Wednesday, August 13, 2014

AV Club 6:12 (Amy) 
NYT 3:40 (Amy) 
LAT 3:19 (Gareth) 
CS 10:00 (Ade) 

Dan Schoenholz’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 8 13 14, no. 0813

NY Times crossword solution, 8 13 14, no. 0813

Neat theme: A LANGUAGE BARRIER is 64a. [Foreigner's obstacle ... or a hint to hidden words in 17-, 29-, 37- and 49-Across], and there are language names hidden in the other theme answers.

  • 17a. Class for the hotheaded], ANGER MANAGEMENT.
  • 29a. Covered with goose bumps], ALL ATINGLE. 
  • 37a. Result of a buzz cut], SHORT HAIR.
  • 49a. Miller Park crew], THE BREWERS.

Modern European language, ancient European language, Asian language, Middle Eastern language—nice assortment.

Highlights in the fill include slangy BUG JUICE, WEIRDO, BEYONCÉ, BANG-UP, CLUTTER, and SCRAWL.

Trickiest clue: 54a. [They know beans] for GOYA. Goya is a brand of prepared Mexican foods, including canned beans.

Most arbitrary phrase: 47d. ["You take credit cards?" response], “YES, WE DO.”

Entries I didn’t love: CART IN, BRIC, partials AND I and ONCE A, ANAT, SMA, LOD, TEN-CENT as an adjective, ANIL, UNAS, ROBB, CEN, EPT, SLO, and ROS.

3.33 stars from me.

Doug Peterson’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “High to Low”—Ade’s write-up  

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 08.13.14: "High to Low"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 08.13.14: “High to Low”

Welcome to Hump Day, everybody!

Today’s puzzle, brought to us by Mr. Doug Peterson, takes us from the mountain top to the depths of the earth. Though there are only peaks (and no valleys) to the experience of solving this topographic puzzle, each of the theme answers start with words that are types of land areas, and arranged in descending order in terms of elevation.

  • MOUNTAIN DEW: (17A: [Drink with Code Red and Baja Blast varieties]) – I haven’t had a Mountain Dew since elementary school. Now thinking about it, that’s actually weird, since I used to drink “The Dew” a lot in elementary school.
  • HILL STREET BLUES: (26A: [Influential '80s cop show]) – I always remember the piano in the (amazing) theme song to Hill Street Blues. Probably one of the more underrated shows, and theme songs. More information on this show on the “sports…smarter” moment.
  • PRAIRIE SCHOONER: (43A: [Vehicle that traveled the Oregon Trail])
  • VALLEY FORGE: (58A: [Continental Army encampment near Philadelphia])

Weird image of the day? Imagining an animated stick figure with a firearm during a robbery while answereing the clue to STICK-UP MAN (11D: [Getaway driver's partner, perhaps]). Another pretty good bit of fill also included MAIL CALL (38D: [Welcome announcement for homesick soldiers]). Have been eating a lot of burgers around NYC lately, and it seems as if I can only eat burgers from eateries if they are able to SAUTÉ the onions (15A: [Fry lightly]). I actually just went to a place that didn’t do sautéed onions, and then ordered a completely different meal because of it. Yes, it’s that seriously lately with my burgers!

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: HILL STREET BLUES (26A: [Influential '80s cop show]) – Here’s the first time I will incorporate a theme answer for the “sports…smarter” moment of the day. Michael Warren, who played Officer Bobby Hill on the NBC hit, was an All-America college basketball player at UCLA and was a starting guard on two national championship teams under legendary head coach John Wooden (1967, 1968). One of Warren’s teammates on those teams was Lew Alcindor, who later became known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Also, Ed Marinaro, who played Officer Joe Coffey, was an All-America running back at Cornell University and actually finished second in the 1971 Heisman Trophy voting to Auburn’s Pat Sullivan. Along with finishing as the Heisman runner-up that year, Marinaro won the Maxwell Award and the UPI College Football Player of the Year in 1971.

Who knew a couple of the memorable actors on a show you watched way back when were big-time athletes in their athletic heyday?!? Thanks for the time, and will see you on Thursday!

Take care!

Ade/AOK

Tyler Hinman’s American Values Club crossword, “Flying South”

AV Club crossword solution, 8 13 14 "Flying South"

AV Club crossword solution, 8 13 14 “Flying South”

When geese fly south, they travel in skeins, or V-shaped formations. Here, the letter V has flown south four times, leaving a familiar phrase in the top of the grid and landing inside a familiar phrase in the bottom of the grid. All eight phrases become something entirely different with the relocation of the V’s:

  • 3d. ["I am so totally over men, Shakespeare!"?], “FIE, GUYS!” Five Guys Burgers and Fries.
  • 40d. [Teetotaling hipster magazine?], DRY VICE. Dry ice meets Vice.
  • 5d. [Gala to raise money for the reissue of "Boys Don't Cry"?], CURE BALL. That’s an album from The Cure, and curveball loses a V here.
  • 46d. [Amazed reaction to Saint Laurent's new fashion line?], “OH, YVES!” “Oh, yes” plus V.
  • 8d. [Stick used in tabletop gaming?], DIE BAR. Seedy dive bar.
  • 37d. [Violent action in PE class?], GYM SHOVE. In Chicago, we always used “gym shoes” where others say “sneakers” or “tennis shoes,” though my son tells me nobody says “gym shoes” anymore (he goes more specific with skate shoes and high-tops).
  • 10d. [Drinking vessel on top of a podium?], DAIS CUP. The Davis Cup in tennis.
  • 42d. [Wipe out a debt to a Monkee?], PAY DAVY.

Tyler being Tyler, the puzzle with four columns of theme answers also has a ton of 7- and 8-letter entries in the non-theme fill. Love BIRYANI, DELUISE, ASSHOLES (crossing COLONS!), FLYPAPER, COMRADE, TV MOVIE, STELLAS (my beers of choice), and EXPEDIA. NO MONEY feels a little off, and RED DEER, UNITIVE, and TEENERS (who calls teens “teeners”?) were joyless.

Did not know: 4a. [Elbow joint part: Abbr.], UCL. The knee has an ACL and MCL, so the CL portion was inferrable enough.

Four stars from me.

Kurt Krauss’ Los Angeles Times crossword – Gareth’s review

LA Times 140813

LA Times 140813

Today’s puzzle has theme answers that end in synonyms for “failure”: FLOP, DOG, BUST, BOMB and TURKEY. I’ve never heard of DOG being used in that sense. To the dictionary! I think it must be referring to sense 8? The selection of answers themselves was nice, with plenty of colour included. HYDROGENBOMB is a bit of a downer, but apart from that…

  • [High-jump style named for 1968 Olympic gold medalist Dick], FOSBURYFLOP. One of the funnest names in sport!
  • [Morning-after shot], HAIROFTHEDOG. Now you’re messing with…
  • [Last Martin/Lewis film], HOLLYWOODORBUST
  • [Subject of 1950s testing], HYDROGENBOMB
  • [Lays it on the line], TALKSTURKEY

Other tidbits:

    • [Need to retake in summer school, say], FAIL. I don’t think this is thematic, but it’s close enough to be confusing.
    • [Mom or dad, e.g.], PALINDROME. Great clue!
    • Seafood clue mini-theme: [Lobster part], CLAW and [Swordfish servings], STEAKS
    • [Former VOA overseer], USIA. All crossers! United States Information Agency apparently.

3.25 stars
Gareth

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13 Responses to Wednesday, August 13, 2014

  1. Dianne says:

    I can’t express how GREAT having the answers and the write-ups about each puzzle are.

    THANK YOU!

    I have noticed that the CS puzzle each day seems posted incorrectly so the write-up is not available for hours typically – all the time which I am constantly checking to see what is written. I appreciate the corrections but wish it was posted correctly right away.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Dianne: I am grateful to every member of Team Fiend for their contributions. Ade volunteered to write up a whopping seven puzzles a week, which is no mean feat! (Daily puzzle blogging burns out a lot of people. Heck, weekly puzzle blogging burns people out, too.) He’s a busy guy with a sportswriting and broadcasting career to nurture, and he travels a lot for his work. So his schedule is sometimes a little nuts, and he doesn’t always get to the puzzles as early as you would like. While some of the other puzzles can be blogged the night before, Ade’s CS posts can’t appear on the blog until about 7 am at the earliest (per the Washington Post’s wishes). So he gets to the puzzle when he has time, and he doesn’t phone it in with a dull write-up. (How awesome is Ade? So awesome!) We appreciate your understanding, Dianne.

  2. cyberdiva says:

    Amy, I agree that YES WE DO seemed a bit arbitrary, but I’m not sure why you’re objecting to TEN-CENT as an adjective. Inexpensive variety stores used to be called “ten-cent stores” or “dime stores” quite frequently (now inflation has given us “dollar stores”). TEN-CENT is definitely legitimate usage.

    • sbmanion says:

      I usually think of TEN-CENT in one of two ways: as a synonym for two-bit meaning worthless or in connection with something cheap on sale that day as in ten-cent wing night or ten-cent beer night. As with the dime store giving way to the Dollar Store, ten cent wings and beer are rarely seen anymore, but were ubiquitous in Buffalo in the early ’70s.

      I also think it is non-objectionable.

      Steve

  3. Zulema says:

    When I first came to this country, people (in Chicago) referred to it as the TEN CENT Store, the term “dime” came in much later, as in the “Five-and-Dime” or the “Dime Store.” We are talking over 60 years ago. I could have said 100 but that would not have ben lexically correct.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      I feel that TEN-CENT STORE is a thing (though when I was a kid, it was always “five and dime” or “dime store”), but that TEN-CENT by itself fails the “lexical chunk” test.

      • David L says:

        When I worked as an editor I would occasionally chide writers for using ten-cent words when cheaper ones were available (chide being a ten-cent word).

        • john farmer says:

          I remember them as ten-dollar words. Inflation maybe, but that was the price a long time ago. Here’s Hemingway: “Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words? He thinks I don’t know the ten-dollar words. I know them all right. But there are older and simpler and better words, and those are the ones I use.”

          Not sure the origin of the term, but it may relate to classified ads in papers. Or go back to the days of telegrams and telegraphs. Longer words cost more.

          Crosswords don’t pay by the word, but the going rate would be about $3.95 per, for today’s NYT.

  4. Linda says:

    Buffalo had Fishman’s (on Delaware Plaza) as the local “dime store” in the 1950′s. They had a great cheap makeup counter and also inexpensive sewing supplies. I think there was a Woolworth’s here also at that time.

  5. sbmanion says:

    Seymour Knox IV owns the Buffalo Sabres. The original Seymour Knox made a fortune in five and dime stores then merged his business with that of his cousins to form F. W. Woolworth

  6. Art Shapiro says:

    I wonder if the name of the store genre is an interesting regionalism, akin to the familiar hero / sub / hoagie / grinder usage. I grew up in the Philadelphia area and always called stores like Woolworths or Kreske a “five and ten”.

    Art

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