Wednesday, May 29, 2013

NYT 4:14 
LAT 3:58 (Gareth) 
BT untimed 
CS 5:46 (Dave) 

Gary Cee’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 5 29 13, no. 0529

“X in Y” is the theme here, rendered visually with the X word literally appearing “in” the Y word, by way of crossing it in the grid:

  • 14a, 2d. [With "in" and 2-Down, with respectful humility], HAT in HAND.
  • 19a, 12d. [With "in" and 12-Down, as a precaution], JUST in CASE.
  • 24a, 25d. [With "in" and 25-Down, blue ribbon earner], BEST in SHOW.
  • 53a, 41d. [With "in" and 41-Down, heir to the throne]. NEXT in LINE.
  • 62a, 55d. [With "in" and 55-Down, use without proper respect, as a name], TAKE in VAIN.
  • 68a, 60d. [With "in" and 60-Down, prepare for an ambush], LIE in WAIT.

Solid theme with ironclad symmetry. The theme necessitates a dozen cross-referenced clues, though, which tends to irk more solvers than it delights.

Just as in Dan Feyer’s Tuesday puzzle, this one’s got a lot of proper nouns—I counted 22. Plus there is some not-so-familiar vocabulary. To wit:

  • 45a. [South American monkey], TITI. Knowing of the famous Lake Titicaca in South America, I am wondering if the TITI throws caca. Maybe right into the lake?
  • 29d. [Lyric poem], EPODE. I know this from crosswords and not from studying English lit.
  • 54d. [Literary Hun king], ATLI. A romanticized version of Attila the Hun, as described in Icelandic sagas. I think Tyler Hinman and I once named our pub quiz team after Atli. I’m feeling inspired. I want to write about a kinder, gentler Atli. Atli the Clement.
  • 33d. [English architect Jones], INIGO. A name I have known for as long as the EPODE, and also through crosswords. Furthermore, I once worked with a woman who named her baby boy Inigo, and that kid is probably about 18 now. Maybe he’ll become famous and give us a fresher-than-The Princess Bride clue for INIGO.
  • 34d. [Tenor Ronan ___], TYNAN. Are you up on your Irish tenors?

The longer fill in this puzzle is pretty fancy, and more broadly familiar than much of the shorter stuff. We’ve got TRAIL BIKES, I SURRENDER, WENT TO POT, SATIN DOLL, FERVENT, and METAPHOR all lighting up. Alas, the Scowl-o-Meter was triggered a good bit more often than one hopes.

I don’t care for RUB IN (31d. [Apply, as lotion]) sitting in the middle of a puzzle that plays games with “X in Y” phrases. Is it supposed to be thematic?

Three stars.

Updated Wednesday morning:

Tony Orbach’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Plunging Necklines” – Dave Sullivan’s review

Constructor Tony Orbach continues the downward trend in recent CS puzzles (smiley emoticon here) by giving us 4 theme entries that “plunge” downward and begin with a type of “neckline”:

CrosSynergy / Washington Post crossword solution – 05/29/13

  • [Stew that might be made with a snapper] is TURTLE SOUP – I think “turtlenecks” went out in the 80′s, right? Maybe that means they’re due for a comeback.
  • [Navy yard activity] is BOATBUILDING – I had never heard of a “boat neck,” but see below for a picture of what seems familiar to me, I just never knew what it was called.
  • [2005 political thriller starring Natalie Portman] is V FOR VENDETTA – Didn’t this become a TV series, or am I thinking of something else? V-necks are another type of top.
  • Another nautical clue, [Shipmate] is CREW MEMBER – Are crewneck sweaters different from boat necks? I missed that episode of Project Runway.

“Ahoy.”

Interesting theme idea; just wish boat neck was more familiar to me. I’ve just started raising bees in my backyard, so the entry BROOD, clued here as [Flock], was my FAVE. In the bee world (and many other animals I think), “brood” are the young that are raised by the adults; it also means to “worry” or “be deep in thought,” I guess as a hen would be as she sits on a brood of eggs. [Edited to add: I wrote this before finding the same entry in today's NYT!] My UNFAVE entry was missing the opportunity to clue YELP as the online rating site ([Cry out] was used instead).

Jerome Gunderson and Marti DuGuay-Carpenter’s Los Angeles Times crossword

- Gareth’s Review

A hooker! I had to stare for a few seconds post-solve to get Ms. DuGuay-Carpenter and Mr. Gunderson’s theme… The four longest across answers’ first words are anagrams of each other. It feels a bit naked without a revealer, still, a nice find! There aren’t that many sets of five letters you can do that with, especially without using the letter “S”. We have:

  • FLIEDTOLEFT, [Hit a ball caught by Ted Williams, say]. FLIED makes me wince! I assume it’s the standard for this meaning, I’m not too clued up on baseball terminology.
  • FIELDHOCKEY, [Outdoor sport with sticks]… in America. Over here we call it “hockey”.
  • FILEDACLAIM, [Tried to collect unemployment benefits, say]
  • FIDELCASTRO, [Longtime Cuban leader]

Other notable bits of the puzzle:

    Just plain fun answers:

  • HOODIE, TIPPYTOE and TAGSALE
  • KERR, ["The Galloping Gourmet"]. I needed all the crossings for this. A British TV chef, apparently. Old British TV chefs are not one of my strong suits… Still, a perfectly legitimate clue/answer.
  • OLEANDER, [Poisonous flowering shrub]. The kid behind me when I was growing up ended up in intensive care after making a bow and arrows with the wood… It’s dangerous stuff!
  • FATBOY, [Oxymoronically named British DJ ___ Slim]. A gimme for me, but I’m actually surprised to see him! Didn’t think he was so well-known Stateside! He was originally the bassist from The Housemartins. Here’s a videoof one of his better-known songs…A basic theme, but plenty of interesting stuff in the fill: 3.25 stars!
    Gareth

Ben Tausig’s Ink Well crossword, “AC/DC”

Ink Well crossword solution, 5 29 13 “AC/DC”

“AC/DC” is slang for bisexual, someone who “goes both ways.” Four theme answers contain GO both ways, i.e. GO and OG, and the other two explain the theme:

  • 17a. [Pair of satanic nations, in the bible], GOG AND MAGOG. GO is coming and going both ways twice, if you allow overlap.
  • 24a. [Cartesian phrase], COGITO ERGO SUM.
  • 29a. [Part of a Cookie Monster costume], GOOGLY EYES. I love googly eyes.
  • 43a. [Engage in 61-Across, as it were, or what each of this puzzle's theme answers literally includes], GO BOTH WAYS.
  • 50a. [Ruined], GONE TO THE DOGS.
  • 61a. [Certain flexible attraction], BISEXUALITY.

It’s about time our bi friends have been the subject of a crossword theme! Not everybody is straight or gay, you know.

Fave five eight:

  • 5a. [Doctor who started a labor movement?], LAMAZE. He is not a union leader.
  • 28a. [Lucy Lawless character widely interpreted as queer], XENA. Kinda meshes with the theme. (See also: 55d. [Musician Michael who's dated men and women], STIPE.)
  • 41a. [Jewish event that might include cutting remarks?], BRIS. Yeow.
  • 69a. [Mr. or Ms. Right], THE ONE. My closest bi friend found her Ms. Right before she ever met Mr. Right. There were plenty of Mr. Not Quite Rights.
  • 11d. [December temp], MALL SANTA. Temporary worker, not temperature.
  • 31d. [Homer put one on Marge's finger when he proposed], ONION RING.
  • 45d. [Lady-parts, slangily], HOO-HA. If you are in government and you use this term, you should resign immediately. (Unless you mean the “commotion, fuss, kerfuffle” HOO-HA, which is totally fine.)

Four stars.

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33 Responses to Wednesday, May 29, 2013

  1. Huda says:

    NYT: Liked the theme and some of the fill, but like Amy, some of the stuff made me frown (OK scowl). I had MOPY in lieu of LOGY… both look all kinds of wrong to me, but I guess they both exist. Still, it made that bottom difficult, since I have yet to memorize the NFL mascots. Didn’t know from TITI and needed almost every letter to get SATIN DOLL and stick that second T in the monkeys. INIGO next to TYNAN was stretching my knowledge of the British culture, although INIGO was vaguely familiar, because I like architecture (albeit not the baroque type).
    I really hesitated to put RUB IN, in fact I had RUB oN. I thought if there was a centrally positioned IN it should be tied to the theme. May be reworking it so it could be RUN IN and linking it to the theme would have been better?
    Actually, RUB ON would have yielded TOTI, and TOTI Dal Monte is no less famous than TYNAN.

    • Gareth says:

      Good to see that I am not the only one who was convinced that LOGY couldn’t, in fact, be right, and that MHP was lying… Odd word! I’m going to try it out in conversation ASAP! Actually, I have been feeling most logy this last week owing to the upper respiratory tract infection I’ve had… Maybe it’s the dreaded lurgy? (Another British cultural reference).

      • pannonica says:

        Filed LOGY and DULY in the same place when I encountered them in my youth, because I misunderstood both of them at first brush. As “loggy” and dully.

        (I see now that loggy is apparently a legitimate variant of logy.)

  2. Sarah says:

    Possible Naticks:

    HANDEL/ARA
    INIGO/TYNAN/LENNY
    OTOS/ENO
    OPRY/EPODE
    LIEN/ATLI
    TAPIR/PELL

    Fair enough crossings, I think though; HANDEL, LENNY Bruce, Brian ENO; I don’t know if they’re well-known, but they seem to get enough Google hits. OPRY(land) and LIEN I think are well-known; Not sure about TAPIR/PELL though. Not too bad.

    RUB IN doesn’t really feel thematic to me; thus I feel it should have been removed if possible.

    Decent enough puzzle for Wednesday; the theme was cool.

  3. Bencoe says:

    Didn’t know TYNAN, am not up on my Irish tenors. When I lived overseas, they talked about Inigo Jones a lot on the Beeb. And Eno isn’t just good for crosswords–Roxy Music rox! At least when Eno was still in the band.

  4. Keith says:

    @Sarah:

    You keep calling things “Naticks” or “possible Naticks” when they simply are not – they may be crossings that some people don’t know, but they certainly are not crossings that most solvers would not know. OTOS are not famous, but they are crosswordese so most regular solvers have seen them hundreds of times. Brian ENO is massively famous, both for working with U2 and for being a pioneer in ambient/electronic music. Oh, and he was famously in Roxy Music for some time.

    HANDEL is one of the most famous composers ever, and he’s certainly more famous that HeNDEL, HiNDEL, HoNDEL, HuNDEL and HyNDEL. If he cannot be included, the list of composers who can be included (weakly checked) must be incredibly short. OPRYland and the Grand Ole OPRY are two of the most famous things in Nashville, and it’s not like Nashville is some minor, unvisited town.

    Anyone who has ever taken a loan out, for say a car or a house, has seen the word LIEN. Also, it is common in crosswords. The PELL Grant has been around for like 50 years and is given to millions of students each year, spread across all 50 states. Can you really not see the fundamental difference between that and a town of 30,000 outside of Boston?

    Comedy Central ranked LENNY Bruce as the 3rd best stand up comedian of all time. Obviously there can be differences of opinion about that ranking, but it suggests that he is more than sufficiently famous. Again, if he cannot be included, what comedians can? Is stand-up comedy so obscure that it should not be allowed in the puzzle unless obviously checked?

    These are tough crossings perhaps, but not unfair crossings by almost any measure. You seem to be confusing “things that you don’t already know” with “things that it is unreasonable to expect very many people to know”.

    • RK says:

      “Brian ENO is massively famous”

      Keith, I’d say the average person has no clue who Eno is and probably never heard the name. And how many people do you think know Roxy Music? He’s a major crossword presence with his pal Mel Ott though.

      • pannonica says:

        In addition to those distinctions, he’s arguably the inventor of ambient music, collaborated extensively with David Bowie (whom people seem to like a lot), and famously (to some) created the Microsoft “sound” (on an Apple computer, if I remember my trivia correctly). And of course much, much more.

      • Keith says:

        I knew about Eno decades before I started doing crosswords, if only because he produced The Joshua Tree. It’s one of the most successful albums of all time, hitting #1 on the charts in almost every country. Oh, and it won two Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year.

        If you read almost any critical review of the album (or any of Eno’s U2 productions) when it was released, the review mentioned the production team (Eno and Daniel Lanois). Oh, and there was the Miss Sarajevo song that was pretty big worldwide (though not so big in the US), which featured U2, Eno, and Luciano Pavarotti.

        So I would claim that from his time working with U2 alone, his name was read or heard by many millions of people in the US and worldwide. That they may or may not have bothered to remember it does not put it in the same league as Natick, MA. Natick is a place that the average solver has no reason to ever have heard of or know about.

        (Roxy Music was more famous in the UK than the US, but their albums did sell fairly well here and Avalon in particular has been highly acclaimed by music critics over the years (even though Eno wasn’t on Avalon). While I may grant you that the average person/solver doesn’t have any Roxy Music albums lying around, I would guess that most people have heard a Roxy Music song on the radio at some point.)

        In any event, both ENO and OTOS are perfectly fine crosses in the puzzle, because most solvers (at the NYT Wednesday level especially) will have no problem with either of them. It is not a “possible Natick”.

        • Gareth says:

          I dunno about no reason to have heard of… I learned it from crosswords, but it’s passed through during the Boston Marathon, and quite a few people do watch that, I think?

          Also, I knew ENO before crosswords, but I’m willing to bet that, although legitimately famous, he is not universally known. Not being the singer, and leaving before they were at their most famous, he’s way less known as a band-member than Bryan Ferry… He’s probably one of the most famous music producers ever, but your average music listener doesn’t pay much attention to the “back-room” artists. I expect that, among crossword virgins, the OTOS/ENO square would be blank in quite a few cases, probably not the majority, but quite a few…

          • Keith says:

            You could be right about Natick – maybe it is a word most people have seen and simply forgotten. I have to guess, though, that the fraction of solvers who have heard The Joshua Tree is significantly higher than the fraction who has watched coverage of the Boston Marathon (obviously the tragedy this year changed that). While it’s true that Bono and The Edge are bigger names than the producers, it’s also true that Boston is a better-known part of the Boston Marathon than Natick.

            I agree that Eno was less famous than Ferry for his role in Roxy Music, but I also remember it being news that they could never get along.

            You are, of course, right that new solvers might have a problem recalling Eno and would have no reason to know OTOS. That doesn’t make it an unfair crossing, though, especially on a mid-week NYT puzzle. Additionally, there are only about 7 letters that it could reasonably be for both words to be pronounceable (aoeuiyt). The famous NATICK/NCWYETH cross had much higher entropy associated with it, since it was an initial in the down clue and could be basically any consonant in the across clue.

          • pannonica says:

            Except that it is far, far from unreasonable to expect people who profess a modicum of cultural literacy to know NC Wyeth, one of the premier (and prolific) illustrators in history. Also the father of the similarly famous painter Andrew Wyeth and grandfather of the less famous painter Jamie Wyeth.

            This is why I don’t use the term “Natick.”

          • Keith says:

            Yes, the fairness of the NCWYETH cross is certainly something that can be argued. I, for one, am glad to learn new things in crosswords (even if it means a DNF) and so was not too annoyed by that puzzle.

            I still think that from a purely statistical standpoint, it’s night and day between the fraction of solvers in the NYT’s target Sunday audience who are familiar with early-20th-century illustrators and the fraction of solvers in its target Wednesday audience who ever read a review of The Joshua Tree, or who have seen ENO in countless crosswords before today’s.

          • pannonica says:

            Keith, I feel you’re unfairly pigeonholing Wyeth as an “early-20th-century” illustrator. While that descriptor may be accurate, it isn’t adequately expansive. As I said, he’s one of the most important in history. His works are famous, are still seen in reprints of classic literature, from children’s editions to mainstream adult work.

            It’s criminal that his work isn’t as well-known as Norman Rockwell’s, but that’s another issue. As is the diminished recognition of another Rockwell, Rockwell Kent. Nevertheless, he is not obscure.

            And what of (the probably more important yet nearly disappeared from public consciousness) Gustave DORÉ?

        • Amy Reynaldo says:

          I am equally confident that a majority of Americans have probably not heard a Roxy Music song on the radio. They had one big hit in the early ’80s (“More Than This”) but were more arcane before that. People who listen to R&B, country, jazz, top 40, Latin, classical, soul, hip-hop, and talk radio stations are not going to know Roxy Music. And even if they’ve heard a song, it’s not as if every DJ playing a Roxy Music song mentions the name Brian Eno. (Bryan Ferry, sure.) Please don’t mistake your own frame of reference for the average American solver’s frame of reference.

          • Keith says:

            “Love is the Drug” was a Top 40 hit on US charts. I think the average American solver’s frame of reference includes Top 40 hits from all eras.

          • Amy Reynaldo says:

            I couldn’t disagree more, Keith. A song that peaked at #30 in 1975 might have only gotten airplay for a few weeks, and do you know how many people weren’t listening to top 40 radio during those specific weeks in 1975? Pretty much every single solver under the age of 45, most of those over 60, and a good chunk of those in between.

            Every time I review a list of hit songs from a year in my youth (when I was listening to top 40 radio all the damn time), I am surprised by just how many of the songs don’t ring a bell at all. The songs that hit #1 and stayed there are familiar; the ones where I bought the album, sure; but many of the others have faded into nothingness in my memory.

          • Bencoe says:

            It’s funny..I have a degree in electronic music production and am obsessed with experimental music, so Eno is a Titan to me, one of the biggest names out there. I certainly don’t expect the average American to know his name (but to have heard his work without knowing it, of course). He is much more well known in the UK.
            But he’s someone worth learning about…even despite my bias…I think.

          • Keith says:

            I still hear “Love is the Drug” on classic rock radio stations today. Classic rock is a fairly popular format.

            My claim (it was a guess, actually) was just that most Americans have heard a Roxy Music song, and it doesn’t sound like either of us is going to change the other’s mind about that claim. I just think it would be hard to have been alive in the US for more than 20 years or so and not ever heard one, but obviously I can’t know that for sure.

          • Keith says:

            Sorry to double reply, but I will briefly mention that anyone who has seen Casino or Indecent Proposal has heard a Roxy Music song. Also, anyone who has played the wildly successful video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. They showed up in an episode of Moonlighting and in a Glee episode as well.

            http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0746911/

          • Jeffrey says:

            Amy is right.

            I listen to replays of American Top 40 from the 70′ s and 90′s on XM Radio. Most of the songs are etched in my brain from my music obsession at the time. I had spreadsheets. Yet, there are always a few songs I am sure I never heard before.

          • Amy Reynaldo says:

            There’s a big difference between having heard a song in the background somewhere and being able to name a member of the group when clued as something entirely different. You’re giving the solvers who know enough to fill in ENO a little “Oh! That guy!” nudge, but if the name Brian Eno doesn’t ring a bell, having watched a movie with a Roxy Music song in it doesn’t help one whit.

  5. Howard B says:

    Teachable moment: When you run across anything you havent seen before, look it up and rread some articles, listen to the music, check the map, whatever relates to the unknown item . It can expand your horizons and perhaps as a bonus, that will be one less unknown clue in your world.

    • HH says:

      And please do that before you ask (or complain to) the Forum about it. Then we’ll never know you didn’t know it, and you won’t seem so foolish.

  6. Gareth says:

    PS: Constructor notes can be found here: http://crosswordcorner.blogspot.com/2013/05/wednesday-may-29-2013-jerome-gunderson.html.
    PPS: I still maintain that a dog the size of a weimaraner doesn’t “Arf!”

  7. Sean Palmer says:

    Re:LAT

    Ted Williams never played left field. He was a right fielder, hence, the clue was misleading to the informed.

  8. Winnie says:

    I don’t understand “native”. Please explain. I’m sure it is something anyone who criticizes crosswords should know.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      I assume your spell-checker changed “Natick” to “native.” The Natick principle is defined at the Rex Parker blog: ” “If you include a proper noun in your grid that you cannot reasonably expect more than 1/4 of the solving public to have heard of, you must cross that noun with reasonably common words and phrases or very common names.”

  9. Zulema says:

    For me the NYT was as smooth a crossword puzzle as I haven’t seen on a Wednesday in a long time. No reaching, no fudging, all right, just the RUB IN, but ENO? He is in the puzzle every three days, I think. And there were no starlets to identify. I missed some of the clues because they filled in with crossings, like the VOA clue. If I ever rated the puzzles, this would have been a 5.

    Howard B and HH are perfectly right in what they said. Consider them mentors, gurus, and take their advice.

  10. Martin says:

    I’m surprised that there are so few Yankees fans here. Ronan Tynan seemed to sing God Bless America at every home game seventh-inning stretch for a decade after 9/11. It got to the point where I was dreading his coup de glotte–filled rendition more than the Yankees choking. I’m sure that’s why he was a gimme for many New York solvers.

    I’m also surprised that “logy” is controversial. It’s the only way to describe how you feel just before you come down with the flu. Or when you’re hungover on a warm day. With the long-O, I’m surprised “loggy” is an alternative.

    • Huda says:

      Martin, it’s not really controversial, I just didn’t know it. I try to distinguish between my own limits and what I think is a real issue. The limits of my knowledge are my problem, but I mention them mostly by way of feedback, in case others hit the same snags. But as other commenters have said, these are all teachable moments and I’m very happy to learn a new word or a new tidbit of knowledge. That’s part of the fun.
      Some of my other comments are more in line with the idea of a critique– The novelty of the theme, the number of random abbreviations and some design and strategic issues– RUB IN would be an example of the latter.
      I don’t know if it’s a useful distinction, but it’s one I try to make. For example, in rating the puzzle, LOGY would not lower my rating, but the IN would.

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