Friday, January 17, 2014

NYT 4:26 (Amy) 
LAT 4:39 (Amy) 
CS 4:50 (Dave) 
WSJ (Friday) 11:27 (Matt) 
CHE 8:07 (Matt) 

Attention, New York Times crossword solvers! If you have a puzzle by Ian Livengood in your newspaper, check back next week for the review; it may well be next Friday’s online crossword. There was a scheduling glitch and the puzzle that was released to the NYT’s online puzzle subscribers is by Kevin Der, but it’s not in today’s paper. Presumably the Times regrets the error.

Kevin Der’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 1 17 14, no 0117

NY Times crossword solution, 1 17 14, no 0117

Kevin is one of those constructors who make my eyes light up when I see their byline. I know that I’m most likely in for a treat. What we’ve got here is a solid themeless with  corners holding 9×4 and 8×3 stacks. It’s not too Quarfooty with wild fill, no, but there is plenty of freshness:

  • 6a. [Spots for thirsty travelers], HOTEL BARS. The Brooklyn Bridge Marriott bar, the weekend of March 7-9? Oh, yes. Have you registered for the ACPT yet?
  • 16a. [It's rendered in the kitchen], ANIMAL FAT. Blech.
  • 20a. ["Thinking back ..."], “AS I RECALL…”
  • 21a. [They often precede showers], GYM CLASSES. I was terrified of the locker room showers. Who else?
  • 45a. [Bowling splits in which the 5 and 10 pins remain], DIME STORES. I know the phrase but not its appearance in bowling slang. Dime stores were also called “5 and 10s,” hence the split’s nickname. These days, we have dollar stores and lots of the junk costs more than a dollar. In 50 years, I predict “$10 stores” will be a thing.
  • 54a. [Extra protection from the elements], STORM DOOR. I need a third layer of door, frankly.
  • 3d. [Opportunity for a singer or comedian], OPEN MIKE. Or mic.
  • 11d. [Some C.I.A. doings], BLACK OPS.
  • 34d. [Pets], MAKES OUT. “Petting” is such an old-school term.
  • 35d. ["Now, look here!"], “EYES ON ME.” I need to find an opportunity to bark that.

If 3-letter answers bore you, you’re in luck here—only four 3s in the whole grid.

Favorite clues:

  • 19a. [Hardly a free spirit?], GENIE. Trapped in a lamp.
  • 39a. [Cars whose only color until 1952 was bottle green], SAABS. Auto trivia.
  • 10d. [Pregnant, maybe], LATE. As in late with one’s period.
  • 32d. [Herb whose name is derived from the Latin for "to wash"], LAVENDER. I did not know that.

About this [Large bill holder] for 24a IBIS: The ibis has a large bill—it doesn’t really hold it any more than you hold your eyelid.

ONE-LS and SABOTS feel a little old-crosswordy to me. In general the fill is pretty smooth, though; perhaps a tad dry. 3.9 stars from me.


Updated Friday morning:

Martin Ashwood-Smith’s CrosSynergy / Washington Post crossword, “Wright Brothers” – Dave Sullivan’s review

Three theme entries that begin with a homophone of “Wright,” in essence making them all “brothers,” or related in a way:

CrosSynergy / Washington Post crossword solution - 01/17/14

CrosSynergy / Washington Post crossword solution – 01/17/14

  • [Movement for one not on the ballot] was a WRITE-IN CAMPAIGN – nice 15 that fell easily.
  • [Bar mitzvah, e.g.] was a RITE OF PASSAGE – I wonder if Stravinsky is ever played at one of these?
  • [Exactly] was RIGHT ON THE MONEY – another quick 15 to fall.

A second sub-five minute solve for me–I know, no great shakes for most of the solvers here, but they’re unusual for me. This seemed like the perfect weekday puzzle–tight theme with great entries and excellent fill surrounding them. RAG TRADE for [The garment industry, slangily] was a new term to me, but makes sense. (Anyone else watch Under the Gunn last night?) Given that we have friends who spend more time in their Airstream than at home, it would’ve been nice to see a reference to the mobile vehicle than [Fan output]. The tropical fruit PAPAYA for PAWPAW was an early mistake that I corrected when I figured out the theme pattern. The G action in AVENGE and INTRIGUE also intrigued me. Nice work!

Daniel Landman’s Los Angeles Times crossword

LA Times crossword solution, 1 17 14

LA Times crossword solution, 1 17 14

Gareth is indisposed at the moment, so here’s a brief overview of the LAT puzzle on his behalf.

Today’s theme is “No P.E.”: 59d. [Slangy denial, and a hint to 20-, 29-, 46- and 56-Across], NOPE. Those four long answers have had PE removed from them:

  • 20a. [Franken and Yankovic, for example?], ALS OF LAUGHTER. Peals. Awkward, as nobody has ever called a comedian, for example, “Richard of laughter.”
  • 29a. [Silver-tongued speaker?], SMOOTH ORATOR. Operator.
  • 46a. ["Sorry, the mayo is put on in advance"?], IT CAN’T BE HELD. Helped. Eww, mayo.
  • 56a. ["Heretics only" apartment building ad?], RENT, YE SINNERS. Repent.

This is a decent theme concept—I know because Tony Orbach and I once played around with a 21×21 puzzle with the same theme (but, if you ask me, funnier theme answers). I would have dearly loved to skip P.E. class when I was a kid, so the theme idea pleases me.

The fill, as a commenter already alluded this morning, leaves a bit to be desired. OBLA atop NLER, crossing ARTHRO-? Discontinued Toyota SUPRA crossing EPISC and AROO? TRA ENOL EYER EEE OSO INI LAA ELENI ASSNS ARTOF? Once you exceed three or four such “meh” answers, you tend to lose me. And when the count surpasses 10 … well, then. And the longer IN HIS HAT (39d. [Where Yankee Doodle's feather ended up]) has a contrived feel to it.

On the plus side, I do like BOY TOY, ON DAY ONE, T-STORM, French PARFUM, and HOT CEREAL.

2.75 stars from me.

Patrick Berry and Todd McClary’s CHE puzzle, “Verbal Presentations” — Matt’s review

che117

Matt here, filling in for pannonica. Smart theme from Todd McClary and former CHE editor Patrick Berry: four idiomatic phrases sound like they’re in the past tense, but their past-tense verbs have other meanings in the present:

17-a [Correctly cover the pool table in the family room?] = FELT RIGHT AT HOME. My favorite of the four.

27-a [Establish a new crack in the earth's crust?] = FOUND FAULT

41-a [Chop down trees in a dream?] = FELL ASLEEP

51-a [Escape from a cage made of wood?] = SAW ONE’S WAY CLEAR. My second favorite of the four.

Works for me. Standout fill: PHOTO LAB, VENICE, TIGER LILY, CASTOR OIL, FOGS UP and ALLOW ME. Wasn’t familiar with BLERIOT [French aviation pioneer Louis] but he didn’t cross anything difficult.

Favorite clue: [Lock opener?] for ANTI.

4.15 stars.

Judith Seretto’s Wall Street Journal puzzle, “Spoiler Alert” — Matt’s review

wsj

ROT invades the theme entries, and look what craziness results:

21-a [Vegetables that are safe from nibbling rabbits?] = ARMORED CARROTS (armored cars). Let’s see those rabbits get those carrots now!

31-a [Turn, luau-rotisserie-style?] = ROTATE LIKE A PIG (ate like a pig). Does the apple fall out of its mouth when it’s rotated? I’ll have to go to Hawaii to find out.

45-a [Edicts that are just plain crummy?] = ROTTEN COMMANDMENTS (Ten Commandments). We’ll ding this entry since it’s related to ROT itself. Unless we’re actually putting the German word for “red” in these, in which case, no ding.

63-a [Parts of a showy flower's nuclei?] = LILY PROTONS (Lily Pons). Is Lily Pons a person or a thing? If it’s a thing, why am I capitalizing both words? She was a person.

76-a [Roasted cockatoo serves as an entree?] = PARROT FOR THE COURSE (par for the course). Sounds gamy. And would it mimic your chewing sounds as you ate it? Gross concept, sorry.

91-a [Sent letters to a country's citizens?] = WROTE THE PEOPLE (We, the People).

105-a [Riot squad?] = PROTEST CONTROL (pest control). You pestilent protesters!

And the revealer, slightly oddly placed at 106-d: [Spoilage added to the seven longest Across answers] = ROT.

That’s an add-a-word I’ve never seen and the theme entries were funny, so thumbs-up from me. Also liked STATE MOTTO, HOOTERS, PET PEEVE and PEANUT.

3.90 stars.

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23 Responses to Friday, January 17, 2014

  1. Peter Nylander says:

    Getting 404 not found for WSJ 140117.puz. I prefer Across Lite, but can’t seem to get it today. I am not computer savvy enough to get the pdf to print on one page. I know the good people who read this site will help me. This community has always been kind in the past. Thanks.

    • Evad says:

      Hi Peter, I’ve emailed the two folks that host the WSJ on their servers and will let you know here when I hear back from them.

      Dave

      • Amy Reynaldo says:

        Peter et al: The WSJ .puz file is now available. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

  2. Steve Price says:

    My print copy of today’s The New York Times has a different puzzle, one constructed by Ian Livengood.

    • Boston Bob says:

      Mine too

      • Daniel says:

        My print copy has a good puzzle by Ian Livengood, dated 1/17/14, but without a code number. I just hope, now that I’ve seen Kevin Der’s grid, that it doesn’t show up in print tomorrow!

  3. Huda says:

    Amy, if you ever come to visit, I’ll take you to the best dollar store ever. Everything is really a dollar and the psychology of it is crazy. You can of course opt for Zingerman’s deli, bakery or restaurant or seeing the Maya Lin Wave Field, or the usual AA stuff, but this place is a well kept secret– a piece of real America.

    The puzzle was great and put up little resistance in the middle but I could not get a toehold in the SE until I cheated on JOANNA. Then I went with my guess about DIME STORES and thought EYES ON ME was great.

    WunDERbar!

  4. Rex says:

    Today’s LAT is the worst-filled grid I’ve done this year, and I do All the puzzles (USA Today excluded). Theme is kind of cute, but OhMyGod the fill. There are days when the LAT>NYT. Today is not one of those days.

    Also: I have never been as sad to lose a blog commenter as I am to have lost Huda. In fact, I’ve never been sad to lose Any commenter until I lost her. You’re lucky to have her here.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Yes, we love Huda. She was my favorite Rexville commenter and I was delighted when she decided to share her thoughts here. If only she had the time to participate fully at both sites—she elevates the discourse anywhere.

      • Huda says:

        Oh my… blushing! Which doesn’t happen often.

        Thank you Rex and Amy. I owe you guys so much for making crosswords so much more enjoyable for me. I too wish I had more time to be at both sites, and to solve more puzzles.

        And Rex, I still consider myself a Rexite, just a bit more virtual than before. I hope you will come back to AA sometime, no dollar store obligation…

    • Brucenm says:

      I’m wondering what is supposed to be so awful about it. I think specific objections, rather than a general objection, (which preserves nothing on appeal :-) ), would be more helpful.

      Admittedly, the row starting at 50a is almost comical, so much so that you could almost call it a mini theme. But I liked the puzzle; thought the theme was original and creative, though a couple of the theme entries were challenging to suss out. But challenging isn’t bad; if anything, it tends in the opposite direction. I suppose I could go to your site for more detail, but I rarely do that. Nothing personal; it’s just not part of my routine and habit. I limit myself to one crossword site, and I decided early that this would be it.

      Any puzzle which references the Art of the Fugue gets a big boost up from me. Surely one of the 5 or so greatest pieces of music ever written. I’m wondering it this is its debut appearance in a major crossword puzzle. Anyone able to search that question?

      And we definitely agree about one thing. My guess is that Huda is our collective favorite presence here.

      • Bencoe says:

        Rex doesn’t discuss puzzles other than the NYT on his blog. Looking at the puzzle, it seems obvious to me why he hates it. I’ve never seen so many partials and abbreviations in one grid.

  5. Gareth says:

    Came back from work with a headache… Took Lenapain, started crossword. Half way through could feel brain shutting down. Will return to blog the LAT when feel up to it…

    • Jeffrey says:

      Gareth, “Half way through could feel brain shutting down” is a perfect review of that puzzle. Nothing else needed.

  6. Papa John says:

    RE: NYT 33D — “One employing trompe l’oeil effects = OPARTIST

    I can’t say I recall ever seeing the term “trompe l’oeil” used to describe Op Art, but it literally makes sense. More often the term is used in reference to representational/realistic works, culminating in Photorealism and Hyperrealism.

  7. Papa John says:

    Some cool examples of Hyperrealistic Sculpture can be found here:

    http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2009/11/mind-blowing-hyperrealistic-sculptures/

  8. Gareth says:

    I can’t really add much to what Amy said, other than that [Certain young lover...] was looking a heck of a lot like BOTTOM (think gay males), which I doubt passes muster as a LAT clue…

  9. Peter Nylander says:

    Thanks. The puzzle community is the best!

  10. Happymac says:

    I’m having difficulty envisioning a domed wigwam.

  11. Jinne says:

    So how can we get the solution to the crossword puzzle that actually appeared in the print edition of the NYT on Friday, January 17, 2014? Thank you!

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Stay tuned for Thursday night, Jinne, when the puzzle in last Friday’s paper is published for the online solvers! (The answer is probably also in the Saturday NYT edition, but if you don’t have it handy you’d need to head to the library to find it.)

Comments are closed.