains” refers to GRAY MATTER. In a writing class I took, I wrote “gray” as “grey,” and the instructor asked me if I was British? I dunno, the “e” spelling just looks better to me. Do only Brits spell it that way?
  • FLASH POINT is clued as “Critical stage.” I’m familiar with the phrase, but not sure I think of it as a stage, but more of a moment when some simmering conflict gets out of control, like an unruly mob that decides to break windows and loot stores, for example.
  • We end with a bit of advertising for a retailer, “Lands’ End pre-Christmas offering,” which is not something you can buy from them, but their HOLIDAY ISSUE. I don’t think of catalogs, which seem to come to our home biweekly if not more frequently, as “issues” in the way I think of mainstream periodicals. Certainly magazines such as O, Martha Stewart Living and Good Housekeeping will soon dominate our supermarket checkout lines with holiday issues if they haven’t already. (How many different ways are there to cook a turkey anyway? Actually, my brother will be deep-frying theirs this year, I’ll let you know how it turned out next week!)

So who has ever used the “Self-diminishing remark” IGNORE ME, except in a kidding way? I admit “Oh sure, just go ahead and IGNORE ME” has likely come out of my mouth at some point when I was feeling unappreciated, but I certainly didn’t mean to diminish myself. Just the opposite, I wanted some attention! Always love to see the “Lady of pop” GAGA in my puzzles, as well as “Jedi guru” YODA. Yes, pleased I am! SPROUT UP (Can you sprout in other directions than up? I guess tufts of hair can sprout any which-way.) and FLEA DIP are also fun longer entries in the fill.

Donna Levin’s Los Angeles Times crossword

Region capture 10Theme: YEARN is the final Across answer its synonyms appear at the end of the four long theme answers. JAPANESE YEN, Lionel Richie’s “ALL NIGHT LONG,” the movie-I’ve-never-heard-of LONESOME PINE, and a STOMACHACHE. (You ever want to pronounce that “stoma-cha-chay”?) It’s a solid theme except for the unfamiliarity of LONESOME PINE.

Crosswordese to watch out for:

  • 2d. [Open-sided cart] is a DRAY. I don’t run into many mentions of DRAYs outside of crosswords.

Fill highlights:

  • TENACITY and a BAD EGG.

Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”

Region capture 11One of Brendan’s easiest themelesses, if you ask me. It helped that the top two 11-letter answers fell quickly—I knew ZIPLESS FUCK from reading Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying about 25 years ago, though I wouldn’t say that the term has become more general “feminist slang.” And then ANAESTHESIA hits my medical terminology sweet spot, though I prefer the prevailing American spelling, anesthesia. An- means “without,” esthesia signals “sensation.” Excessive physical sensitivity is hyperesthesia; see how the word’s put together?

Entries I liked:

  • WAX POETIC, ZAMBONI, SHRIEK, CINNABONS.

Verb phrases I could do without in a crossword:

  • EXCEL IN and DID A SET don’t feel like lexical chunks the way SWAP OUT and PAID OFF to.
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17 Responses to Monday, 11/22/10

  1. Travis says:

    Bringing home the bacon?

  2. Jeffrey says:

    COROT/OTERO is not Monday.

  3. Sam Donaldson says:

    What Jeffrey said. Otherwise, a quick and enjoyable solve.

  4. David Poole says:

    Amy and Travis,

    “Bacon” as in “bring home the bacon.” To be honest, I was a little surprised that Will pegged this one at a Monday level but who am I to quibble with the puzzlemeister?

  5. Tuning Spork says:

    Bring home the bacon, yes. But I’ve never money refered to a “jack”.

    Played letter roulette at the COROT / OTERO crossing.

    Other than that, pretty spiffy.

  6. NYT: I took several liberties with the Ripstein Rule for speed purposes and didn’t notice COROT. That one strikes me as less evident than OTERO, which has a voluminous fill history in puzzles, but I’ll grant that neither is exactly Monday fill. I liked the theme as a good tutorial to less experienced solvers of the multiple ways in which money can be defined, as is frequently the case in the cluing of tougher puzzles.

  7. Ladel says:

    Well, I guess it’s a local thing, native new yorkers have heard it all when it comes to describing the long green so all of the theme answers were gimmes, and that’s it from scratch. My biggest problem with any puzzle is spelling, I’m poor at it, where is the google spell check when you need it?

    Ladel

  8. joon says:

    camille COROT is one of those painters i could certainly name, and maybe even recognize, without necessarily being able to name any of his works off the top of my head. barbizon school, right? i never saw the OTERO clue but that looks familiar enough.

    i don’t know the movie LONESOME PINE either, but “desolate title tree” was pretty specific, wasn’t it? i guess it could have been “desolate title conifer.” :) i do know a carbon leaf song called lonesome pine.

    evad, i use IGNORE ME in the “oops, i just realized that what i’ve been saying was wrong. i’m an idiot” sense. so the clue worked fine for me. and the most common direction i think of things sprouting is out, although up is a close second.

  9. Howard B says:

    @Ladel – Google is probably too busy doing that annoying “Instant” search prediction thing, trying to guess what you are trying to type before you finish spelling it.

    C-O-: Cockatiel? Colorfast fabrics? Cool Whip?
    C-O-R: How about Corazon Aquino? Core values? Corona?
    C-O-R-O: Oh, you do want a Corona! No? How about coronets then?
    C-O-R-O-T: Are you sure you didn’t mean carrot?
    (thud).

  10. ePeterso2 says:

    Yeah, double what Jeffery said.

  11. joon says:

    is that where ZIPLESS FUCK is from? i read that book some years ago but it made almost no impression on me. i also really wanted ANESTHESIA and couldn’t figure out why it wouldn’t fit. made the whole NW corner very hard.

  12. Ladel says:

    @Howard B.

    not only is it annoying, and, to a lessor extent demeaning, it doesn’t give me a chance to practice my poor spelling and perhaps improve.

    Ladel

  13. Amy Reynaldo says:

    Ladel: That’s “lesser.” :-)

  14. Ladel says:

    Amy

    just wanted to see if anybody was watching, ;-)

  15. Howard B says:

    Same here, Joon. That NW corner of the BEQ was a major trap, especially with ESSO for ESPO. That one hurt this hockey fan who’s yet to go to the Hockey HOF. Though the ZAMBONI was greatly appreciated to clean everything off and start anew. The rest of the puzzle was a nicely challenging solve.

  16. Howard B says:

    Ladol: Not a majer problom.

  17. pannonica says:

    Hey Ladel: Head over to http://www.google.com/preferences and scroll down to the “Google Instant” section and change it to “Do not use…” Probably need to have cookies enabled.

    Howard B: That little Corot bit reminded me of Adam Felber’s hilarious Clippy moment on NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me a few years ago. Listening is better than reading the soundtrack.

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