Sunday, 7/22/12

NYT 16:01 (Gareth) 
Reagle 9:57 (Jeffrey) 
LAT 12:17 (Jeffrey-paper) 
Hex/Hook untimed (pannonica) 
WaPo 4:33 (joon—paper) 
CS 9:05 (Sam) <

Congratulations to Team Fiend's Sam, who got married to Shelly in Atlanta on Saturday! With Amy and Doug among the elite invited guests, the rest of the team is here to keep the blogging train on the tracks. Gareth and I will fill in for Amy, joon is in for Doug and Sam (?!) is here for Sam. - Jeffrey

Sam and Shelly



Peter A. Collins’ Los Angeles Times crossword, “Anemic Verité” – Jeffrey’s review

Los Angeles Times crossword solution Sun July 22 2012

Theme: Anemic is an anagram for cinema and each answer is the name of a film with the first word anagrammed for your amusement.
Theme answers:
  • 23A. [Film about the appliance supervisor at Sears?] – RANGE MANAGEMENT (Anger Management)
  • 31A. [Film about a small chicken that won't stay away?] – BANTAM RETURNS (Batman Returns)
  • 48A. [Film about a sculpture that defies description?] – THING AT THE MUSEUM (Night at the Museum)
  • 63A. [Film about a smooth-legged fellow?] – NAIR MAN (Rain Man)
  • 65A. [Film about a deli specializing in heros?] – SUB STOP (Bus Stop)
  • 82A. [Film about following a pack up a mountain?] – ASCEND WITH WOLVES (Dances With Wolves)
  • 97A. [Film about fans of confessional rock music who enjoy spicy food?] – EMOS LIKE IT HOT (Some Like It Hot)
  • 110A. [Film about a prince's affair with actress Fletcher?] – HAMLET AND LOUISE (Thelma and Louise)
I was reasonably, but not overwhelmingly amused.
Other stuff:
  • 58A. ["Since __ Eyes on You": Faith Hill song] – I LAID. Can’t find a clip of this. That never happened before. So let’s listen to Linda Ronstadt singing Desperado.
  • 96A. [Richard who played the garage attendant in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"] – EDSON. Never heard of him but Wikipedia helpfully advises me that “[h]is mother Marian, a retired school teacher, resides with his father in New Rochelle.”
  • 109A. [Bill's "Groundhog Day" co-star] – ANDIE
  • 109A. [Bill's "Groundhog Day" co-star] – ANDIE
  • 109A. [Bill's "Groundhog Day" co-star] – ANDIE
  • 109A. [Bill's "Groundhog Day" co-star] – ANDIE
  • 5D. [Potential powerhouse not to be "awakened"] – SLEEPING GIANT. I guess that’s a better clue than [Mel Ott in bed.]
  • 50D. ["Les __"] – MIZ
  • 62D. [Ontario's second most populous city] – OTTAWA. First is, uh, let me think, oh, yeah, Cornwall.
I give this eno a “like”. Now I’m done. See you real soon!

Merl Reagle’s syndicated crossword, “Now What?” – Jeffrey’s Review

Merl Reagle crossword solution Sunday July 22 2012

Soon enough for you? Let’s recall what I wrote last week:
Last week’s puzzle was titled Got Milk? This week, Say What? I guess the secret of getting a puzzle published in the Sunday LA Times is a three-letter-four-letter-question-mark title… Who Knew?
Ok, it turns out that is actually the secret of getting me to blog a puzzle.
Theme: Phrases that begin with “Now” and end with various types of punctuation.
Theme answers:
  • 23A. ["Now ___"] – IT CAN BE TOLD
  • 25A. ["Now ___!"] – HE TELLS ME
  • 35A. ["Now ___"] – WE’RE EVEN
  • 38A. ["Now ___!"] – BE QUIET
  • 46A. ["Now, ___!"] – CUT THAT OUT
  • 62A. ["Now, ___"] – VOYAGER
  • 64A. /81A ["Now ___" ] – IS THE WINTER OF OUR DISCONTENT
  • 74A. ["Now, ___?"] – WHERE WAS I
  • 84A. ["Now ___"] – SHOWING
  • 97A. ["Now ___"] – AND FOREVER
  • 106A. ["Now ___"] – OR NEVER
  • 110A. ["Now ___"] – HEAR THIS
  • 120A. ["Now ___"] – IT’S MY TURN
  • 123A. ["Now ___!" (this puzzle, that is)] – YOU’VE DONE IT
14 theme answers. Now that’s impressive!
Other stuff:
  • 20A. [At that time] – THEN. Not now but…
  • 28A. [Britt, the Green Hornet] – REID. Wait I thought that was the Lone Ranger. [checking...] John Reid, the Lone Ranger was the uncle of Britt Reid, the Green Hornet. Cool! So was Kato’s uncle Tonto?
  • 32A. [Palindromic pop group] – ABBA
  • 88A. ["Love You" lead-in] – P.S. I
  • 91A. [Doting one, perhaps] – AUNT. A GREAT one, perhaps.
  • 8D. [He said, "Simplify, simplify"] – THOREAU. Isn’t it simpler to say it once?
  • 18D. [Like some apes or aunts] – GREAT. A doting one, perhaps.
  • 48D. ["___, With Love" (1967)] – TO SIR
Now I’m really done.

Frang Longo’s Washington Post crossword, “The Post Puzzler No. 120″ – joon’s review

Post Puzzler solution, 7 22 12

joon here to bring you this week’s post puzzler. frank longo has a really nice one for us today, highlighted by some awesome long answers with awesome clues:

  • off the bat, {Good place to open your piehole?} clues PIZZA JOINT. great answer with a great clue. i’ve known some people who are “1-across snobs”; this should satisfy them.
  • {It might be part of a league} is a SPORTS CLUB. i tried TEAM there before CLUB worked itself out. this answer contains some trickery, because a league is also a unit of distance (which you all knew, right?).
  • {Yul Brynner beat him out for Best Actor of 1956} clues JAMES DEAN. let’s see, brynner would have won for the king and i, but what was dean nominated for? i want to say both rebel without a cause and east of eden were 1955, which makes 1956 giant by process of elimination, since dean only made three movies.
  • {Black supporters among “Twilight” fans} are TEAM JACOB. now, i haven’t read these (no, seriously, why do people like twilight?), but it’s permeated pop culture to the extent that this answer didn’t take me long to fill in with just the CO in place near the end. anyway, fun answer.
  • {Request for prompt service?} is “LINE, PLEASE”. another awesome clue/answer combo.
  • {Certain off-road excursion} is a JEEP SAFARI. unexpected and delightful answer.
  • {Kind of virus that infects birds} is INFLUENZA A, which ends with the same unlikely tetragram as KWANZAA.
  • {Buchanan didn’t seek one} is a SECOND TERM. no real shocker, as he’s widely regarded as the worst president of all time; coincidentally, he’s also the only pennsylvanian and only lifelong bachelor to serve as president. no comment there.
some tough stuff:
  • {She played the title role in the 1982 TV movie “Mae West”} clues ANN JILLIAN, an actress i’ve never heard of from a TV movie i’ve never heard of. (i know who mae west the actress is, though.)
  • {Subsequent to the Babylonian captivity, in Jewish history} is POST-EXILIC. eep, that’s hard-core. of course, it’s much more in my wheelhouse than 1980s actresses; i actually dropped it into the grid off of just the X.
  • {Nose} is a trap clue—you want it to be SNOOT, but it’s SNOOP, as in SNOOP around/nose around. there’s another potential trap at {Saints’ gp.} cluing NFC, instead of NFL, but that’s just an ambiguity that’s tough to avoid even if you wanted to.
the grid had its fair share of awkward-feeling inflected forms (SAUNAED, FLORALS, JOWLED) but there wasn’t much to really scowl about. there was also a nice extended joke in the central section, with {Big name in fast tracks} used to clue both ACELA and NASCAR—the latter crossing AL UNSER, also playfully clued as {He and his son have a driving passion}. overall, a very fun challenge—i’ll give it 4.1 stars.


Brendan Emmett Quigley’s New York Times crossword, “A.A. Meetings” — Gareth’s review

NY Times crossword answers, 7 22 12 "A.A. Meetings"

Confession, I’ve been a bit irregular with solving Sunday puzzles of late. And yet, I volunteered to fill in for Amy today, strange but true. The author of today’s puzzle needs no introduction. This is his 28th Sunday and 137th NYT (see this list on Jim Horne’s website.)

Many of BEQ’s themes push the envelope. This one is more traditional, two a’s are added to familiar phrases creating wacky ones, you know the drill, but it’s one that, in my opinion, requires a high degree of skill and creativity to pull off. Because not one but two of the same letter are added (in different parts of one word) there are far less options, and to come up with sensical and, more importantly, fun answers is no mean feat. There is also an interesting segue between this puzzle and last Sunday’s “‘A’ Trip Around the World”.

Six out of the ten theme answers go down, an unusual arrangement. Lets have a look at those answers:

  • 23a [Like the winner of the Miss Influenza pageant?], SICKANDTI(A)R(A)ED. Wacky enough for you? I thought this one was great.
  • 36a ["I can see Mexico's southernmost state from this ship!"?], CHI(A)P(A)SAHOY. Some tough geography for a theme answer!
  • 105a [Funding for a Spanish seafood dish?], P(A)ELL(A)GRANT
  • 123a [Far Easterners signed to a St. Louis ball team?], CARDINAL(A)SI(A)NS. I think I’m supposed to point out that Middle easterners are also Asian…
  • 14d [Steam bath enjoyed just before bedtime?], MIDNIGHTS(A)UN(A)
  • 17d [Dos Equis-filled item at a birthday party?], PIN(A)T(A)OFBEER. Sounds like a good time!
  • 46d [Pork-on-a-stick?], PIGS(A)T(A)Y
  • 52d [Scent coming from a Netflix envelope?], DVD(A)ROM(A)
  • 56d [Answer to "Did you see which Greek goddess walked by?"?], THATWAS(A)THEN(A)
  • 63d [Filthy kid's laconic question?], BATHTUB(A)G(A)IN

Elsewhere, well it’s a Sunday, there are around another 130 answers one could comment on, lessee…

  • 21a [Sexual drive], THEURGE is an edgy BEQ-type answer.
  • 26a [Tiki bar order], MAITAI and 41a [Tapas bar order] provide a fun, exotic drinks mini-theme
  • 58a [Fall guys], GOATS. I learned that meaning from a previous crossword. I think you guys said it had its origins in US sports
  • 76a [Entertainer with a Mandinka warrior haircut], MRT. Did you that was the origin of his haircut? I just thought it was a mohawk, finished and klaar, as we say. The Mandinka tribe are from West Africa, apparently.
  • 86a [Target of thieves who do card skimming], ATM. Here we just bomb them.
  • 101a [Old Polly Holliday sitcom], FLO. From the 80′s. A spin-off from “Alice”. I have watched neither.
  • 131a [Kids' summer activity center], DAYCAMP. A colourful, and, as far as I can see, new answer to crosswords.
  • 1d [Wee rooms, for short?], WCS. I don’t think I’ve seen “wee” in that sense in a NYT crossword before, clue or answer…
  • 2d [Onetime teen idol Corey], HAIM. Never heard of him. From the 80′s. Read all about it here. Apparently he was a “household name”.
  • 3d [Their empire was the Land of the Four Quarters], INCA. New Inca trivia! Here’s a map indicating those quarters courtesy of Wikipedia.
  • 15d [Nabokov novel], ADA. I am reading one currently. Not this one.
  • 31d [McDonald's offering since 1985], SALAD. Another interesting factoid. McDonalds has been in South Africa since ca. 2000, don’t care for anything except their desserts…
  • 35d ["___ where it hurts"], HITEM. In the fork, as they say.
  • 64d [Calvary initials], INRI. “Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum”, the “J” not having been invented yet.
  • 83d [Baby food preparation device], RICER. I feel like this clue could be written from experience.
  • 95d [Jamaican music], SKA and 96d [Jamaican fellow], MON. Nice “clecho” as they say on LACC.

Updated Sunday morning:

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

CS solution, July 22

Once again one of the reigning Queens of Mondays seeks to expand her empire into Sundays with this 70/29 freestyle crossword. Some of the entries are nice and juicy (SNEEZES AT, SPOILSPORT, SEE FIT, SLEEP ON IT, and QUERELOUS), but it’s the clues that really make this offering shine.  Here were some of the best:

  • Right off the bat at 1-Across there’s [Boost to your spirits?]. I thought maybe it had a ghostly connection, but the answer was LIQUOR TAX–as in the tax being a “boost” to the price you pay for “your spirits.” Great clue!
  • Likewise, the Downs get off to a nice start with the clue for 1-Down, [Bermuda exposes?]. If you know the clue’s about Bermuda shorts, then the answer, LEGS, will come to you rather quickly. If, like me, you don’t catch that right away, you can be in a fog for some time.
  • [Someone bound to do farmwork] was not an OX (um, we have this thing against two-letter answers in crosswords) but a SERF.
  • NEUTRAL is the [Gear for an idler?].
  • We see ANAT (short for “Anatomy”) all the time, and the clues often run along the lines of [Med. school subject]. So maybe that’s why I liked [Subj. that touches a nerve?] even though one could reasonably argue it’s trying too hard to be cute.
  • [There's this for that] is a clever clue for APP, a reference to the recent pitch “there’s an app for that.”

The dual reference to the recent documentary movie Chimpanzee (in the clues to GREAT APES and OSCAR) was, I suppose, a nice touch, but it was a little lost on me since I have not see the film.

For some reason I always seem to struggle with LAPLANDERS (or LAPLANDER or LAPLAND), the cold, cold, cold parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia (as in “north of the Arctic Circle”). It didn’t help that I kept wanting an animal’s name as the answer to [Some Arctic Circle residents].

Henry Hook’s Sunday crossword, “The Hunger Games” — pannonica’s review

Hex/Hook • 7/22/12 • "The Hunger Games" • Hook • solution

All of the theme answers have the same clue, [Hunger game?]. Fortunately it has nothing to do with the popular book and movie franchise. The title simply capitalizes on the phenomenon as an excuse to stuff food puns into the names of television game shows.

  • 17a. LOAF CONNECTION (Love…)
  • 21a. THE RICE IS RIGHT (…Price…)
  • 30a. COLLARD BOWL (College…)
  • 54a. VEAL OR NO VEAL (Deal … Deal). “Try the veal!”
  • 66a. WHEEL OF FORTUNE COOKIES (just “Fortune,” no “cookies”)
  • 75a. NAME THAT TUNA (…Tune). Tartare tantara?
  • 100a. WHAT’S MY LIME? (…Line?)
  • 115a. TIC-TAC-DOUGHNUT (just “Dough”)
  • 120a. HOLLYWOOD PEARS (…Squares)

Rather inconsistent punning, but it’s an inherently loose form of wordplay, so that’s acceptable. Nevertheless, my least favorite were the two which simply add on letters without changing the meaning or pronunciation of the original word: the long centerpiece and the DOUGHNUT answer. They felt too different from the others, being less radical modifications.

The pair of stacked 14-letter themers are an impressive bit of construction, but I suppose the compromise is the nearby step-like blocks with two cheater squares each.

I wasn’t wowed by the ballast fill—it didn’t feel particularly Scrabbly, diverse, or enlightening—but there were some highlights, including:

  • The crossing of 49a [Clark's companion] LEWIS and 31d ["Planet" staffer] LOIS LANE. A knowing nod to the punny television series Lois & Clark? The lack of cross-reference and the use of “Planet” rather than “Daily Planet” threw me off from quickly seeing the answer to 31d.
  • 26a [Home of a tall, tan, young, lovely girl] IPANEMA. This year happens to be the 50th anniversary of the first commercial recording of the song. The most famous and probably best-loved version—featuring Stan Getz, João Gilberto, and Astrud Gilberto—was released in 1964.
  • 90d [Prehistoric stone chips] EOLITHS, literally “dawn rocks.”
  • In general a more playful tone to the cluing, perhaps sympathetic to the nature of the theme. This tone is set early on, with two of the first four clues (or three of the first five, including the inaugural themer) ending in question marks: [A couple of cups?] for BRA, and [A little lower?] for CALF. Incidentally, up in that area, 23a [Grainy pasta] for ORZO seems as if it should have had that bit of punctuation as well. Since it’s typically made from the same stuff as other pasta shapes—durum wheat (a grain)—I assume that the grain of the clue refers to its namesake shape: that of grains of rice. Such a clue would seem to call for a question mark in a puzzle that uses them liberally. “Rice” wasn’t used because it appears in the answer to 21-across.

Other notes:

  • Most unfamiliar fill: 103d [Twin crystal] MACLE. 110a [Spore cases] ASCI. Luckily, the crossings were fairly easy (even though I didn’t know that Jane Lynch’s role in Glee is SUE). Least appealing crosswordese in the grid: AIEA and OSIER. The seemingly associated AIOLI is common enough outside of the puzzly niche.
  • Odd fill: 119a [Conspicuously chic] DASHY. 36d INCODE is a much less common variation of encode, but wasn’t noted as such. was thrown off by 18d [Not quite nona-] cluing OCTO- because I thought it was signalling OCTA-.
  • 48d [Fairway ride] GOLF CAR, not golf cart. Frequency comparison.
  • 77d [Lobos's sch.] is UNM, so why, of all choices, is 74a clued with ["Nouveau-Mexique," e.g.]?

Okay puzzle.

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9 Responses to Sunday, 7/22/12

  1. Huda says:

    NYT: LOL re your HITEM comment. Never heard your expression, Gareth.

    The term ASIAN seems to have taken on a more specific meaning in English than “inhabitants of the continent of Asia”… Growing up in the Middle East, I leaned I was Asian in the same sense that a Greek person is European. And Turkey is mostly Asian and a tad European..the Turks may or may not agree. Why would Asia belong only to the Far East?

    As to the puzzle, yeah Sundays seem to be too much of a good thing, but this one went down easily enough after you tumble to the trick, though it took a lot longer than 16 minutes.. Still, I felt the title was almost too revealing. PIÑATA OF BEER was my first theme answer, but my favorite was SICK AND TIARAED, though PAELLA GRANT also drew a chuckle. Given the economy, writing grant proposals nowadays is like throwing PAELLA at the wall, hardly anything sticks… (we used to think of the excercise as throwing spaghetti at the wall, something invariably sticks). But I digress, probably because I’m delaying my proposal writing…

  2. loren smith says:

    Gareth – “There is also an interesting segue between this puzzle and last Sunday’s “‘A’ Trip Around the World”.”

    I was certain when I started that the themes would be two words: the first ending in “a” and the second beginning with “a” and they would share that one “a” like last week’s. I’m relieved I was wrong!

  3. Sparky says:

    Congratulations Shelly and Sam. All the best wishes. Thanks Gareth, nice write up.
    Always enjoy a BEQ.

  4. Erik says:

    next sunday’s NYT puzzle is going to be a 21×21 grid filled entirely with A’s

  5. ktd says:

    TEAM JACOB is the answer of the day. My response to filling that in was a mix of laughter and head-shaking.

  6. Jan says:

    Congratulations to Shelly and Sam!

  7. Michael says:

    Erik, at least say “spoiler alert” next time, ok?

  8. Bruce N. Morton says:

    I probably wouldn’t have bothered asking, but since ktd has explicitly pointed to “Team Jacob”, what the heck does it mean? I don’t get it at all. (Then again I don’t know a thing about “Twilight” other than that it’s something watched by 12 year olds.)

  9. joon says:

    bruce, my understanding of it, which should be taken with a grain of salt since i haven’t read or seen any of it first-hand, is that the protagonist bella is caught in a love triangle with vampire edward and werewolf jacob. many fans of the series are apparently rather invested in which one she should “choose”.

Comments are closed.