Friday, May 2, 2014

NYT 5:05 (Amy) 
LAT 5:43 (Matt) 
CS 13:36 (Ade) 
WSJ (Friday) 14:04 (pannonica) 
CHE 5:56 (pannonica) 

Brendan Quigley’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, May 2 2014, no. 0502

NY Times crossword solution, May 2 2014, no. 0502

Ooh, I really liked this one a lot. There were a few wildly unfamiliar entries, but also some terrific answers and great clues. Like these ones:

  • 1a. [Modern traffic director?], CLICKBAIT. The zippiest entry of the week, perhaps. Everything on Upworthy, with the ridiculous headlines (dissected by the Guardian in that link), is clickbait, as is much of what the Huffington Post puts up (“LOOK: 11 Of Broadway’s Hottest Hunks To Drop Trou For Steamy Benefit“).
  • 17a. [One who's not out all night?], INSOMNIAC. Quite fond of this clue.
  • 20a. [Time's 1963 Man of the Year, informally], MLK JR. Nary a vowel.
  • 31a. [Ship captained by Vicente Yáñez Pinzón], NINA. One of Columbus’s ships. Sure, you’ve never heard of Pinzón. Four-letter famous ship with a Spanish vibe? What else is it gonna be?
  • 35a. [Silver screen name?], FIVETHIRTYEIGHT. Statistician Nate Silver’s site. Hot answer.
  • 4d. [Strabismus], CROSSED EYES. Also misaligned in other ways, like my eyes were before I had surgery at age 1. The result: I can’t see those damnable 3D Magic Eye pictures.
  • 13d. [Southern city that's the setting for "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil"], SAVANNAH.
  • 14d. [Beauty's partner], THE BEAST. Humorist Mallory Ortberg tells us how the story should have played out, with Belle letting the Beast die and then assuming control of his castle and all its magic things. Go read it and giggle.
  • 27d. [Messiah], ANOINTED ONE.
  • 35d. [Goes head to head], FACES OFF.
  • 45d. [Sooner or later], ADVERB. These clues trick me a lot of the time.
  • 53d. [It's by no means a long shot], PUTT.

In my “Who? What?” category, we have these:

  • 15a. [London's ___ Barnett School], HENRIETTA. For me, Henrietta Lacks and Henrietta Hippo are more familiar.
  • 26a. [Fashion designer Marshall], LEANNE. Apparently the designer won Project Runway.
  • 34a. ["Martin Chuzzlewit" villain], JONAS. Not one of the core Dickens books.
  • 39a. ["___ Pleasure" (Charlie Chaplin movie)], A DAY’S.
  • 60a. [Female lead in "Brigadoon"], FIONA.
  • 33d. [Kind of pump], TIRE. Say what? Is this one of those “sea anemone” clues (example: [Kind of anemone] for SEA, when a sea is not any kind of anemone at all)? I guess a tire pump is a thing but I can’t say I call it that.

I suspect that a number of solvers had big “Who?” categories in this puzzle, given the profusion of names. More than 20! That’s a lot. It doesn’t impede my enjoyment of a puzzle but it drives some of you bonkers.

Solid fill overall in this 70-worder, aside from the name density. So many juicy parts to win us over. Four stars from me.

Alan Arbesfeld’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Catch the El”—Ade’s write-up  

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 05.02.14: "Catch the El"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 05.02.14: “Catch the El”

Hello there, and welcome to Friday!

A straightforward puzzle for the end of the work week, as Mr. Arbesfeld just wants us to take an “L” and shove it…into each of the four theme answers, creating chaos to normal phrases and nouns.

    • KNOCKS BLACK: (18A: [Criticizes comic actor Jack?])- Don’t know why, but the first comic named Jack that I thought of was Jack Benny, especially now that I’ve been catching reruns of The Jack Benny Program recently. From “knocks back.”
    • WORRIED SLICK: (27A: [Made rocker Grace anxious?]) - From “worried sick.”
    • FUTURE SHLOCK: (45A: [Item destined for the junkyard?]) - From “future shock.”
    • HOCKEY PLUCK: (58A: [Determination on the ice]?)- A shout out to the Los Angeles Kings hockey team, as it showed incredible hockey pluck by coming back from a 3-0 series deficit to defeat the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference first-round series. From “hockey puck.”

Nothing too special to write about here, although there weren’t too many TURNOFFS to the grid (21D: [Mood killers]). Liked the three-word shoehorn in a six-letter entry with I GOT IT (20A: [Fielder’s cry]). Loved the clue for ANCHOR (8A: [Coveted news job]), as that was going to be me right out of journalism school many moons ago, only to be turned off by the “if it bleeds, it leads” nature to news. If you’re into presidential candidate monograms, this puzzle was for you, with DDE (25D: [Monogram in two ‘50s presidential elections]) for Dwight Eisenhower, and AES (43D: [Monogram in two ‘50s presidential elections]) for Adlai Stevenson. Best fill by far, at least in my opinion, was HONOR ROLL (3D: [Academic recognition]), a place that I resided while I was in school regularly, but only because I was a good guesser for most of my academic career!

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: MACHO (50D: [Like a manly man])- “Macho” was the nickname of the late boxer Héctor “Macho” Camacho, one of the most successful – and one of the most flamboyant – boxers of the 80s and 90s. He, along with Manny Pacquiao, are the only two boxers in history to win titles in seven different weight categories.

Sorry for the short write-up, but a long day awaits today. But for sure, I will see you guys here tomorrow!

Take care!

AOK

Gareth Bain’s L.A. Times crossword — Matt’s review

Matt Gaffney filling in for Gareth, who wrote today’s LAT instead of reviewing it.

This theme is close to my heart: four phrases have an EM added, revealed in the SW corner as [Poker variety ... and what the four longest across answers do?] = HOLD ‘EM! Love that game, can play it (or watch it on TV) for hours and hours.

lat52

The EM holders are:

19-A [Organized group of female monarchs?] = EMPRESS CORPS, from “press corps.”

30-A [Ingredient in a concrete American flag?] = RED CEMENT, from “red cent.” But “ingredient” instead of “component” seems a little off.

40-A [Plastic leg bone?] = FAKE FEMUR, from “fake fur.” Good one.

53-A [Line of hunky monarchs?] = HE-MAN DYNASTY, from “Han Dynasty.” For variety, the EM does some holding here, too (a hyphen).

And then the revealer mentioned above. I prefer it when, as here, letter(s) are added/removed to base phrases via a logical reveal rather than randomly, since it adds another layer to the mix. Very slight ding (like .05 on the Fiend scale) for the EM in EMPRESS CORPS not being contained within (“hold ‘em”), but overall an easy thumbs-up on this one.

Highlights:

***At 1-A we had [It comes from goats] in six letters and I almost took a chance on BAA BAA (which I’m realizing only now should have been MAA MAA). But then I saw that 1-D had to be MET and figured out MOHAIR (but if I’d remembered that MAA MAA is the goat sound I might have put it in since it works with MET!). OK, enough about 1-A/1-D.

***Dodged that bullet, but got hit at 21-A by putting WAVES for [Waterskiing challenges] instead of the correct WAKES. Only realized I was wrong when the long 23-D clues as [Ideal time to snap?] led to VOD????????. Figured it had to be VODKA something, then had the aha moment (not to be confused with a KODAK MOMENT).

***Nice wide-open sections in the N and S, with a lot of good fill scattered around the grid: TRUE LIES, DAIRY FARMER, the aforementioned KODAK MOMENT, the great Gary LARSON, and side-by-side geography with ALEPPO and WESSEX. The W there might be a tough crossing for non-Brits, though, as DAW [Margery of nursery rhyme] is unfamiliar to me.

3.95 stars.

Tom McCoy’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Word Problems” — pannonica’s write-up

CHE • 5/2/14 • "Word Problems" • McCoy • solution

CHE • 5/2/14 • “Word Problems” • McCoy • solution

A mélange of vocabulary and arithmetic. The theme answers run vertically in this 15×16 grid. Unannotated list, commentary after:

  • 3d. [Mole × spy?] PLANT PRODUCT.
  • 9d.[-Twin?] DOUBLE NEGATIVE.
  • 18d. [Identical - indistinguishable?] SAME DIFFERENCE.
  • 26d. [Remaining ^ lingering?] STAYING POWER.
  • 31d. [Faint + ill-lit?] DIM SUM.

While I liked this theme in a hypothetical sense, I found the execution to be problematic in a number of regards. First, editorially: the entities should have been in parenthesis for clarity. This is most notable in the two clues with what are ostensibly a minus signs but are actually hyphens. Typographically, hyphens, minus signs, and en dashes—not to mention em dashes and other near-doppelgängers—are different symbols. There was a time when computers character sets were more constrained and a dual-purpose hyphen-minus sign was used, but that has no place these days in a legitimate venue. Particularly in 18-down the confusion is palpable, as there is no space between symbol and word. Second, categorical consistency: four of the five theme entries are operations involving two items, and the fifth (18-down, again) repeats one of those symbols as a unary modifier, on a single entity. So where is ÷? Plus, minus, times, but not divided by? That’s the basic tetrumvirate of arithmetic; instead we include that unary modifier and an exponent (but no root function). Third, syntactical consistency: setting aside 18d once again, the clues are comprised of two elements plus an operation, and the answer describes the notional yield of the operation. Hence, plus gives SUM, times PRODUCT, and minus DIFFERENCE. But I don’t think it holds for staying POWER; that partially describes the operation, but not the result.

In sum: concept good, practice suboptimal.

Items:

  • The expanded grid creates opportunities for some savory fill (as opposed to 33d [Fluff] FILLER) such as the symmetrical partners GLASSIEST and CHASE AWAY. In Row 12 there’s the fetching RETORTS | CRISPLY, but I’m less enamored of Row 5′s duo of AT TIMES | SELLS TO.
  • Okay, GLASSIEST isn’t the most amazing of fill, especially crossed with the similar 6d GUESS AT. Mention of which, however, allows me to address 48d [Takes points off?] DECLAWS. I’ve soapboxed it before, and I’ll soapbox it again. If we’re talking about house cats—and it’s difficult to see how we aren’t—declawing is much more than simply removing the animal’s nails; it’s wholesale amputation of the distal phalange, equivalent to removing the ‘last’ segment of each of your fingers. So, clue-conventional question mark notwithstanding, this is far too glib for my liking.
  • 36a ["I've got it!"] AHA, 61a ["Well, well, well!"] OHO. 70a [Pasta whose name means "quills"] PENNE, 11d [Pen point] NIB.
  • 71a [Org. with missions] NASA, 25d [ __ Institute (UFO-monitoring org.] SETI. That’s a bit disingenuous for the latter, no?
  • 67a [First name in science or science fiction] ISAAC / 68a [Creature that can regenerate its limbs] NEWT. So close! Factette*: If you shaved off one of ISAAC Asimov’s muttonchops it would grow back with in 15 minutes. And he’d have new book written in the same amount of time.
  • This I did not know. 56d [Many a speaker of Amharic] RASTA. “Many Rastafarians learn Amharic as a second language, as they consider it to be a sacred language.” (Wikipedia)
  • 49a [Hall of fame?] Was misled, went with ANNAL before ANNIE.
  • 35a [God parent?] TITAN. Yes, but  the Titans were gods too. The Olympians were simply the second pantheon. So the clue is technically correct, but feels unintentionally misleading.
  • 2d [Minor key?] ISLET. Probably an old clue, but I liked it.

The majority of the fill is solid, but the theme seemingly suffers from fuzzy logic and reduces the solving satisfaction mean.


*not a true factette

Dan Fisher’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Player Acquisitions” — pannonica’s write-up

WSJ • 5/2/14 • "Player Acquisitions" • Fri • Fisher • solution

WSJ • 5/2/14 • “Player Acquisitions” • Fri • Fisher • solution

This one’s all-baseball, all the time. Well, that’s a minor league exaggeration, but it’s all over the grid. The theme per se is items and phrases with an unpluralized baseball nomen inserted to form new, reimagined phrases.

  • 23a. [Gauge on a hidden pipe, in New York?] WALL FLOW(MET)ER (wallflower).
  • 32a. [Bunch of corporate directors who are never replaced, in Anaheim?] CH(ANGEL)ESS BOARD (chessboard).
  • 50a. [Dice that weigh 1000 pounds each, in Chicago?] HALF-TON (CUB)ES (halftones).
  • 66a. [Problem for a nursery entertainer, in Cincinnati?] BABY BO(RED)OM (baby boom).
  • 84a. [Kid with a coloring book, in Tampa Bay?] C(RAY)ON ARTIST (con artist).
  • 97a. [Vegetarian gourmet, in Houston?] GARDEN G(ASTRO)NOME (garden gnome). My favorite, for the original phrase, the resultant phrase, and the ‘Astrodome’ resonance.
  • 112a. [Halloween decoration cutouts, in Minnesota?] PAPER BA(T WIN)GS (paper bags). Second favorite. Also, the only one in which the player spans two words.

But there is more. So much more. First up, riffing on the title, is 57a [One way to acquire a player] TRADE. 27a [Pitcher's stat] ERA. 30a [Blue Jays' prov.] ONT. 92a [Baseball team] NINE. 94a [Ran the bases on a homer, say] LOPED. 106a [Run for home, say] DASH. 119a [Mariners' home] SEATTLE. 6d [Braves, on sports tickers] ATL. 9d [Phillies pitcher Cliff] LEE. 18d [Like baseballs] ROUND. 22d ["__ play two!" (Ernie Banks catchphrase] LET’S. 35d [Baseball caps, e.g.] LIDS. 42d [ __ play (defense against a bunt)] WHEEL. 54d [LaRoche of the Nats] ADAM. 86d [1961 American League batting champ] NORM CASH.

Plus these winking clues: 28a [It has two runners on its base] LUGE, 31a [Cardinal base] NEST, 38a [Mariner's vessel] SLOOP, 46a [They rarely have hits] B SIDES, 68a [Struck the hour] RANG, 108a [Good, to Galarraga] BUENO, 120a [Players' positions?] STAGES, 5d [Steal] LIFT, 8d [Pitcher, of a sort] AD MAN, 13d [Some hits] SONGS, 16d [Tiger, e.g.] CAT, 17d [Immaculate] ERROR-FREE (winking answer this time), 29d [Walks all over] USES, 44d [Series opener] ALPHA, 48d ["__ only a game"] IT’S, 52d [Diamond makeup] CARBON, 61d [Brewers' units] CASES, 64d [Pitch, in a way] ERECT, 67d [Ball part] RICARDO (great clue, incidentally), 110d ["__ sport!"] BE A. Whew!

  •  12d [Cary's "Blond Venus" co-star] MARLENE; 53d [Grant's "Father Goose" co-star] CARON. LESLIE, however, doesn’t appear in the puzzle.
  • 94d LOPED underneath 88a [Clandestine affairs] AMOURS suggests ELOPES. See also, 76a [Words only ever spoken by a single person] I DONOT TRUE (25a), technically—and 91a [Formerly called] NÉE.
  • 89d [Thrashing site] MOSH PIT; 122a [Rube] HAYSEED.
  • 57d [Girl group with the 1965 #2 hit "A Lover's Concerto"] THE TOYS. Based on the melody of Bach’s Minuet in G major.
  • 55a [Sparkling wit] ESPRIT. As in esprit de l’escalier.

As regular readers are aware, baseball is not among my favorite things to see in crosswords, but this puzzle won me over with both its solid theme execution and sheer over-the-topness. Good cluing and minimal frass help, too.

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39 Responses to Friday, May 2, 2014

  1. Bencoe says:

    When I got CLICKBAIT, I thought, “That’s weird–didn’t BEQ use that entry in one of his puzzles earlier this week?” But no–it was actually used in Erik Agard’s puzzle this week. Seems to be trending!

    • Dan F says:

      I also saw CLICKBAIT in a variety puzzle last week! (test-solving, not a publicly available puzzle)

  2. DaveB says:

    Way too many proper nouns 20!?!? It just becomes an exercise in googling. Nobody can possibly finish this puzzle without cheating. What’s the point? That’s why my fav puzzles are variety cryptics. It’s just a battle of wits with all ordinary words.

    • HH says:

      Last time someone complaned that one of my puzzles had too many proper names, I made sure the next one had twice as many.

    • howlinwolf says:

      I completed this without googling…never do. My favorite puzzles are those in which there is a lot of unfamiliar content, and I am still able finish the fill. It’s about intuition….

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      “Nobody” is patently incorrect, DaveB. I didn’t look up anything at all and finished in 5 minutes and change. But yes, you are not alone in being vexed by the “recall or guess the names” aspect.

      • David L says:

        I finished in a reasonable time (more than 5 minutes, though!) without googling, but I didn’t care for this puzzle as much as you did, Amy. BEQ relies too much on proper nouns and names of things generally, IMO.

        On the other hand, I thought everything in the puzzle was gettable without too much difficulty. There were no weird crossings, and the names that I didn’t know were easily guessable — FIONA, JONAS, HENRIETTA, LEANNE. It’s just that the experience of solving becomes rather joyless.

  3. lemonade714 says:

    I do not mind proper names, though I agree this puzzle was beyond me with too much ‘obscurity’, but it is how we learn and I should retain at least some of the new information. I do not consider my not finishing as a personal failure. Of course I also do not time my efforts.

  4. DaveB says:

    This may be a good place for this discussion: How many people google answers and still consider it a successful solve? Do Amy, Rex and company google answers but act like they solved it entirely on their own?

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      I don’t think Rex is an answer-Googler, and I always disclose it on the rare occasions that I Google mid-solve (typically on a Newsday “Saturday Stumper”—but it’s been awhile).

      Will Shortz quotes predecessor Will Weng in saying something like “It’s your puzzle, solve it however you want.” Looking up answers while solving is cheating only in a tournament setting. I think it’s much smarter to Google, read up a little on the answer, and come out of the puzzle more knowledgeable (and better able to tackle future crosswords) than to steadfastly refuse to look anything up and avoid those learning opportunities. Why have a “DNF” (did not finish) when you can look something up, finish, and learn?

    • Bencoe says:

      Sour grapes? The vast majority of puzzles out there are entirely gettable without a lot of knowledge of specific trivia. It helps to know more facts, but it isn’t necessary. Like in today’s BEQ–I didn’t know a lot of those proper names, but worked them out easily with the crosses and logic, like Amy finishing in about five minutes with no help.

  5. Brucenm says:

    I tend to regard googling as a failure — a DNF — but Amy, I have come to agree grudgingly with your last two sentences above, and consider them wise counsel. I did finish today’s (without external aid), and agree with David L’s assessment above. (I wasn’t crazy about it, but it was all gettable.)

    There was a widely praised, recent PB I, which had two long entries which still set me off — a 1967 Marvin Gaye hit, and a company boycotted by Pearl Jam. At least the company was ultimately inferable with enough crosses, but the title (which I have now forgotten), wasn’t. “Scowl-o-Meter” doesn’t fully capture my reaction to that sort of Black Hole. It’s like having to run an extra 100 meters in an 800 meter race. But for the most part, I have been googling things of late, rather than stubbornly refusing to.

  6. Avg Solvr says:

    Thought CHE had very clever theme answers and pannonica is being too harsh.

    I understand why BEQ used it but CROSSEDEYES seems awkward.

  7. Ray says:

    One thing good about googling, it often takes only one to start a “domino effect’. When crossword puzzles veer too much into trivia contests, I don’t feel bad about a little help. Also, its better that those phone-in-for-a-buck hint places.

  8. lemonade714 says:

    I really liked Gareth’s LAT and am amazed someone rated it badly.

    I like learning things and while I was aware of Mr. Silver’s work, I had never committed the name to memory. Certainly this was not too obscure, just not in my ken.

  9. blwavgslvr says:

    Forty years of slowly gaining a small amount of crosswordese, i can vouch that the NYT puzzles are much different now. Hey! i would bet that there are zero constructors out there that aren’t pleased to find upon googling that an unearned answer actually has a valid meaning. Googling for xwords is aok anytime – i laid my tattered Random House World dictionary to rest when i became computeris(z)ed and is about all the surfin’ i do!

    • Dan F says:

      FYI — constructors never put an answer into a puzzle unless they already know that it’s valid. They’ll google to help writing clues, but they won’t go, “hmm, I wonder if CXRQ is an abbreviation for anything — oh good!”

      • bananarchy says:

        Depends what you mean by “put an answer in” I guess. Of course I would never consider a grid complete if I were unsure of any entry being “a thing,” but there have definitely been a few times where I’ve resorted to hopeful googling to see whether a likely-looking string of letters was indeed a passable entry (passable; at that stage, it almost certainly wouldn’t be a good entry. Although, I did once discover the name “Oh Sit!”, an “extreme musical chairs” game show on the CW, using this method. That entry bailed me out of a real tight corner. It’s not the greatest, but I found the name amusing and the musical chairs cluing approach makes it quite inferrable, imo).

        Just taking a stab at any old letter combination that will fit is a rare occurrence, but often searches of the onelook.com database or my personal wordlist will yield useful entries that may or may not be valid (onelook has a lot of crap and weird theme entries and obscurities have found their way into my list) and which are completely unfamiliar to me, again necessitating fingers-crossed googling.

        I do want to stress that this is not a good overall approach to constructing (if you the constructor have to google a bunch of entries to make sure they’re legit you’ve probably got a crappy grid on your hands), but sometimes that one newly found entry saves an entire grid.

      • Alex says:

        they won’t go, “hmm, I wonder if CXRQ is an abbreviation for anything — oh good!”

        I haven’t watched “Wordplay” in ages, but doesn’t Merl Reagle do this exact thing at one point? If I recall correctly, he writes REDTOP into his puzzle, asks aloud if it’s anything, runs to the dictionary, sees it’s a thing, and keeps the word there. Am I making this up?

        • Dan F says:

          I think he knew REDTOP was probably something, but had to look it up to make sure he could keep it. And Will edited it out anyway, right?

        • Bencoe says:

          I want to say it was RED GRASS. It was certainly some kind of plant, in my memory. But yeah, I think he thought it was a thing and then looked it up to make sure and to write the clue correctly. He was doing the puzzle by hand with no computer, after all.

  10. Alex says:

    I like the INSOMNIAC clue too but can’t help wondering if BEQ originally clued it as the Radiohead album.

    • Alex says:

      Scratch that — the Radiohead album is “Amnesiac.” Like me right now, apparently.

  11. Gareth says:

    I wish THEBEAST was clued as an X-man, but I guess there’s too much boy stuff in general in crosswords… That and BEAST seems to be the preferred style of his name. A lot of juicy stuff, but as you say on the cusp of too many names for me. It made the puzzle play quite easy, but can see it being frustrating for many (see above).

  12. Lois says:

    I’d like to praise Quigley’s NYT puzzle today for actually being gettable for medium solvers. I generally don’t finish Friday puzzles, yet found today’s puzzle easier than yesterday’s. I do admit that it took me an hour and a half without Googling, and that I had an error. (Didn’t know the word CLICKBAIT and had CHICKBAIT – sex trafficking!, crossed with a Native American tribe I didn’t know but probably should. Not exactly celebrity name-dropping.). I was able to get names like HENRIETTA, NORAH, LEANNE, DOTTIE, JONAS and ANDRE from crosses after much labor. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of strabismus, although some family members have it, but also got that answer from the crosses. I was pleased to find a Chaplin short, but didn’t remember the title until a couple of letters the other way reminded me. Same for FIVETHIRTYEIGHT, familiar a year ago but so far gone now that I thought it was the acting name of the Lone Ranger’s horse (“Silver screen name?”). I tried FIVETHIRTYSEVEN first. Got it right finally but didn’t remember what it was. All in all, I couldn’t have gotten all those without a lot of help from the constructor and maybe Will.

    • ArtLvr says:

      Conversely, I couldn’t have found a foothold without strabismus! But I still don’t get clickbait and don’t feel like googling…

  13. Avg Solvr says:

    Solid enjoyable puzzle today Mr. Bain.

  14. Hap says:

    Never heard of or used a (bicycle) tire pump?

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      We call it a bike pump around these parts. And the one you keep in the trunk of the car for a flat tire is an air compressor.

      • john farmer says:

        Final round of Wheel of Fortune tonight had this: _ _ _ E P _ M P. Amy, you would have done better than the contestant on the show, who missed the answer worth $30,000.

  15. Lois says:

    Did our Huda get a big prize in developmental biology, or is that another Huda? Seems as though it would be the crosswords Huda. Nice picture in the Times!

  16. Brucenm says:

    Excellent LAT by Gareth today. Th[em]e entries were all terrific.

  17. ahimsa says:

    Great LAT puzzle, Gareth! And I’m not even a poker fan.

    I thought I was so clever writing in chevre at 1 Across for “It comes from goats.” Not! And I loved the clue for ENIGMA.

    Re: the comment about the Margery DAW nursery rhyme, I’m American and I had no trouble with it. I think that may be partly generational (I’m 53). Do parents recite these old rhymes to their kids any more with all the new books out there? Not to mention all the other types of media?

  18. Howard B says:

    Way too much in the BEQ for me this time. The FIVETHIRTYEIGHT clue was completely unknown and inscrutable to me here.
    It assumed a) firsthand knowledge of Nate Silver (OK, that’s cool by me), and b) firsthand knowledge of his site.

    I can’t keep up with all the names and sites lately, although I am familiar with Nate Silver’s amazing powers of prediction ;). It seems that for me lately, work, family, and current trends, memes, and the online world just don’t mix well. One can only keep up with so much ;).
    But the misdirective clue for that, assuming common knowledge, made me feel completely, totally out of the loop, which I suppose is now accurate. But I didn’t like that feeling much.
    Anyway, cool puzzle, but holy hell, do I feel out of it now.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Did you know that FiveThirtyEight takes its name from the 538 electoral votes that were up for grabs in the presidential election? Silver had his own political polling stats site, then the NYT brought him on board, and then ESPN lured him away and back to operating under his own “brand.”

  19. Joan Macon says:

    ahimsa, this retired primary teacher is constantly preaching the need for today’s kids to know their nursery rhymes and old stories. It’s all part of the cultural literacy we are trying to promote among the young. “See saw, Margery Daw, Jenny shall have a new master” may not be deathless poetry but I hope you and I are not the only ones who know it!

Comments are closed.