Monday, 12/17/12

NYT 3:21 (pannonica) 
LAT 3:20 (pannonica) 
CS 4:35 (Sam) 
BEQ untimed 

Elizabeth A. Long’s New York Times crossword puzzle — pannonica’s review

NYT • 12/17/12 • Mon • Long • 1217 • solution

Felines!

  • 17a. [Wright flight site] KITTY HAWK. Rhyme time!
  • 40a. [Hospital diagnostic] CAT SCAN. Computed axial tomography.
  • 64a. [James Bond film involving a Fabergé egg] OCTOPUSSY.
  • 11d. [Perennial whose flowers are typically orange with black dots] TIGER LILY.
  • 35d. [Source of some fluff] DANDELION. With the DAND– in place (and before the theme had revealed itself), I was wondering how a variant of DANDER/DANDRUFF could fit.

Bit of a strange, dichotomous theme. Two of the five are species of big cat, and the other three are more generic: CAT (which is probably intended to be synonymous with house cat) and nicknames thereof. What I suppose saves the theme—by emphasizing the disparate nature of the answers—is that the two groups are apportioned to the acrosses and downs.

Bits:

  • 22d [Green gems] EMERALDS, 33a [Green gem] JADE.
  • 4d, 46d: EXTRUDE | TEXTURE. Not to be confused with the George Harrison album.
  • 52d [Feed the same line] RECUE. Bleah. REDO (32d) and RELIVE (38a) are fine, but rescue me from RECUE.
  • Fun fill: MUKLUK, GRISTLE, TAGALONG, SIXTHS.

Decent, gentle Monday offering.

C.C. Burnikel’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s review

LAT • 12/17/12 • Mon • Burnikel • 1217 • solution

44-across, located under the left-leaning Utah, demonstrates the puzzle’s theme: [Law school grads, briefly, and an apt title for this puzzle] JDS. “JD” indicates someone who holds the title Doctor of Jurisprudence. The cue for the revealer has a strong dupe for 49d [Not suited] INAPT.

The theme answers are simply celebrities with the initials JD.

  • 16a. ["Shakespeare in Love" Oscar winner] JUDI DENCH.
  • 24a. ["Pirates of the Caribbean" series star] JOHNNY DEPP.
  • 34a. [The Yankee Clipper] JOE DIMAGGIO. If you count that nickname as a “title,” then all the clues have titles in them.
  • 47a. ["Slouching Toward Bethlehem" author] JOAN DIDION.
  • 56a. ["East of Eden" co-star] JAMES DEAN.

The corners are all strong, robust. Interesting six-stacks in the northwest and southeast, very juicy stuff in the opposite pair. I especially liked the symmetrically balanced TIJUANA and SERAPES. PROSPER, at 11-down, eluded me for some time because I was consistently interpreting [Flourish] as a noun.

Else:

  • Strong fill overall, relatively low CAP Quotient™ (but it could have been lower). The least favorite entries, to my mind, were the crossing partial A DIET and the [Stamp suffix] -EDE at 14a and 5d. [Hersey's bell town] ADANO is powerful crosswordese mojo, takes third place.
  • 53a ["It's Not About the Bike" author Armstrong] LANCE. Wink, wink.
  • 6d [Wine, on le menu] VIN. Don’t care for those cognate duplications that are so close.
  • 15d [Japanese electronics giant] SANYO. Had to check that it was still a giant. Even though it was bought not long ago by gianter giant Panasonic, it’s still  a major electronics company and member of the Fortune 500.
  • 29a TO A TEE, 37a T-TOP. Variety in spelling, and besides, “TOAT” makes me want to exclaim, “YECCH!” (7d)

Job done!

Updated Monday morning:

Patrick Jordan’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Metropolis Media Members”- Sam Donaldson’s review

CS solution, December 17

Quick: name a media outlet in the fictional Metropolis.

You probably said The Daily Planet.

Now name the only four workers there you know.

That’s easy too: Clark Kent (the one with the costume fetish), Lois Lane (the one who loves the one with the costume fetish but not when he’s just Clark), Jimmy Olsen (the photographer), and Perry White (the paper’s editor).

Now find four other famous people with those same first names, et voila–you have yourself a crossword theme. Here are the “new and improved” Clark, Lois, Jimmy, and Perry:

  • 17-Across: I’ll tell you one thing about CLARK GABLE: [His final movie was 1961's "The Misfits"]. I just learned that little factoid very recently.
  • 25-Down: LOIS MAXWELL is the [Portrayer of Miss Moneypenny in 14 Bond films]. Somehow I knew the LOIS but needed three crossings before I could remember MAXWELL (luckily, the X was the third crossing to appear). Oh, and if you haven’t seen Skyfall yet, make sure you do. For my money, it rivals Goldfinger as the best Bond movie ever.
  • 10-Down: JIMMY FALLON is the [Late-night host who does a "Thank You Notes" bit]. I can’t stand comics who resort to the same formula over and over. On an unrelated note, can you guess my favorite entry and favorite clue in this puzzle?
  • 57-Across: PERRY ELLIS is a [Famed sportswear designer]. And that’s all I have to say about that.

As themes go, I have a hard time calling this one “super.” The fill is much more interesting, perhaps in part to its incorporation of every letter in the alphabet. Some of the highlights included PULPY, THEORIZE, PAIN-FREE, WIGWAM, INKPADS and SNEAKILY

I didn’t know OSMOSE was a word. Did anyone else have OSMO- in the grid and instantly think the answer had to be OSMOND? Not a very good answer to [Flow through a membrane].

Favorite entry = TRIUMPHS, or [Comes out on top]. Favorite clue = [Actress Kemper of "The Office"] for ELLIE. She’s just adorable.

Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”

BEQ 12/17/12

Whoops, it’s after 5 pm already. Quickly:

Brendan wanted to make a themeless tougher than recent ones and yeah, I think it did take me longer than usual. I had to back into the upper left corner by getting everything else first.

Favorite bits & pieces:

  • 1a. LET’S JUST SAY
  • 23a. ZACHARY Quinto. I liked him on Heroes, I liked him in the Star Trek remake, and I like that he’s out. He’s one of those actors who draws the eye. Haven’t been watching American Horror Story, though.
  • 33a. [Revolutionary figure?], the iconic FIST.
  • 14d. ROWDY YATES. I had RUSTY YATES at first, but Story OF U was patently incorrect. (That would be an epistolary-via-text-messages erotic novel.)
  • 24d. [Perennial with a large mouth], SNAPDRAGON. Flower blossom looks like it has a mouth, but you put “large mouth” in a clue and I think bass. My dad was a smallmouth catch-and-release fan.
  • 26d. EMMA WATSON, full name, real person.
  • 32d. [Luxury for single parents], FREE TIME. Also a luxury for stay-at-home parents of kids under 5.
  • 33d. [Losing trends?], FAD DIETS.

FPC, [Onetime gas and elec. regulator]?? No idea what that is. It’s in my non-favorites category, together with ULTIMA, ENISLED, and FORCER.

3.4 stars. Short on the usual BEQ “oh, no, he di’n't” zing.

 

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16 Responses to Monday, 12/17/12

  1. Andy says:

    Agree w/r/t RECUE. A quick fix might have been replacing MELODY with MEL OTT, RECUE with RECUR, and ETNA with ETRE (not my favorite but better than RECUE).

  2. Jenni says:

    Loved MUKLUK. Made me grin.

    I didn’t see TIGER LILY and DANDELION as part of the theme. Now that you’ve pointed them out, I think it makes it richer. – CATS across, types of cats down. Nifty, especially for a Monday.

  3. HH says:

    Wouldn’t the LAT puzzle have survived without the revealer? I HATE revealers!

  4. Bruce N. Morton says:

    Re yesterday’s Post Puzzler by Trip what in the world does {Personal Wants} for ISO mean? Only thing I can think of is “is seeking” in a ad for the lovelorn, as in ISSWF, but in that case I don’t even want to think about what the ‘O’ could mean. “Iso” as a prefix means “same” but I don’t see any connection there. I guess WIIMOTE is some sort of computer game, but I never would have gotten there on my own.

  5. Bruce N. Morton says:

    OH!!!

    Cancel the above. I see now that it *is* explained in the commentary. Thanks. I had missed it the first time through. As You Were.

    • pannonica says:

      Oops. I can remove all of these if you give the SAY-SO.

    • Doug P says:

      Yeah, that was exceptionally tricky. I’m glad you found something useful in my write-up, Bruce. I’ll be the first to admit that there’s very little actual information in my posts.

  6. sbmanion says:

    I thought this was an excellent Monday probably because of TIGER LILY.

    The early Woody Allen movies were hysterical and I still count Bananas and What’s Up, Tiger Lily as two of the funniest movies ever.

    Steve

    • Bruce N. Morton says:

      Here’s a factoid, which I can’t personally vouch for, but have read several times: The original title of the Woody Allen movie you mention was “What’s up Tiger Lily.” What’s the difference, you ask. Well, the censors insisted on changing the title to “What’s up, Tiger Lily” on the theory that the unpunctuated version was suggestive in unacceptable ways. And we pay those censors lots of money to keep us safe with regard to prurient punctuation.

      I also love the movies you mention, but beyond doubt, the funniest Woody Allen movie was *Love and Death*, rivaled only by Airplane, The Life of Brian and the original Bedazzled (Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Raquel Welsh) as the funniest movies ever made. I would also put “Sleeper” slightly ahead of the two you mention. Which movie was it that had Howard Cosell interviewing some satrap Prince who had “just been shot?” Was that ‘Tiger Lily’? Hilarious scene.

      • sbmanion says:

        I am pretty sure it was from Bananas. I vaguely remember it. The one I do remember is Howard’s wedding night interview with Fielding Mellish from the same movie:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK9y_sY4dKg

        Back to the puzzle. RECUE for me was the only weak entry in a superb puzzle. I can’t think of any clue related to billiards that would plausibly result in an answer of RECUE.

        There apparently is an expression called IDEE RECUE, although I had never heard of it before just now googling RECUE.

        Life of Brian is my all-time favorite.

        Steve

  7. Jeffrey says:

    Sam, here’s another factoid for you. Jerry Siegel got the “Clark” for Mr. Kent from Mr. Gable.

  8. ArtLvr says:

    Thanks, Gareth — I was pleased to see ARTLESS LOVER yesterday! I should explain that my son-in-law fixed me up with my user ID long before the Twin Towers fell, 9/11/01, and my 911 just means willing to “help”!
    Best of luck to ACME in her quest to land a Sunday NYT too…

  9. pannonica says:

    BEQ:

    “Story of U” … (That would be an epistolary-via-text-messages erotic novel.)

    Perhaps it’d be an omnibus edition Nicholson Baker’s U and I (1991) and Vox (1992)?

    EMMA WATSON, full name, real person.

    Yes for the former, but only maybe on the latter? I’ve seen photographic evidence of her “acting” running the gamut from A to A½.

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