Monday, 3/19/12

NYT 3:02 (pannonica) 
LAT 2:50 (Jeffrey -paper) 
CS 7:40 (Sam) 
BEQ untimed 
Celebrity tk

Jeremy Horwitz’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s review

NYT crossword • 3/19/12 • Mon • Horwitz • solution • 3 19 12

Nice bit of letter-length serendipity for the theme entries:

  • 20a. [Academy Award winner for playing 46-Across] ROBERT DE NIRO.
  • 26a. [Academy Award winner for playing 46-Across] MARLON BRANDO.
  • 46a. [Academy Award-winning role for both 20- and 26-Across] VITO CORLEONE.
  • 53a. [Academy Award-winning film released in March 1972] THE GODFATHER. Forty years, at least for weddings, is the Ruby Anniversary. I searched and discovered a “ruby godfather ring” but it was too horrible to even consider linking to it from this reputable blog. Trust me.

    About the release date, the World Premiere was in New York City on 15 March, then Los Angeles screened it on the 22nd. National release was the 24th. So I guess the 19th is a reasonable compromise. As Don Vito himself mumbled, “I hoped that we would come here and reason together. And as a reasonable man, I’m willing to do whatever’s necessary to find a peaceful solution to these problems.”

At the risk of waking up tomorrow with a horse’s head next to me, I will point out that De Niro appeared only in the 1974 sequel, playing the young VITO CORLEONE. The clues elide this factum, which again is reasonable, so this is not much of a NIT (45a). The gist of the theme is what counts, am I right or am I right?

Smooth puzzle, with almost nothing that should not be in a Monday grid. Speaking for myself, personally, I would put IONE Skye, VERDUN, Stephen Vincent BENÉT, and AERIE as questionables in that category. Oh, and there is that damn ELO again. Two non-theme entries of decent length are the very nice verticals MOON ROCK and NAVIGATE.

Other Items Of Which I Have Noted:

  • Africa! 12d [Congo, from 1971 to 1997] ZAIRE. 38a {Africa’s northernmost capital] TUNIS.
  • Viewing! 6a [Sharp product from Sharp] HDTV. 42d [What may give pause to couch potatoes?] TIVO. Is it just me, or does it seem as if the latter clue is trying a bit too hard?
  • UNREEL? Unreal! (No, it is legit, but not film-related.)

All right. This one time… this one time, I’ll let you ask me about my star ratings.

No.

Patti Varol’s Los Angeles Times crossword – Jeffrey’s review

Los Angeles Times crossword solution Monday Mar 19 2012

Theme: PACK/PECK/PICK/POCK/PUCK

Theme answers:

  • 17A. [Airfare-plus-hotel stay, say] – PACKAGE DEAL
  • 24A. [Poultry hierarchy] – PECKING ORDER. So do the hens get together and organize this?
  • 35A. [Soul food pork snack] – PICKLED PIG’S FEET. I’m not up on my pork snacks.
  • 47A. [Coins in one's pants] – POCKET CHANGE
  • 57A. [Ready to be kissed] – PUCKERING UP. Getting ready to be kissed seems like a better match.

Other stuff:

  • 15A. [Green Gables girl] – ANNE. The icon of Prince Edward Island.
  • 27A. [Camaro and Corvette] – CHEVYS. I have a Cruze.
  • 53A. ["My lips __ sealed"] – ARE. The Go-Gos!
  • 9D. [Becoming tangled, as a fishing line] – SNAGGING. You don’t see that too often in crosswords.
  • 34D. ["Baby __ You": Shirelles hit] – IT’S. Girl group day.

**** stars. Nice Monday.

By the way, I finished 29th at the ACPT. Highest ever!

Updated Monday afternoon:

Hello! Amy here. Congrats to Joon on his top-10 finish at the ACPT, congrats to Doug for finishing close behind Joon, congrats to Jeffrey on rocketing up to the top 30, congrats to Neville on moving up in the rankings, and congrats to Sam on moving up a division (and on his engagement to the lovely Shelly, whom we met and loved at the ACPT)! Great to meet so many readers and commenters over the weekend. Thanks to Gareth for volunteering (really! I didn’t have to strong-arm him at all) to guest-blog over the weekend, and thanks to all the Fiend people for their assorted reviews and updates. I confess I didn’t even peek at this blog between Wednesday night and Monday morning! Still haven’t made it back to the Friday post.

Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”

BEQ 3/19/12 answers

I met the adorable little Tabitha Quigley yesterday at the ACPT. I think she’s inherited her dad’s characteristic “gazing quietly and taking in the scene” deal (and when she’s old enough to talk, will add his “perfectly nailing the scene with an off-kilter observation that wouldn’t have occurred to you”). Tabitha’s daddy makes a nice crossword, of course.

Got confused by 1-Across because I’ve gone to the gym but have never, ever picked up JOCK ITCH. The [Something you might pick up in a gym] guy clue is balanced by its partner across the grid, SEX SHOPS clued with [Where you might pick up some good vibrations?]. That “you” leans more female so the puzzle’s not a boys’ club.

I don’t really watch Parks and Recreation but I know that RON SWANSON and his mustache and his rules for living have an ardent following. Fresh fill that’s maybe not quite ready for newspaper crosswords but is perfect here.

Also like LOCKLEAR, the awesome HERE COME THE ABC’S, BEIGE BOX, the super-duper smoothness of the crossings in the corner 8-stacks. And look! HORNE is former crossword blogger Jim rather than Lena. Nice shoutout! Less enamored of those CUBERS, ARN, crazy KAKAPOS, a single DRIB, and the OLIO/SNELL combo. All in all, four stars.

Bruce Venzke’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “In Shortened Company” – Sam Donaldson’s review

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, March 19

I’m back from the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, but moving a step or two slow today–hence the late post. Call it a combination of jet lag and having way more fun than one should be allowed to have without a license. Tournament weekend is right up there with Thanksgiving on the list of annual traditions I look forward to most, and it never seems to disappoint. (Now, if we could just find a way to incorporate pumpkin pie and gravy into the tournament….)

Remember when I (foolishly) announced my goals for this year’s tournament? I wanted to: (1) improve upon last year’s overall standing, (2) finish every puzzle, and (3) do so accurately. I managed to achieve one of the goals–I improved about 60 places in the overall rankings (but I expect my overall rank to drop by another 20-30 places once the scoring error I reported gets processed). I finished all but Puzzle 5 (I blame my myrmecophobia–don’t go hunting down that definition if you want to avoid spoilers about the puzzles), and, alas, managed to solve only two whole puzzles error-free. Oh well. There’s always next year!

More importantly, the weekend was filled with lots of laughs and lots of great conversations with old and new friends. I thought this year’s puzzles were great. I like challenging puzzles, even when they best me. This year’s slate was, on balance, more difficult than those from the past few years. Or maybe it’s me. But they were still great fun. My personal favorite was Patrick Berry’s Puzzle #3, and, as those who were there can tell you, that gives us a nice transition to today’s puzzle.

The grid features five business names that begin with two initials:

  • 17-Across: S.C. JOHNSON is the [Cleaning products manufacturer]. They’re the folks behind products like Pledge, Windex, Shout, and Scrubbing Bubbles. Let me tell you, when you have a crossword hangover and your first theme entry starts with SCJ-, you get discouraged fast.
  • 26-Across: P.F. CHANG’S is the [China Bistro corporation name]. I used to love the salt and pepper calamari at P.F. Chang’s until I read somewhere that the dish has more than half of its many delicious calories from fat. Now I just secretly love the dish.
  • 37-Across: Huh. So it turns out the [Jam- and jelly-making company] is not just “Smuckers” but J.M. SMUCKER. Its website says that the company started by selling apple butter. (The J.M. is for Jerome Monroe, in case you ever enter a Jam and Jelly Trivia competition.)
  • 52-Across: J.C. PENNEY is the [American retail chain] featured in this puzzle. I kept thinking T.J. MAXX would make an appearance, so at first I wanted that answer. But unless I turned it into the adult products mega-store T.J. MAX-XXX that just wasn’t going to work.
  • 65-Across: A.C. NIELSEN is the [Consumer research company] that measures television viewership. Interesting to see it intersect with VIEWERS, the [TV audience, as a group].

Good theme, though I wonder whether the “J.M.” and “A.C.” parts are familiar enough to most solvers. Maybe all of the rare letters required it, but there were a lot of weird entries in this puzzle. COSM, MSS, NEBS, ERB, ARR, LUM, and E-CASH all felt awkward to me. KUDO was similarly strange, but in an interesting way, I thought.

I suppose TOOT is a [Sound of impatience] but you could change the first six letters of “impatience” to “flatul” and get an equally serviceable clue. (That’s about as delicately as I could put it, folks.)

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8 Responses to Monday, 3/19/12

  1. Gareth says:

    I must be Phillistine, as I haven’t watched The Godfather (flashbacks to when I admitted to not having watched Casablanca…) Still finished this puzzle without a hitch. MOONROCK was my favourite entry!

  2. pannonica says:

    Guglielmo Shortzeone would like to have a word with you, Gareth.

    p.s. I hope everyone realizes that I would never in real life say or write something like “speaking for myself, personally.”

  3. Martin says:

    Congrats to all for ACPT wins.

    “Sprinking” in the BEQ (38-Down) messed me up for far too long. That’s what I get for thinking BEQ can’t be wrong.

  4. Laura says:

    Does anyone know if it’s possible to download the ACPT puzzles somewhere?

  5. Karen says:

    Laura, they are for sale at the tournament website, http://www.crosswordtournament.com/info/offer.htm. There’s also a ‘solve online’ option. I think it’s copyright violation to download them. On the other hand, if you know someone who went, they give out copies of the crosswords, and solutions, at the end of the tournament.

  6. Laura says:

    Thank you Karen!

  7. pannonica says:

    Favorite clue in the BEQ was [Specialized seat]. Plunked in SIDE SADDLE. Sneaky, slipping in the capital-S for the bicycle company that way.

  8. ArtLvr says:

    I clicked on your Jonesin link and seemed to get a date which hasn’t yet arrived, but never mind… I did it anyway, and just wanted to say it was full of yummy combos which really hit the spot! And hearty congrats to all who were involved in the Tournament!

Comments are closed.