Tuesday, 2/1/11

[time_hdr postdate="2011/01/31" plug="tuesday-2111" puzz="Jonesin'" anchor="jn"]4:02[/time_hdr]
[time_hdr postdate="2011/01/31" plug="tuesday-2111" puzz="LAT" anchor="la"]3:17[/time_hdr]
[time_hdr postdate="2011/01/31" plug="tuesday-2111" puzz="NYT" anchor="ny"]3:10[/time_hdr]
[time_hdr postdate="2011/01/31" plug="tuesday-2111" puzz="CS" anchor="cs"]6:14 (Evad)[/time_hdr]

Blizzaster 2011! It’s coming! Stock up on essential children and hide the women and groceries! I don’t know about your area (Californians, hush, nobody cares about your weather in the winter), but mine’s predicted to get 20+ inches of snow between Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday afternoon. Lake Michigan may have 14- to 18-foot waves.

Ron and Nancy Byron’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword answers 2/1/11 0201

All righty, I’m feeling headachy so it’s Quick Blogging Night.

61a is MIXED MEDIA, and the other theme entries contain the letters of MEDIA, only mixed up. I’m much more into anagram themes where the anagrams are actual words, as opposed to a couple word fragments like IDE MA.

I definitely was slowed down by 11d. [French port near Marseille], TOULON? That does not ring a bell at all. It doesn’t even go into the same room as the bell.

Ditto for 53d: ["Arabian Nights" prince], AHMED. (Cute that AHMED is opposite HADJI in the grid, for an Arabian vibe.)

I was a little thrown off by the broad clue for OLD SOD at 32d: [Motherland, affectionately]. I always thought that had specific Ireland overtones, but the dictionary doesn’t suggest that at all. Live and learn.

Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ crossword, “Yee-Haw!”

Jonesin' crossword answers "Yee-Haw!"

This week’s theme is phrases (some contrived) in which the letters YEE are hidden.

  • 16a. [Another term for it is "elver"] clues BABY EEL. Elver is one of those words you encounter mainly in crosswords, with a clue like [Baby eel].
  • 20a. [Morrissey video compilation that translates to "Listen, Steven"] clues OYE ESTEBAN. What is a “video compilation”? Is this like an album, only with music videos? Yes, indeed.
  • 32a. Unlike the other five theme entries, FELLOW EMPLOYEES (your [Nine-to-five friends]) doesn’t split its YEE across two words.
  • 42a. [It's heard while leaving a group] clues “GOODBYE, EVERYONE.” Eh.
  • 56a. So, RYE EXTRACT is a [Grain byproduct used in alternative medicines]?? You don’t say. I never knew such a thing as rye extract existed. I’m gonna start using it in lieu of vanilla extract in my baking.
  • 63a. [It usually involves reading letters] is a tough but accurate clue for an EYE EXAM.

Further remarks:

  • Six theme entries, including two 15s, is a lot. I just wish I liked them better.
  • 33d. EVOO, the [Rachael Ray acronym], is short for extra virgin olive oil.
  • 31d. [Arne Duncan's employer, for short] is the U.S. Department of Education, which I have never, ever seen shortened to USDE. USDA, DOJ, DOD, DOT, yes. USDE, no. Have I not been paying attention?
  • 9d. The SEPTA that are [Places for some nose piercings, technically] are the middle walls between people’s nostrils. Who doesn’t admire the “Ferdinand the Bull” look?
  • SAMMS and RIEU crossing MEARA? The solver had better know at least two of the three names or there could be trouble at a crossing square. The LIEV/DEVOE crossing at the V could also be tough for some. Or the DIMAG/KIPLING/ESTEBAN/TAKEI/PENA zone.
  • 28a. [Actress Summer of "The Cape"] is Summer GLAU. I hope at least a couple people mix up Summer and Sommer and jump at filling ELKE into that 4-letter space.
  • 5d. I don’t know why [Spread across the Eastern seaboard?] has that geographical specificity for OLEO. Does the East Coast have a special fondness for margarine, or for calling it “oleo”?

Bruce Venzke and Gail Grabowski’s Los Angeles Times crossword

LA Times crossword solution 2/1/11

On the plus side, I like 9d: SPOON-FED ([Pampered]) and 42d: ENSHRINE ([Elect to a Hall of Fame, say]), the two 8-letter answers in the fill. And I like the paired clues, 5a: [Ticketless rail rider] and 44a: [Rail rider], for HOBO and TRAIN.

On the minus side, I’m not a fan of the theme, and there’s a lot of fill that veers toward the clunky. The theme takes a POOL PARTY and groups it with four phrases that start with words that go with the billiards type of pool, not a swimming pool:

  • 17a. [Coach's pregame lecture] clues CHALK TALK. Seems lively, but it’s not a term I’ve seen before. You chalk the cue before shooting in pool.
  • 24a. [Home seller-and-buyer's short-term loan] clues BRIDGE FINANCING. Good gravy, that’s a boring phrase. Have heard “bridge loan” more. In pool, the bridge is…is it that doodad that you use to steady the cue and aim it beter?
  • 41a. [1929 women's air race, as dubbed by Will Rogers] is POWDER PUFF DERBY. Have you heard of this? I had not. In pool, powder cocaine is used by top players to maintain peak alertness in competition. What? Is that not correct? Then I have no idea how powder relates to the game of pool.
  • 51a. [Production number director's cry] is “CUE THE ORCHESTRA.” The pool cue is the stick you use to propel the balls in interesting geometrical paths; also handy in a barroom brawl.

In the “fill Amy is grumbling about” category, we have YO HO without a second HO syllable; ORONO, Maine, crossing Rice-A-RONI; repeater ST. LO crossing the actress [Nina of "Spartacus"] FOCH; and an OOHER and the O.S.S. in a crosswordese ODA, feasting on OCA and hopping on partial ON POP.

Favorite clues:

  • 38d. [Short relative?] for BRO. You could be excused for thinking the clue was asking you for a relative of the word “short.”
  • 40d. You need a colorist, not a locksmith, to [Change, as one's locks?]—or DYE your hair.

Updated Tuesday morning:

Patrick Jordan’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, “Wi-Fi”—Evad’s review

CrosSynergy 2/1 crossword answers

This theme can be easily summed up by this acronym (perhaps inspired by Sarah Palin’s recent response to the State of the Union address?): WTF, or Wi-To-Fi:

  • A “wire transfer” becomes [Iron-on image of a blaze?] or a FIRE TRANSFER. I wonder if someone was about to be fired, wouldn’t it be cool if they could play some card that would transfer the firing to someone else in the company?
  • “Winding down” becomes [Activity at a goose nest?] or FINDING DOWN. Man, down comforters sure come in handy this time of year here in New England. Thanks geese, hope you were able to grow more to replace it!
  • Something I always like to be the recipient of “wine and dine” becomes the complex [Emulate a traffic court judge who sups at work?] or FINE AND DINE. Do you eat at your desk? Today I did as I only had a few minutes between a dayful of meetings. *Sighs*
  • “Wife swapping” (are only wives swapped or can those of us married to men get in on the fun and change out our husbands?) becomes probably my favorite entry of the four: [Tading session in the windwood section?] or FIFE SWAPPING. Be sure to wipe off that fife before playing it!

Couple of missteps: YEAS before AYES, ALTA before VAIL and NEW TO before NEW AT. Also thought the skater spelled her last name HENNE, perhaps I was thinking of comedian Youngman? (Nope, he’s a HENNY.) Anyway, a quick spin through four other favorite entries:

  • Love the clue [Barnyard butter] for GOAT. “Flower” gets a similar treatment in some clues for rivers and “number” for anesthesia.
  • Couple of nice phrases—[End of some riddles] for WHAT AM I? (here’s one: I’m harder to catch the faster you run. What am I?; share your answer in the comments) and [Adament rejection] for I REFUSE.
  • PIFFLE is a great term for the more prosaic [Trivial talk]. Before I’m accused of piffling, I’m outta here!
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17 Responses to Tuesday, 2/1/11

  1. Deb Amlen says:

    We East Coasters (Northern variety) are supposed to get 18″ late Tuesday night. I hate snow. I don’t even know where to put it all anymore. The Boy says he’s moving to San Diego, and I may follow.

    Sorry you’re feeling headachy. After the day you had, I’m nominating you for Blogger of the Year just for showing up.

  2. Eric Maddy says:

    FWIW–”old sod” is generic; “auld sod” directly implies Ireland.

  3. Aaron says:

    Finished in near record time with 3:59, but of course, with a wrong square, AHMET/TADS, neither of which I knew, but which I probably should’ve guessed more accurately on.

  4. *David* says:

    Did someone ask what the weather was like in LA, let me tell you… OK you want to be grumpy, let it out after Joon posts the MGWCC puzzle and solution tomorrow morning, nobody will notice.

  5. pannonica says:

    “…I have no idea how powder relates to the game of pool.”

    Some sweaty-handed folk find that talcum POWDER on their bridge fingers helps keep their strokes smooth.

  6. Gareth says:

    Thank you Chris De Burgh for TOULON!

  7. Lloyd Mazer says:

    NO MSG two days in a row.

    Remember the old National Airline commercials? Come on down! Gonna be in the 70′s today – but you guys can get revenge the next time we have a hurricane here.

  8. Deborah says:

    Think about how quiet the city will be, Amy, and lovely (for a while).

  9. Ladel says:

    Looked at the circled letters, copied them out, looked some more, looked at 61A, looked some more, never got it, Zzzzzz, went back to looking at the rest of the paper.

  10. Jamie says:

    There are definitely days when I do not envy Amy. I envy her solving times, but I do not envy her job blogging every crossword every day (with spectacular help.) If I had had to blog today’s NYT, I think my entire post would have been “Meh.” No offense to the constructor, but they (the editors) dumb things down so much on Mondays and Tuesdays that I don’t know why I bother wasting *blush* six minutes solving them. There has to be a market for good crosswords on Mondays and Tuesdays? (Which reminds me, I ought to go tip BEQ).

    Although Nina Foch (LAT 43D) is crosswordese, I was astonished when I read her 2008 obit that she had been married to James Lipton of Actor’s Studio fame/infamy. Mr. Lipton is remarkably youthful looking. And, since this is a family-friendly blog, I won’t speculate as to why. Oh! I just did.

  11. Amy Reynaldo says:

    Re: James Lipton: (1) Hair dye, including beard dye. Recent colors alarming. (2) Face lift. (3) Vampirism? (4) Deal with the devil?

  12. Al Sanders says:

    If you’ve watched the TV show “The Event”, you know there’s a definitive explanation for why folks never age. Also, the secret of Warren Buffett’s success.

  13. at8ax says:

    [David Letterman] Oca, oda. Oda, oca. [/David Letterman]

  14. Jamie says:

    Re: James Lipton, Amy, at least all of the above. I was thinking more along the lines of protein shakes. Has he ever met an actor he didn’t love? And that said, some of the episodes are classic. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJdFtmTET8w

    BTW, I agree with you on old sod = Irish. Sometimes pronounced auld sod by people faking Oirish accents. Or from Waterford, where they slaughter their vowels thusly. In many years as an immigrant here, and many years spent working with immigrants, I have never heard a single person other than an Irish person refer to their home country as the old sod. Sometimes dictionaries are wrong.

  15. joon says:

    nobody wants to solve evad’s riddle? okay: your breath. alternatively, something that’s behind you, so that you’re running directly away from it.

  16. Jamie says:

    Where is Evad’s riddle, Joon? Also, do I get a free one-year subscription to this blog if I solve it? Not that I will… get either.

  17. Evad says:

    It’s imbedded in my post, Jamie…

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