Wednesday, February 18, 2015

AV Club -contestpuzzle- (Amy) 
NYT 3:58 (Amy) 
LAT 7:43 (Gareth, paper) 
CS 10:58 (Ade) 

Watch for Andy’s write-up of the AV Club meta puzzle on Monday, after the contest deadline.

Ed Sessa’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 2 18 15, no. 0218

NY Times crossword solution, 2 18 15, no. 0218

“Verb the noun” phrases get flipped, and the verb doubles as a noun while the noun doubles as a verb:

  • 17a. [Mollycoddle Dwayne Johnson?], BABY THE ROCK. I would absolutely mollycoddle Dwayne Johnson, if for no reason other than the impossibly charming scene in The Game Plan where he serenades his daughter with an Elvis song and acoustic guitar.
  • 22a. [Enters charges against a restaurant employee?], BOOKS THE COOK. I call semi-foul here. That S at the end of BOOKS is our only new verb with an S at the end. However, “cook the books” is indeed the familiar phrase, not “cook the book.” But it feels uneven.
  • 36a. [Try to find out what’s what at a pond?], QUESTION THE DUCK. Pretty sure the duck won’t answer, unless you’re asking about insurance.
  • 46a. [Shift responsibility for some missing campsite food?], BLAME THE BEAR.
  • 56a. [Kayo Popeye?], DECK THE SWAB. Not too familiar with this shortened form of “swabbie,” which itself feels dated. Or if not dated, at least woefully nautical.

Outside of the theme, I wasn’t finding much to be excited about. Erstwhile CCCP, plural BPS as gas stations, ULNA, erstwhile ENCARTA, SSS, ANODE, EL-HI, AFT, plural ESQS, ERES, CIT, I WON/IN IT/A BIT, LANI, STANDEE … these are not helping my headache one whit.

3.25 stars from me. Over and out.

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

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 02.18.15: "Wisecrackers"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 02.18.15: “Wisecrackers”

Good morning on this Hump Day, everyone! How are you all? Today’s crossword puzzle, offered up to us by Mr. Doug Peterson, is a warning to the wise: The word “WISE” is broken up in each of the four theme answers, with the letters ‘W-I’ serving as the first two letters and ‘S-E” the last two letters in each of the entries.

  • WILD GOOSE CHASE (20A: [Fruitless errand])
  • WINS BY A NOSE (31A: [Triumphs right at the wire]) – What if you have a really big/long nose? Then winning by a nose may actually be a comfortable margin of victory, maybe? (Don’t mind me, I’m just being silly.)
  • WIDE RELEASE (40A: [Distribution method for blockbusters])
  • WITHOUT REMORSE (52A: [Mercilessly])

So did I tell you about the time when supermodel KLUM stared down my friend and me for about 20 seconds during an afterparty at the New York Public Library for Fashion Week about five years ago (10A: [Glamorous Heidi])? And by stared down, I mean borderline ogling at us? No joke! Seriously, she stared us down right before she had to give a speech at the afterparty, and both my friend and I asked each other, “Is Heidi Klum staring at us?” I probably had something unsightly on my forehead or something. Maybe this grid is Mr. Peterson’s Ode to Fashion Week, currently going on in New York, with both COCO (14A: [First name in fashion]) and WANG also making appearances (38A: [Vera who designs figure skating costumes]). Actually, now I’m convinced this is a tribute to fashion, now noticing that there’s also LOOM in the grid (43A: [Weaver’s divide]). Doug, please tell me you’re going to be making an appearance here and walk down the catwalk in some designer clothing! If not, I’ll just compliment you on another clean grid. Probably favorite entry in the grid is something that I’ll never eat since I’m not a seafood eater: SASHIMI (44A: [Raw fish dish]).

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: TEAL (55D: [Charlotte Hornets uniform color]) – For some reason, the color TEAL has been a pretty popular uniform color in sports over the the past 25 or so years, and there’s at least one team in each major American professional sport that incorporates the color. It all started with the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, who used teal as one of their primary colors when they were founded in 1988. Also, the San Jose Sharks of the NHL used teal as their primary color when they joined the league in 1991. In the NFL, the Jacksonville Jaguars used teal as a primary color once it joined the league in 1995. Finally, the Seattle Mariners currently have a variant of teal in their color scheme, called “Northwest Green.” Teal Power, people!

Have a great rest of your day, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

Take care!


Jeff Stillmans LA Times crossword – Gareth’s review


LA Times 150218

Today’s puzzle is a synonym theme. Three of the four synonyms for “indefinite, small amount” are at the beginning. The puzzle is trying to make like the revealer is a 5th theme answer, which has its synonym at the end, but that seems a bit weak. Nevertheless, the synonyms themselves are interesting, and DASHAWAYALL is a pleasingly unexpected answer. In full, we get:

  • [Abe’s youngest son], TADLINCOLN
  • [Exhortation from Santa, in Moore’s poem], DASHAWAYALL
  • [Halls product], COUGHDROP. Didn’t know that was international.
  • [Late-inning substitute], PINCHHITTER
  • [Gets the unspoken message … which includes one of five synonyms found in this puzzle’s longest answers], TAKESAHINT

The rest of the grid seems to be have had containment as its main goal. Not a lot is truly bad (TNS, and I’m having trouble believing in the form STIED.) As a further example, the downs in the big corners are mostly inflected forms. The two best answers are the paired TADPOLE (duping TADLINCOLN, but no etymological connection (I think), no foul) and KUWAITI in the more quiet parts of the puzzle.

As far as clues; [Stable rides for kids], TRIKES is notable for its subtle misdirection. [Word with modern or cave], ART was also creative!

3.5 Stars

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14 Responses to Wednesday, February 18, 2015

  1. David L says:

    I thought this was a cute puzzle, and the images of questioning the duck or blaming the bear amused me enough to overlook the weak fill elsewhere.

    I didn’t really notice that COOKSTHEBOOK was odd man out among the themers. I can see that it’s a blemish, as Amy says, although I wouldn’t class it as a terminally reprehensible flaw, as That Other Blogger says (at great length…).

  2. lemonade714 says:

    According to Wiki, “The nickname ‘Tad’ was given to him by his father, who found him ‘as wriggly as a tadpole’ when he was a baby.”

    So Gareth, if this is factual, is the cross a problem?

    • Gareth says:

      Theoretically, but probably very few will notice or be upset by it?

      • lemonade714 says:

        I am not in the least upset by the TAD duplication as I appreciate seeing the full name, and find the tadpole reference a bit of an inside joke by the constructor, who I presume knew of the derivation of the youngest Lincoln boy’s nickname. I am however, completely confused by the ‘rules’ which are bandied about here by the various bloggers which do not seem to be consistent with each other not even with themselves. Your comment “but no etymological connection (I think), no foul) ” made me think it was a ‘foul.’ I am still learning about puzzles despite having been a solver for 50+ years and am truly curious if there exists a uniform set of forbidden stuff, or if it all is just someone’s personal preference. I know puzzles have changed dramatically since I began and I know you all have more to say than I do about such things, but I a lways like information..

        • sbmanion says:

          I never ever worry about the various shortcomings of a puzzle’s theme that are mentioned by the various bloggers. I notice and appreciate the comments, but am never concerned about one entry theme entry being plural while the rest are singular. Conformity to a rigid set of pre-or proscriptions is limiting in my view.

          I am similarly unconcerned about the so-called breakfast test rule. If MAO, IDI and SESE and other mass murderers can make it into a puzzle, how much worse can anything else be?

          It seems to me that the editors generally do a great job of creating puzzles even if some flexibility is necessary from time to time.


        • Gareth says:

          The various editors DO have fixed rules that can be perused at Even there some things are fixed rules and others more guidelines – like the maximum block count, which can and has been relaxed for exceptional puzzles.

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