Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Jonesin' 3:56 
NYT 3:26 
LAT 2:49 
CS 5:36 (Dave) 
Xword Nation untimed (Janie) 

Peter Collins’ New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 7 30 13, no 0730

Classic rock fan Peter Collins brings us a trivia/list theme:

  • 18a. [Honor ... and #5 on a list by 40-/46-Across of the 500 greatest songs of all time], RESPECT. Aretha Franklin, 40-/46-Across being Rolling Stone magazine.
  • 22a. [Fulfillment ... and #2 on the list], SATISFACTION. By the Rolling Stones.
  • 34a/40a/46a. [With 40- and 46-Across, mossless? ... and #1 on the list], LIKE A / ROLLING / STONE. Bob Dylan. Sure, Rolling Stone magazine is totally impartial, with their #1 and #2 choices.
  • 54a. [Casual greeting ... and #4 on the list], WHAT’S GOING ON. Marvin Gaye.
  • 61a. [Pretend ... and #3 on the list], IMAGINE. John Lennon.

Nice to get #1 through #5 all into the grid, and to play with Rolling Stone being part of song title #1. Also neat that all five songs can be clued with fairly ordinary words/phrases (okay, “mossless?” is a bit of a playful reach), whereas if, say, “Ruby Tuesday” or “Light My Fire” had been one of the titles, that literalness would have fallen by the wayside.

Most unusual fill: 20d. [Witch, e.g.], OCCULTIST. Crosses three theme entries, and that’s about the only thing that fits the fixed letters.

The only clumsy bit in the grid is 13d. [Bone: Prefix], OSTE—everything else is mighty smooth. (SAS and ECU are sort of crosswordese, but with all those sections of 6s and 7s, I was filling in much of the grid with hardly a glance at the 3s.)

4.5 stars from me. An enjoyable theme.

Updated Tuesday morning:

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

The abbreviation for “point,” namely PT is appended to four base phrases to a wacky effect:

CrosSynergy / Washington Post crossword solution – 07/30/13

  • [Cue for grandpa?] is a SENIOR PROMPT – “Time to put in your false teeth,” say?
  • [Is prepared to meet one's maker?] clues HAS A GOOD CRYPT – I’ve successfully avoided The Bachelorette this season, except for last night’s episode in which Des spent most of the last hour crying about losing the one of the three remaining guys she really did love. So I guess you can’t find true love on a reality show…who would’ve guessed?
  • [Sales promotion for a versatile GMC SUV?] clues YUKON CAN ADAPT – interesting with this one that CANADA is split down the middle, kind of like where Manitoba is?
  • Probably my favorite entry, [Headline about a lachrymose Queen Elizabeth?] clues THE ROYAL WEPT – what’s about all this crying in today’s puzzle? I got enough of it on TV last night! Lachrymose is a great word.

Nice theme and literal interpretation of the title phrase. I have to award my FAVE to the clue [What running mates do?] for ELOPE. That entry is in so many puzzles, I’m surprised that I’ve never run across that clever clue for it. I’m not a fan of partials, and even less of one of foreign partials (even if they’ve been imported into the English language), so [Cul-___] for DE SAC gets my UNFAVE award today.

Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle, “Hashtags”—Janie’s review

Crossword Nation 7/30/13

Crossword Nation 7/30/13

If I don’t explain the title of Liz’s puzzle today with complete accuracy, please set me straight. No, I don’t have a Twitter account, but I do know what hashtags are. I’m just not 100% certain of how they apply to the theme fill. The meaning of the word has several nuances, and I’m pretty sure I’m on the right track when I say that today it’s being used as a means of grouping messages. Not unlike hyperlinked labels or tags in blog posts.

What has Liz “grouped”? Well, take a look at the theme answers and all will become clear(er). And even if they don’t, the bottom line is that this remains one funny puzzle. The concept, the execution, the clues, the exquisite transformation of base phrases into theme fill. All top of the line in my book! Take a look:

Royal Doulton no less!

Royal Doulton no less!

  • 17A. [Genre that includes Beethoven's "Ode to a Commode"?] CHAMBER POT MUSIC. Is that beautiful or what? And as you may know, among her many talents, Liz is an accomplished violist. Who has played more than her share of CHAMBER MUSIC, I’m sure. Here she mashes up (groups?) that style of playing with another CHAMBER phrase, the ever so euphemistically named CHAMBER POT, to deliver, well, one hearty laugh for starters. So, too, for starters, #CHAMBER. But then look how she develops the concept with
  • 27A. [Breaking news headlines about dorm room cookers?] Breaking news headlines are HOT FLASHES; dorm room cookers, HOT POTs, giving us HOT POT FLASHES as the final fill. And another POT to boot. So now, not only #HOT—but also, apparently #POT. Next?
  • 50A. [Spa treatment for a bombshell?] SEXPOT THERAPY. What else could it be? This is the perfect meeting of SEX THERAPY and the SEXPOT. #SEX and, once again, #POT. Finally—
  • 65A. [Mugger repellents made from spicy stews?] PEPPER POT SPRAYS. But of course—where PEPPER SPRAYS meet PEPPER POTs. Or, #PEPPER and one last #POT.

Is there really a Beethoven work called “Ode to a Commode?” Nah. I checked… Liz is just having us on with this one. But what a perfect use of artistic license! #What’s not to love?!

Other high points in the grid? On my list today are BUM RAP, UTOPIA, OOM-PAH, REVERB (and the recording/live concert tie in with AMP UP), MERCIFUL and the samplercleverly clued CUT RATES [Discounts offered by surgeons?]. I find the whole picture suggested by [Fragrant gift from a lover] for ROSE extremely appealing. And was even taken by some of those 3-letter word clue/fill combos: OSI [Footballer Umenyiora] (completely new to me—last name and first); ACE [Dramatic tennis match ender]Bartoli v. Lisicki anyone?; and (be it ever so humble…) RST [Letters on a stitched sampler].

There’s a new off-Broadway musical here in New York called Nobody Loves You. A satire about reality TV shows like The Bachelor and Big Brother, there is a song from it that relates in a timely way (if not to the theme per se) to this puzzle’s title—and what it is to be reality TV- and Twitter-addicted. #Enjoy and see you next week!

Steve Blais’s Los Angeles Times crossword

LA Times crossword solution, 7 30 13

I don’t expect to learn new slang from a Tuesday puzzle in the newspaper, but here it is.

  • 17a. [What baguettes may be served in], BREAD BASKET.
  • 29a. [Fifth wheel], SPARE TIRE.
  • 45a. [Cozy place to read a book], BAY WINDOW.
  • 60a. [Emotional response (which might be induced by 17-, 29- and 45-Across?)], GUT REACTION.

I had not ever encountered “bay window” as slang for a paunch, but it’s right there in some dictionary websites. Architecturally speaking, some folks go way beyond a bay window, straight to the apse.

So the theme works pretty well, although you certainly should not have a reaction to other people’s guts. The revealer feels a hair off, with the “might be induced by” part a bit of a reach.

Solid fill. I was delighted by PINKY SWEAR, struggled with EYE STRAIN yesterday, and liked the generous assortment of 6-letter answers.

3.75 stars from me.

Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ crossword, “Oddly Enough–you’ll only need every other letter”

Jonesin’ crossword solution, 7 30 13 “Oddly Enough”

When in doubt about a Jonesin’ theme, be sure to read the title and subtitle. This one explains what happens to the last word in each theme answer—letters 2 and 4 drop out, leaving a new word formed by letters 1, 3, and 5.

  • 17a. ["You can't forget the cheese and crust" rebuke?], PIZZA DUH. (Dough.)
  • 20a. [Duo behind "Is Dave there?" "[spin spin spin]“?], CHEECH AND COG. (Chong.) No idea what “Is Dave there?” is from.
  • 40a. [Sajak, after a radioactive run-in gives him superhuman abilities?], NUCLEAR POWER PAT. (Plant.)
  • 56a. [With 62-across, unable-to-see-the-movie phenomenon?], TOTAL ECLIPSE / OF THE HAT. (Heart. From the woeful Bonnie Tyler song, which at least yielded the hilarious “literal video.”)

Five more clues:

  • 46a. [Lack of good sense]. DAFTNESS. I’m thinking of a theme now with literal clues for band names. (Probably been done.) [Nutty Sid Vicious] for DAFT PUNK, for example. Have you seen this done already?
  • 7d. [Engine type, in mechanic shorthand (anagram of OH, DC)], DOHC. No idea.
  • 21d. [1994 bestseller about Ebola, with "The"], HOT ZONE. Read it. Can’t believe that was 19 years ago!
  • 52d. [Winnemac, in Sinclair Lewis novels], STATE. Sounds suitably Midwestern.
  • 57d. ["Is he ___ or is he..." (They Might Be Giants line)], A DOT. Is this from a newer song? I don’t recognize it.

3.75 stars from me. Gotta run!

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14 Responses to Tuesday, July 30, 2013

  1. Huda says:

    NYT: Very nicely done! and a little hint of Michigan in the puzzle :)

  2. cyberdiva says:

    Re that “little hint of Michigan” that Huda mentions. I wish the clue had indeed said “Michigan” rather than “Mich.” That set me up for an abbreviation, such as PTE. As far as I know, ILE is not an abbreviation. ??

  3. Tracy B. says:

    I got a kick out of how the ROLLING STONE entry did double duty in the puzzle. Really fun and lively fill, I thought, and the theme was accessible without being too easy.

  4. Gareth says:

    I didn’t know “bay window” either. My excuse is I’m not American. What’s yours? Still, an colourful set of synonyms!

    • Steve Blais says:

      Admittedly, I didn’t know “bay window” either. Thesaurus.com gave it to me when I entered “gut”, and a Google search of ‘”bay window” gut’ registered about 1.6 million hits, so I figured it would be ok. My excuse is I, too, am not American ;)

    • Huda says:

      Gareth, completely off topic: I was flying home from NYC yesterday and the Delta airlines magazine had one of your puzzles that I had not solved. It had swear words, leaping lizards, and a lot of lively fill! I greatly enjoyed it! Was that a Tuesday puzzle? I wish the magazines would give the original publication dates. I’m grateful when they give the constructor’s name.

      • Huda says:

        Hmmm. I was wrong and Gareth set me straight…That puzzle I really liked in the Delta Sky Magazine was by Sam Donaldson and Doug Peterson from last March. I must have hallucinated Gareth’s name…I had to get up at the crack of dawn to get on that plane, but how I managed to solve that puzzle in record time when so addled, I have no idea. At least the one part of my brain that was functioning appreciated a terrific puzzle!
        Sorry for the mix-up.

        • Doug P says:

          Glad you liked it, Huda! Also neat to know that Sam & I were in the Delta magazine, even though we didn’t get paid for it, of course.

          I flew on AirTran over the weekend. Their magazine puzzle was by a guy named Greg Bruce. It was a 21×21 with four six-letter theme entries. Ouch.

  5. Tracy B. says:

    I’d never heard of BAY WINDOW for paunch either! Also really liked PINKY SWEAR.

  6. Jeffrey K says:

    Not for the first time, I must object to your disdain of the brilliant “Total Eclipse of the Heart”. Turn around, bright eyes!

  7. sbmanion says:

    I was thinking the theme was the Rolling Stones, so the puzzle took me an inordinately long time for a Tuesday.

    I have always thought that songs should fit into special categories in order to be considered all time greats. I just can’t see Like a Rolling Stone as number 1. My favorite singer is Gladys Knight, but a quick glance at the top 500 only had one of her songs, Midnight Train to Georgia at 432. I am not arguing that she should be any higher. I would be inclined to put songs near the top that were emblematic of an era, such as Rock Around the Clock or I Will Survive. Possibly a brilliant under pressure creation such as Elton John’s Candle in the Wind might fit as well or a song that topped the charts for many weeks, such as Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You.

    Steve

  8. twangster says:

    Not only haven’t I heard of bay window for gut, I’ve never heard of bread basket for gut (although it makes sense). I’m glad this blog was here to explain.

  9. Janie, thanks for a SMOKIN’ analysis of “Hashtags” :) For a long time, I sat on “Commode to Joy” for CHAMBERPOT MUSIC, but settled on “Ode to a Commode” — the lesser of two pun-evils. Or perhaps one subliminally yearns to use ODE in a clue for a change? Your stitched sampler photo is letter-perfect. Thank you kindly!

    • janie says:

      first of all, you are more than welcome. nothin’ like a well-made puzzle to make the blogger’s job easier!

      then…

      omg — so that’s POT and hash as in “those were the days, my friend”? HAH! and also d’oh!! talk about overthink on my part!

      and — “commode to joy” is *gorgeous*. not sure, though about the part where you “sat on” it…….

      yours in jest!

      ;-)

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