Monday, May 13, 2013

NYT 2:56 
LAT 3:20 (pannonica) 
BEQ 6:49 
CS 5:01 (Evad) 

Allan Parrish’s New York Times crossword

NYT crossword solution, 5 13 13, no. 0513

Don’t waste your time trying to figure out how ROTTEN EGGS and BEAUTY SHOP (both terrific entries) figure into the theme, because I don’t think they do. The four even longer answers all begin with anagrams of the same four letters:

  • 20a. [Chicago Cubs spring training site], MESA, ARIZONA. Over 400,000 people there, in part of the Phoenix megalopolis (almost 5 million people in the metro area). Also, go Cubs! Maybe even knock yourselves out and go to the playoffs for a change. Would that be so hard?
  • 26a. ["Rag Mop" hitmakers, 1950], AMES BROTHERS. I believe the song’s lyrics spell out “R-A-G-G-M-O-P-P.” And why nott? Also, anyone under the age of 70 can be excused for not knowing this one.
  • 48a. [You've heard it many times before], SAME OLD STORY. I really like this entry.
  • 56a. [Metal-joining technique], SEAM WELDING. Say what? This is a thing? Not a particularly zippy thing.

The theme is half great and half … o-o-o-kay then. If you are a senior citizen who loves welding, this theme probably gets 5 stars from you.

Tough-for-newbies material includes: 15a. [Et ___ (and others)], ALIA; 45a. [Bone: Prefix], OSTE; 68a. [Mrs. Charlie Chaplin], OONA (nota bene: Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Chaplin’s granddaughter, also named Oona Chaplin, appears in Game of Thrones now); 6d. ["The Time Machine" people], ELOI; 13d. [Hermann who wrote "Steppenwolf"], HESSE; 21d. [Circumference], AMBIT (ah, the ol’ AMBIT gambit…); 28d. [Exile isle for Napoleon], ELBA; 35d. [Basso Pinza], EZIO; 51d. [Small Indian drum], TABLA; 57d. [Italian wine area], ASTI; 58d. [Conductance units], MHOS; and 60d. [Camaro ___-Z], I-ROC. Twelve answers in this category? These aren’t Monday words. They just aren’t. If you don’t do crosswords a lot, you probably do not know that OSTE flies as a prefix, or about OONA, ELOI, ELBA, EZIO, and the rest. I’m not nuts, right? This is a ton of non-Monday stuff, isn’t it?

Three stars.

Updated Monday morning:

Randall J. Hartman’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Amigos” – Dave Sullivan’s review

I got to the “revealer” entry on this one before I completed any of the theme entries, and I thought to myself, what phrases do I know that begin with the word BUDDY? I couldn’t come up with anything other than the actor from the Beverly Hillbillies, Buddy Ebsen, so I was curious to see what the puzzle had in store for me.

CS solution – 05/13/13

    • NO MORE MR. NICE GUY – is Buddy Guy a person’s name? If so, not one I’m familiar with.
    • RICHIE RICH – ah yes, Buddy Rich is a person’s name; I’m thinking some jazz drummer, but not sure.
    • CRAIG’S LIST – “buddy list”? Is this an instant messaging feature? 1/3 so far is only a good MLB batting average, not for Monday theme entries.
  • OPERATING SYSTEM – ok, I think I’m back on track, a “buddy system” is kind of like having a designated driver or “wingman” when you go out drinking I think.

Wow, pretty out to sea on this one. Maybe I’m still recovering from the driving I did to Mom’s yesterday. My FAVE entry was the clue [Queen, in chess] for MAN. Cute. I also enjoyed learning the new-to-me word Genophone, which I first thought was a fear of double helices, but instead is a fear of SEX. Egads! My UNFAVE was the entry ENDS for the clue [Colin Kaepernick targets]. Though I follow some professional football, this SF 49er QB’s name wasn’t familiar to me, so I wasn’t thinking ENDS of the “tight” variety. (I briefly considered he had a hair salon conditioner line named after him, that’s how far off I was from the right answer.)

Jerome Gunderson’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 5/13/13 • Mon • Gunderson • solution

Top-to-bottom, I wouldn’t say this was a MAJOR SOLVE, but it delivered pretty much the way a Monday crossword should.

42-down explains that a [Bible book where you can find the ends of the answers to the starred clues] is GENESIS.

  • 21a. [*1950 Irving Berlin musical] CALL ME MADAM.
  • 48a. [*Pretend] MAKE-BELIEVE.
  • 3d. [*Barack Obama's 2008 opponent] JOHN MCCAIN.
  • 31d. [*Tag promoting organized labor] UNION LABEL.

As you can see, ADAM and EVE appear in the acrosses, while their offspring CAIN and ABEL are in the downs. Each pair appears in order as they are commonly phrased. Each name is the last part of a longer word. These are all solid bits of construction.

Even though it doesn’t demonstrate the mechanics of the theme answers, I was mightily distracted by the eight-letter BABY RUTH at 29-across; it’s nearly long enough to be a theme answer, it ends with a name strongly associated with the Old Testament. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure there aren’t any ENTS in the Bibble.

Also, it would have been tidier for the symmetrical partner of GENESIS to tie in with the theme, but I can’t think of something appropriate. FAMILY and BOOK OF are both one letter too short.

  • There is a nice symmetry in that the longest non-theme answers, both laterally and vertically, are eight letters long: BABY RUTH, TEN CENTS, REMEMBER, VONNEGUT.
  • Was entranced by the cascading As, Vs, and Is in the northeast corner.
  • Least favorite fill: VILER, REFIT.
  • 50d [Fort with bullion] KNOX. Try as I might, I can’t get smoothly from from Fort Knox to Knox®gelatine to Knorr® boullion. Also, if you combine the Book of Genesis and the Book of Kells, do you get Gene Siskel?

Good puzzle.

Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”

BEQ 5 13 13

Yes! I can blog this before it rolls over into Tuesday.

I typed that about a half hour ago. Focus!

Fave fill: DO ME A SOLID, I’M AFRAID SO (but not the crossing I SUSPECT SO), STEPS IN SHIT (my whole family is so careful about avoiding this, literally; what is wrong with people who own dogs in the city but can’t be bothered to pick up after them on the sidewalk, I ask you?). MUBARAK, MIX AND MATCH, IKEA CATALOG (I have not had one for years and years, truly; I also do not have a bible in the house, so clearly I am a renegade), and WHACK-A-MOLE. The arcade game misspells it as Whac-a-mole, which shares a string of 7 letters with guacamole and that’s just wrong. I fully approve of the metaphorical usage being associated with a WHACK spelling. Because oddball spelling is wack.

Fave clues:

  • 24a. [Problem treated with adaptive servo-ventilation], APNEA. Nailed it in one try. #sleepmedicineeditor
  • 45a. [Eagle's protection], PADS. Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL, I presume?
  • 61a. [What the ___ (Vietnamese restaurant in Washington)], PHO. A Gaffneyesque clue with a punny restaurant name in it.
  • 10d. [It leads to a serious race problem], DOPING. Hey, Lance Armstrong!
  • 49d. [Thing in a jailbreak], IPHONE. I had the I and filled in INMATE first, wondering why Brendan would use the depersonalizing “thing.” D’oh!
  • 55d. [Orb, for one], HORSE. The one that won the Kentucky Derby.
  • 58d. [TV character whose outfit is in the Museum of American History], XENA. Warrior Princess! I did not know this factoid.

Worst stuff: OPAH, OISE.

Four stars.

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15 Responses to Monday, May 13, 2013

  1. huda says:

    NYT: well, I wasted my time (about 30 sec) trying to come up with a theme that included ROTTEN EGGS and BEAUTY SHOP and then decided it really did not matter, because I hardly knew the other theme entries. Well, I know the SAME OLD STORY, and have to told it repeatedly. But I have no clue where the Cubs do their spring training– is this supposed to be common knowledge? I’ve heard of the AMES BROTHERS but only to recognize, not to generate de novo. And I’m not up on WELDING techniques. So, the premise of scrambling 4 letters might be a Monday theme, but the theme entries themselves… not so much.

  2. Bencoe says:

    No, Amy, you are not crazy. There was a ton of non-Monday fill in today’s NYT. I was thinking about that while I solving–too many entries I had to piece together (AMESBROTHERS, SEAMWELDING) and too much Crosswordese. I got bogged down once or twice and finished in over 3 minutes, which hardly ever happens to me on Monday.

  3. Katie says:

    RE: CS
    Would appreciate someone spelling out this out for me:
    clue: Queen, in chess
    answer: MAN
    Thanks for your help!

    • John from Chicago says:

      Katie, as my earlier reply suggested, I do not entirely agree with Martin. I did not do CS so I will assume your descriptionis accurate. The reference to MEN is sloppy. They are called CHESSMEN, perhaps to distinguish the Queen, not to mention the Rook. So you have a valid point and the clue is sloppy. But it’s a clue that was obviously intended to misdirect and apparently succeeded.

      • Martin says:

        Hi John,

        Yes the term “man” here refers to any chess (or checkers) piece. According to Random House page 1166:

        MAN:
        Def .17: One of the pieces used in playing certain games, as chess or checkers.

        I agree, the clue is a little tricky… but it was intended to be one of the trickier clues in an otherwise easy-to-medium puzzle.

        (I am one of the co-editor/constructors with CS).

        Cheers,

        -Martin

  4. Martin says:

    Katie:

    All chess pieces are called “men” including the queen.

    Hope this helps.

    -MAS

    • Evad says:

      Thanks Martin–as I mentioned above, that clue was a highlight for me in today’s CS.

    • klew archer says:

      On a related note I think I may have heard recently that pawns are not officially deemed “pieces” in strict chess terminology.

    • pannonica says:

      Today on “Crossword Fiend Live!”: Scacchic sexual politics.

    • John from Chicago says:

      Martin, does that include the Queen?

  5. Bencoe says:

    Buddy Guy is, along with BB King, the greatest living bluesman. Saw him a year or two ago. Feisty and lascivious in his lyrics. Some wild guitar work, too.
    Buddy Rich was one of the greatest big band era drummers. He and Gene Krupa used to compete with drum solos. Neil Peart from Rush did a tribute album of his work.
    Both are highly respected musicians’ musicians.

  6. John from Chicago says:

    Amy is kinder than Rex and that’s not saying much. Thought this was fairly lame and tame for Monday. I am actually surprised this passed Will’s muster for printing. I think the last time I heard BEAUTY SHOP was in 1943. And it was only one time. I remember it well, just like yesterday. My mom told me she was having a perm at the BEAUTY SHOP over breakfast. I was eating scrambled eggs and fried Spam. It was May 12 and the Germans surrendered in North Africa. The prisoners were brought to a POW camp in Mesa, Arizona, where the Cubs now hold spring training.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Beauty Shop is also the title of a 2005 spin-off, starring Queen Latifah, of the Barbershop movies.

      • John from Chicago says:

        Amy, I’m just a senior citizen who enjoys welding. I don’t know Queen Latifah. But thanks for the info.

  7. Joe says:

    Buddy Guy = perhaps the best blues guitarist alive
    Kaepernick’s the QB who led the 49rs to the 2012 Superbowl champi0nship
    Buddy Rich indeed, is/was some (kind of) a jazz drummer!

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