Wednesday, 12/26/12

NYT 5:46 (Jeffrey – paper) 
LAT 3:25 (Gareth) 
Tausig to come 
CS 4:37 (Sam) 

It’s me again. Jeffrey.

Dan Schoenholz’s New York Times crossword – Jeffrey’s review

The(me) – It’s All About ME

Theme answers:

  • 1A. [Some cartoons] – ANI(ME)
  • 18A. [Best Director of 1997] – JA(ME)S CA(ME)RON
  • 31A. [Ecological communities] – BIO(ME)S
  • 35A. [Egocentric person's mantra] – (ME)(ME)(ME)(ME)(ME)
  • 47A. [Round-tripper] – HO(ME)RUN
  • 56A. [Statistic from the Bureau of Labor Statistics] – (ME)DIAN INCO(ME). MEaningless from a tax standpoint.
  • 65A. [Choosing-up-sides word] – (ME)ENY
  • 4D. [Chile relleno, e.g.] – (ME)XICAN (ME)AL. Not an expression I would use.
  • 7D. [Actress Anouk] – AI(ME)E
  • 10D. [Caravan transport] – CA(ME)L
  • 24D. [Bizet opera] – CAR(ME)N
  • 25D. [7 or 11, e.g.] – PRI(ME). 7/11 just about the only place open here on Christmas.
  • 29D. [Predecessors of photocopies] – MI(ME)OS
  • 32D. [Changes constitutionally] – A(ME)NDS
  • 33D. [ABAB, for one] – RHY(ME) SCHE(ME)
  • 35D. [Fort ___, Md.] – (ME)ADE
  • 43D. [Flu, e.g.] – AIL(ME)NT
  • 47D. [Batters' toppers] – HEL(ME)TS
I got suspicious when AIMEE wouldn’t fit and HOME RUN sealed the deal. But who made today Thursday? I blaME the Mayans.
Other stuff:
  •  16A. [Folkie who chronicled Alice] – ARLO
  • 22A. [Michael Jackson wore one] – GLOVE
  • 30A. [Windsor's prov.] – ONT. JAMES CAMERON was born in Kapuskasing, ONT, which is far away from Windsor. 

Neville Fogarty’s Los Angeles Times crossword – Gareth’s review

Creative, slightly offbeat theme… In the nursery rhyme BINGO (found at 71a), the name is spelled out. If you didn’t have a childhood, here is I presume a reasonable link. Youtube and my internet are not good friends. Mimicking the spelled-out lyric, each of the five long across answers begins with a word sounding like one of the five letters; I’ve always pronounced BEAARTHUR‘s first name as two syllables, I assume incorrectly… Anyway, here’s a list of the theme answers, I thought the last two were particular evocative, and as a whole they make for a well above average set:

  • 18a, [*"The Golden Girls" actress], BEA ARTHUR
  • 23a, [*Interior designer's forte], EYE FOR DETAIL
  • 39a, [*Traveling], EN ROUTE
  • 52a, [*"My goodness!"], GEE WILLIKERS
  • 62a, [*Head-slapper's cry], OH BROTHER

It’s a polished grid too. Lots of longer downs of which DEFLEPPARD, INBADFORM, and BEGORRA are particularly good… Other splashes of colour include the two zeds, which allow TOPAZ and CHEZ. The clue of the former refers to a “Hitchcock film” I haven’t seen though I assume it’s based on the Uris novel (I’ve actually read that!) – yes. Mr. Fogarty also casually drops a couple of autobiographical nods in 27a, [Advanced math assignment], PROOF and 2d, [Matrix, e.g.], ARRAY.

I’d call that a pretty fun-packed 3 and a half minutes, how about you?

Updated Wednesday morning:

Lynn Lempel’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Christmas Clutter”- Sam Donaldson’s review

CS solution, December 26

After everyone’s done unwrapping gifts, look at what’s strewn all about–it’s the five things that appear at the ends of the today’s theme entries:

  • 17-Across: The [Major school assignment] is a TERM PAPER. The only thing worse than writing a term paper is grading one.
  • 21-Across: The [Organ involved in sound production] is the VOICE BOX. (Because, you know, you don’t see larynges strewn about after the unwrapping’s done. If you do, your holiday celebration is just plain weird.)
  • 37-Across: To be [Like regular team players] is to be FIRST-STRING. But if you played the instruments I did in music class, you preferred to be first-woodwind. 
  • 55-Across: An [Ongoing inability to connect, in a way] refers to PHONE TAG. With texting so prevalent nowadays, it gets harder and harder to ignore some telecommunications, doesn’t it?
  • 61-Across: CUPID’S BOW is the [Weapon often seen on Valentine's Day].

I liked the parallel clues for BATMAN and Clark KENT. The clue for the former was [Comics crime-fighter in his action mode], and the clue for the latter was [Comics crime fighter in his disguised mode]. It’s too much to ask, I suppose, that the crime-fighter and the alias match perfectly.

Look at the open corners with the stacked 6s and 7s! They offer treats like ASEXUAL, WAR HERO, SNAPS AT, SKEWED, AIR BAG and RICOTTA. That war hero needs some help! What did the ricotta do to him or her?

Favorite entry = FORK OVER, a term meaning [Pay]. Favorite clue = [Place to have a cow] for DAIRY.

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10 Responses to Wednesday, 12/26/12

  1. Gareth says:

    You didn’t give in to temptation and festoon your blogpost with links to various internet MEMEs, Jeffrey? I’m surprised! Solid construction and the almost symmetrical pinwheel was aesthetically pleasing too!

  2. tom says:

    I wonder if the NYT puzzle’s theME is a not-so-subtle dig at JaMEs CaMEron.

  3. Huda says:

    NYT: I loved the the(me), especially the MMMMM part. And as Gareth noted, the placement is excellent and especially the symmetry of the words with a double dose of narcissism. I wish they told a self referential story…

    My only nit is seeing the ME in MeENY. I understand that it’s not breaking the rule, strictly speaking, but it’s a little jarring. Maybe IRRITATE could have been changed to IRRITAnt and that southeast corner reworked?

    I’m no constructor, but for example, it could go from:

    C T E D
    H A C K
    E T O N
    M E N Y

    to:
    C T E D
    H A L O
    E N D O
    M T E R

    • HH says:

      ELDE? A German river that hasn’t appeared in a NYT Xwd since 1992?

      • Huda says:

        Yeah, I know it’s not an optimal solution, but I was demonstrating that it’s a small area that would need to be reworked, and if I can think of something, the pros can easily do better.

  4. Daniel Myers says:

    Just a touch of random trivia: The first three letters of NYT 41D EOSIN are often clued as “Goddess of the dawn” or some such for good reason, both words are derived from the Greek ήώs or “morning red”.

  5. Daniel Myers says:

    Anyone interested in celebrating the centenary of the crossword – Yes. The first crossword was created by an Englishman and published in America in 1913. – might want to lend an ear to this programme broadcast on BBC4 today, though it has a distinctly Brit bent, mind you.

  6. Bruce N. Morton says:

    Best holiday wishes to all. I’m in VA visiting my brother, and the only puz. I can get is the CS in the Wash Post, so I’m feeling a bit crossword starved. The paper, box, bow puz. was cute, but is there really any way of rescuing the clue “George’s musical brother” for “Ira?”, or was the clue a lapse? (I don’t have the puz. or the exact reference in fron of me.) Is there some way of taking the clue I’m not thinking of? George was musical, and he had a brother, so that was a “musical brother”????? My understanding is that Ira was actually not particularly musical and their father even less so. Don’t know about their mother. George was one of those remarkable human miracles. Perhaps somone can enlighten me as to that entry.

    Heavy sleet and pellet snow today here in Ashburn, making for a White Boxing Day.

  7. Bruce Morton says:

    Or maybe the idea is that George and Ira collaborated in writing musicals so they are “musical” parterners and brothers.

  8. JohnV says:

    Gareth,

    Re: BEA, I worked with an opera director who is grew up in London. He pronounced BEA as BAY-uh. But we liked him well enough, anyhow :)

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