Friday, August 8, 2014

NYT 4:03 (Amy) 
LAT 5:45 (Gareth) 
CS 9:30 (Ade) 
WSJ (Friday) untimed (pannonica) 

Bruce Haight’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 8 8 14, no. 0808

NY Times crossword solution, 8 8 14, no. 0808

We’ve got a mini-theme plus a visual kicker here:

  • 17a. {“Hmmmmm …” [as hinted at by the three groups of black squares in the middle of the grid]}, “SOMETHING’S FISHY.” The black squares look like three blocky goldfish crackers.
  • 58a. {Best Picture of 1954 [see 17-Across]}, ON THE WATERFRONT. Is there an explicit “something fishy” connection to the movie, or is its title just vaguely fish-centric?

Highlights in the rest of the fill (which maxes out with 7-letter entries outside of the mini-theme) include “GANGNAM Style” (hmm, was this puzzle made a year ago?), LOOK-SEE, TOP SEED, NEMESIS clued as the goddess.

The short-range fill (3 to 5 letters) is undistinguished, with your ESOS and OSIS, IN RE and AT AN, SERT and ALIA.

Favorite clue: 5d. [Minute beef], NIT. That’s minute the “teeny” adjective, not the 60-second noun, and that’s the complaint sort of “beef” and not the meat.

My Lollapuzzoola travels begin early in the morning, so I’ll bid you all a good night now. 3.33 stars from me.

David Poole’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s review

LA Times 140808

LA Times 140808

Short post, because I should get back to work… David’s puzzle theme is “add a schwa sound to the end of phrases”. It’s more consistent because each schwa sound is formed by doubling the final letter and adding an ‘a’. MISSTHEMARKKA is really elegant, even if MARKKA is a somewhat difficult word to use in a wordplay context. JUMBOJETTA and MISTEREDDA (is MR or MISTER the official form?) were both good, while TEFLONDONNA and MOVINGVANNA were more work-a-day. It’s tough to make all the wordplay answers sing, and I’ll take three good’uns and two ok ones any day!

3.75 Stars
Gareth

Randall J. Hartman’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Facebook Faux Pas”—Ade’s write-up  

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 08.08.14: "Facebook Faux Pas"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 08.08.14: “Facebook Faux Pas”

Welcome to Friday, everybody!

It’s great to be here once again with all of my crossword friends again. Today’s puzzle, though, brought to us by Mr. Randall J. Hartman, is devoid of having any friends in it…somewhat. In the grid, common phrases and/or proper nouns are altered, with letters being removed that, when standing alone, would be alternate terms to describe a friend. Don’t keep your friends close, just excise them from crossword grids!!

  • DENVER NCOS: (17A: [Mile High City sgts.?]) – From “Denver Broncos,” without “BRO.”
  • SHOESTRING GET: (28A: [Sensational tennis save?]) – From “shoestring budget,” without “BUD.”
  • BUCKINGHAM ACE: (48A: [Outstanding member of the Queen's Guard?]) – From “Buckingham Palace,” without “PAL.”
  • UNFRIENDED: (64A: [Cast aside, in social media (and a hint to 17-, 28-, and 48-Across)])

First of all, does anyone out there eat ESCARGOT (10D: [Heliculture product])? I don’t, and I don’t think I ever will. But it’s good fill in a crossword, so I will give it that. We have a new clue in crossword puzzles that you now have to look out for in terms of its confusing nature, and it occurred with ISU, short for Iowa State University (47A: [Big 12 sch.]). In the Big 12 Conference alone, there’s ISU (Iowa State), KSU (Kansas State), OSU (Oklahoma State) and TCU (Texas Christian). Getting the “U” means almost nothing, and even putting down the “S-U” could still lead you nowhere without the crossings. And just for kicks, there’s also TTU (Texas Tech) and WVU (West Virginia) in the Big 12. Good thing I know my Star Wars, so JEDI was a cinch for a clue that could have been a tough one for those not well-versed in Star Wars (54A: [Qui-Gon Jinn, notably]). The character was played by Liam Neeson, whose star power has come fairly later, compared to when other actors became full-fledged box office stars. I loved him in Darkman a long while ago, but seeing his star power explode many years after that has been something I’ve marveled at. With my uncoordinated self, I’m sure basket-weaving wouldn’t be an EASY A for me (71A: [Basket weaving 101, say]). Please tell me there’s a university out there that does offer a basket weaving course. I have to work on the names of different types of fish, as all the ones that make it to crosswords throw me for a loop (even though a lot of them are four letters or fewer). COHO is no exception to that (40D: [Pacific salmon]).

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: EMILE (46D: [Pugilist Griffith]) – One of the more fascinating people – and stories – to ever be a part of the sport of boxing, Emile Griffith was a New York Golden Gloves champion in the late 1950s, as well a former welterweight and middleweight champion as a professional during the 1960s.  He’s most remember for his third fight against Cuban boxer Benny Paret that was held at Madison Square Garden in 1962.  During the weigh-in, Paret tapped Griffith on the buttocks and directed a gay slur at him, causing a near melee. During the 12th round of the actual fight, Griffith regularly landed uppercuts mercilessly onto the head of Paret, and many in MSG were shocked that the referee hadn’t stopped the fight before that onslaught really was in full effect.  After a few more vicious blows, the referee finally stopped the fight, and Paret slumped to the canvas unconscious.  Paret never regained consciousness and died in the hospital 10 days later.  Griffith had said that he had nightmares about that fight for the next 40 years, and also said he never fought another fight after that with the same intensity, for fear that his hands might be responsible for possibly killing another fighter.  Griffith died last year at age 75, and was said to have suffered from dementia pugilistica from all of the blows to the head that he received over his 112 professional fights.

Have fun today, and hopefully I’ll see a few of you in person on Saturday at Lollapuzzoola! If not, I’ll talk with you here to review Saturday’s puzzle!

Take care!

Ade

Marie Kelly’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Plan B” — pannonica’s write-up

WSJ • 8/8/14 • "Plan B" • Kelly, Shenk • solution

WSJ • 8/8/14 • “Plan B” • Kelly, Shenk • solution

In a similar style to Brendan Quigley’s website crossword from Thursday. For that puzzle the syllable \ˈgü\ was added to the beginnings of words and phrases. In this one, \ˈbē\  is added to the ends.

  • 23a. [Lisa Kudrow, just pretending to be her "Friends" character?] NOMINAL PHOEBE (fee).
  • 33a. [Treating Asian expanse well?] GOOD TO GOBI (go).
  • 42a. [Means to getting high in the Colorado Rockies?] MOUNTAIN DOOBIE (dew). This one seems to have an extra level of cleverness.
  • 64a. [Doll that comes with a G-suit?] SPACE BARBIE (bar). Reminiscent of last Thursday’s NYT.
  • 83a. [Inscription on costumer Edith's gift for country singer Keith?] FROM HEAD TO TOBY (toe). Horrible! Nearly impossible! E Head died in 1981, but T Keith didn’t take up music professionally until the mid-eighties—his first recording was in 1993!! Completely ludicrous and unacceptable!!! Fun clue.
  • 92a. [Singer Jennifer's new son?] HUDSON’S BABY (bay).
  • 107a. [Host's question about party-crashing musician Blake?] WHO ASKED EUBIE? (you).

R4474AstronautCute theme. Nifty how the spelling of the \ˈbē\ syllable varies: be, bi, bie³, by². The last three—all involving musicians—plus the strong implications of 42a (John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High”, the Doobie Brothers) had me hungering for an all-music theme, perhaps called B-Sides?

  • 56a [Pandarus is her uncle] CRESSIDA. Vividly remember a particular plate from the Rockwell Kent-illustrated edition of Shakespeare complete, but I couldn’t find it on-line.
  • 71a [Join the landing party] GO ASHORE. The Goa Shore is a popular vacation spot in western India, with a lingering Portuguese influence.
  • 104a. [Decorative borders] FRINGES. Ugh, I was so committed to FRIEZES.
  • Cluecho! 49a/113a [Like some shrimp] BREADED/STEAMED.
  • Just want to register my approval for 114a [Tricky puzzle] POSER, since I rail against this word clued as someone engaging in artifice (I prefer the spelling poseur for that sense).
  • 47a [Insulation tester's unit] MEGOHM. >wince<
  • 94a [Avert, archaically] FORFEND. Was going to link to a thunderously dramatic Édith Piaf recording, but it turns out I misremembered “Heaven Have Mercy” (“Misericorde”).
  • 74a [Bicycle clip's place] ANKLE. Wow, I was thinking SOLE or TOEBOX.

Good puzzle.

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23 Responses to Friday, August 8, 2014

  1. Bruce Haight says:

    Just to clarify, my puzzle is supposed to depict three actual FISH- they just look like the Pepperidge Farm version. ON THE WATERFRONT is supposed to be a description of the overall puzzle scene: a bubbling brook on a sunny day with three fish swimming thru a narrow channel………OK, some imagination is required there :) Bruce Haight

  2. ArtLvr says:

    I went for Stimson, Secretary of State under Hoover and Secretary of War under FDR, before correcting to Acheson, Truman’s Secretary of State at 13D … I don’t suppose anyone else did this, working up from bottom fishing? Neat puzzle, anyway!

  3. pannonica says:

    NYT: 12d [Like some famous frescoes] SISTINE? Awful, awful clue. 58-across shouldn’t have been clued with an explicit reference to 17-across; it just muddies the waters. Nevertheless, a rather enjoyable solve.

  4. Martin says:

    Pannonica, the word SISTINE means:

    “of or pertaining to any pope named Sixtus”

    Hence the famous chapel’s name. The frescos inside it are also SISTINE.

    Yeah, it’s a hard clue, but hey it’s Friday :)

    -MAS

    • pannonica says:

      I understand it completely, had no trouble making the connection while solving—just a little pause—but it’s still quite awful. Even though there’s more than adequate Google results for the phrase, it’s an unaesthetic construction.

    • Phil says:

      Likely one of the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel is of one of the six Pope Sextus, hence the clue is probably correct. If there are no such frescoes, then the clue is only correct in as much as “Like some altars” or “Like some hallways”, in that the Sistine Chapel has those and they were commissioned by Pope SextusVI, but they were not “of or pertaining to” said Pope(s).

      • pannonica says:

        Nope, not a one. Also, the clue specifies ‘some’.

        • Papa John says:

          While you may be right, pannonica, there is a Gallery of Popes in the chapel. Some of the popes were later painted over, but I wouldn’t know if Sextus was one of them or, for that matter, if he was included in the original gallery (probably was, since he commissioned it). Pope Sextus IV may well be on the wall. Still, I can’t see why the fresco would be called Sistine.

        • Phil says:

          Damn, the one time I try to publicly be generous, turns out I was massively overgenerous. Never again.

    • Papa John says:

      While I agree that this is a miserable clue, for aesthetic and factual reasons, I can’t say it was “hard”. In fact, its saving grace was how obvious it was.

      However, Sextus IV (?) did commission the less famous frescos from many early Renaissance painters, most of them recognized for their profound influence on succeeding artists, including, of course, Michelangelo. The later, by the way, worked for Julius II, not Sextus, when he painted the ceiling. I suppose those earlier frescos could be considered Sistine, in that he did commission them, but I think it’s better to call them by the individual artist’s name, i.e., Botticelli’s, Perugino’s and others’.

  5. Huda says:

    NYT: I loved it. I know, I’m simple, but seeing the design and the reference to it cheered me up. And aptly, it just flowed… which doesn’t often happen to me on a Friday.Exactly what a summer puzzle should feel like– an easy day by the water.
    Thank you Bruce for the puzzle and for stopping by to flesh out the picture. FWIW, I totally saw it.

  6. Howard B says:

    Very cute visual in the Times puzzle. Made me happy after a tough day :).
    Thanks Bruce.

  7. sbmanion says:

    They do look like fish.

    ON THE WATERFRONT is still one of my all-time favorite movies and the great taxi cab scene between Marlon Brando and Rod Steiger (“I coulda been a contender”) remains as one of the best scenes in movie history. Of all the sports, boxing related stories make the best movies: Requiem for a Heavyweight, Raging Bull, Cinderella Man, The Harder They Fall, Rocky, etc.

    I thought the top was pretty easy, but had some difficulty with the bottom even though I put the movie name in right away.

    Sadly, even though I knew NEMESIS was a mythological figure, I did not realize she was a female. This prompted me to read about her, one of the very best things about crossword puzzles for me.

    Steve

  8. ArtLvr says:

    The WSJ is very amusing too, many chuckles!

  9. Brucenm says:

    Nike is female too. I sometimes wonder if the shoe company executives, and their ad agency know that.

    • Matt says:

      And the Furies. Now that I think of it, it seems like the God of War goes around in the company of a lot of Bad Girls.

  10. Linda says:

    Just loved the fish once I saw they were swimming upstream thanks to the constructor’s very cute clue! Otherwise I’d arrive at the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong dress. Take heed, anyone, if you invite me someplace–send me a ticket or be explicit on when and where, or I’ll be swimming downstream instead of up.

  11. Zulema says:

    Wonderful NYT puzzle. I didn’t find much to criticize except a small NIT for “Ovid’s others” that seems to refer to people, hence I would have changed the clue to “other things.” Very petty nit. Seems to me there was plenty FISHY in ON THE WATERFRONT. That was my last corner to come together. Took as long as the whole rest of the puzzle. I’m slow.

  12. backbiter says:

    Damn, Ade. You threw me for a loop. Griffith killed Paret in the ring. Had nightmares for 40 years. Died from dementia pugilistica from all of the blows to the head. Have fun today. I feel so bad for laughing at that, but I can’t help it.

  13. Tom says:

    If anyone is in an alt-weekly market that carries David Levinson Wilk’s crossword, his theme is eerily similar to today’s CS puzzle. One of the theme entries is even (roughly) the same. Different gimmick, though! It’s always funny when stuff like that happens.

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