Monday, 9/3/12

NYT 3:02 (pannonica) 
LAT 3:42 (pannonica) 
CS 8:04 (Sam) 
BEQ untimed 

C.W. Stewart’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s review

NYT • 9/3/12 • Mon • Stewart • 9 3 12 • solution

59-across plays revealer: [Many … or a hint to the ends of 17-, 23-, 34-, 40- and 46-Across] QUITE A FEW, which has a whiff of the oxymoronic about it.

  • 17a. [Printed results of baseball games] BOX SCORES.
  • 23a. [Tailgate party places] PARKING LOTS.
  • 34a. [Sets of tasks, as at an office] WORKLOADS.
  • 40a. [Old jalopies] JUNK HEAPS.
  • 46a. [Big containers in a tavern] BEER BARRELS.

It’s a rather liberal term:, so it isn’t much of a stretch to see fill such as BALE, BATCH, RAFT, and MILE as allied with the theme, if one were so inclined. My Roget’s lists some more at 247.3 and 4, among other places: oodles, gobs, slew, wads, bushels, tons, worlds, spate, oceans, seas, and my personal go-to, acres.

Else:

  • ELUL in a Monday crossword? In the top left? Wow. [Jewish month after Av].
  • 41d [Japanese grill] HIBACHI, 64a [Japanese restaurant staple] SUSHI. Bonus: 31d [Japan's tallest peak] FUJI.
  • 40a [Old jalopies] JUNK HEAPS, 45a [Sounding like a jalopy] RATTLY. Bonus: 8d [Snake sound] SSS. Bonus bonus: 34d [Snake (through)] WEAVE.
  • 36d [None of the above] OTHER, 62a [And others, briefly] ET AL.
  • 1d [Jazz genre] BEBOP, one of whose most famous practitioners was Charlie Parker, who often recorded 15a ["__ the time"] NOW’S.
  • 58a [Sci-fi's Asimov] ISAAC. Was probably too close to deadline to alter the clue for topicality, the recently ravaging hurricane/tropical depression of that name.

Decent Monday.

David W. Cromer’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s review

LAT • 9/3/12 • Mon • Cromer • 9 3 12 • solution

I’ve taken a some liberty and linguistic license by circling the letters ICI in the middle of ELICITS, in the middle of the puzzle. It means “here” in French and is pronounced with a soft affricate. However, if you articulate it with sibilance it could sound like “icy,” a synonym of which appears at the beginning of each of the three long themers (15/13/15).

  • 17a. [Accommodations in a balcony or box, say] RESERVED SEATING. I’m reminded of a cartoon (which I can’t locate on-line) depicting a meek couple in a restaurant looking at their table’s RESERVED sign and wondering about the raucous table nearby and what its sign might read.
  • 37a. [Gadget found in a sofa, all too often] REMOTE CONTROL. Factette: the first commercially available television remote control was offered by Zenith and was called “Lazy Bones.”
  • 57a. [Third cousin, say] DISTANT RELATIVE.

Bonus quasi-thematic content at 53a: the crosswordese ICER (stacked upon the equally crosswordese NENE). And continuing on the path of poetic stretches, 11d [Don, as something more comfortable] SLIP INTO evokes Mae West’s oft-repeated quip, “I need to get rid of these wet clothes and slip into a dry martini.” It should go without saying that said martini should be icy cold. Cold, colder, coldest.

The ballast fill displays quite a lot of interesting vocabulary, especially for an early-week offering: CRAVEN, CARTEL, AMPERE, RENEGE, DESIGN, ONE-PIECE, the aforementioned ELICITS.

Some other bits:

  • 31a [Lose its solidity] MELTS. Why is “its” in there?
  • (32d) MATS:YOGA::OKRA:GUMBO, in crosswordom.
  • 24d ["My Cup Runneth Over" singer] ED AMES, which in the puzzle makes me think of, alternately, edamame and mesdames.

Average Monday.

Updated Monday morning:

Lynn Lempel’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword – Sam Donaldson’s review

CS solution, September 3

Happy Labor Day, all six of you reading this post on a holiday! This month we’re playing Name That Puzzle, the game where I solve the puzzle without looking at the title, guess the theme based only on the theme answers, and then try to guess the puzzle’s title. Let’s start today by looking at what appear to be the theme entries:

  • 17-Across: [Bagels and Swiss cheese?] can be described as HOLE FOODS (hmm, we appear to be dropping the first letter from the “Whole Foods” grocery store, or, as we know it, “Whole Paycheck”).
  • 25-Across: The [Brits' search for a Revolutionary War spy in their midst?] is a Nathan HALE HUNT. That looks like an abridgment of “whale hunt,” so I’m thinking the theme is “drop a W from the start of common terms.”
  • 37-Across: The [Scoundrel who's made a killing?] is a HEEL OF FORTUNE. Yep, that’s our theme alright.
  • 50-Across: Wheat germ becomes HEAT GERM, the [Bacterium plaguing some Florida shooters?].
  • 61-Across: When in Rome, be sure to check out the HEN IN ROME, the [Egg supplier for the Pope?]. I’m not even yolking.

Okay, before I guess the puzzle’s title, let’s give a little love for the theme density here. Sure, they consume only 47 squares, and that’s about the equivalent of three grid-spanning entries. But 47 squares over five theme entries makes the theme seem like a larger part of the puzzle, and I like that. Only HEAT GERM strikes my ear as odd; the rest work very well indeed.

Of course, this being Lynn’s grid, the fill is smooth, and terrific entries are woven in effortlessly. I love COQ AU VIN, both in my crosswords and on my plate. And NO FAIR, AL HIRT, UNCOOL, and EXCAVATE are hard to IGNORE. Only RIYAL, the [Mecca money], stands out as harder fill. It’s not all peaches and cream, though. ROC, TPK, STS, and ALG aren’t pretty. But overall this one works well.

As for the title, I’ll go with Now! (as in “no W”). It’s short and sweet and a little devilish. Aha! The actual title is “NoW You Know!” I suppose the capitalized W in “NoW” is a helpful hint. My title might have been a little too obtuse. Alas, were that the only thing about me that was obtuse….

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”

BEQ 9/3/12 solution

The spot that gave me the most trouble was where 14a’s [Shrub of the barberry family] crossed 3d’s [Storm troopers?]. I’ve never heard of the MAHONIA, and I was parsing the incomplete 3d as the two-word T*EX MEN. “Trex men?” The X turns out to belong to the second word of THE X-MEN.

The supra-Scrabbly answer ZZZQUIL makes its crossword debut. QUICK BUCK, on the other hand, could be played in Scrabble if the second K is made from a blank tile (and if your opponent doesn’t challenge it as being two words, not one). CHEEZ-IT is my third favorite answer.

32a: CENTRIC is an odd word, isn’t it? Eccentric is common, and egocentric, but just plain CENTRIC is not. COURSER, clued as [Fast horse, in literature], is also not common. Which literature might this be?

You like the clue for TAT, [Knuckle writing, for short]? I don’t think I’ve ever noticed any intra-knuckle tattoos on ACPT attendees. Maybe I’ll be the first. OLEO on one hand, ASPS on the other. It would instill fear. I also like the clue for STD, [Love sickness?]. If you watch Louie on FX, you may have seen the recent episode where another comedian he’s slept with calls him to say that either he gave her crabs or she gave them to him. (He’d thought the itching was from his new laundry detergent, but it was actually pubic lice.) So the comedian ends her call to Louie with something like “So, &*%$ you, or I’m sorry.” It’s good to cover all the bases. The third clue I really liked is [Moss may be seen in one] for a model’s POSE.

3.25 stars.

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11 Responses to Monday, 9/3/12

  1. Jason F says:

    I had TODOLISTS instead of WORKLOADS for a while in the NYT. I think this is a better fit for the clue (but, sadly, not for the theme).

  2. Huda says:

    NYT: I liked it. I agree that the theme is forgiving, lots to choose from. But it was well executed, especially that all the relevant words in the theme answers were used for their other meanings.

    The NW was the exotic corner, with ALOHA, LUXOR and ELUL, and the SE was the weird critter corner–an ELFIN critter with LICE and LEECH. Liked seeing DO RAG, FUJI (Crossing F STOP), HIBACHI crossing SUSHI.

    I agree that the clue for WORK LOADS is not optimal. I had WORK ListS for a bit. A WORK LOAD is not just a set of tasks, it’s about domains of responsibility.

  3. Huda says:

    That’s weird. I thought there were more ratings for the NYT 3 hours ago. I recall it had 3 ratings and I gave it a 4th one. Just now, there was only 1 and the system allowed me to rate it again. It’s like it erased previous rating behavior. Or I’ve been hallucinating… hmmm

  4. ArtLvr says:

    Talk about REMOTE? In the LAT write-up, I chuckled at the “liberty” taken with ICI inside ELICITS, as the ICER in the SE corner could nail the deliberately aloof person much more exactly, to me… but others will probably say that goes too far too as it elicits more of a literal slayer in slang!

  5. Anoa Bob says:

    When I finish a CS puzzle, a window opens giving me a score. Today it was 1890. They are usually in the upper 1800′s-lower1900′s, but I’m not sure what the significance is. Anyone?

  6. HH says:

    “COURSER, clued as [Fast horse, in literature], is also not common. Which literature might this be?”

    Dunno about horses, but Santa’s reindeer were called coursers in “A Visit From St. Nicholas”.

  7. AV says:

    Sam: Not sure how you are scoring your title guesses this month, but I would definitely give you full credit for getting the key word! Great start. (Aside, I have been playing the “guess the title” for Sunday NYTs for years now, and without any statistics to back me up, I think I am about 60% on my guesses).

  8. backbiter says:

    Basically, what AV said. We are giving you that one because it’s so close. We are bending some of the rule for the difficulty.

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