Wednesday, 7/13/11

Onion 4:45 
NYT 4:08 
LAT 2:58 
CS 5:39 (Sam–paper) 

Joon Pahk’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword answers, 7 13 11 0713

A lively theme for a beverage I do not drink:

  • 59a. The “COFFEE TALKSNL sketch ties it all together. This is the recurring sketch in which Mike Myers was in drag as Linda Richman. “Talk amongst yourselves.” The three preceding theme answers begin with slang terms for coffee, all clued as if the phrases actually have something to do with coffee.
  • 17a, 23a, 47a. JOE SIX-PACK – MUDSLINGING – JAVA APPLETS like the one I solve the NYT puzzle in. All terrific fill, all clued well for the theme.

Highlights include EXIT RAMP clued by way of [It can be a major turnoff], a BOND GIRL, “I DECLARE,” and a general air of Scrabbliness.

New word for me: BHANG is a [Hallucinogenic beverage]. I looked it up just now: Cannabis! In India! In drinkable form! (Not to be confused with bhangra, which is music and dance that’s spilled over into North American hip-hop.)

Four and a quarter stars from me. Good stuff.

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Onion A.V. Club crossword

Onion AV Club crossword answers, 7 14 11 Quigley

Wisconsin just passed a law permitting people to carry concealed weapons, which I hear makes Illinois the only (!) state to still ban concealed-carry. In honor of the gun craze sweeping the nation, Brendan’s got a CONCEALED WEAPON theme:

  • 17a. [Property of chiffon, perhaps] is GAUZINESS, hiding an UZI.
  • 24a. An [Em dash, e.g.] clues a PRINTING UNIT. Technically, the em dash is this: —. The printing unit is an em, or em space. Anyway, there’s a hidden GUN.
  • 53a. [British game show in which has-beens compete in a jungle, briefly] is I’M A CELEBRITY. Both the American and U.K. versions adds “…Get Me Out of Here” to the title. Illinois’s former first lady, Patti Blagojevich, competed two years ago. She probably could have used some MACE. (Why is this clued as a British show?)
  • 65a. CUSS WORDS are clued as [Taboos around kids]. Nonsense! The best way to teach a kid not to swear is to swear a whole lot in front of him so that he decides it’s really uncool, one of those dorky things his parents do. The hidden weapon is a SWORD.

Five Seven out-there clues I had no idea about:

  • 1a. [Questor in the video game Gauntlet] is an ELF.
  • 14a. [Rock's No Age, e.g.] is a DUO. Who? I was excited when Foo Fighters came on the top-40 station my son loves. So of course (see 65-Across notes) he asked me to turn it down. Mom gives a thumbs-up? The kiss of death!
  • 23a. [Earl Sweatshirt's genre] is RAP. I am not familiar with the oeuvre of Mr. Sweatshirt.
  • 47a. [Bright aquarium fish] is the clue for OPAH. Uh, they may be colorful but I don’t think they’re aquarium fish. They prefer the deep sea.
  • 73a. [Orange or Marshall product] is an AMP.
  • 22d. [Spoon drummer Jim] is another ENO.
  • 36d. [Faith No More's only hit] was EPIC.

Sad to say, the Kardashian clue for FIANCEE and the “Ice Loves __” clue for COCO didn’t slow me down one whit. I have not seen the latter show, and the former’s show I only saw once, while getting a manicure.

3.5 stars.

Updated Wednesday morning:

Randolph Ross’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Write Between the Y’s” – Sam Donaldson’s review

Washington Post/CrosSynergy crossword solution, 7 13 11The title is a play on “right between the eyes.”  In this case, solvers will “write” several letters “between the Y’s,” for the four theme entries feature expressions that begin and end with the letter “y:”

  • 17-Across: The [Cleverness shown by New England colonists] is YANKEE INGENUITY. A great start to this theme, no?
  • 26-Across: The ["Sincerely" alternative] is YOURS TRULY.  It makes for a better ending than “mine falsely.”
  • 49-Across: ["Is that a fact?"] is another way of saying YOU DON’T SAY.  That’s another snappy theme entry.
  • 63-Across: [2016 will be the next one] is a clue that refers not to the next solar eclipse but to the next YEAR OF THE MONKEY.

All of the theme entries are terrific, and the fill is likewise strong.  I like ASK FOR IT, though I would have used something along the lines of [Deserve, as bad karma] instead of ["Anything you want"].  To my ear, the “anything you want” clue refers to something like NAME IT, not ASK FOR IT.  HANDS UP and G-STRINGS are likewise great.  (I wonder if anyone was skimming this post but slowed down upon seeing “hands up” next to “g-strings.”)

I made good time on this one–a sub-six-minute paper solve for me is very fast–as the only unknown to me was [Abner's radio partner], LUM. Sometimes when I’m trying to solve quickly I don’t read clues all the way.  So with L- in place and seeing the first word of the clue, I really wanted LI’L, but that wasn’t happening.

My favorite clue was [Charlie Brown expletive] for RATS! I loved Peanuts and related to Charlie Brown, so I took to using “rats” as my expletive of choice, which remains the case today.  Now, a few decades later, the rats are often engaged in an action when I swear (as in “&*^%-ing rats!”), but they’re still there at the center of my cussing vocabulary.

Pete Muller’s Los Angeles Times crossword

LA Times crossword solution, 7 13 11

Straight-up vowel progression theme here, with five phrases ending with T*LL using each vowel in alpha order:

  • 17a. [Men's clothing category] is BIG AND TALL. The Lambeau Field/Packers “pro shop” featured a Big and Tall section.
  • 22a. DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL was born as a [1993 military directive] and died about a week ago.
  • 33a. The “with ‘a’” bit is a bit of a demerit. [Bad thing to be caught with at work, with "a"] clues HAND IN THE TILL.
  • 46a. [Wears greatly] clues TAKES A HEAVY TOLL. (See 22a for an example.)
  • 54a. [Rock and roll band whose lead singer often played flute solos] is JETHRO TULL. Flute solos!

I did this puzzle before bed last night but was too tired to blog it then. I don’t remember what’s in it. Let’s see. The RIGATONI NOVELLAS are great, but nothing else is jumping out at me as juicy.

Five less familiar bits:

  • 11d. [It's tapped in a pub] clues ALE KEG. This is a term I’ve encountered only in crosswords.
  • 37d. [Sharon of "Boston Public"] clues LEAL. I don’t know who she is, but I know the actress’s name…from crosswords.
  • 23d. ["I'm really impressed!"] is a three-O OOOH. Meeeh.
  • 47d. [Gardeners, at times] are HOERS, but I’ll bet 99.5% of them have never described themselves as HOERS.
  • 51a. [Small streams] are often called RILLS…in crosswords.

Theme’s pretty solid, but the ILIA ULE EEE VAR SAKIS (VAR.) ESTES sort of stuff pulls the puzzle down to three stars. When you have VAR clued as an [Alt. spelling], don’t you want to avoid needing a “(Var.)” tag elsewhere in the puzzle? That’s 21a: [Sushi bar spirits: Var.], SAKIS.

Pete’s following up his NYT ice cream soda puzzle with a Fireball crossword in a couple months. I suspect I’ll like that one better than today’s.

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15 Responses to Wednesday, 7/13/11

  1. joon says:

    this marks the third and final installment in my unintentional SIX PACK trilogy.

  2. Dave G. says:

    Joon,

    Your puzzle was truly thought-provoking.

    First, if you have a SIX PACK trilogy, you definitely have a drinking problem…

    Second, I think if that hallucinogenic beverage was sold in the US one would get more bucks for the BHANG.

    Third, is a BHANG brewmeister called a HEAD BHANGER?

    I sensed a secondary “double double” letter themelette in JAVAAPPLET, COFFEETALK, and INNEED (Almost had a full second theme with MUDSL INGING). Lots of single double letters too HTTP, ABBA, LOUANN, HAJJ, TEEN, RCCOLA, RABBI, STAGG, YEGG, JIFFY, and EEO.

    So I’ll have a SIX PACK trilogy two, but make mine a double. :)

    Nice Stuff

    Dave G.

  3. gareth says:

    NYT: Seen this theme not too long ago, but liked the additional “?” layer. Hadn’t heard of said skit, but thats not a surprise. Grid solid and scrabbly; no surprise that where ROSINBAG/ALBAN/STAGG met was all guesswork – US sports + composers = Achilles heels… but I knew BHANG! IDECLARE was fave clue/answer

    Wasn’t “Easy like a Sunday Morning” a hit, it gets enough retrospective airplay… (Checking)… Not in the US, but most everywhere else it was their biggest hit! Strange.

  4. pauer says:

    Like buttah. Nice one, joon.

  5. sbmanion says:

    I am verklempt. Outstanding is all I can say. Talk among yourselves.

    Steve

  6. John Haber says:

    ALBAN Berg was a gimme for me, Gareth. He’s a major composer of the 20th century and one of the three great composers of modernism in music, with Schoenberg and Webern. But Webern is more obscure, while Berg is more popular, including an opera, Lulu.

    BHANG was new to me, and I started with the wrong spelling “hadj,” but went fine.

  7. Tony O. says:

    My sublimated New York accent is itching to come to the surface today – I wanted TAWK not TALK, but I digress …

    “An egg cream has neither egg nor cream: discuss”

    Thanks for a fun one, Joon!

  8. john farmer says:

    Trilogies! What a concept. Joon could work in Hollywood…always think franchise. I liked the 4 cups of brew and the great 8s. Perfect way to start the day. Who brought the donuts?

    Flute solo!: a var. on Bach.

  9. sandirhodes says:

    Does Barbra like crosswords?

  10. joon says:

    thanks everyone! this is a slightly strange puzzle for me—i remember exactly why i made it, but almost nothing else about its construction. i was trying to clue MUGS for a CHE puzzle last year, and my fevered brain came up with {Joe six-pack?}. wisely, patrick berry chose not to use the clue, because it’s a big stretch, but then i had the thought that it could be the seed for a theme. everything else about today’s puzzle is a blur. i think i whipped it up in under an hour, which is very unusual for me. i’m pleased with some things in it, but there are also some nose-crinkling spots, like EAUDE, DRLAO, ULAN, and the pileup of odd names in the NE. curiously, the same day that the above CHE puzzle ran, patrick himself had a gorgeous friday NYT that inspired me to try quad stacks in my next freestyle, which resulted in my SKIP A GRADE saturday from last month.

  11. John E says:

    I must be living under a rock because I had never heard of “dropping TROU” (I had heard of “mooning” and other similar technique however). In any case, liked the puzzle overall – great work, Joon!

  12. Jeff Chen says:

    Hee hee, HANDS UP a G STRING.

    Why didn’t I think of that? Rats!!!

  13. Don Byas says:

    NYT nice puzzle

    The vendor explained what was in each, pointing. “Salt lassi. Sweet lassi. Bhang lassi.”
    “We’re here for the bhang lassi,” Mike said.

    This provoked merriment from the two men loafing against the wall.

    “Bhang lassi!” they cried out. “Bhang!” The vendor poured two tall glasses. The bhang lassi was a greenish brown. There were visible chunks in it.

    [ Jeffrey Eugenides short story "Asleep in the Lord"
    p.99 June 13 & 20 2011 The New Yorker]

  14. Aaron Brandes says:

    Crossword Butler was not able to download the 5 star WSJ Sat. July 16 puzzle.
    Anything different this week?
    Any pointers on how to get it.
    Thanks,
    Aaron

  15. Amy Reynaldo says:

    Aaron, just go to the WSJ website: http://blogs.wsj.com/puzzle/

Comments are closed.