Monday, 9/10/12

NYT 3:13 (pannonica) 
LAT 3:14 (pannonica) 
CS 7:50 (Sam) 
BEQ untimed 

Andrea Carla Michaels’ New York Times crossword — pannonica’s review

NYT • 9/10/12 • Mon • Michaels • 9 10 12 • solution

What’s that? 36a [Start of a Ray Bradbury title … or a hint to the ends of 17-, 26-, 49- and 62-Across] SOMETHING WICKED. The rest of the title, which to this solver is sorely missed, is This Way Comes. Unfortunately, I don’t see how it could have been done: it doesn’t divide evenly, and it doesn’t have a central letter in common (namely an N) to cross this revealer vertically. Further, it’s twelve letters to the eleven of the author’s full name. The phrase is of course originally a line from Shakespeare’s Macbeth; “Shakespeare” is eleven letters—the same as “Ray Bradbury”—but that gets us nowhere, and is farther afield…

So what do we have?

  • 17a. [Leona Helmsley epithet] QUEEN OF MEAN.
  • 26a. [Words under a monkey with his hands over his ears] HEAR NO EVIL. Those “monkeys” are typically chimpanzees (4a APES), but I’m sure you knew that.
  • 49a. [One of the Sex Pistols] SID VICIOUS.
  • 62a. [1956 #1 Elvis hit] DON’T BE CRUEL.

This is what happens when you get carried away with internet image searches, kids. Watch out!

The end of each is a synonym for WICKED. Fair enough.

It’s a teensy bit distracting that there are two nonthematic across answers—ALTERNATIVE and IN DISREPAIR—that are longer than two of the themers, and of equal length to the others (excepting the spanning revealer), not to mention that they have a certain preëminence, appearing before the first and after the last theme answer. On the other hand, good long answers in a puzzle are always welcome. So, I reiterate, a teensy bit distracting.

Factette: Something Wicked This Way Comes is also the name of a series of anthology volumes of EROTIC (47d) stories. You can look it up at Amazon or somesuch.

I refuse to say anything unequivocally bad about this crossword.



Melanie Miller’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s review

LAT • 9/10/12 • Mon • Miller • 9 10 12 • solution

Quick write-up here, because I can aptly do so.

  • 18a. [Little vehicle] COMPACT CAR.
  • 23a. [Little time] SHORT TERM.
  • 40a. [Little role] CAMEO APPEARANCE.
  • 51a. [Little break] BRIEF STOP.
  • 60a. [Little type] SMALL PRINT.

Minor theme, done ok.

nb: Abbrevs.: 5a METH., 17a TRIG., 33a APA, , 11d ETC., 37d EPA, 47d TBSP; add’l short’nings: 5d MAC[Vie], 6d ECO-, 27d SHAN’T, 28d MEDCO.

WHISH! (3d)

Updated Monday morning:

Bob Klahn’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword – Sam Donaldson’s review

CS solution, September 10

The work week begins with a quip theme from Bob Klahn. Bob gives us a quotation from Max Lucado, a man Wikipedia describes as “a best-selling author and writer and preacher at Oak Hills Church (formerly the Oak Hills Church of Christ) in San Antonio, Texas.” The quotation is about leadership: A MAN WHO WANTS TO / LEAD THE / ORCHESTRA MUST / TURN HIS / BACK TO THE CROWD.

Quip themes make for a difficult round of Name That Puzzle, the game where I try to guess the puzzle’s title. Heck, it could be anything. Knowing Bob’s penchant for devious clues, though, I’m expecting something especially clever. So I think I need to come up with some twist on “leadership.” Leadership Style is as dull as dishwater. Leadership Vision isn’t much better, though it does refer to the conductor’s line of sight. Playing to the Masses is interesting on a few levels, but it assumes the solver knows Max Lucado’s occupation as a preacher. I better stop now before I spend hours on it only to be trumped by Bob’s better title.

Yep, he did it. “Heading Heading” is a much better title, and perfectly Klahn-ian to boot. We know to expect clever clues in Bob’s puzzles, and here are some of my favorites from this offering:

  • [How to mail a fish?] for COD, or C.O.D., or both.
  • [Post-mark tender] for the EURO, the currency that replaced the mark.
  • [Draft status?] is not ONE-A or FOUR-F but ON TAP, as in ale.
  • [Double negative?] for UH-UH.
  • [Bar room?] for CAGE. (A cage is a room composed of bars.)
  • [Group of toads] for KNOT. I like those “group of <animal>” clues, even though I rarely remember them.
  • [Those you duped, briefly] for CC’S, as in those to whom you sent duplicate messages.

I got a little flummoxed with MADAMA Butterfly, as I kept thinking it needed to be MADAME. I also struggled with ME-TOO-ERS, the ["Whatever you say" sayers]. This term is new to me. You too?

Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”

BEQ 9 10 12

Okay. I generally solve the puzzles under the “AV Club” umbrella at Crosswords by PuzzleSocial about a week in advance, which means I’m never blogging them fresh. I don’t suppose any of you BEQ fans are good writers with a broad knowledge of crosswords and free time to blog on Monday mornings? I feel the puzzle reviews are best when the puzzle is still fresh in the blogger’s mind. Shoot me an email (amy@crosswordfiend.com) if you’re interested.

Today’s freshest answer is DINESH D’SOUZA, who got his neocon start as a Dartmouth student and now has an anti-Obama documentary in theaters. Apparently he is fixated on “anti-colonialism,” so I imagine that we are mere weeks away from American Samoa, Guam, and Puerto Rico being set free as independent nations. Hawaii will probably also become autonomous. Luckily, Obama’s anti-colonial bent means that we probably won’t have to switch from “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” to “God Save the Queen.”

Today’s Retro Special is SIDE THREE, [It begins with "Birthday" on "The White Album"]. CDs and downloads lack sides.

You see the French newspaper LE MONDE, sitting there looking like LEMONADE? Or Greg LEMOND. Or LEMON, LEON, LEO, LO, O.

Favorite clues:

  • 43d. [6-inch wieners], HOT DOGS. Unless they’re bun length or foot-longs.
  • 65a. [Source for Crusoe?], ANAGRAM.
  • 47d. [Beachwear with a thong], THONG. I cannot abide having a thong wedged into my toe-crack.

Other COLORFUL answers: MEN ABOUT TOWN (hello, Doug Peterson), GO “PFFT,” FRITOS, and THE SMITHS (who, it bears noting, have sold a lot more records than the Joneses, who are not keeping up with The Smiths).

Underwhelmed by plural IODINES and UNES, RETASTE, and verbed GUILED.

3.5 stars for this 72-worder.

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16 Responses to Monday, 9/10/12

  1. Erik says:

    some very un-mondayish fill (see: entire northwest region) in today’s NYT distracts from a fantastic theme. not unsolvable by any means, but not the kind of stuff a beginner should have to put up with.

  2. Huda says:

    NYT: I love this puzzle! MEAN, VICIOUS, CRUEL, EVIL, WICKED! Wow! And adding to the ambience is a bunch of remarkable juxtapositions– a SAFARI with APES and other ANIMALS (including the monkey that’s ignoring the EVIL), LONELY and EROTIC, EDEN and CAIN (and the Evil that befell that little set up!).

    IN DISREPAIR echoes all the nasty stuff, and makes you wish for the ALTERNATIVE. And I actually liked that it was SOMETHING WICKED… with the rest left to the imagination.

    FARCical, Fun, and Fabulous!

  3. Z says:

    Ahem.

    Great observation, @Huda.- ALTERNATIVE and IN DISREPAIR or clearly commentary on the theme. Quite a feat of construction.

    Great Puzzle.

  4. andrea carla michaels says:

    Well, I could have had just the MEAN, EVIL, VICIOUS, CRUEL (11 10 10 11) 42 theme squares, but wanted to have SOMETHINGWICKED span the grid, even tho I knew it was sorta a partial, but the book is often referred to just by the first two words…
    ANYWAY, if you squint TRES QUAI CUM could be THIS WAY COMES.
    :)
    For the record, A LUI which is admittedly hard, was originally ALUM, but SMS wouldn’t fly. And I always think I’m making a Tuesday! I mean, five theme entries, etc.
    Plus, I wildly dislike non-theme entries same length as the theme answers and find it distracting too, but it’s just the way this (non-Oreo) cookie crumbled.
    And I swear I don’t remember having all those partials, but I had to rewrite this quite a few times to get in all the theme yet keep it Monday-easy, and deal with the Qs and Vs and such, so that’s that. I’m all about theme, baby. So, DON’T BE CRUEL.

    • Huda says:

      Andrea, always fun to hear from the constructor. I personally liked the incomplete SOMETHING WICKED… Because it sounds more ominous when you complete it in your head. More threatening. I wish there was a way to indicate DOT DOT DOT in the puzzle.

      This may have been my favorite Monday puzzle. Maybe it spoke to my wicked side. Or its the contrast to the usual Monday themes. I just wish they had published it during Halloween week.

    • Gareth says:

      Ya know SMS is used as a verb here. I think every single person over the age of 5 and under the age of 75 would know it as that, again here in South Africa. I think you guys, like the Brits, talk of “texting” rather than “SMSing”. Just FWIW

    • Papa John says:

      Thanks for a puzzle provocative enough to send pannonica down a path of debauchery and other interesting venues. I went there myself and, believe me, it’s pretty nasty. I don’t know if I found the book she recommended on Amazon, but the one I did find, with the same “Something Wicked” title, began the first few pages describing a rape of a woman by some alien creature. Hell of a way to start the week! (BTW, I’m retired. My week doesn’t really start on Mondays. If it weren’t for the crossword puzzles, I wouldn’t know which day of the week it is.)

      Good Monday puzzle. I’m not a French speaker, but I shot right past ALUI without even noticing it, until I read about it here.

  5. Todd G says:

    My guess for Name That Puzzle was “Face The Music”. I like it better than the actual title…but I’m sure I’m biased.

  6. M says:

    CS: The clue for ME-TOOERS seems very weak to me. Me-tooism is about doing something in a way similar to how someone first did it (e.g., one manufacturer creating an electronic device to ride on the coattails of another electronic device manufacturer’s pioneering success), not about agreeing with something previously said.

    Also, the “quote” gets the original quotation’s “turn one’s back ON” idiom wrong and so changes the intended meaning a bit. I’d prefer a correct quote with lower quality fill.

    The clues with typical Klahnian obliqueness were cool, though. I particularly liked the numismatic [Post-mark tender] one (after I finally figured it out).

  7. Daniel Myers says:

    Did the NYT prick anyone else’s thumbs? Egad, Shakespeare’s EROTIC enough pour moi.;-)

  8. ArtLvr says:

    Congrats, Acme — I enjoyed your puzzle too!

  9. Gareth says:

    I was just this morning thinking DONTBECRUEL would make a good crossword entry… Now there we go. A simple theme used to amass an interesting collection of entries makes for a top-notch monday. The LAT on the other hand felt a bit on the flat side…

  10. Papa John says:

    A shout out to pannonica for usually providing some visual context with her reviews – brava!

    Today’s image of the shamanic drum major led to a rather interesting Web page. The headline reads, “Something wicked this way comes…” Black Sun Drum Korps bring industrial doom to Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” . Can you believe it? This guy is going to be in Shakespeare production?!?! The Web site is full of nasty stuff, so beware if you’re easily offended.

  11. loren smith says:

    Amy – just finished BEQ’s and LE MONDE kept staring back at me, looking like LEMONADE and making me think, hmm. . . A VANISHING ACT puzzle? LE MONDE STAND? CHIN STORES?

  12. Joan macon says:

    Pannonica! Your review of the LAT puzzle is the shortest piece of your work I have ever seen; not even one reference to something else! Are you feeling well? I miss your extensions!

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