Tuesday, 10/9/12

NYT 3:26 
Jonesin' untimed 
LAT Jeffrey/paper (pretty quick but the clock didn’t start) 
CS 4:28 (Sam) 

Do you wish the New York magazine crossword by Cathy Allis were available in PDF via an online puzzle subscription? Jeff Lynch does, and if you agree with him, go click the “1+” on Jeff’s post at community.nymag.com.

John Guzzetta’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 10 9 12 1009

Am I the only one who’s never heard of 51a: DOUBLE SAWBUCK as slang for a $20 bill? In my book, a ten is a sawbuck and a twenty is a twenty. The DOUBLE SAWBUCK’s affiliated answers are ANDREW JACKSON on the front of the bill, THE WHITE HOUSE on the back, and the words TWENTY DOLLARS on both sides. Interestingly, the reason that Jackson appears on the $20 note is that he was known for saying “Twenty dolla make me holla.”

9-Down made me crave one of those SHAKES. Chocolate, please.

My guess for what’s the least common word in this puzzle: 5d: CADENT, or [Rhythmic]. Most old-school crosswordese: 4d: TARN, [Alpine lake]. Favorite answer: 38d: SNACK BAR. (44d: WOBBLY is also fun.) Most vulnerable to juvenile vulgarity: 3d: [People in 1-Acrosses, e.g.], 1a being a RAFT, FLOATERS. I hear FLOATERS more often used to refer to certain toilet bowl denizens rather than people. And now 42a: [Common blockage locale] is demanding to have an answer other than SINUS.

Did not know [Naughty Goose and Moose Drool] were ALES. These aren’t beers I know.

Three stars.

Neville Fogarty’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jeffrey’s review

Los Angeles Times crossword solution Oct 9 2012

Hi everyone. It’s Jeffrey, briefly out of retirement to prevent a Neville self-bloggification.

Theme: Breathe

Theme answers:

  •  18A. [*Ginger ale brand] – CANADA DRY. Air Canada is the best North American airline I have been on.
  • 20A. [*It gets you a ticket to ride] – BUS FARE. Air Canada has many AirBus planes in their fleet. Too bad that they have high air fare.
  • 34A. [*Hold that might precede a noogie] – HEAD LOCK
  • 41A. [*Umpire's call] – PLAY BALL
  • 55A. [*Sack with letters] – MAIL BAG
  • 60A. [*Neck-and-neck election campaign] – TIGHT RACE
  • 61D. [Word that can precede either part of each starred clue's answer] – AIR

Other stuff:

  • 64A. [Broadway auntie] – MAME. A musical.
  • 2D. [1966 N.L. batting champ Matty] – ALOU. All ALOU’s should have an Expo reference.
  • 30D. [Lascivious cloven-hoofed creature] – SATYR. SATYR’s are my favorite of all the lascivious cloven-hoofed creatures.
  • 45D. [Broadway fare] – MUSICAL. Like Mame.

And then there’s:

  • 68A. [Air France hub] – ORLY. Hello, Editor? If the theme is AIR, and the key reveal is AIR, I suggest checking that Air isn’t in a random clue. Okay?

A pleasant Tuesday. A breath of fresh air.

Updated Tuesday morning:

Doug Peterson’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Gotcha!” – Sam Donaldson’s review

CS solution, October 9

It took fellow Fiend correspondent Doug Peterson to break me of my solving slump, and I’m most grateful. For a while there, I couldn’t break the six-minute mark, but fortunately Doug’s puzzle today felt nice and comfortable for me. 

Each of the theme entries has “Got CHA,” so to speak. That’s because all four of them have CHA- inserted at the front of a common terms to make new, whimsical terms:

  • 17-Across: “Plain clothes” become CHAPLAIN CLOTHES, a [Padre's outfit]. Knowing Doug’s affection for baseball, my first thought was that this had something to do with a San Diego Padre.
  • 27-Across: The “riot police” become CHARIOT POLICE, the [Circus Maximus security force?]. Awesome clue.
  • 47-Across: “In additon” changes to CHAIN ADDITION, the [Burger King wing?]. CHAIN ADDITION by itself looks kinda hokey, but the clue here really makes it shine.
  • 62-Across: Perhaps it’s better to “sing the blues” than to be CHASING THE BLUES (i.e., to be [Behind St. Louis in the hockey standings?]).

This is the kind of theme that facilitates a quicker solve. Once you grasp the theme, you can fill in some squares automatically. By the time I got to the southern hemisphere, I knew the long entries started with CHA, so I just plunked those letters down right away. And according to Donaldson’s Law of Crossword Momentum, “more crossings yields faster solves.”

The northwest corner had me thinking for a while that I was in for another slog. I know my Greek letters, but I never learned the order of the Greek alphabet, so [Letter before kappa] needed some crossings before IOTA gave way. And since I don’t know a vicuna, [Vicuna's cousin] was little help in getting ALPACA. [Genteel gatherings] could have been most anything in my mind, so I needed help for TEAS. So that was a rough start. I should have figured out ["Rock of Ages" actress Julianne] HOUGH long before I did, especially since I liked her so much in the Footloose remake.

The only trap I sprung had me filling in OAT for the [Mare's mouthful] instead of HAY. Now that I think about it, though, that was a self-created trap. How is one oat a mouthful?

I already noted that Doug likes baseball, but if you solved this puzzle that comes as no surprise. There’s [Ex-Expo Rusty] STAUB there, plus a great clue for CALL, ["Safe!" or "Out!"]. He could have hit for the triple crown if ADAM had been clued as [Slugger Dunn] instead of [Cain's father].

Favorite entry = SMIDGENS, long-form for [Dabs]. Favorite clue = [Operatic Ethiopian] for AIDA. I think that’s the kind of clue most enjoyed by regular solvers.

Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ crossword, “Fore and Aff”

Jonesin’ crossword solution, 10 9 12 “Fore and Aff”

This theme has nothing to do with the musical score abbreviation FFF (short for the Italian for “loud, loud, loud,” basically), but each theme answer does start with one F and end with two more. A whole lotta F-words here:

  • 17a. [Fancy sleeve adornment], FRENCH CUFF.
  • 30a. [Financial coinage in 2012 headlines], FISCAL CLIFF. I learned this term not from the news media but from a Brendan Emmett Quigley crossword.
  • 39a. [Ate the rest of], FINISHED OFF.
  • 55a. ["And don't try any ___!"], FUNNY STUFF.

Ten other notes:

  • 6a. ["Hair" co-author James], RADO. Also a luxury watch brand. Neither RADO is a household name.
  • 43a. [What some rings read], MOOD. In the category of silly “science” without a shred of scientific validity, the mood ring is right up there with astrology. One of my favorite relics of the 1970s.
  • 6d. [Device used in speed tests], ROCKET SLED. I have no idea what that is.
  • 9d. [Annual Ashland event, for short], OSF. I surmised that this was Ashland, Ohio, and the Ohio State Fair. Now that I’ve Googled, I see that it’s Ashland, Oregon, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Matt’s from Oregon so I should’ve thought Oregon before Ohio. Both Ashlands have about 20,000 inhabitants. Meh.
  • 28d. [Minnesota medical group], MAYO CLINIC. Yep. Lots of white condiments in the hospital cafeteria.
  • 32d. [All dressed up, perhaps], IN COSTUME. Today, I learned of the existence of a “sexy corn” Halloween costume.
  • 36d. [Fearful], TIMOROUS. I love this word.
  • 41d. [How marathon runners walk around], FITLY. But right after the marathon? Not so much. I missed a train on Sunday because of the marathoners walking gingerly and slowly down the stairs to the subway.
  • 52d. [Monocular character on "Yo Gabba Gabba!"], MUNO. Yow. If you do not have a child under the age of five, you are excused from knowing this.
  • 57d. [Sprint calling card from the 1980s], FON. I hope people pronounced this “fahn card.”

3.5 stars.

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13 Responses to Tuesday, 10/9/12

  1. Huda says:

    This puzzle made me decide it was high time for me to figure out the origins of using sawbuck, or buck, to mean money. Urban dictionary, where else? I learned that the original association was because of the X (denoting the 10) reminded people of a sawbuck, another name for sawhorse, which is fashioned in the shape of an X. I had no idea. I also learned that for the last 100 years(!) the word has had an association with drugs, originally $10 worth of marijuana, and now any drug… cool.

    I also looked up DEWLAP which was vaguely familiar, and got immersed in reading about the evolutionary meaning of those flaps. I will spare you :)

    So, a very educational puzzle. But my favorite aspect of it are the non-theme little touches– the snackbar and its assortment of sippable goodies, the star and its aura, Miss Marple the Sleuth, and the Rose of Sharon– which I have growing right outside my door and was exuberant in its yield of purple flowers this whole summer. All this and a 20 dollar bill!

    • Gareth says:

      Funny coincidence(?) that our one rand, two rand and five rand coins have antelope depicted on them…

  2. Jenni says:

    Um. I am accustomed to hearing the word “floaters” used to refer to people, but not, well, living people. Then again, I spend more time reading mystery novels and talking to coroners than most people.

  3. Jeff says:

    So cool, thanks for posting the link!

  4. Gareth says:

    Clew and rase, British spellings I’ve never seen outside of American crosswords… Despite using “British” spelling every day. Pretty decent fill otherwise. That the grid is really two crosswords joined by EMPTY does bother me somewhat though!

    Kudos to Neville for a) the incredible theme density, and b) then naturalness of the answers. Having made a couple of that type of puzzle I can vouch that it’s a lot harder than it looks!

    • Martin says:

      “Clew” is not a British spelling as much as an older spelling. As late as the 1920s it was common in American English. It gets clued with Miss Marple because it is being supplanted a bit more slowly in the UK than the US.

      Interestingly, the original clew, a ball of thread, is never spelled (or spelt) “clue.” This was the clew that Ariadne gave Theseus to help in solve the Labyrinth.

    • Neville says:

      Glad you enjoyed it, Gareth! This was my first “precedes both parts” puzzle, and yikes was it hard to complete!

  5. ArtLvr says:

    Thanks, Huda, for the sawbuck/sawhorse connection! Will try the dewlap later. Also agreed with Jenni about the floater image in mysteries…
    I strained over the BEQ, especially in the SW corner, so there went the morning.

  6. Sparky says:

    I thought the CLEW referred to the fact that Miss Marple is always knitting and messing around with balls of yarn and knitting materials. Still straining over the BEQ but it’s getting there.

  7. Michael Hawkins says:

    LAT was fun, aside from the ugly inclusion of SDAK and COLO in the same puzzle.

    Liked NYT as well, but I’m a bit biased since I’ve known John for 20 years.

  8. joon says:

    i thought OSF was oklahoma state fair, but i guess i must have been thinking of the first two rodgers & hammerstein musicals.

  9. Chris says:

    I like the Jonesin’ crossword, the puns are usually fun and interesting. My problem with this puzzle was that “aff” isn’t a word. I figured out the theme early, but thought it would have been for fun if the words had started with /f/ and ended with /ft/, like “fast draft” or “flying craft” or “far adrift” or something. Also – Yo Gabba Gabba and Teletubbies in the same puzzle was a little much. Otherwise, it was good. I liked ENTO and ETTU stacked on top of each other, and the Star Trek clues were fun.

  10. Marc says:

    I just found an empty October 9 puzzle sitting in a pile, and solved it this morning; hence the late post. Anyhoo, I had a problem with the “doublesawbuck” clew.

    Its clue was “20- 27- and 43-Across **locale** in slang” (asterisks added for emphasis). Is there some meaning of “locale” of which I am unaware? To me a locale is an area. What in the world does a double sawbuck have to do with an area/locale? Shouldn’t the clue simply have read “20- 27- and 43-Across “in slang” rather than “locale in slang” ????

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