Wednesday, June 17, 2015

NYT 4:12 (Amy) 
LAT 3:22 (Gareth) 
CS 9:30 (Ade) 
AV Club 6:35 (Amy) 

Molly Young and David Kahn’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 6 17 15, no 0617

NY Times crossword solution, 6 17 15, no 0617

The theme is famous people who refused the famous honors that could have been bestowed on them:

  • 3d. [Actor who refused a 26-Down in 1971], GEORGE C SCOTT.
  • 26d. [See 3-Down], ACADEMY AWARD. We all wanted to fill in MARLON BRANDO at 3d and were confused when the crossings denied it, didn’t we?
  • 5d. [Rock star who refused a 37-Down in 2003], DAVID BOWIE.
  • 37d. [See 5-Down], KNIGHTHOOD. I don’t think I knew that trivia.
  • 15d. [Playwright who refused an 8-/57-Down in 1964], JEAN-PAUL SARTRE.
  • 8d/57d. [See 15-Down] NOBEL / PRIZE.

I’m not sure why the theme answers run Down instead of Across. Because they “turned down” the prizes? Or because it was easier to fit the 16×15 grid in the taller dimension rather than going wider?

Six more things:

  • 33a. [Modern prefix with aggression], MICRO-. Microaggressions are the seemingly endless onslaught of remarks and actions that serve to make women, people of color, LGBT folks, and so on feel othered or insulted.
  • 39a. [Like virgin soil], UNSOWN. The word seems like it would apply to the seeds rather than the soil the seeds go in, but no.
  • 44a. [Home of the elves known as huldufólk: Abbr.], ICEL. Around half of Icelandic people believe in elves.
  • 73a. [Vertical strip on a map], TIME ZONE. Although not strictly vertical. There are tons of zigzags and deviations.
  • 50d. [Poker game?], EPEE. Fencing with an epee is a “game”? Not keen on question-mark clues for blah answers that are overused in crosswords.
  • 28d. [Onetime home of the Huns], STEPPE. I had the last two letters when I reached this clue, and filled in EUROPE. Anyone else?

Department of Minimizing the Consequences: 72d. [Some bad P.R. for a celeb], DUI. If the drunk driver injures or kills someone, the issue goes far beyond “bad P.R.”

3.75 stars from me. Wasn’t loving all of the fill, so below four stars.

Ben Tausig’s American Values Club crossword, “Taking Names”

AV Club crossword solution, 6 17 15 "Taking Names"

AV Club crossword solution, 6 17 15 “Taking Names”

The title can be interpreted as “stealing names,” aka identity theft. ID is short for identity, and in this puzzle, ID has been stolen from some entries and added to others (changing the phrases’ meanings):

  • 17a. [Poetic figure of interconnection in a Douglas Hofstadter book ti … hey wait, I’m shiny, heavy lingerie!?], GOLDEN BRA. Never heard of “golden braid.”
  • 20a. [European toilet fixture that you can’t possibly get hurt by?], SAFE BIDET. Safe bet + ID.
  • 41a. [Crime committed four times in this puzzle’s grid, briefly], ID THEFT. Theme revealer.
  • 63a. [Liquid purchased at a gas sta … hold on a second, I’m a virus that afflicts a certain household appliance!?], WASHER FLU. Washer fluid.
  • 70a. [Pawn shop opened by Karzai after his presidency ended?], HAMID HOCK. Hamhocks meet Karzai.
  • 9d. [In quick succ … huh, how did I become an inferno of Waka Flocka flames!?], RAP FIRE. Rapid fire.
  • 10d. [Our nation’s supremely bitter capital?], ACID D.C. AC/DC.
  • 55d. [Revealed … uhhh weird, why am I a Hollywood skin magazine!?], L.A. BARE. Laid bare.
  • 51d. [Terrorist group that tries to win eBay auctions?], BID CELL. B cell.

Tough puzzle. Took me a while to figure out what the theme was doing, and then to piece together all of the theme answers. Plus, it’s 17 squares tall, so there were two extra rows to fill in.

Four things:

  • 4d. [Kevorkian sobriquet], DR. DEATH. Always makes me think of “My Sharona.”
  • 53d. [Coot relative], MOORHEN, “a small aquatic rail with mainly blackish plumage.” Sure did not know that bird, and usually I’m pretty good with bird clues.
  • 23a. [“Slouching Towards Bethlehem” author Joan], DIDION. She wants in on the theme. Something about Dion and the Belmonts?
  • 60d. [1970 Neil Diamond single], SHILO. Don’t know it. Not a Neil Diamond aficionado.

Given the four stacked pairs of theme answers plus the center reveal, the grid gets a little crowded and we find ourselves grappling with EWER, ABOU, ORNE, TESTEE, ERDE, TWO-A, and AARE, along with the aforementioned MOORHEN and SHILO challenges.

3.75 stars from me.

Martin Ashwood-Smith’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Crying Inside”—Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 06.17.15: "Crying Inside"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 06.17.15: “Crying Inside”

Good day, everyone! Today’s crossword is far from a crying shame, although Mr. Martin Ashwood-Smith’s offering definitely involves turning on some waterworks. Each of the four theme answers are two-word entries in which the word “tear” spans the two words. Oh, and we have TEARS as the reveal as well in the grid (65A: [Signs of sorrow, and a hint to the word hidden inside 17-, 24-, 45-, and 57-Across]).

  • DEFINITE ARTICLE (17A: [Sentence element, often])
  • PLANET EARTH (24A: [Our world])
  • LATE ARRIVAL (45A: [“Fashionable” partygoer, say]) – That’s usually me when putting up my reviews on here each day!
  • CONFEDERATE ARMY (57A: [Lee’s command])

Pretty straightforward puzzle without too many hang-ups, but definitely some TEETH (13D: [Saw features]). Of all the things to possibly notice, all I thought about the unintentional (?) placement of SHEDS right next to ‘tears’ in the grid (64A: [Leaves hair here and there]). The weather is definitely heading towards summer rapidly, though I don’t think I will GO FOR A DIP anytime soon, since I’m not a swimmer and usually don’t make my way towards a beach or a pool (3D: [Cool off at the pool]). Back at my parents’ apartment, I bet there are at least five TAPE DECKS that my father had bought/ordered/picked up off the street, as my father was such a huge fan of reel-to-reel players (40A: [Players that are mostly obsolete]). Might have to plug one of those back on and give it a whirl for old times’ sake.

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: AT BAT (42A: [Facing the pitcher]) – This was a tough crossword to choose a word and give a sports slant to it since I used a couple of them already in earlier editions. We’ll go with AT BAT, and let you know that there are situations in which a batter is not officially credited with an at-bat, even though he/she actually saw at least one pitch. If a batter walks, gets credited with a sacrifice fly or sacrifice bunt, gets hit by a pitch or reaches on a catcher’s interference, that turn at the plate is not an official at-bat. (It does go down as a plate appearance, though.)

Thank you all for your time, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

Take care!


Jack McInturff’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s review

LA Times 150617

LA Times

Despite an open design that doesn’t normally facilitate fast solving; and a constructor, Jack McInturff, who is culturally on a different planet to me; this crossword played very easy for me. The theme is of a basic early week variety. BEFOREHAND means the first word of the four other long across answers can complete “___ HAND”. These are: IRON HAND (a far less comment variant of IRONFIST), HIRED HAND, RANCH HAND (very similar to the previous one, yes?) and GLAD HAND (a barely familiar phrase meaning to greet with fake enthusiasm, it seems). They occur in: IRONFILING, HIREDGUN (HIREDHAND and HIREDGUN are again very similar), RANCHDRESSING, and GLADRAGS (obligatory link to Chris Farlowe).

I must say I admire the grid design: big open corners and yet it all feels fairly balanced. A couple of partials and scattered difficult answers that may be termed crossword-esey, but all in check.

The rest:

  • [No-frills sleeper], COT. Here’s cots are where infants sleep, and they have plenty of frills…
  • [Loathsome things], NASTIES. Most famously in the phrase “video nasties”.
  • [Boston __: ’50s TV detective], BLACKIE. See? Jack McInturff’s cultural frame of reference and mine? Poles apart!

Theme was subpar for me, but enjoyed the rest of it mostly…
2.75 Stars

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23 Responses to Wednesday, June 17, 2015

  1. Jim Q says:

    Middle of NYT was a beast for me! (that’s my way of saying DNF). Cross referencing usually annoys me, but it made for a fun maze… and hey, I learned stuff.

    Another thing I learned just now:
    15-Down read “Playwright who refused AN…” (Nobel Prize)
    3-Down read “Actor who refused A…” (Academy Award)

    Never realized we’re supposed to read the numbers, rather than the answers themselves, as the lead in to “A” and “AN” in cross-referenced clues.

    Loved this puzzle cuz i found out kool stuf.

  2. huda says:

    NYT: I consider Amy our immune surveillance against MICRO-aggression.

    You know the people least prepared to fight for themselves? The mentally ill. I think freedom of speech needs to be moderated by empathy. Their lives suck already, and given the statistics, we all know at least one person who’s struggling or have one in our families.

    Did we have Glenn Close in a puzzle recently? She’s involved in a foundation called Bring Change 2 Mind to combat stigma against mentally ill people. I had the pleasure of spending an evening with her and two members of her family who have psychiatric disorders but were brave enough to come and talk at a meeting of neuroscientist with literally thousands of people in the audience, field questions and have follow up meetings in smaller groups. My conversation with her nephew about how he still remembers and misses his old happy self before his psychotic break has stayed with me ever since. The courage to survive everyday life when you are struggling with your own mind is truly humbling.

    • ahimsa says:

      Thanks for sharing this information. I always learn so much when I come here to read the comments on the puzzles!

  3. huda says:

    And I enjoyed the rest of the puzzle! I don’t always understand why people turn down a major honor, but it must be really important to them and it would be good to know their rationale. I will check it out.

  4. PJ Ward says:

    Yes, I wrote in Brando even though I remember watching the show when Scott snubbed the academy. And yes,the crosses didn’t fit. But we know that, don’t we? As an aside, “The Hospital” is my favorite of Scott’s films.

  5. Steve J says:

    Yes, I plunked down MARLON BRANDO instantly. And I nearly instantly realized it was wrong. Unfortunately, my ability to believe/accept that it was wrong wasn’t instant. Wasted a good amount of time hanging onto that.

  6. Martin from C. says:

    LA Times:

    I liked the puzzle. 45D ESSAYS for [Bacon products], and 48A GLAD RAGS for [Party clothes] were favorites. 30A OST for [Cologne to Leipzig direction ] had me stumped but the crossings filled in easily. Found a few new words.

    I saw one prefix (AVI) and one suffix (ERN). Pretty clean.

  7. Papa John says:

    I must have a completely different solving strategy from those of you who filled in Brando instead of Scott. By the time I got to 3 Down, I already had GEORG filled in, thus making GEORGE C. SCOTT the obvious choice.

    Do you guys make an initial, blind stab at the theme entries before any other fill? I sometimes will look for the last or centered theme entry, if I think it may be a revealer, but, normally, I just start at 1 Across and go from there.

    Bear in mind, time is not a concern for me. I’d rather amble than beat feet through a puzzle.

    • PJ Ward says:

      My approach varies with the difficulty of the puzzle. Here I had read 1a, 13a, 16a, 1d, and 2d but hadn’t entered anything. Then I saw 3d and immediately entered MARLON BRANDO and jumped to 26d. I worked off of 26d until it brought me back to the 3d crosses where I unsurprisingly ran into a mess.

      And I know The Godfather was a 1972 movie but that didn’t slow me one iota. I worked it after a nice dinner out. I’ll blame the wine and short rib.

    • Gareth says:

      GEORGECSCOTT is the obvious choice, if you’ve heard of him. If you haven’t that section is a bear and the C is completely out of left field! Was initially trying to figure out how to shoehorn GEORGEHARRISON into there…

  8. Martin from C. says:

    Ade / Baseball Rules Experts,
    About AT BAT. My understanding has been that there is an additional situation where the batter does not earn an official at bat. That’s when a runner on base makes a third out by getting caught stealing. The same batter bats first next inning, and balls and strikes are reset to zero.
    I think that is right, but I wasted almost 30 minutes trying to find that situation listed in the MLB rulebook, listed below, and never did find it. The situations you (Ade) mentioned are listed in the scoring section, 10.2(a)(1) on page 68.

    • Martin says:

      Another situation is when the batter gets tossed. It happened just yesterday during a Giants game I was listening to. Angel Pagan struck out but thought the last pitch was a ball. He argued with the ump and got tossed (as did Bochy, who came out to defend him.) Even thought he was up there for a full three strikes, the at-bat is not recorded.

      BTW, Bochy knew what he was doing. The Giants rallied and won the game, breaking a major losing streak. Part of the art of managing is knowing when to get yourself ejected.

      • jj says:

        That example is not exactly correct, Martin.

        Pagan got ejected after arguing the second strike call. Jarrett Parker then assumed the at bat, saw the third strike, and that at-bat was over.

        I believe the rule is that if a hitter pinch-hits in the middle of an at-bat, if there are one or zero strikes, the pinch hitter would get credit for the strike out. If there are two strikes, the hitter that he pinch-hit for would be credited for the strike out.

        The latter was the case here. So this situation is an at-bat oddity in an of itself, but for Parker, not Pagan: Parker was at the plate for the third strike, but officially does not get a strikeout on his record, or an at-bat. Pagan does, though.

        In your situation, if Pagan was ejected after the third strike, he absolutely would be credited with an at-bat and a strikeout.

        • Martin says:

          Thanks. That makes more sense. I was driving and a call came in so the game muted. When I got back to the game Miller made it sound as all three strikes were on Pagan.

          Of course when a batter’s at-bat is suspended because an inning ends with a runner caught stealing, it’s another case of a plate appearance not being an at-bat. If it happens in the ninth, it will never be recorded as an at-bat.

          • jj says:

            My favorite baseball oddity for pitchers is that you can get a win without throwing a pitch. Say Reliever X enters the game in the 8th inning with runner(s) on base and his team tied or losing, and picks a runner off for the third out of the inning. His team then takes the lead in the bottom of the eighth. Reliever X is removed from the game for the closer, and the closer records the save, and Reliever X would be rewarded the win as he was the pitcher of record when the winning run scored.

            It’s only happened a few times in history, the last being Alan Embree in 2009.

      • Martin from C. says:

        Bobby Cox’s career as manager of the Atlanta Braves is support for your theory. He has the record for ejections (161 total including 3 playoff ejections), and he won five pennants and a World Series title.

  9. Amy Reynaldo says:

    Zzzzzzz. Baseball? What happened to crosswords?

    • pannonica says:

      Pfft. Crosswords are just a baseball arcana delivery vector. Didn’t you know?

    • Martin from C. says:


      If you can read lips, watch a hitter arguing with an umpire.
      You’ll see plenty of “cross words.”

      One story I like is that when Cal Ripken was finishing his career with the Baltimore Orioles, he was a baseball icon because of his games-played streak. When an ump called a strike that he didn’t like, he would ream out the umpire fully, always careful not to turn back to face the umpire — that would have been “showing him up.” The umpires were afraid to toss him because he was an icon, and Cal knew it.

    • Gareth says:

      But I have it on excellent authority that sports will make you smarter. Which makes me worried about Murray Walker’s pre-sports mental acuity!

Comments are closed.