Monday, August 5, 2013

NYT 2:24 
LAT untimed (pannonica) 
BEQ 5:02 
CS 5:57 (Evad) 

Alan Arbesfeld’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

NYT • 8/5/13 • Mon • Arbesfeld • 8 5 13 • solution

Heads up, keep your ocular orbs alert!

  • 17a. [Randy Travis or Travis Tritt] COUNTRY STAR. Yet Travis is a Scottish pop band, formed in the ’90s.
  • 24a. [Minivan since the mid-'90s] FORD GALAXY, which overlapped for a couple of years in those mid-90′s with the Ford Aerostar. The Ford Galaxie was manufactured from ’59 through ’74. The eponymous indie band Galaxie 500 broke up in ’91.
  • 34a. [Drummer for the Who] KEITH MOON. His blue plaque is located in London at 90 Wardour Street, the location of the long-lived Marquee Club, which was shuttered (at a different location) in ’96.
  • 49a. [Arizona N.B.A.'er] PHOENIX SUN. In Phoenix the average summer temperature is invariably in the 90′s.
  • 57a. [Clark Kent and Lois Lane's paper] DAILY PLANET. No “with ‘The’” in the clue? Anyway, in the 1978 Superman movie, the newspaper’s headquarters was embodied by the actual New York Daily News building on 42nd Street, between Second and Third Avenues. However, the Daily News moved its operations from that iconic location in—you guessed it—the mid-’90s.

Kind of an obscure theme for a Monday, but I appreciate the way it draws together disparate elements, from music to business to climatology and beyond. It almost feels as if the sky’s the limit!

Here’s a picture of Superman fighting a BIG APE on top of the DAILY PLANET building.

 

Started filling this heavenly grid at 1-down, with ARCADES. Naturally, I assumed that 1-across [Uneasy feeling], starting with A, would be ANGST. But it was not to be. It soon became clear that it was in fact AGITA. But imagine my surprise when—toward the very end of the across clues—the same clue appeared at 61a, and this time it was ANGST! Talk about cosmic retribution; I can readily imagine a mischievous twinkle in constructor Arbesfeld’s EYE (62a).

A fair amount of Scrabbliness in the grid, accented by the impressive vertical triple seven-stacks in each corner: ARCADES/GOOGOL/IGUANAS; SHA LA LA/RELAXES/ANALYST; CAPSIZE/ASHTRAY/SCOURGE (superb clues for those last two); PARINGS/SIAMESE (no pun intended?)/ANNETTE (oh look, two pairs of doubled letters).

Cute Monday offering, though perhaps a bit dated and nostalgic in overall feel. On the other hand, no one crossword can have universal appeal.

Updated Monday morning:

Raymond Hamel’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Mooed Ring” – Dave Sullivan’s review

First, a bit of housekeeping: Happy Blogiversary to me–if my accounting is correct (and Jeffrey K. can verify), this is my 100th post of my most recent stint covering the daily CrosSynergy puzzles. Let’s begin the next century, shall we?

Pretty appropriate theme today for this farm boy in Vermont’s Upper Valley–five (yes I found the middle one this time!) phrases all begin with a bovine (pannonica, please correct me if there’s a more specific term for this group):

CrosSynergy / Washington Post crossword solution – 08/05/13

  • [Agricultural school] clues somewhat facetiously COW COLLEGE – not a familiar phrase to me, but then again, I’m new to the agricultural scene.
  • [Keep away, with 30-Down] was STEER CLEAR – great find for the central squares.
  • [Open audition] is a CATTLE CALL
  • [1988 baseball movie] was BULL DURHAM
  • [Charley horse location] clues CALF MUSCLE – I’m sure the constructor enjoyed cluing “calf” with a “horse” reference.

Tight theme, and I enjoyed the placement of the theme entries around (and in the center) of the grid. I’ll start with my UNFAVE entry of DULÉ Hill from Psych, which was a big head scratcher for me as I’m not familiar with the actor or the show. I see here that this tap dancer was on The West Wing and Cosby as well. Just above this was another French entry, [Down with, in French] for ABAS. Is this “down with” in the sense of “I’m down with my homey”? Or, “I’m down with a cold”? Or, perhaps, “I’m down with my brother here in the basement.”

My FAVE was [Old flight option] for ZEPPELIN. I guess I wasn’t aware that they took civilian flying customers, I just think of them (sadly) as instruments of war. But, of course, The Hindenburg was on a civilian flight when it crashed.

C.C. Burnikel’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 8/5/13 • Mon • Burnikel • solution

August 15, 1945 was V-J Day, so by that logic this puzzle’s appearance a week-and-a-half “early” for the anniversary is mere coincidence.

Bottom to top, we have:

  • 60a. [Music channel host whose abbreviation hints at this puzzle's theme] VIDEO JOCKEY.
  • 47a. [V8 Spicy Hot, e.g.] VEGETABLE JUICE.
  • 28a. [Personal assessments of worth] VALUE JUDGMENTS.
  • 18a. [Funny bits you need to see] VISUAL JOKES.

Archetypal Monday-style theme, nothing oblique or tricky about it, not particular exciting. In other words, serviceable. Is it just me, or does the grid look a bit like Swiss cheese with the cheater squares and disparate blocks?

Solved this a while ago and, reviewing the fill later, some of the answers seemed amusingly weird because I didn’t remember how they broke down: ELOAN, ONE ILL, BEREAL? Other fill is pretty exciting for an early-week offering: stacked SO IT GOES and ANCESTRY, counterbalanced by RAT HOLES and no-it-isn’t-a-Japanese-mushroom SPIT TAKE.

Various jottings:

  • 19d JETER + 37a UNCLE ≈ 60d JEKYLL?
  • 54a ANION, 49d ANYONE.
  • 32d [Planet farthest from the sun, now] NEPTUNE. This would seem to imply that the author still considers Pluto to be a sitting-at-the-grownups-orrery celestial object.
  • Oh! Just remembered the incredibly incorrect answer I inexplicably tried to fill in for 29d [Knight games]. Instead of JOUSTS, I attempted “CHESSES”!

Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”

BEQ 8 513 Themeless Monday solution

This puzzle was uncommonly full of stuff I didn’t know, even for a BEQ. Among the challenges:

  • 33a. [Something especially lame], NOTHING BURGER. Haven’t heard this one before.
  • 2d. ["Men are pigs. It's too bad we own everything, isn't it?" comic], TIM ALLEN. Got it off the word length and the TI at the beginning, but didn’t recognize the line. Tim Allen was in the news last week for grousing that he would like to be allowed to use the N-word in his comedy. Hey, I think he should. Be our guest, Mr. Allen. Knock yourself out. And watch your career dwindle even further, you twit.
  • 15d. [Obstacle course in some video games], JUMPING PUZZLE.
  • 27d. [Jazz pianist Iverson], ETHAN. Never heard of him. No relation to Allen Iverson, I presume.
  • 29d. [1849 Herman Melville book], MARDI. You don’t say.
  • 50d. [Chris of Vampire Weekend], BAIO. I only know the TV Baios. Hey! I may have heard a moment of Vampire Weekend’s Lollapalooza performance Sunday evening. I was driving past Grant Park and heard bits of three or four concerts.

Okay, so that isn’t exactly a ton of things I didn’t know—but it’s a few more than I expect to not know in a BEQ. Especially both of the central seed entries! Criminy.

Favorite clue: 15a. [No talking?] for JAPANESE. Took me a minute to figure that out after the crossings pointed me toward JAPANESE. No, also spelled noh, Japanese theater form.

Fave fill: VAN GOGH DIET TIP. (1) Watch your intake of carbs, you “Potato Eaters.” You look terrible. (2) Cut off spare body parts. You might use a BUZZ SAW.

3.75 stars.

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25 Responses to Monday, August 5, 2013

  1. Huda says:

    NYT: Theme is interesting but the puzzle feels misplaced for a Monday, or at least the NW does– AGITA crossing GOOGOLS, and I had to look up RIFIFI– I guess I’m not up on films noirs. On a different day, I would have admired the ANGST- AGITA pairing.

    • Davis says:

      Seconded—AGITA and RIFIFI are definitely not Monday fill. Nor are GITANO and one O’CAT.

  2. Jeffrey K says:

    The BIG APE’s name is Titano. Just thought you’d like to know.

  3. sbmanion says:

    Pannonica,

    I wish you were correct about the temperature in Phoenix. In the summer, 117 and higher is really high and 110 is normal.

    Fun puzzle.

    Steve

  4. jean mccown says:

    unenjoyable monday puzzle. pick a better one for next monday,paula.

  5. Gareth says:

    Gosh it feels like I’ve been filling in GITANO a lot recently… Weird.

  6. Jeffrey K says:

    Dave: I count today as 99, so celebrate again tomorrow!.

  7. Martin says:

    Just curious, but why would STAR, SUN, MOON etc. be considered (kind of) obscure for a Monday theme? How much more straightforward can you get?

    -MAS

    • pannonica says:

      What are you talking about? It was a 1990′s theme, and some of those entries were awfully tough to see.

  8. Martin says:

    Are we talking about the same puzzle? I’m referring to the NYT… with the solar system/astronomy theme.

    -MAS

  9. Brucenm says:

    One of the most enjoyable Mon. puzzles I can recall. Surprisingly high percentage of fresh, unhackneyed, varied entries, rare for a Monday. Had the same experience with angst, agita. Rififi was a great crime caper, film noir. A prototype for the genre — detailed, meticulously planned and filmed heist, drill into the vault from an adjoining building, flawless plan thwarted by human greed and suspicion. (And of course, great travelogue scenes of Paris from when I lived there as a kid in the 50′s.)

    I’m surprised that there hasn’t been more vocal enthusiasm for HH’s superb Sun. puz. He sometimes complains that people’s expectations are too high. Well, this is the sort of puzzle which establishes those high expectations, so Henry, you have only yourself to blame.

  10. Martin says:

    ” … no one crossword can have universal appeal”

    Ok… your subtly went right over my head. ;)

    Sheesh!

    -MAS

    • pannonica says:

      Also, “heads up,” “orbs” (though not applicable to a galaxy), “Aerostar,” “heavenly grid,” “cosmic retribution,” “twinkle in his eye.”

  11. Brucenm says:

    {Weekend brunch treat} (4, 3)

    • pannonica says:

      So?

      • Brucenm says:

        Nova Lox

        • pannonica says:

          Oh! I was thinking it was a cryptic clue.

          Anyway, to me “nova lox” sounds quasi-redundant. No, not redundant, a minor contradiction; nova is nova, lox is lox, both are smoked salmon. And gravlax is another variety/style.

          • Brucenm says:

            True, but I’ve definitely heard the expression “nova lox”, (as distinguished from other varieties of lox), in NYC, though admittedly it’s usually just called “nova.”

          • pannonica says:

            Probably said by those who don’t know what a “real” bagel is like.

            </snobbishness>

  12. Sarah says:

    Every puzzle today has too much crosswordese. Blech

  13. Lois says:

    I can hardly imagine another Times Monday puzzle being as much fun to do, and I appreciate pannonica’s appreciation of it, though muted and sensitive to different points of view. And I thank Martin and pannonica for pointing out the echoes of the theme in the review — I was skimming and missed a few.

  14. Lois says:

    Thank you, Bruce, for the recommendation of HH’s puzzle. I subscribed, and now will never have time to read the paper or clean up the house. I do puzzles very slowly.

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