Monday, 2/7/11

[time_hdr postdate="2011/02/06" plug="monday-2711" puzz="NYT" anchor="ny"]3:06[/time_hdr]
[time_hdr postdate="2011/02/06" plug="monday-2711" puzz="CS" anchor="cs"]7:02 (Evad)[/time_hdr]
[time_hdr postdate="2011/02/06" plug="monday-2711" puzz="LAT" anchor="la"]2:47[/time_hdr]
[time_hdr postdate="2011/02/06" plug="monday-2711" puzz="BEQ" anchor="bq"]5:05[/time_hdr]

Lynn Lempel’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword answers 2/7/11 0207

Okay! I got your Super Bowl counter-programming right here!

Well, except that my husband’s a rabid Packers fan, and the commercials are quite distracting. So maybe this won’t be the longest post.

I usually love any Monday puzzle by Lynn Lempel, but this theme’s execution left me cold. (Or at least distracted.) I was thinking the theme entries started with synonyms, but I see that instead, they begin with the progression of things you do as you’re waking up. That’s better:

  • 18a. STIR FRYING. First you begin to stir.
  • 24a. WAKE FOREST. Open your eyes, wake up.
  • 37a. ROLLOVER IRA is so much more “in the language,” isn’t it? This verb + article + object phrase is jarring, this ROLL OVER A CD. Roll over and look at the clock.
  • 51a. Stretch as you kick off the covers. STRETCH BRA is…not quite there. I’ve never called something a stretch bra. Googling…okay, they’re those unsupportive things that some prefer to the underwire variety.
  • 58a. Love GET-UP-AND-GO. Quite possibly the best triply hyphenated word in existence. Yes, the last thing to do is get up and get out of bed.

Cute to have DAYBREAK in there, crossing two of the theme answers.

All righty, back to the TV for me.

Updated Monday morning:

Tyler Hinman’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, “Pant-omime”—Evad’s review

2/7 CrosSynergy crossword answers

Constructor Tyler Hinman comes up with a pretty unique theme—the letter S is added to the end of three phrases, changing the final word into a type of “pants”:

  • “Falling short” becomes [Pants that require a belt?] or FALLING SHORTS. Technically, shorts aren’t a type of pant in my book, they’re just, well, shorts. At a party last night, someone told me that the man who became famous for singing Pants on the Ground, General Larry Platt, had been beaten to death in a parking lot, but I’m glad to see that he’s still alive and kicking.
  • “Beads of sweat” becomes [Decorations on pants?] or BEADS OF SWEATS when an S is added. Hmmm, don’t know too many that would wear sweatpants with beads on them.
  • “Cut some slack” seems to be missing a “me” in there, but with an S added, it becomes [Do a little tailoring on pants?] or CUT SOME SLACKS.

I think the original idea here was a good one, but both the base and altered phrases lack a bit of sparkle and seem kind of flat. Some nice longer fill helps redeem the overall impression—the rarely-seen full name ARTHUR ASHE and UNORTHODOX, the latter clued in an unorthodox manner as [Off the beaten path]. Gotta love the Z action of seven-time gold medal winner, Mark SPITZ, who many would agree was [Really, really handsome] or DREAMY. I also enjoyed the rhyming [Cereal material] for OATS and [Ring up?] for WED. The late NY Giants co-owner Wellington MARA was a new name to me, but Wikipedia calls him one of the most influential and iconic figures in the history of the NFL.

That’s [In my opinion...] or AS I SEE IT.

Thomas Takaro’s Los Angeles Times crossword

LA Times crossword answers 2/7/11

The theme entries are idioms that end with EYES, NOSE, EARS, and MOUTH:

  • 17a. Looking at something with a FRESH PAIR OF EYES is bringing a [New perspective] to it.
  • 25a. ["Doesn't bother me a bit"] clues “NO SKIN OFF MY NOSE.” I say “no skin off my back,” but that version would muck up the facial/head feature theme.
  • 43a. To PRICK UP YOUR EARS is to [Listen very carefully]. I like the YOUR in lieu of ONE’S here.
  • 57a. [How the poor live] is FROM HAND TO MOUTH.

Now, when I got to that last one and looked at 25a too, I noticed that they had two body parts in the phrases. Indeed, all four theme entries do, if you’re willing to consider a PAIR and PRICK to be body parts. I don’t know about you, but that cracked me up.

Seemed like there were a lot of capitalized words in this puzzle. I don’t mind a surfeit of names, but I know they vex many solvers who view them as unsavory “you know it or you don’t” trivia bits. Steve JOBS, LSATS (awkward plural?), the E.P.A., LEVI, PEROT, LOS Angeles, WaterPIK (apparently the company is Water Pik but the product is Waterpik, no space, hence the suffix clue), the OPRY, JEFF Bezos, Joan BAEZ, the S.D.S., TAPPAN Zee, ENYA, ITAR-TASS, FLOYD, N.A.A.C.P., OSCAR, SHARI, FRITO, Queen NOOR (who has a Twitter account!), Mt. ETNA, and OTTO Klemperer all join the party today.

Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”

BEQ 304 answers

There are some terrific entries and clues in this puzzle but overall the more lackluster bits asserted themselves, displacing the goodies from the forefront. First answer in the grid was the “Man, I sure hope this turns out to be wrong” ITEM ONE. Unfamiliar French UNIE, mystery abbreviation PSC, brand name VIERA, LYE SOAP, the 4-letter words NCAR TENN BLAS NEET NLER OPAH ESSO? Meh.

On the plus side—and these are all big plusses:

  • Two terms with recent Obama-ness: SPUTNIK MOMENTS (from the State of the Union address) and SHELLAC as a verb meaning [Beat badly] (from a presidential press conference after the November elections).
  • Town + full name of state, HOPE, ARKANSAS. Know who else was from Hope? Bill Clinton. As Huckabee regains weight, Clinton continues to keep it off; I hear he’s a vegan now.
  • NBC UNIVERSAL, in the news of late.
  • PETER BUCK of R.E.M.
  • [Some people take one out for a date] is a great clue for a WANT AD.
  • Interesting clues for Gloria STEINEM and the lead character of No, No, NANETTE with quotes.
  • Good clue for iTUNES: [Popular music arranger].
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22 Responses to Monday, 2/7/11

  1. Jan (danjan) says:

    I spent yesterday afternoon with 119 other puzzle enthusiasts (and Will Shortz) at the Westport (CT) Library Tournament. Out in the hall, after a speed solve hampered a bit by tiny printed boxes, it took me a while to figure out the theme, but with the help of another speedier solver (hi Karen), we got it. There was general agreement that Rollover a CD didn’t seem to parse at first, and IRA was the expected rollover, but that kind of misdirection makes a puzzle more interesting, although some may argue not so much on a Monday. Anyway, although I felt as though I had slogged through three puzzles, accuracy prevailed, and I found myself in the finals – on the whiteboards! Then the experience seemed to turn into jogging through jell-o, but my second-fastest time in the finals won the day on accuracy. There were at least 5 other people there who easily could have won (and who have won in the past), and we all had a good time seeing each other. Will’s NPR puzzles during the scoring intermission were a lot of fun, too.

  2. Amy Reynaldo says:

    Oh, Jan, congratulations on winning at Westport! First time on the whiteboards?

  3. foodie says:

    I liked it :) very cute, parsing the stages of waking up! I know the phrases are not parallel in terms of composition– they’re not all: Blank a Blank or something. But the theme is evocative and the rest of the fill is great. A good LL…

  4. Jan (danjan) says:

    Amy – I made it to the whiteboards last year as well, and finished second. This year, I didn’t let the fact that I couldn’t get a toehold in the puzzle make me nervous. Last year, I was sure everyone was watching me not fill in letters, but actually, most of the people there are solving the puzzle themselves, at least for the first few minutes. Standing in front of the whiteboard, it’s harder to know how many squares are in an answer at a glance, and the stands are not rock solid, so there is a little bit of movement in the board. What a thrill – in order for me to do this at the ACPT, several dozen very able B-division members would have to have other plans that weekend!

  5. joon says:

    congrats jan!

  6. John E says:

    I had to keep looking at ROLLOVERACD to figure out what it meant – seems like a pretty big stretch – I thought the terminology was to re-invest a CD.

    No Super Bowl commercials here in modern-day Canada (again). Will have to surf YouTube to see them…..

  7. Jan (danjan) says:

    By the way, even though I did the puzzle without catching the theme, I did notice LIBRARY as I solved. I don’t think library is a common entry, so it was cool that it was there for the tournament in the library. (Will, if this choice of puzzle was intentional on your part, I noticed!) Also of interest, just outside the room was an exhibit of carvings by Dalton Ghetti, an artist who pares down pencils and uses the protruding graphite the way other sculptors use a big chunk of marble. His work includes 26 pencil stubs each topped with a tiny letter of the alphabet, and lots of even more amazing things.

  8. Jeffrey says:

    But John, what about the two old guys talking about TD bank opening on Sundays? Quite cutting edge stuff.

    Congratulations Jan. I’m still aiming for you at the ACPT.

  9. Karen says:

    I may be speedier, but once again less accurate. Hooray for Jan! Here’s the library article; no spoilers on the main page, but you can see some of Thursday’s puzzle on the winner’s picture. There’s a nice shot of the three finalists (including Jesse and VT) under other scenes.

  10. Gareth says:

    Around here shorts are definitely a type of pants, but Americans seem to regard this differently. I have a friend with an American girlfriend, who, in response to him wearing shorts exclaimed “You’re not wearing pants!” to general amusement.

  11. janie says:

    yay, jan — major congrats!

    count me among those who loved lynn’s puzzle. yes, the “…A CD” construction felt a bit iffy/tough to parse (while solving), but the “wake up” sequence was nuanced and specific and the inclusion of DAYBREAK (as amy points out) one sweet bonus.

    happy monday, all –

    ;-)

  12. sps says:

    Yay Jan!! Looking forward to seeing you soon to get all the details.

    sps

  13. Howard B says:

    Congrats on the tournament, Jan! Whiteboards are definitely a strange but fun solving medium. Kind of difficult to replicate that experience.

  14. HH says:

    Amy, I just saw in Saturday’s comments —

    “@HH: You certainly could, but it would make you a tax-evading criminal.”

    Believe me, it wouldn’t be the first federal law I’ve broken. Fortunately, the statute of limitations ran out long ago.

  15. Meem says:

    I rolled over a CD last month. And John E., reinvest is in the clue. Amy, in addition to daybreak, Lynn has arise at 7D. Thought this was a good Monday puzzle. Must now find my get-up-and-go.

  16. joon says:

    really interesting, chewy puzzle from tyler. i got stuck and almost couldn’t unstick myself with WAIVE for WASTE and then AII______for AS I SEE IT. either way, i loved the fill on this one and the theme made me smile.

  17. Ladel says:

    @HH

    The statute of limitations does not apply in the case of a false tax return or fraudulent tax return filed with the IRS with intent to evade any tax.

  18. HH says:

    “The statute of limitations does not apply in the case of a false tax return or fraudulent tax return filed with the IRS with intent to evade any tax.”

    Not what I was talking about.

  19. Harry says:

    Just a correction for BEQ. DEA employees are narcs. Vice cops enforce prostitution, gambling, pornography, etc. Ergo, the clued answer should have beem “dopecop.”

  20. Martin says:

    Harry,

    I’d agree that a “vice cop” is normally a local PD member, but your implication that vice cops don’t deal with illegal drugs is silly. Did you ever watch “Miami Vice”? I think that demotes the correction to a nit.

  21. *David* says:

    Martin,

    I think you went the wrong direction with Harry’s comment. He was saying vice cops do perform all tasks including dealing with drug dealers. However the DEA employees as it was clued in the puzzle only deal with drugs and hence aren’t under the general heading of vice and are specific to drug work. That’s my nit for the year.

  22. VT says:

    Congratulations to Jan. I don’t recall what the times for the final were, but she definitely finished long before I did. I don’t know how bad it looked, but it certainly felt like I was floundering for a while on it. The early puzzles seemed pretty easy, well, the first two did. Anyway, congratulations, maybe she’ll be on stage again next year.

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