Wednesday, 4/25/12

NYT 3:48 
LAT 3:52 (Jeffrey, paper) 
CS 7:17 (Sam) 
Onion untimed 
Celebrity untimed 

Peter Wentz’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 4 25 12 0425

The Monday NYT also had a bunch of short theme answers and a bunch of 7-letter answers. This time, the theme is a little loose—the SEVEN C’S is a pun on “the Seven Seas” but the seven initial/C/word theme answers don’t make up an exhaustive list of the possibilities. We get the European soccer team AC MILAN (rock-solid in my book), awkwardly plural RC COLAS, and the rock-solid DC COMICS, WC FIELDS, JC PENNEY, MC HAMMER, and NC STATE. The letters before the C’s don’t spell out anything, and there are other possible theme answers (e.g., CC Rider, PC World, TC Boyle). But that’s not a theme killer, and the rest of the puzzle has a lot to offer us. To wit:

  • 1a. “CUBS WIN!” I bet a lot of you tried HOLY COW first as your [Catchphrase of announcer Harry Caray]. As for the strangeness of this answer, let us speak no more of it. There is, of course, always next year. And I don’t think April is too soon to begin such talk.
  • 8a. ACADIAN, [Early French settler]. This is where the word Cajun comes from.
  • 65a. First Harry Caray, now a reference to Mrs. O’LEARY’S cow? I don’t know why CAPONE and DALEY aren’t also in this puzzle.
  • 5d. WELCOME MAT—a 10-letter answer crossing three theme answers as well as that trio of 7s in the corner. Nice work.
  • 9d. COCCYX! That’s an awesomely spelled word and I’m glad I know how to spell it.
  • 32d. FACE OF EVIL, another 10 crossings a 7-stack and three themers.
  • 45d. Getting fancy with a DACTYL, which is a word or words with the same pattern of stresses as ["Innocent," but not "guilty"]. Single stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables. “Syllables” is a dactyl, no?

I liked the solve enough overall to not really hold ARETE EENY EDY ETD ENE ATV ANENT STYES against the puzzle. (And now I want to write a poem or a memo headlined “Anent Styes.”) 3.5 stars.

Don Gagliardo and C.C. Burnikel’s Los Angeles Times crossword – Jeffrey’s review

Los Angeles Times crossword solution Wed Apr 25 2012

Theme answers:

  • 16A. [Melodies for a soothing atmosphere] – MOOD MUSIC
  • 22A. [Positive energy] – GOOD KARMA
  • 50A. [Pick up momentum] – GAIN SPEED
  • 60A. [2002 Jodie Foster thriller] – PANIC ROOM
  • 36A. [With 39-Across, convenience that might include the dish spelled out by the first few letters of the answers to 16-, 22-, 50- and 60-Across] – CHINESE
  • 39A. [See 36-Across] – TAKEOUT

Well, isn’t that a candidate for most awkward clue of the year. Quite the exciting theme there. Zzzzzz.

Other stuff:

  • 17D. ["Don't interfere," briefly] – MYOB. Mind your own business! Stop reading other people’s blogs. Go write your own.
  • 20A. [Nothing to suggest, as foul play] – NO SIGN OF. More awkwardness.
  • 33A. [Shopping center?] – PEES. The two middle letters in shopping are P. And how would you clue this?
  • 52A. [Tour in a double-decker bus, perhaps] – SIGHTSEE. I’m off to ride a double-decker bus right now. I call it “going to work”. Bye.

Updated Wednesday morning:

Tyler Hinman’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Covert Operations” – Sam Donaldson’s review

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, April 25

The theme features four expressions ending with words that are also the results of basic mathematical operations. To drive it home, the expressions are then clued as though they were references to those mathematical results. This is what you’d call an “added” element.

Okay, let’s pretend that joke didn’t happen. On with the theme entries:

  • 20-Across: COGITO ERGO SUM is [Descartes's statement about pondering an addition problem?].
  • 27-Across: To MAKE A DIFFERENCE is to [Subtract?].
  • 50-Across: One way to think of a CONSUMER PRODUCT is as the [Result when costs multiply?].
  • 57-Across: ANGER QUOTIENT is a [Result of finally finishing a frustrating division problem?]. I confess I’m not very familiar with the term “anger quotient.” Should I be upset about this?

Note the neat arrangement from top to bottom: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Note too how Tyler does his part to stave off the War on Fill. There’s RIP-OFFS, I TRY, NINE A.M., SET FOR, CORN OIL (that looks deceptively like “Cornholio“), and that lovely stack in the northeast: GODSEND, TROUNCE, and ISHMAEL.To give things a tech-y vibe, there’s DEL ([Ctrl+Alt+___ (PC key combo)]), SMS ([Texting (abbr.)]), and GIGO (garbage in, garbage out), clued as ["Computers can't generate good results from bad data," briefly]. But my favorite part is how Tyler managed to get SAM right next to UMA Thurman in the far west. Sure, it may be Sam Malone that’s all SNUGGLY with Uma and not yours truly, but any grid that acts out one of my fantasies is just ducky with me.

Finally, I like that’s there’s both USA, the [Chant at Lake Placid in 1980], and OLE, the [Approval from a fútbol fan] in the grid. Good cheer for everyone!

Byron Walden’s Onion A.V. Club crossword

Onion AV Club crossword solution, 4 25 12 Byron Walden

This puzzle pushes the bounds of propriety more than the usual Onion puzzle, but without using curse words. The puzzle could be called “WTF?” as the theme answers all replace the final letter with an F, dramatically changing the meaning:

  • 18a. DAIRY QUEEF, [Coital outburst caused by lactose intolerance?]. Is that second word new to you? ‘Tis nothing more than trapped air being released by the lady parts. (Original phrase, Dairy Queen.) And so Byron has won the cruciverbal arms race and was the first to launch QUEEF in a widely distributed crossword.
  • 20a. DRESS BARF, [Common prom night stain?]. You were as worried as I was about what would follow DRESS, weren’t you? (Dress Barn is a budget apparel store. Sadly, the stores’ esthetic is not “whoa, I’m shopping in a barn!” There are no hay bales to be found.)
  • 40a. LOW-INTEREST LOAF, [Bread few people care about?]. Hey, wait a minute. Neither bread nor low-interest loans are offensive. I wonder if Byron originally clued this LOAF as a toilet resident.
  • 61a. COKE SPOOF, [Parody used to sell Pepsi?]. (Coke spoon, for cocaine. We now return you to your edgily scheduled programming.)
  • 63a. 3-POINT TURF, [Part of a football field that is in field goal range?]. (Three-point turn in driving. Did this theme answer make you think there had to be a TURD involved?)

Unwelcome visitors in the grid include ATRA, OTARU, SERT, OSTE, and ABAA. The fill’s edginess quotient is provided by 42d: TATAS, [Bosom buddies?]. The abundance of cross-referenced two-part answers took extra time to work out—

  • 67a. [With 7-Down, some reds] clues PINOT and 7d is NOIRS. (This is really the best way to make an answer like NOIRS pass muster.)
  • 68a. [With 55-Down, drag and drop, say] clues USE A and 55d is MOUSE. (USE A is a lame partial but it loses its partial status when it goes with another answer to make a longer phrase. However! USE A MOUSE isn’t great fill because “use a __” is entirely arbitrary. There are thousands of NOUNS (52d. [All things, to an English teacher]) that could fill the blank.

Okay, so maybe four entries don’t constitute “an abundance,” but when you are solving the top of the puzzle and hit [See 67-Across] and you’re a long way away from tackling the bottom, it makes the top more difficult. But then, Byron’s not known for making puzzles easier.

Highlights in the fill: The sneering YOU PEOPLE, the fresh MIRANDIZE, and the creepy BEDBUG and LAD MAG. Plus C3-PO (C-3PO?) with a numeral, a big improvement on the ARTOO and DETOO answers we see more often.

Favorite clues: 1a ([Drag strips?], BOAS), 16a ([Once minus tres], OCHO), 22a ([Romney winning California in November would be one], UPSET), 19d ([One may be popped in class], QUIZ—I was afraid we needed a 4-letter word meaning “pimple”), the aforementioned 52d, and 64d ([Festooned with Northern, say], TP’D).

4.25 stars.

Adam Cohen’s Celebrity crossword, “Wayback Wednesday”

Celebrity crossword solution, 4 25 12

On the New York Times crossword page, David J. Kahn has long been the king of the tribute puzzle—if a famous person died and a puzzle devoted to him/her showed up in the next week or two, the likeliest byline would be Kahn. In Celebrity crossword land, Adam Cohen is the king of tribute puzzles. The khan of tribute puzzles?

  • 15a. DICK CLARK, ["New Year's Rockin' Eve" host and creator of the American Music Awards, who left us last Wednesday: 2 wds.]
  • 22a. SEACREST, [Ryan who co-hosted "New Year's Rockin' Eve" with 15-Across since 2006]
  • 36a. AMERICAN, [With 44-Across, longtime music and dance show hosted by 15-Across]
  • 44a. BANDSTAND, [See 36-Across]

Adam’s also been constructing some holiday-themed puzzles for Celebrity, so he tends to walk the general “commemoration” crossword beat, not just the obituary puzzles.

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13 Responses to Wednesday, 4/25/12

  1. John E says:

    I always thought Harry said “Holy Cow”. Or he used to tell Steve Stone, in a drunken fog, “You know, Steve, that Keith Moreland backwards is denal-e-rom-hit-e-yek”.

    And who can forget his wonderful songs – sung to the tune of “Davy Crockett”:

    “Jody, Jody Davis, catcher with a big bat
    Jody, Jody Davis, catcher with a Cubs hat”

    I digress – we miss Harry :)

  2. Or, Harry drunkenly pontificating on how beautiful that big Budweiser sign was on Waveland.

  3. Steve says:

    “Holy Cow” was Phil Rizzuto (the Scooter) of Yankees fame.

  4. joon says:

    holy mrs. o’leary’s cow! this puzzle was so full of goodness (including pete’s own school, NC STATE) that i didn’t mind ANENT or MFAS or ISYET. now looking at my grid and wondering who would win a match between AC MILAN and AC COUNT.

  5. KJGooster says:

    I don’t know how Steve Stone did it. I miss Harry too, but his son Skip even more. Of course now that the Braves aren’t on TBS regularly it’s harder to care.

    LAT’s 20A: [Nothing to suggest, as foul play] – NO SIGN OF has to be one of the worst clues/answers I’ve seen in a while.

  6. Gareth says:

    Funny, I loved the LAT today! Cute repurposing of those 3-letters bits we have had to endure so often… Plus GOODKARMA is pretty spiffy as entries go! Reminded me of the SIS-BOOM-PAH crossword that ran some time ago!

  7. Amy Reynaldo says:

    @Steve: Mr. Rizzuto did not trademark the phrase, so it was Harry’s catchphrase too. More so than CUBS WIN, which, let’s face it, he didn’t get to say at every game.

  8. ArtLvr says:

    I agree with Gareth — also seeing lots of clever side-links to like in the LAT, including the calming Valium-maker ROCHE on top of a PANIC ROOM, SKI MASK sliding down next to the ALPE, TOP MASTS heeled over to GAIN SPEED, plus GOOD KARMA linked with underlying SANCTA.

  9. ArtLvr says:

    p.s. Glad Byron W’s F-words got explained, but… as was said, WTF?
    Tyler H’s math mixture was more my cup of tea!

  10. SusanB says:

    I did have HOLYCOW for 1A, as that was indeed Harry Caray’s catchphrase. Sober or not (generally not), Caray bellowed that line when he announced the St. Louis Cardinals games and continued using it, after he was run out of that town, as the announcer for the Southside White Sox and then the Northside Cubs. Unfortunately, during his tenure on the Northside, CUBSWIN was heard less frequently. Although Caray made it into the Hall of Fame, today’s 1A answer is a big fail in my book.

  11. John E says:

    Harry even had a “holy cow” (a plastic cow with holes through it) on the ledge of the announcer booth. I bet Phil Rizzuto didn’t have that!

  12. Dan F says:

    Onion theme, more specifically, is changing an N to an F. So it could have been titled NTF. If that were a thing. I thought we’d seen that impolite Q-word in the Onion puzzle before – am I making that up? Was it Inkwell?

    For those who don’t follow Tyler’s blog or social networking outlets: he announced his retirement from CrosSynergy, and today is his last puzzle in that outlet. All together now: “Ah, me!”

  13. Jenni Levy says:

    I don’t know if the Scooter had a Holy Cow in the booth, but he has one in the Hall of Fame.

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-13772_3-20012159-52/picture-of-the-day-7-30-what-is-this/

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