Tuesday, 2/22/11

[time_hdr postdate="2011/02/21" plug="tuesday-22211" puzz="Jonesin'" anchor="jn"]4:02[/time_hdr]
[time_hdr postdate="2011/02/21" plug="tuesday-22211" puzz="LAT" anchor="la"]3:18[/time_hdr]
[time_hdr postdate="2011/02/21" plug="tuesday-22211" puzz="NYT" anchor="ny"]3:06[/time_hdr]
[time_hdr postdate="2011/02/21" plug="tuesday-22211" puzz="CS" anchor="cs"]5:58 (Evad)[/time_hdr]
[time_hdr postdate="2011/02/21" plug="tuesday-22211" puzz="Tausig" anchor="bt"]untimed[/time_hdr]

Happy Election Day, everyone!

What? You’re not voting Tuesday? Then I suspect you don’t live in Chicago.

Ian Livengood’s New York Times crossword

2/22/11 NY Times crossword solution 0222

I like MAGAZINES themes. In this one, a whopping eight answers begin with one-word magazine titles: ELLE WOODS, STAR WARS, JETSKI, TIMESHARE, SPIN OUT, SELF-WORTH, MAD MEN, and MONEY PIT. All eight would make great fill outside of any theme, so I’ll give this theme two Ebertian thumbs up.

Some of the longer non-theme fill is juicy, too. HOGWASH, ULYSSES, and SIBERIA are my favorites.

As for the shorter fill…eh. The DIEU/ADIEU duplication is glaring, as are the repeaters EDO crossing ODIE, ETO cross-referenced to DDE, and the word ENATE. Tough to get nine theme entries in without making trade-offs in the fill’s quality, alas.

Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ crossword, “That Certain Chemistry”

Jonesin' crossword answers "That Certain Chemistry"

Ah, tricky 1-Across. [Some gas stations] are BP’S, and there’s a BP hiding inside each of five theme entries. But that’s not the whole story. It’s actually BPA that’s hiding in them, and 59a: BPA-FREE is clued [What this grid is decidedly not (but baby-safe plastics are)]. Many canned foods can pick up BPA from the can lining. Dang, my organic tomato paste hasn’t been in a BPA-free can?

Matt’s shelf of BPA-lined cans is as follows:

  • 16a. [It was big for everyone to have one in the 1990s] clues a WEB PAGE. Those ’90s personal home pages? Canned cheese.
  • 22a. LAB PARTNERS, [They're paired up in science classes]. This can’s Alpo.
  • 28a. [Tropical 1980s Robin Williams comedy] is CLUB PARADISE, a bit of ’80s pop culture I have zero recollection of. More canned cheese, with ganja on the side.
  • 39a. DEB PATTERSON is [Kansas State's all-time winningest women's basketball coach]. Never heard of her. Cans of beer (which are also lined with BPA).
  • 48a. [Oregon senator who resigned in 1995 over sexual harassment charges] is BOB PACKWOOD. Canned hypocrisy = BPA-free.

Highlights:

  • 13a. [MTV's VMA statuette] is a MOON MAN.
  • 63a. [Where mad villains get locked away] is ASYLUMS. Today’s mad villains seem more likely to be destined for the International Criminal Court.
  • 3d. [Recovers from a night on the town] clues SOBERS UP. Did you know SLEEPS IN also has 8 letters?
  • 36d. [Question about a rumor] is “IS IT TRUE?” I never have forgiven that junior-high cheerleader who asked if the rumor about me was true. Really, Wendi? The only time you’ll speak to me from 7th to 12th grade is to ask for confirmation of a lie? Pfft.

Most obscure answer:

  • 44d. [Franco-Italian cheese] clues FONTAL. So, “fontal” doesn’t mean “relating to typefaces,” huh?

Updated Tuesday morning:

Randolph Ross’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, “Happy Birthday, General”—Evad’s review

CrosSynergy 2/22 crossword answers

I forgot that Washington’s Birthday is actually today, February 22nd, now that we lump him and Lincoln together (whose birthday is February 12th) to a Monday in between the two dates. Constructor Randolph Ross toasts our first president with eight (!) theme entries that begin with the letters G and W:

  • GAME WARDEN
  • GHOST WRITER
  • GENE WILDER
  • GET WELL
  • GIFT WRAPPED
  • GUESS WHO
  • GRAY WOLF
  • GEE WHIZ

This theme had me thinking of when I lived in Washington, DC, an entire city devoted to this general—from the name of the city itself, to the GW Parkway, to George Washington University. You would think with having to hold up so many theme entries, the fill would show the strain, but it’s largely devoid of clunkers. We have chemistry with FERMI and OSMIUM (the latter [Element that is twice as dense as lead]—take that Superman!), BLITZ and BOYISH ([Like some grins], are there also girlish grins?). And like Amy, I like to have my puzzles engage me in conversation—this one waffles between the cheery HI YA! and the dolorous WOE IS ME. We head to Costa Rica in a couple of days, I wonder if we’ll see any SARONGS on the beaches there, or is that strictly a Polynesian phenomenon? ( A friend likes to call them “so wrong” if worn by a man.)

John Lampkin’s Los Angeles Times crossword

2/22/11 LA Times crossword answers

I gotta vote and I gotta get my tax papers in order for a noon appointment with my accountant, so this’ll be brief.

Theme: Phrases that look like they begin with -ED verbs that are about produce. Except that the prune isn’t a vegetable like the other three—well, unless you group beans as legumes rather than veggies and call it a 1-1-2 theme—and it’s not something that grows, it’s made by drying plums.

  • 20a. [Arborist's handiwork] is a PRUNED TREE. This isn’t a stand-alone phrase, it’s just adjective + noun.
  • 26a. SQUASHED BUGS are a [Windshield nuisance]. Again: not a stand-alone phrase, just adjective + noun.
  • 44a. [Result of an errant brushback pitch] is a BEANED BATTER. Do people talk about “beaned batters” in baseball? Or is more a matter of “so-and-so got beaned”?
  • 55a. [Deli sandwich filler] clues CORNED BEEF. Okay, that works; corned beef has nothing to do with corn but those letters appear at the beginning just the same. I’m not sure the other three entries are consonant with this one.

Love seeing HIFALUTIN, though the dictionary I checked insists on spelling it with “high” at the beginning. I’m fine with the “hi.” BOY TOY and RAT’S NEST are also fun. Entries like ILWU EDOM APSE OTOE REDI SYNE OF ID don’t enhance the puzzle, though.

Ben Tausig’s Ink Well/Chicago Reader crossword, “Drinking on a Starry Night”

Ink Well crossword solution "Drinking on a Starry Night"

I’ll be honest with you: This theme pained me. I like the basic conceit of the BEST PITCHER pun, and pitchers of libations are far more entertaining to me than your typical baseball pitcher. But the puns on current Oscar nominees for Best Picture, involving drinks that can apparently be served in a pitcher, were stretching it:

  • 17a. [61-Across nominee about familial vengeance in a Spanish wine mulling community?] combines True Grit plot points with sangria in TRUE SANGRIA. The mere presence of the letters GR doesn’t give a strong basis for the Grit/sangria pun exchange.
  • 27a. [61-Across nominee about the early years of a website that helps people connect to Korean potato liquor?] clues THE SOJU NETWORK. Soju? Korean potato liquor? Not in my ken.
  • 45a. [61-Across nominee about how the president of a British liquor company became eloquent?] clues THE PIMM’S SPEECH. I like a good Pimm’s cup—an unforgettable part of my friend Robin’s wedding in an English castle—but the King’s/Pimm’s similarity just isn’t there.
  • 61a. [Award for which 17-, 27-, and 45-Across are among the hopefuls?] is BEST PITCHER. I’ll give the award for Best Pitcher to the Pimm’s, but in the category of Best Pun, soju wins.

Elsewhere in the puzzle:

  • 40a. [Recent Bar Mitzvah, e.g.] is a MAN. But you know what? Still really a boy.
  • 50a. PDS, meaning public display of affection, is [Making out in public, e.g.: Abbr.].
  • 60a. [2011 mo. when Harold Camping predicts the world will end] is this OCT. I had no idea. If he’s right, won’t those Mayan calendar obsessives be surprised.
  • 2d. [Ever ___ Morissette-Treadway (Alanis's new baby)] clues IMRE. I wouldn’t expect to see this clue in one of the daily newspaper puzzles, but don’t you like it in an alt-weekly crossword? Certainly has more pop-culture currency this winter than Imre Kertesz or Imre Nagy.
  • 6d. ["Oliver!" choreographer White] is named ONNA. Sadly, there is no celebrity baby named Onna who can carry the clue weight here.
  • 12d. [French musician Manu] CHAO—hey, that doesn’t sound French. He’s of Spanish descent (Basque and Galician).
  • 39d. [Frequent collaborator with Burton] is Elizabeth Taylor, right? Wrong Burton. Johnny DEPP, Tim Burton.
  • 51d. [Bit of online laughter] clues LOLZ. I believe the “lulz” spelling is also considered correct.
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19 Responses to Tuesday, 2/22/11

  1. Zulema says:

    AGUA is what rains in Spain, but AGUAS are not Spanish rains. LLUVIAS are. One can say “Cayó mucha agua,” but that’s a metaphor for “Llovió mucho.” I am sure neither the constructor nor the editor was thinking metaphors.

  2. Ladel says:

    Nothing like going to the well.

  3. Howard B says:

    @Zulema: Agreed, and I briefly thought about the ‘lluvia/llover’ difference as well (with my limited Spanish 201 vocabulary), but I think that clue was going for “cutesy” in the way that rain is simply made up of water. Though the collection of rains would = water and not waters, so it’s still kind of stilted. Anyway, whether or not that crosses the cute line we can leave as an exercise to the readers ;).

    By the way, ELLE WOODS gave me some grief in this one. Honestly, that’s a rough theme answer. Remembered her first name, that was it. Had to do some digging on the crosses for those other letters, but that was fine.

  4. Zulema says:

    Howard B,

    Following your thought, AGUAS usually refers to the waters of a river.

  5. Martin says:

    “The rain in Spain” is a favorite cutesy clue for AGUA. It’s been used multiple times in the Times (our own Lee Glickstein and Nancy Salomon were co-culprits) and many other crosswords. I think the justification is as simple as rain is comprised of water.

  6. Jeffrey says:

    FYI to both of you who care about my times – I won’t be posting any from now until the ACPT due to super double top secret solving strategy being tested. Or maybe because my stopwatch broke. I’ll leave you to wonder.

  7. Zulema says:

    Martin,

    “The rain in Spain” being AGUA is just fine. I’ve never complained about that. This was different. Nuances have meaning. Rain everywhere is WATER, not just “Spanish Rains.”

  8. Martin says:

    Boy, the fill/answers mismatch in today’s Newsday sets a new record. My guess it was about the SEE/SEER dupe.

  9. Howard B says:

    > “AGUAS usually refers to the waters of a river.”

    As in “The waters of the Nile”? That makes linguistic sense, I can see that. Nice consistency. The nuances and quirks of language are always interesting.

    Now the coffees of the percolator are calling me, so I must go.

  10. Ladel says:

    @Zulema

    Right you are, that’s why geese from Canada are not Canadian, they are just geese from Canada, sans passport.

  11. Tuning Spork says:

    One word.

    Newsday.

    Twenty-nine squares have been changed, but the clues… Oh, I just can’t go on.

  12. Meem says:

    Thank you Martin and Tuning Spork! I thought I was losing my marbles with Newsday.

    And in the department of nits, I would not grab my wok to use as a rice holder. Martin, is there some technique with which I am not familiar?

  13. Tuning Spork says:

    Sorry, Martin, missed your post above.

    Re: the LAT. Pet peeve alert.

    BOY TOY is clued as [Older woman's young lover, facetiously]. I’ve seen this mistake many times over the years but, for cryin’ out loud, a “boy toy” is a girl. The phrase was popularized by Madonna’s belt bucket on her “Like A Virgin” album cover and refers to herself and her coy/slut/tease persona.

  14. Martin says:

    Meem,

    When making fried rice, a wok is a rice holder. Seems a reasonable way to tok.

  15. Martin says:

    “Boy toy” goes both ways. Apparently, it was first applied to males.

  16. Meem says:

    Thanks, Martin. I still think it was a mediocre Tuesday clue. Reference to stir fry more day appropriate.

  17. Noah says:

    @Tuning Spork

    Whether or not “boy toy” originally referred to a girl, it ubiquitously refers to a boy now. I don’t think you can call it a mistake, anymore. Language takes interesting turns.

  18. Tuning Spork says:

    @Noah

    Aah, language takes its turns. But, like the way we always remember that first kiss, the original meaning takes precedence over any flawed iterations. Even when those iterations are, literally, definitive. ;-)

  19. nicholas says:

    re: Jonesin’

    50D clues ‘acnes’. I can’t really find a justification for putting an ‘s’ to somehow make acne plural.

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