Monday, February 11, 2013

NYT 3:32 (pannonica) 
LAT 3:23 (pannonica) 
BEQ 4:59 
CS 10:34 (Sam) 

Gary Cee’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s review

NYT • 2/11/13 • Mon • Cee • 2 11 • solution

The theme answers all literally SHARE A CAB, as per the clue for 62a [Split the taxi fare … and what the words do in 18-, 24-, 39- and 55-Across]. Hop in, let’s go!

  • 18a. [Personal enforcer in "The Godfather"] LUCA BRASI.
  • 24a. [Onetime name at New York's Rockefeller Center] RCA BUILDING. And yes, there is a historical connection between RCA and Radio City Music Hall (which is not the same place as the RCA Building).
  • 39a. [Skill with a paintbrush, say] ARTISTIC ABILITY. Or sometimes just media-savviness.
  • 55a. [Actress who married Justin Timberlake in 2012] JESSICA BIEL.

 What else have do we have?

  • Linked and related material: 45a [Country south of Ecuador] PERU, 27d [Ancient native of 45-Across] INCA. 42d [Colored eye part] IRIS, 22d [Open wider, as a pupil] DILATE. 48A [Archipelago part] ISLE, 25d [48-Across east of Java] BALI (bonus: 55d JOE). 56d [Make into law] ENACT, 3d [Nullify, as a law] REPEAL. 5d [Louisiana body of water] BAYOU, 30a [Home to the N.F.L.'s Saints, informally] NOLA. 70a [Adam and Eve's garden]  EDEN, 71a [ __ of Life (part of 70-Across] TREE.Bonus CAB material: CALL a cab, and a CAB car, both near the revealer at 62-across. (68a, 63d)
  • Uh-oh! The meter’s running, must press on.
  • Very nice eight-stack downs: GRAFFITI / HISSY FIT, which are more impressive than their symmetrical buddies in the southwest, RELISHED / TAKE CARE. Does RELISHED relate to 52d [Hot dog, informally] WEENIE?
  • The usual suspects, crossword-style: AGHA, ARENA, OBOE, BEA, ELK, ESP.

Smooth trip, we didn’t get lost once. Here we are at your destination.

Gail Grabowski and Bruce Venzke’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s review

LAT • 2/11/13 • Mon • Grabowski, Venzke • solution

Lest you have illusions, it’s the beginning of the workweek, and this puzzle has enough MEMOs in it to make your inbox sad. 56-across lays it bare: [Office communication, and what can literally be found in 20-, 35- and 42-Across] INTERNAL MEMO. That’s because that little word can be found in the centers of those three two-word phrases, providing a kind of interconnectivity.

  • 20a. [Residential loan] HOME MORTGAGE.
  • 35a. ["I'd like to hear the rest"] TELL ME MORE, often seen in crosswords as GO ON.
  • 42a. [1974 Jimmy Buffett song] COME MONDAY. Ooh, topical too. Possibly tropical as well, knowing Mr Buffett’s œuvre.

What, no IN RE, no AS TO, no ATTN among the ballast fill? Might have been cute to throw  two of the three in, at the first and last acrosses. Or perhaps it would have compromised the fill too much for this early week offering.

For longdowns we see a FORESTASTE [Hint of the future] and the somewhat retrogressive, or at least neoarchaic,  [Parking ticket issuer] METER MAID, as well as the spiffy WAR GAMES and IMMUNITY. Good stuff. I also appreciated the trio of verbs that are astutely clued with just the right object association to quickly usher the solver’s mind to the correct answer: 1a [Tip, as one's hat] DOFF, 7d [Attack, as with snowballs] PELT, 13d [Dip, as with bread] SOP. Notice how they all share the same construction?

From the “which vowel will it be?” department, there was 14a [Suffix with switch] -AROO/-EROO, and 22d ["Lemme __"] AT ‘EM/AT ‘IM. Last, there was the nice touch—welcome in the generally stale atmosphere of a Monday puzzle—of the double-duty clue: 51d & 69a [Proof of ownership] TITLE and DEED.

Very good puzzle.

Updated Monday morning:

Bob Klahn’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Band Leaders”- Sam Donaldson’s review

CS solution, February 11

Today’s puzzle features three entries, the first words from which can also precede “band:”

  • 17-Across: To [Cut and run] is to HEAD FOR THE HILLS. Wearing a headband while doing so is optional.
  • 37-Across: [Anything done in it is for all to see] refers to BROAD DAYLIGHT. And anything done in broad daylight has the chance of being captured on video and going viral via broadband.
  • 60-Across: WATCH WHAT YOU SAY about lip-readers. Because [Lipreaders do it] to you too, you know. I can’t think of a joke to connect this to “watchband,” so I’ll just make a note of it and move along, though I’ll add these few words just to avoid ending the sentence with a preposition.

We’ve seen more inventive themes, but we’re here primarily for the clues, right? Some of my favorites included [Sound we make when we explode] for ACHOO, [Pal of Pooh and Piglet] for OWL (I wasn’t the only one to plunk down ROO, right?), [In the Red or the Black] for ASEA, [Explore with feeling?] for GROPE, and [It's from the bottom of my hearth] for ASH.

The upper-right corner took me from a solving time of about eight minutes to the ten-plus minutes you see posted above. I kept wanting CHAP as the answer to [Surrey sort], in mostly because nothing else made sense with the ?HA? letter pattern that I had from the crossings. The answer is SHAY, though I don’t really know why. Equally befuddling was WALE as the answer to [Whip mark]. I guess I wanted something close to GASH or LASH or SCAR even though the crossings were having none of it. Also, the crossing of BEEB and BARRE was a lucky guess attributable to my hunch on the latter being a [Ballet beam]. The former being a nickname for the BBC (clued as [English channel, with "the"]) was new to me.

Favorite entry = HALF-PIPE, the snowboarding [Event for Shaun White]. Shaun White and the term “half-pipe” are pretty much everything I know about snowboarding, so I’m glad this one worked out. Favorite clue = [Biggest club in Las Vegas?] for the ACE of clubs. Given that yesterday’s favorite clue was [Big heart?] for the very same word (itself a repeat of a clue from Saturday’s puzzle), I felt constrained to go with this one. 

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

BEQ 2 11 13

Solid puzzle. Has a few “Huh?” spots and a number of “Niiice!” moments. “Niiice!” like these:

  • 1a. [Clarify in a condescending, possibly sexist fashion], MANSPLAIN. Portmanteau of man + explain. For a fuller understanding of the term, see the Academic Men Explain Things to Me Tumblr blog. Even nonacademic men will purport to explain things to the little lady, no matter how much of an expert she is in the topic at hand.
  • 21a. [Crate mover?], REPO MAN. Crate being slang for a beat-up car. Which … maybe isn’t going to be repoed since it’s unlikely to still have loan payments due.
  • 25a. [It's often pushed while in bed], SNOOZE button.
  • 65a. [Indulge in some terrible TV masochistically], HATE-WATCH. I seldom hate-watch. Isn’t life too short for that?
  • 7d. [Like a classless individual?], ABSENT. Truant.
  • 40d. [Agreement that includes backseat drivers?], CAR POOL. Nice clue.
  • 41d. [Person with trust issues?], TRAITOR. Ditto.

In my “Huh?” zone:

  • 13d. ["Squadoosh"], NOT A BIT. Clue word is new to me.
  • 14d. [Russian composer Anton], ARENSKY. Don’t know him.
  • 47a. [Todd who wrote the children's bestseller "The Thankful Book"], PARR.
  • 67a. [Transcription that includes the lyrics and melody], LEAD SHEET.

NED ROREM and MORT SAHL appear in plenty of crosswords, usually not with their full names. Their clues hit on things I didn’t know: 9d. [Composer of the one-act operas "Bertha" and "The Robbers"] and 37d. ["You haven't lived until you've died in California" speaker]. (Making a mental note of the Rorem titles.)

Hoariest crosswordese: 10d: ETAPE, [Military campsite].

Four stars.

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8 Responses to Monday, February 11, 2013

  1. Huda says:

    NYT: Liked the shared CAB concept. Did not love the theme entries. Don’t know LUCA BRASI. Didn’t know how to spell BIEL, and ARTISTIC ABILITY sticks out as the only theme entry that is a generic concept rather than a proper name.

    I enjoyed the GRAFFITI-HISSYFIT corner however. So, mixed feelings…

    • ArtLvr says:

      I sympathize with Huda’s wondering about BEIL, especially since I’d have preferred to see the crossing WEENER spelled Wiener as in Oscar Meyer products, Wienermobile, etc.

  2. Bruce N. Morton says:

    Just now came across the George Raft contretemps. He’s even before *my* time, but I think of him as very much on a par with those other little, tough talking guys one is familiar with, like Peter Lorre, Edward G. Robinson, James Cagney, et al. I guess George Raft had a more Romantic actor side to him. I don’t really know much about him.

    What really got my attention in the Reagle was the reference to H.P. Lovecraft, a truly fantastic writer in the most literal sense of the word. I’m surprised no one commented on his appearance. (Or maybe they did and I didn’t notice it.) He was also a deeply flawed, not very admirable human being — racist, sexist, repressed, intensely neurotic. Perhaps more extreme psychopathology as well. He had a dog named — well — I guess I shouldn’t mention the dog’s name, even as an illustration. He actually seemed to live in those weird, eerie dreamscapes he created. But he is an extraordinary writer, certainly influenced by Poe, and at his best rivals him, and I think even deserves to be considered a great writer. I won’t start multiplying illustrations . . .but. . .take a look at the first few pages of “The Strange Case of Charles Dexter Ward.” Even though I think the tale is too long, and not as well resolved as many of his shorter works, the way he enters into the story, and absorbs the reader into the fictional landscape is astonishing.

    • Gareth says:

      What’s an Edward G. Robinson?

      • Bruce N. Morton says:

        See, e.g. Key Largo, The Cincinnati Kid, Little Caesar, The Ten Commandments, etc. etc. He was also, as I seem to recall reading, sohpisticated, intellectual, generous, socially and politically involved in moderate – liberal causes, a collector of both painting, and great historical concert performances; an altogether interesting and apparently commendable fellow. Of course I can’t claim him as a close personal friend, so I’m going on impressions.

  3. Gareth says:

    The revealing entry in Gary Cee’s puzzle was just great! Also impressed by Grabenske/Venowski actually finding answers that hide MEMOs!

  4. pannonica says:

    Just noticed that I made a(n acceptable) typo in the introduction to the LAT; meant to say sag, not sad.

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