Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Jonesin' 4:43 (Amy) 
NYT 3:31 (Amy) 
LAT 3:56 (pannonica) 
CS 7:43 (Ade) 
Xword Nation untimed (Janie) 

Allan Parrish’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword  solution, 3 10 15, no 0310

NY Times crossword solution, 3 10 15, no 0310

What a quaint theme. I bet a lot of solvers will finish this puzzle and have no idea what the theme is, or even that there is a theme. Horse-drawn carriages appear at the end of each theme entry:

  • 20a. [“Ed Wood” actor], MARTIN LANDAU.
  • 35a. [Typewriter part], PAPER CARRIAGE. I knew the CARRIAGE part of this, but really? It’s called a paper carriage? It’s been decades since I used a typewriter, and people a decade younger than me may never have touched one, much less known the terminology for its parts. “Carriage return,” that’s all I remember.
  • 53a. [Expert on swings], BATTING COACH.

Given that CARRIAGE is also the generic term for the specific coach and landau, I’m surprised that the theme is essentially one explanatory revealer and two examples. And a typewriter part! I still can’t get over that. It’s a theme from the era of 42a. [Karen of “Little House on the Prairie”], GRASSLE—either the ’70s when that show was on, or the late 1800s when it was set. The age of horse-drawn vehicles, man.

Five more things:

  • 2d. [City in a 1960 Marty Robbins chart-topper], EL PASO. Hey! I bet the lyrics to that were, at some point, typed out on a typewriter.
  • 10d. [Russian grandmother], BABUSHKA. Great word. Also a headscarf tied under the chin (my main use of the word).
  • 30d. [Like the Dead Sea Scrolls], ANCIENT. These predate typewriters but not chariots.
  • 35d. [___-mutuel betting], PARI. Feel like it’s been a long time since this fragment was in a crossword I did.
  • 43d. [Like people in Yukon Territory], SPARSE. The clue had me looking for a word that would describe an individual (say, Inuit), but SPARSE needs a smattering of people.

3.25 stars from me. The fill is okay, not super-easy for a Tuesday, but that theme was just so dry.

Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ crossword, “Six Down”

Jonesin' crossword solution, 3 10 15 "Six Down"

Jonesin’ crossword solution, 3 10 15 “Six Down”

The title has nothing to do with 6-Down. Rather, it’s the Roman numeral for 6, VI, running downward, with the bottom of the V resting atop the I’s cap, making the combo look like a Y. Thus, VI in the original phrases is changed to a Y, and the resulting goofy phrases are clue accordingly.

  • 2d. [R&B’s most notable sitarist?], RAY SHANKAR. Ravi Shankar meets Ray Charles? That’s kinda weird.
  • 8d. [Early part of the week devoted to De Niro, Urich and Smith?], ROBERT MONDAY. Robert Mondavi wines. I like this one.
  • 20d. [Classic MTV hip-hop show about felonies before Easter?], YO! LENT CRIMES. Violent crimes meet Yo! MTV Raps.
  • 29d. [Certain sharp treetop?], POINT OF YEW. View. This one actually sounds pretty much the same before and after.

Bit of a mixed bag, but in general I am fond of themes that play with letter shapes and strokes. Matt’s done a few such  puzzles before. (The best, if you ask me, was the one where you had to turn the grid 90° to read the theme answers, as if you were flipping an iPad.)

Five more things:

  • There are an awful lot of proper nouns in this puzzle. Doesn’t slow me down, but I know some folks bristle at that.
  • 38a. [Fig Newtons maker], NABISCO. No longer any such thing! There are just Newtons, available in Fig and other fruit varieties. (Not saying the clue is wrong. [Model T maker] still clues FORD, after all.)
  • 37a. [Bill the Cat’s outburst], ACK. I always get him and Cathy mixed up.
  • 43a. [Some iPods], NANOS crossing 31d. [Work areas], PODS? Too pod-filled. Also not sure what a work pod is.
  • 57a. [Take the penalty, perhaps], PAY A FEE. That’s not a very crossword-worthy phrase. PAY A FINE might work better.
  • 13d. [Non-dominant types, in gay slang], FEMS. I’ve only encountered this word when perusing personal ads, and it’s used as a negative. I don’t know that there’s a connotation of non-dominance so much as a lack of machismo. Not sure if the word’s merely descriptive or if there’s a pejorative angle. Would have been a simple matter to replace it with RAMS/ROAM/ANYA.

3.33 stars from me.

Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle (Week 197), “Spring Forward”—Janie’s review

Crossword Nation 3/10 (No. 197)

Crossword Nation 3/10 (No. 197)

So, early-on this past Sunday morning, the clock advanced one hour and—lo and behold—daylight saving time began. Or as I like to think of it: cause for celebration. Longer days—yay! And when it’s time to “spring forward,” can spring itself be far behind? Oh, no, dear readers—it’s a mere week and a half away. Heralding its arrival we get a puzzle full of lively, image-evoking themers (all clued in a straightforward way) whose first words pair up with “spring”—creating an auxiliary theme set, “Categories” style (as it were…). Voilà:

  • 17A. [Curvy St. Basil’s Cathedral feature] ONION DOME –> spring onion a/k/a the scallion.
  • 24A. [He hurls pumpkin bombs at Spider-Man] GREEN GOBLIN –> spring green. Before solving, I wasn’t aware that such a color existed, but it does, and (sez Wiki) it lives on the color wheel halfway between cyan and green. So there! (Of course, as a native Baltimoron [sic], I’m far more aware of Greenspring Avenue…)
  • 39A. [Japanese dish in a savory sauce] CHICKEN TERIYAKI –> spring chicken. Is any younger person ever referred to as a “spring chicken“? Seems to me the phrase is almost always used in the negative, to connote, er, maturity. “S/He’s no spring chicken!” Someone who’s young is often referred to as “a babe in the woods.” No fowl play there… But back to that chicken teriyaki. I do love how this puzzle gives us the opportunity for some culinary globetrotting as it salutes not only this Japanese dish, but also Indian-style cooking, by way of TANDOORI, and also the Spanish PAELLA PAN. Good longer fill and yum all around!
  • 52A. [Denzel Washington won an Oscar for his role in this 2001 thriller] TRAINING DAY –> spring training. Already in session!
  • 63A. [Floating Monet subject] WATER LILY –> spring water. Refreshing. Both of ’em.


Will add that in addition to all this fine fill, I LIKE (but don’t wish to have…) MIGRAINES, well-clued literally and figuratively as [They’re major headaches]; and also the krunchy KLONDIKE [1890s gold rush site]. I was expecting [Publicize incessantly] to yield HYPE, but no. Instead, we get a really fresh use of the word FLOG here—something else to like. Ditto the surprising [Small boat filler] for GRAVY, and the geographically (but not politically) literal [Word form that’s left of center?] for EPI-.

We saw [Not so hot?] just last week cluing WARM. This week it clues TEPID. I’m not so hot on back-to-back repeated clues… Because there are any number of easy ways to avoid it, nor am I in love with the (masc.) ELIE Tahari crossing the (FEM.) ELLIE Goulding. With Frances MAYES adjacent to Ms. G., we get a SE corner that’s a tad heavy (for my taste) on proper names. Last week a commenter questioned “why” the constructor had made a particular choice when she had others that might have made for a better crafted puzzle and I responded by saying that apparently the constructor’s choice passed muster with her editor… So, yeah. Same rule applies today . Still, these are the kinds of things that tend to attract the negative attentions of folks who solve a lot of puzzles.

On the brighter side? Thoughts of that ice cream BOMBE, the zippy JIFF, tennis court LOBS clued as [Moon balls…], the reminder that FOILS are indeed [Shiny candy wrappers] and FLIRT. After a long, cold winter, a little flirting can be an ice-breaker and a sweet harbinger for a warmer spring. Onward!

BOMBEs away!

“BOMBEs away!”

Gail Grabowski’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Bar Association”—Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 03.10.15: "Bar Association"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 03.10.15: “Bar Association”

Hello there, everybody! Hope you’re doing great today and continuing to enjoy the spring-like temperatures. Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Ms. Gail Grabowski, feeds our hunger for crosswords and matches it with the appearance of brands of candy bars that happen to be at the end of each theme answer. Guess there’s no common multiple-word term that ends with Snickers, huh?

  • MISSION TO MARS (20A: [2000 film about a space expedition that goes awry])
  • LONESOME DOVE (28A: [1986 Pulitzer-winning Western novel]) – I probably saw more episodes of the TV series of the same name than I want to admit.
  • CORNISH HEATH (48A: [Flowering plant native to England’s Lizard Penninsula]) – Any plant enthusiasts out there who want to shed some more light and talk a little more about the cornish heath?
  • LEWIS AND CLARK (58A: [Expedition dup of the early 1800s])

Though not a theme, nice to have CARAMELS as an answer with all of the candy bar goodness (9D: [They may get stuck in your teeth]). Spring is in the air, and this puzzle is already in the mood to take all of the warmer weather in, with both SPEEDO (23A: [Big name in skimpy suits]) and SWIMWEAR making appearances (39D: [It’s usually seen around the pool]). Haven’t seen the YO HO HO utterance in a grid in a while, so let’s welcome it back (8D: [It goes with “a bottle of rum”]). Thank goodness we now use cameras, motion and still, which automatically removes the LENS COVER when turning it on (11D: [Photographer’s cap]). I remember taking a photography class in college and misplacing the lens cover to the camera my dad lent me for about half the semester. Oh, and the other half of the semester was trying to remember to take the cover off before taking photos. Definitely much easier said than done while a scatterbrained college kid! 

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: SKEET (57D: [Sport using a clay disk]) – The sport of SKEET shooting was officially introduced into the Olympics in 1968, and between 1972 and 1992, it was a mixed event. Controversy arose when the 1996 event in Atlanta reverted back to a male-only format after China’s Zhang Shan became the first woman to win the gold medal in the event at the 1992 Barcelona games. For the 2000 games in Sydney, a women’s division of the event was introduced.

See you all on Hump Day!

Take care!


John Lampkin’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 3/9/15 • Mon • Lampkin • solution

LAT • 3/10/15 • Tue • Lampkin • solution

  • 20a. [*Ornamental flower with clustered blooms] SWEET WILLIAMDianthus barbatus.
  • 36a. [*Blab about one’s romantic life] KISS AND TELL.
  • 43a. [*Luxury car until the 1930s] PIERCE-ARROW.
  • 57a. [*Former PBS science show with a fruit in its title logo] NEWTON’S APPLE. Hosted by IRA Flatow, who is currently heard weekly on NPR’s “Science Friday”. Clue dupes the nearby 67a [ __-fi] SCI.

And, 65a [Body support for the end of 57-Across, in a Swiss folk tale suggested by the ends of the answers to starred clues] HEAD. So that’s WILLIAM TELL, he of the crossbow and ARROW, deftly splitting an APPLE perched upon his son’s HEAD. Here there’s a rationale for the revealer not being at one of the grid’s extremes, or center; it’s to literally replicate the apple-head arrangement of the story. The revealer’s clue is a bit mealy-mouthed, but it gets the job done.

This is one of the few crosswords for which URI would have been welcome fill. And you know what? Tell was also said to have assassinated a REEVE. Not to mention that his exploits are recounted in Etterlin’s Kronika von der EYDTGENOSSENSCHAFT. Er, scratch that last bit.


Making a nomenclatural exception this time only. (25a)

  • 55d [“The Marriage of Figaro,” e.g.] OPERA. You know what else was an OPERA? Yes, I would have chosen The Barber of Seville. Hey look, it even bisects the APPLE and >ooch< let’s not mention the HEAD, m’mkay?
  • 8a [“Frozen” studio] DISNEY. Didn’t they produce that megaflop western with Johnny Depp a couple of years ago?

Not much excitement or drama in the rest of the puzzle, just decent fill and straightforward clues. So to entertain, here are two early Eighties tunes:

Oh, also? Good crossword.

This entry was posted in Daily Puzzles and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Tuesday, March 10, 2015

  1. Bencoe says:

    Budding constructors (from what they have said) often get their puzzles rejected from the New York Times with the explanation “The theme didn’t excite me enough.”
    How in the $&@! did this theme possibly excite the NYT crossword staff???
    I feel bad for the probably 10,000plus constructors who had their puzzles rejected in favor of this one.

    • Bencoe says:

      This seems overdramatic in the cold light of day, but I still agree with the basic initial reaction. Really don’t understand how this one got published unless there is some element to it everyone is missing.

  2. Jeanie says:

    I didn’t think “Grassle” was fair, when 37-down is “obsolescent” and 53-across could be “hitting” or “putting.”

  3. David L says:

    I had no idea about the theme, but I thought this was a pretty nice puzzle, if a tad old-timey. Never heard of Ms GRASSLE, and it took me a while to recognize LETTER as “athletic recognition.” One of those things that’s only vaguely familiar to me, on account of my non-American upbringing.

    But that prompts me to ask: what is the derivation of the term “letter” in this context? Is it because you get a jacket or a t-short bearing your school’s insignia? Or a letter after your name in some directory, to indicate the sport you played?

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      You get a letter patch to sew on your school jacket. The jocks have letters all over. I have no idea if this is still done. The “school jacket” is perhaps not as popular as it was a few decades ago.

      I had a school jacket in the ’80s. Never won a sports letter, but I have three Mathletes patches I never sewed on!

    • sbmanion says:

      At my school, we could get a jacket only for football. For all sports, you could purchase a letter sweater. In either case, you sewed your letter onto the sweater or jacket and became an instant chick magnet (I wish). At my high school, the only girls who lettered were the cheerleaders. There were no school-sponsored girls teams in the NFL (Niagara Frontier League).

      In freshman and j.v. sports, everyone on the team got a letter. In varsity sports, if you played a qualifying amount of time, you got a varsity letter. If you did not play enough time, you only got a squad letter. I always brag about making varsity baseball as a freshman, but I only got a squad letter that year.

      I enjoyed the puzzle. I just called it carriage and remember having a difficult time locating a typewriter as long ago as 1995.


  4. David L says:

    Thanks. I guess some aspects of American high school life will remain forever mysterious to me.

    • Brucenm says:

      And to me as well, even though I attended W-L HS in Arlington, Va. for the (then) full three years.

      But that use of “letter” is very familiar, and appears equally often as a verb: “I lettered in football.”

  5. lemonade says:

    I thought the end of YO HO HO called to mind this SNACK

  6. Gary R says:

    Re: 13-D in the Jonesin’ puzzle – I would think that the complement to dominant is submissive (SUBS). At least that would be the case in the straight world; maybe the terminology in gay culture is different.

    Liked the Jonesin’ theme, but didn’t understand the “six” part of it until I came here.

    New word of the day for me: 3-D AMATORY. Sounds rather clinical to me – like ambulatory. I’d much rather my wife were feeling amorous.

  7. Lois says:

    Today’s NYT puzzle was a good argument for revealers, but I always like them.

  8. DJ says:

    Have to agree with Bencoe’s first comment, with all the puzzles the Times has to choose from, this one makes the grade? I just don’t get it.

  9. Harry says:

    When can we expect the LAT review? And, what does “tk” stand for?

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Sorry, pannonica had the write-up done but neither of us remembered to paste it into the main post! It’s up now. “tk” is journalism-speak for “to come,” used to hold a place for material to come later.

      • Margaret says:

        Thanks for posting the LAT — I often don’t have a chance to look at Fiend until the evening anyway!

  10. Harry says:

    Thanks, Amy!

  11. Ric Levenston says:

    Not sure if anyone else has commented on this, but it’s definitely rams, roam and anya for Jonesin’s Six Down. Foam won’t work for wander far and wide but roam will, and Anya was a role on Buffy Vampire Slayer.

    • Cara says:

      Haha! Someone beat me to it! (see my comment below)

      • Amy Reynaldo says:

        He beat you by a mere 9 minutes! What, are you people getting the same paper and it comes out on Friday night and nobody gets to the crossword till RIGHT NOW?

  12. Cara says:

    Perhaps you are already aware of this, but the Jonesin’ I worked on *did* have the ROAM/ANYA/RAMS fill. It was published that way in Eugene Weekly on March 12th. Perhaps there was an outcry from the LGBT movement, because, as you mention, “fem” is considered an offensive term? Anyway, just thought you’d be interested in the change!

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Yeah, Jonesin’ editor Matt Gaffney sent the puzzle out to online subscribers with FEMS and also let the publications that run Jonesin’ know that if they were uncomfortable having FEMS in the puzzle, there was an alternate version they could use. I didn’t see the alternate version, but yeah, ROAM/ANYA/RAMS is the easiest fix so it makes sense that I came up with that independently.

  13. Brady says:

    Regarding the Jonesin’ comments, if you’re unfamiliar with ‘work pods’, then check out Douglas Coupland’s JPod.

Comments are closed.