Tuesday, 7/19/11

Jonesin' 3:31 
NYT 3:04 
LAT 4:49 (NLF) 
CS 5:37 (Sam) 

Mark Feldman’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword answers, 7 19 11 0719

Four phrases that each contain a word starting with N find their meanings altered by the addition of a silent K:

  • 17a. [Guinevere to Lancelot?] is the LADY OF THE KNIGHT.
  • 26a. [Shopper for woolen goods?] is a KNIT PICKER. I prefer my knits to be cotton.
  • 44a. [Ewing, DeBusschere and Frazier?] are all KNICK NAMES. Patrick Ewing, fair enough. No idea who the other two are or when they played for the New York Knicks.
  • 59a. [Universal tie?] is a KNOT FOR EVERYONE.

The most surprising vocabulary word for a Tuesday puzzle is 46a: RUCTION, or [Noisy fight]. This word’s a slangy sort of creature. No apparent relation to eructation, which is an utterly non-slangy way to say “belch.”

The 74-word grid is pretty ambitious for a Tuesday, the result being an assortment of interesting 7- and 8-letter answers. You’ve got your HAITIAN AGNOSTIC STAR TREK, which sounds like an interesting sci-fi spinoff. Also nice: the roughly 5×6 bricks of fill in two corners. I could do without NETTY, a [Meshlike] word I encounter only in crosswords, but that neighboring PENCE/ELIOT/MAGMA/ETHER bit is smooth. I like the PENCE clue, too: [Pound parts] can be interpreted a number of ways.

Four stars.

Don Gagliardo’s Los Angeles Times crossword – Neville’s review

LA Times crossword solution, 7 19 11

LA Times crossword solution, 7 19 11

  • 17a. [St. Patrick's day shout] - ERIN GO BRAGH (ring)
  • 32a. [Business that serves smokers] – TOBACCO INDUSTRY (coin)
  • 39a. [With "leave," settle for the existing situation] – WELL ENOUGH ALONE (halo)
  • 60a. [Privileged group, and an aptly highlighted feature of [the above]] – INNER CIRCLE

Crossword enthusiasts will note that the hidden word splits are unique: RIN/G, CO/IN and H/ALO – that’s 3/1, 2/2 and 1/3. Math enthusiasts may have an issue, though, as a circle is 2-D, but each hidden word is 3-D. A ring and a halo are both tori (though a ring could arguably be just an annulus, the 2-D analog), and a coin is a disk. It’s cute, so I don’t mind this.

Look at the nine-letter entries: STRIKE TWO right next to HANK AARON, OVER BLOWN and “BELIEVE ME!” are all great. The short entries are great, too. RAW BAR, LOW BROW, ODD LOT, T-BIRD, GOT ME, NEATNIK, BIG HEAD and HARD C are all winners for me. In fact, I’m having a hard time finding anything bad to say about this puzzle, and that’s really refreshing.  Just 74 words!

That’s all I have to say about this great puzzle – I’m just basking in the puzzle. 4+ stars.

Updated Tuesday morning:

Lynn Lempel’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Secret Pledge” – Sam Donaldson’s review

CrosSynergy/Washington Post Crossword Solution, July 19, 2011

65-Across tells us that OATH is the [Secret pledge in each of the four longest Across answers], and that’s because the O-A-T-H letter sequence appears in each of the four theme entries:

  • 20-Across: The [Folks such as Heidi's friend Peter] are GOATHERDS. Two questions: (1) Am I the only one who thinks it should be goatherders instead of goatherds? (I checked, and goatherds is acceptable as an alternative to goatherders. But I don’t have to like it.) (2) Am I the only one surprised to see that GOATHERD is not making its debut in modern crosswords? (It appears four times in puzzles stored in the Cruciverb database, most recently in 2005.)
  • 35-Across: I liked the tricky clue here–A [Lion, Tiger, or Bear] is a PRO ATHLETE. As in a Detroit Lion, a Detroit Tiger, and a Chicago Bear.
  • 41-Across: [One of a dry cleaner's supply] is a COAT HANGER. For some reason, I can’t speak or type the words “coat hanger” without thinking of Joan Crawford.
  • 56-Across: The [Marina structure is a BOATHOUSE. I was happy to see this one at the end because I was afraid that GOATHERDS was going to stand apart as the only one-word theme entry. With the addition of another one-worder, we have consistency, and all is right with our puzzle. Whew!

I love, love, love the long Downs. SENATE SEAT may not be full of pizzazz, but it ain’t bad. Then there’s the wonderful trio of LET IT SLIDE, GET THROUGH, and HERE YOU ARE. Even the 8-letter Across entries, FLAGSHIP and IS THAT SO?, feel fresh and interesting. And don’t forget the TUBE TOP! Game show fans certainly don’t. Once again, Lempel gives us a smooth grid that makes it all look so easy.

But it wasn’t entirely smooth sailing. I didn’t care much for the crossing EXES and EXECS, right next to the crossing NEXT and TEXT up there in the northeast corner. It’s bad enough that these very similar entries are in the same grid, but to openly cross them like that just seems so defiant. Hey, wait a second–I kind of like that! Never mind. These aren’t the droids we’re looking for. Move along, move along.

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26 Responses to Tuesday, 7/19/11

  1. Tuning Spork says:

    RUNCTION seems like a blast from the past, but I’m not sure.

    Fun Monday. It’s amazing that STAR TREK isn’t more prevalant in crosswords. Talk about great letters…

  2. Bruce N. Morton says:

    I’m sorry that I tend to lag in my occasional comments, since I often store up the puzzles and have extended puzzle fests.

    FWIW, I like the word ‘pasquinade’ just fine. I thought it was a great entry in the 1a position of honor. I hope I’m not stepping into an acrimonious personal dispute, but to me, the fact that an interesting, 10-letter word containing a ‘q’) has rarely if ever appeared in a previous puzzle tends to cut in favor of, not against the word.

    I too was glad to see a Charles Deber, and to know that he is still active. I remember that Eugene Maleska–(not the most beloved figure, I’m afraid)–used to rave about him.

    It always makes me a little nervous to ask this question bluntly, but does anyone know if Manny N. is doing well? If there is one constructor whom I revere, who was most responsible for turning me on to my favorite kind of puzzle–the wide open Fri – Sat themeless–it is he. Or, if you prefer, him.

    Bruce

  3. Daniel Myers says:

    Nice to have Pound (as a clue) and ELIOT as an answer next to each other in the NYT NE (9, 10 Down) as well as ETHER a column away (12D), as in:

    “Let us go then, you and I,
    When the evening is spread out against the sky
    Like a patient etherised upon a table;”

  4. sbmanion says:

    Amy, Amy, Amy,

    One of the iconic teams is the 1972-73 Knicks with Dave DeBusschere, Walt (“Clyde”) Frazier, Bill Bradley, Earl the Pearl Monroe, Willis Reed, and from the bench Phil Jackson.

    Walt Frazier looks like the perfect Othello and after he retired, he got into sportscasting. His trademark was big words. Initially, he used them with a cringing tone deaf quality, but over the years he has become quite good.

    Bill Bradley is of course the senator and presidential primary contender.

    DeBusschere was a hard-nosed somewhat undersized power forward and my favorite Knick of that era.

    I am not a Knicks fan, but that was a great team.

    Had anyone heard of RUCTION?

    Steve

  5. joon says:

    debusschere has the distinction of being the hardest name to spell on the NBA’s “50 greatest” list. frazier, monroe, and reed are also on the list, so steve has a good point about that ’72-’73 team. it’s a little funny that bradley and jackson are now the two most famous people who were on that team, for reasons quite apart from their playing ability.

  6. Gareth says:

    Ruction fairly common word here. Possibly has a commonwealth usage bias?

  7. Jeffrey says:

    Not this part of the commonwealth, Gareth.

  8. joon says:

    sam, goatherd is the normal word (like shepherd or cowherd), and goat herder, if anything, is the variant. neither “goatherder” nor “goat herder” has an entry in MW11C.

  9. john farmer says:

    DeBusschere was also a pitcher for one of those teams in Chicago, the White Sox. The (pre-Monroe) Knicks first won the championship in 1970. I always had a fondness for Dick Barnett and his lefty jumper. Ruction was the third man off the bench and is mostly forgotten today.

  10. Bruce N. Morton says:

    What is the MGWCC, and where do I find it?

    Bruce

  11. cybergoober says:

    I have heard RUCTION in only one place, in the Irish-American novelty song Finnegan’s Wake, which gave rise to the James Joyce title sans apostrophe.
    The wake breaks into a brawl:

    Then the war did soon engage,
    t’was woman to woman and man to man
    Shillelagh law was all the rage
    and a row and a ruction soon began.

  12. cybergoober says:

    @Bruce N. M, here’s where to find MGWCC:
    http://www.crosswordcontest.blogspot.com/

  13. Daniel Myers says:

    @cybergoober—-The word, for whatever reason, wasn’t unfamiliar to me at all. The OED though officially classifying the word as “Of obscure origin” makes it rather clear from the quotes (first citation, 1825) that the word is almost certainly of Irish origin and is related to “insurrection”—The only author with whom I’m familiar cited in the quotes is Eugene O’Neill (1921). Oh, nice spot on the Joycean “sans apostrophe.” I still remember a Joycean lecturer stating, “The point is that the Finnegans are waking, whoever they may be.”

  14. Bruce N. Morton says:

    Thanks, Goober. I vaguely remember Matt G’s weekly X-wd, and at one point was intending to look into it, but it slipped my mind, and I’m grateful for the link.

    Bruce

  15. Zulema says:

    Bruce,

    I have recently inquired about Manny at the Senior Learn Classics people (Latin classes on line) and was told that he was fine. This was some months ago. I used to study Ancient Greek with them until unfortunately our teacher died.

  16. Matt J. says:

    Yoohoo, puzzle review, where are youuuu… :-P

  17. Amy Reynaldo says:

    Matt, it was there last night, I swear! I simply don’t have time to recreate it this afternoon, sorry.

  18. 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

  19. Jeff Chen says:

    How about that – these aren’t the droids we’re looking for.

  20. Martin says:

    Aaron,

    The WSJ Saturday puzzle is usually a variety puzzle. It will always be available for solving on paper at the WSJ Puzzles page.

  21. J. T. Williams says:

    Finally sucked it up and did the CS puzzle on the website applet. Nice puzzle, nothing too difficult, about right for a Tuesday I’d say. As for goatherd, seems like a pretty common word to me. Anything that gets into a major TV sitcom has to be pretty well-accepted doesn’t it (unless the show is about weird Scrabble words or something, see, e.g., Will and Grace). I refer of course to the Christmas story of The Little Goatherd on Frasier!

  22. pannonica says:

    Not a basketball fan, but growing up in NYC in the 1970s and 80s those names were familiar to me. My mother used to see “Clyde” Frasier at the local Y.

    Without consulting any reference books, I wonder if there’s a connection between ruction and ruckus.

  23. John Haber says:

    Must admit I spent a lot of evenings listening to Knick games back then as a kid. Another on the team was Dick Barnett. They’d the core of a team for a year that came close to beating the top two, the Lakers and the Celtics, but with almost no substitutions. The result was to cement a team, and when they added Monroe the next year, one wanted them to win, and they won.

    Must also admit that RUCTION and NETTY were odd to me, but could be worse.

  24. Matt J. says:

    Amy, sorry to bug you, but what happened to the review? :-P

  25. Amy Reynaldo says:

    I’m afraid it’s just gone, Matt. I’m swamped this week, editing a dozen or two crosswords.

  26. Matt J. says:

    No problem, then.

Comments are closed.