Sunday, 4/24/11

[time_hdr postdate="2011/04/23" plug="sunday-42411" puzz="Reagle" anchor="mr"]8:51[/time_hdr]
[time_hdr postdate="2011/04/23" plug="sunday-42411" puzz="NYT" anchor="ny"]7:39[/time_hdr]
[time_hdr postdate="2011/04/23" plug="sunday-42411" puzz="BG" anchor="bg"]7:27[/time_hdr]
[time_hdr postdate="2011/04/23" plug="sunday-42411" puzz="LAT" anchor="la"]10:06[/time_hdr]
[time_hdr postdate="2011/04/23" plug="sunday-42411" puzz="WaPo" anchor="wp"]4:37[/time_hdr]
[time_hdr postdate="2011/04/23" plug="sunday-42411" puzz="CS" anchor="cs"]7:51 (Sam)/3:25 (Amy)[/time_hdr]

Happy Easter, Happy Passover, and happy birthday to three dear crossword friends—Dave (“Evad”) Sullivan, Angela (“PuzzleGirl”) Halsted, and Byron (“No Fake Name”) Walden—and happy birthday to my son, who graciously shares his mom with the Crossword Fiend community. Have some cake! And kosher chocolate eggs!

Caleb Madison and the J.A.S.A. Crossword Class’s New York Times crossword, “Use It or Lose It”


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4/24/11 NYT crossword answers "Use It or Lose It"

Super-brief post, as I’m having my kid’s family birthday party right now.

Theme: Half the theme entries have an IT added to familiar phrases, and the other half have lost an IT from the original phrases. LOSE ONE’S MOJ{IT}O and CENTER OF GRAVY are my favorites.

Pizza’s here! Gotta go.
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Merl Reagle’s syndicated/Philadelphia Inquirer crossword,”Easter Egg Hunt”

4/24 Merl Reagle crossword answers "Easter Egg Hunt"

Cute holiday theme—you’ve got a dozen EGGs to find in the grid, all lurking in rebus squares. V. nice to incude an even dozen, no? The EGGs are in such words and phrases as L{EGG}ING IT, PR{EGG}ERS, GO B{EGG}ING, HAM AND {EGG}S, and more. Lots of eggy people, too: Arnold SCHWARZEN{EGG}ER, SAMANTHA {EGG}AR, ARTHUR HON{EGG}ER, Martin HEID{EGG}ER, P{EGG}Y CASS, and M{EG G}REENFIELD. And if you tilt your head to the right and squint, the center of the grid looks like an Easter egg with stripes painted on it.

Five clues:

  • 33d. [Scratching the ground, as chickens] clues RASORIAL. This is your New Vocabulary Word of the Day.
  • 8d. [Waffle-ad words], 4 letters? Wha…? Oh, there’s a rebus, so it’s 6 letters. That works better. “Leggo MY {EGG}O!” Peculiar-looking crossword answer.
  • 83a. [Turned up one's nose at] isn’t SNEERED, SNIFFED, or SNORTED. It’s SNOOTED. I would have preferred any of the other three words.
  • 89a. [Suspicious, as a dog] clues GROWLY. Is that a word? It seems better suited to describing one’s stomach when one’s feeling a bit peckish.
  • 49d. ELYRIA is a [City near Cleveland]. This town of 55,000 was named after its founder, Heman Ely. “Heman Ely”! I wonder if he was a he-man.

Four stars from me.

Updated Sunday morning:

Doug Peterson’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, “Sunday Challenge”—Sam Donaldson’s review

Here’s another fun and lively freestyle offering from Doug Peterson. The 72/30 grid is anchored by the criss-crossing 15-letter entries, KICKED TO THE CURB (clued [Unceremoniously dumped]) and YOU CAN COUNT ON ME (clued ["Consider it done!"]. Methinks there’s a moral there–when you cater to a love interest a little too much, to the point that you become a sycophantic doormat, you’re no longer very attractive to your love interest and you soon find yourself dumped.

They’re not just crosswords. They’re therapy.

The centerpiece 15s are terrific but they’re hardly alone here. Here are my ten favorite items from this puzzle, in no particular order (or are they?):

  • The [Romance novel released on Valentine's Day in 1970] is, of course, LOVE STORY. That’s a terrific clue–better than your usual trivia-based clue because it gives some hint to the answer even for those who have not yet memorized 1970s best sellers (and why haven’t you, by the way?).
  • The [Leather source] is ELK. I had EEL for the longest time. But is eelskin even remotely close to leather?
  • Fellow [Mexican revolutionary] figures, EMILIANO Zapata and PANCHO Villa, sit side by side in the grid. That’s an elegant touch.
  • ZANE GREY, ["The Lone Star Ranger" author], intersects ["The Guns of Navarone" actress] GIA Scala, and for precisely that reason, I wish the clue for GIA had been a reference to the Angelina Jolie film. It would have made the crossing a little more interesting.
  • I knew the [Cafe Americain owner]‘s first name was RICK, but coming up with full name? Sheesh! That would be RICK BLAINE, btw.
  • Yes, I fell into the trap for [Black suit topper], mulling over BLACK HAT and assorted accessories until realizing this puzzle wanted the ACE OF CLUBS. Did anyone else at least try ACE OF SPADES first too?
  • The [Snorkeler's haunt] is a CORAL REEF. Not the zippiest clue, but it’s a nice entry that evokes colorful images in my mind.
  • DEVO! The [Band known for its red plastic hats] will never die. Long before Willow Smith was whipping her hair, Devo was just whipping it. Whipping it good.
  • I know I have issues, but I like how SARGE and ANDREA share a GROPE in the northwest corner.
  • Thanks Doug, or whoever was behind it, for cluing COBRA as the [Evil organization fought by G.I. Joe]. The occasional slow-pitched softball down the middle of the plate is just fine by me!

A nice way to end the week.  If you’re so inclined, enjoy the holiday.  If not, enjoy the day anyway!

David Blake’s syndicated Los Angeles Times crossword, “At Your Convenience”

4/24 LA Times crossword answers "At Your Convenience"

The title doesn’t quite parse if you’re trying to explain the theme—an AT is inserted into familiar phrases, changing their meaning. This, like the NYT theme, fits into T Campbell’s “algebraic” theme category. (Take a look at yesterday’s post by T to scope out the breadth of “add/subtract a letter/string” themes.) The ATs are added in various locations to make these new phrases:

  • 22a. [South-of-the-border political assent?] = SI SI, SENATOR.
  • 36a. [Knockoffs of "Woman With a Hat"?] = NEAR MATISSES.
  • 43a. [Where to excavate perfume?] = ATTAR PITS. Meh.
  • 57a. [The first glossy fabric?] = ORIGINAL SATIN.
  • 87a. [Dishonest Yankees?] = BRONX CHEATERS. This one’s my favorite
  • 101a. [A lifetime at the North Pole?] = SANTA FATE.
  • 108a. [Feature of a mad scientist's machine?] = MUTATE BUTTON.
  • 122a. ["Wrestling" maneuver?] = THUMB ATTACK.
  • 3d. [Food evaluation measure?] = NOSE RATING.
  • 83d. [Amusement park for fans of flowing music?] = LEGATO LAND.

I was so sleepy last night when I solved this puzzle. Too sleepy to blog it then. My solving time was about 25% slower than the NYT, but I doubt it was really that much tougher than the NYT.

Highlights: TIP JAR, CREAM SODAS, POINSETTIA, I’M A LOSER.

I barely remember this puzzle now that it’s the next day. It’s mid-morning and there are two more puzzles to go, so I’ll stick with phoning this one in.

Four stars.

Doug Peterson’s Washington Post crossword, “Post Puzzler No. 55″

Washington Post Puzzler No. 55 crossword solution 4/24

Hey! Look who’s the newest addition to the elite ranks of Post Puzzler constructors! Congrats on the gig, Doug. You’ll fit right in.

This puzzle lands at a Friday NYT difficulty level, so on the easier end of the Post Puzzler spectrum but a couple notches harder than Doug’s CrosSynergy “Sunday Challenge” today. Dang, that one was easy!

Highlights:

  • 17a. ["Way to go!"] = “ATTA GIRL!”
  • 36a. ["This ain't no dress rehearsal"], so “BRING YOUR ‘A’ GAME.”
  • 58a. PAPERBOY is an [Old arcade game controlled with a set of bicycle handlebars] that I’ve never heard of.
  • 60a. [Unwanted forum visitors] are SPAMBOTS. This here blog gets so much love from spammers, with their gazillion comments every day (hooray for the Akismet filter that blocks more than 99% of them, so you don’t have to be exposed to favorable remarks about the Zune music player, which feels like spam from 2006). My favorite spam comments are word puzzles unto themselves: The spammer has used an automated thesaurus to vary word choice, but the result takes some real brain work to make sense out of. For example: “Proceed to keep up the very good operate.”
  • 6d. Favorite clue: [Diamond in many a jewel box] is singer NEIL Diamond, in CD jewel cases.
  • 31d. On the heels of 17a and 36a, more crossword-talking-to-me: ["Got it, finally"] clues “OH, I SEE NOW.”

Four stars.

Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon’s Boston Globe puzzle, “For Boston Film Buffs”

Boston Globe crossword solution "For Boston Film Buffs'

This one’s for the locals who know what movies have been set in Boston. Now, The Departed and Ben Affleck’s recent The Town don’t make the cut, but The Brinks Job and Monument Ave. do, and I’ve never heard of them. Not a trivia theme that really grabs this Chicagoan—though I would love to see a theme of classic movies filmed in Chicago.

Tons of names in the puzzle, no? EMIL, KAREL, ANG, TOMEI, AGEE, LAHR, RAND, H. ROSS, KIMS, ENYA, LEONE, OLGA, MOEN, ASAHI, NERUDA, HELLMAN, TENLEY, BRENT, IRMA, PETULA, SLYE, and DIANA are just the people and brands, and there are also a number of place names. Not all of the people are movie people, so it’s not quite a People magazine sort of puzzle.

Three stars.

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18 Responses to Sunday, 4/24/11

  1. ArtLvr says:

    Loved the NYT puzzle, especially CENTER OF GRAVY… I’m off tomorrow for brunch with friends in the Finger LAKE region, where local Reisling wines are being touted. RED LABEL won’t be on offer, but I understand one vintner’s output is called Red Newt! Cheers, all…

  2. Erik says:

    HAPPY EASTER! Didn’t two of the IT-less entries come straight out of a 2010 ACPT puzzle? What’s the story?

  3. John E says:

    Great puzzle – in retrospect, it would have been amusing if the clue for 33A was “Couldn’t stomach a Cuban drink” (but that wouldn’t pass the breakfast test, would it?).

    Happy Easter to all!

  4. Bushcraft says:

    Enjoyed the puzzle – particularly loving the LOSE ONE’S MOJ{IT}O – great diversion this holiday weekend/ Blessed day all

  5. Gareth says:

    What a lovely set of puns in the NYT today! Just don’t look at 94A too long…

  6. ArtLvr says:

    Merl’s puzzle was a delight. All I could think of while romping through was wishing I’d thought of it myself… Ha. Quite simply, a masterpiece!

  7. janie says:

    caleb’s puzzle w/the cru at j.a.s.a. is my idea of perfection. theme, execution, remaining fill, cluing — all top notch. not to mention the editor’s contribution. a 5-star example in my book. bravi!

    ;-)

    (i know — but how do i really feel?…..)

  8. Meem says:

    Really want to give Caleb and friends a 4.5. Me, too, for center of gravy as favorite. Also a grinning thanks to Merl for providing my Easter egg hunt. Now off to prepare for invasion of food-seeking guests.

  9. David H says:

    Can someone please explain to me “Aln” = ATHOME? I got it from the crossings, but I have no clue …

  10. Norm says:

    @ David H.

    Maybe a typo? “In” would work fine for “at home” but it’s hard to believe a typo at 1A.

    Thought Merl’s was truly elegant this week. Unless I’m overlooking something, all the down answers use “egg” in one of the senses of the actual word, while all the across answers have it embedded in or even spanning the words. Very nice touch.

  11. Amy Reynaldo says:

    @Norm, that must be it. A for “Across” wedged in there by mistake, intended clue [In]. I couldn’t tell if it was [Aln] with a lowercase L or what.

  12. janie says:

    congrats to doug on today’s double play — and his wapo debut. *what* a great team!

    also love the inter-puzzle connectivity. doug gives us LOVE STORY, caleb (et al.), ALI MACGRAW.

    ;-)

  13. pannonica says:

    re: BG

    Alas, The Friends of Eddie Coyle is 22 letters long.

  14. Norm says:

    @Amy

    Good call. That explains where the “A” would come from and the capital non-serif “I” that I was reading as a lower-case “L” and trying to making “aln” mean something in Gaelic. :-)

  15. FranK says:

    I don’t get “center of gravy”
    Can someone enlighten me?

  16. Amy Reynaldo says:

    “Center of gravITy,” minus the IT. The bottom theme entries have each lost an IT, which has been transported into one of the theme entries on top.

  17. Todd G says:

    When I saw Amy wonder if Herman Ely (of ELYRIA fame) was a “he-man,” I first thought she was referring to his initials, and not to Ron Ely (crossword and real world celebrity).

    Methinks I’m starting to OD on wordplay.

  18. Amy Reynaldo says:

    Todd: Not Herman. Wikipedia gave the name as “Heman”!

Comments are closed.