Tuesday, July 14, 2015

NYT 3:13 (Amy) 
Jonesin' 4:00 (Derek) 
LAT 3:48 (Derek) 
CS 5:45 (Ade) 
Xword Nation untimed (Janie) 

Kevin Christian and Brad Wilber’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 7 14 15, no 0714

NY Times crossword solution, 7 14 15, no 0714

The theme is Dr. SEUSS books:

  • 17a. [“Because, after all, / A person’s a person, no matter how small”], HORTON HEARS A WHO.
  • 29a. [“You’re glumping the pond where the Humming-Fish hummed!”], THE LORAX. Never glump a body of water, people.
  • 38a. [“Would you eat them in a box? / Would you eat them with a fox?”], GREEN EGGS AND HAM. Who can forget Jesse Jackson’s powerful reading?
  • 46a. [“Red Ned Ted and Ed in bed”], HOP ON POP.
  • 59a. [“There’s no other Showman / Who shows you a show with a Blindfolded Bowman!”], IF I RAN THE CIRCUS. I prefer If I Ran the Zoo.

Forty-one other Seuss kids’ books were omitted from this theme.

Five more things:

  • 35d. [The brainy bunch?], MENSA. I guess the question mark is there because we’re supposed to sort of hear “The Brady Bunch” here? Mensa had an LGBT group marching in Chicago’s Pride Parade a couple weeks ago.
  • Some tough vocabulary for a Tuesday puzzle: 47d. [Posts on handrails], NEWELS. 48d. [Brief summary], PRECIS. 15a. [Blank portion of a manuscript], LACUNA.
  • 7d. [Stick on a pub wall], CUE. My family and I shot some pool a couple weeks ago. I was proud to have my son see me sink some balls (and proud to see him working the geometry angles too).
  • 20a. [Easily bruised thing for half the world], MALE EGO. Since when is every male ego “easily bruised”?
  • 27d. [Try to punch], HIT AT. Still waiting for this answer to be extinguished from crosswords. It’s not a phrase I ever use. How about you?

3.75 stars from me.

Jonesin 071415Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “We’re On the Air” – Derek’s write-up

Had a rough time with the beginning this week.  JFK was clearly the answer to 1-Across, but 1- an 2-Down stumped me for a minute.  JICAMA? Not in my everyday diet.  Not in my everyyear diet.  FLAKES was a brain cramp for a second.  After that: pretty smooth sailing.  The theme then began to take shape:

  • 18A [Chase doggedly] TAKE OFF AFTER (TAKE OFF ASCENT in the circled letters)
  • 34A [It has its ups and downs] FLIGHT PATTERN
  • 51A [“Dallas” spinoff] KNOTS LANDING  – Showing my age; used to watch this!

Clever.  And fun.  When you get a puzzle with circles squares, or anything gimmicky for that matter, you immediately wonder how its going to pan out.  This made for a nice solving experience.  A few notes:

    • 12A [Indie rock band ___ Kiley] RILO – Never heard of them, but I’m not cool.  They’re in Apple Music!  Give them a listen.  I did.  Not bad…
    • 30A [Little round hill] KNOLL – Are these usually “grassy??” :-)
    • 54A [Island resort town in South Carolina] HILTON HEAD – There is a resort here that is one of the few places in the US that has grass tennis courts.  It’s on my bucket list to play there one day…
    • 19D [Fake-tanned] ORANGE – I had BRONZE in here at first.  Orange-tinted people do look quite fake. And creepy…
    • 32D [Walk of Fame award] STAR – Saw this star when I was in LA to film Sports Jeopardy! last August. It’s Robin Williams’s star, if you cannot see the picture that well:robin williams star
    • 41D [“The Dude ___”] ABIDES – Evidently this is a quote from The Big Lebowski? Never saw the movie. Does it have another meaning I’m not seeing?  Here is a clip:

  • 45D [$100 bill, in old slang] C-NOTE – Put in C-NOTE, hoping it wasn’t C-SPOT!
  • 48D [Taiwanese golfer Yani ___, youngest to win five major championships] TSENG – Nice timing, with the US Women’s Open wrapping up on Sunday.  Yani Tseng finished T64 and missed the cut.
  • 55D [“Love ___ Battlefield”] IS A  – Showing my age again…I remember Pat Benatar music quite vividly.

Another smooth puzzle from Matt.  4 stars.

C.C. Burnikel’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up

LAT 071415C.C. is fast becoming one of my favorite constructors.  She also has this week’s Monday NYT puzzle.  Nice cartoon by Hayley Gold on the Monday puzzle at her Across and Down website. Hopefully I will meet this constructor soon!  This Tuesday’s LAT is another nice solving experience; the a-ha moment is not until the very end, when you get to 50D.  Here are the theme entries:

  • 17A [“Back to the Future” subject] TIME TRAVEL
  • 27A [“Cash makes things happen”] MONEY TALKS
  • 45A [Cosmetic applied after foundation] FACE POWDER
  • 60A [Ditzy one] SPACE CADET
  • 50D [“That’s enough!” … or what one can do with the first word of 17-, 27-, 45-, and 60-Across] SAVE IT

As in SAVE TIME, SAVE MONEY, SAVE FACE, and SAVE SPACE. Nicely done.  Always fun to try and figure out the theme, and if you’re solving in roughly northwest to southeast order in the grid, the a-ha moment is perfectly timed.  4 stars for this one! A few notes:

  • 10A [“Better Call ___”: “Breaking Bad” spin-off] SAUL – Still working my way through Breaking Bad on Netflix; haven’t seen this show yet.  I hear it, too, is quite good.
  • 23A [“Anything you say, honey”] YES, DEAR – Great entry.  And well clued.
  • 1D [Skewered Asian snack] SATAY – I actually have had this.  Pretty good. I like Asian food, at least the Asian food served in America!
  • 2D [They’re committed by 62-Acrosses] and 61D [60-Down reaction] – CRIMES are committed by PERPs, and AAH is heard at the SPA. I don’t care for these “look at another clue” clues.  It does tie the puzzle together nicely, but sometimes when you’re racing, it is a lot of work to search for the other clue!  I’m ranting about my personal preference, though.  Any thoughts by someone else?
  • 6D [Chain known for its New York pizza] SBARRO – It seems like I only see these in travel plazas and food courts.  Not my favorite.
  • 38D [“Isn’t that cute?”] AWW – Why, when some people say this, does it sound like it has 2 or 3 syllables?

Again, great puzzle.  Can’t wait to see her next tour de force!

Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle (Week 215), “City Blocks”—Janie’s review

Crossword Nation 7/14 (No. 215)

Crossword Nation 7/14 (No. 215)

Ah. Now’s here’s an example of the kind of puzzle I take genuine pleasure in solving. Strong, lively theme and themers? Check. Evocative non-theme fill? Check. Peppy cluing? Yep. Smooth solve? Oh, yeah. Today it’s all there for us to enjoy. From where I sit, this was one smile-making theme. The names of six (count ’em, six) world cities have been elongated, mashed up with another word to give us humorous urban portmanteaus—all winningly clued to accommodate the new creation. For anyone who solved Merl’s ACPT 2015 puzzle, this is a variation on that theme, where his all-American “expanding cities” occupied the blocks at the end of the new word ([City that never exercises?], e.g., clued FLABILENE). But today is about Liz’s city-first, global approach—and here’s what she gives us:

  • 17A. [American mariners from North Dakota who served on Jason’s ship?] FARGONAUTS. This is the only one I’m gonna spell out, because I know you know how this works… FARGO (North Dakota city) + ARGONAUTS (mariners on Jason’s ship) = FARGONAUTS. Too silly. I love it. Though with a population of perhaps some 115,000 Fargo is on the small side, a city it is. North Dakota’s largest, in fact.
  • 24A. [French high society?] PARISTOCRACY. This sounds like it should be an actual word, no? It’s not showing up yet on Google Ngram, but, hey, it does show up on Google!
  • 33A. [English Olympian?] BATHLETE. Hah!
  • 45A. [Indian breakfast food?] AGRANOLA. By this time I was anticipating another answer that was related to human beings—so it took me a while to fully appreciate this one. And it’s not the only non-corporeal example. Keeping your mind open to the various ways this theme works will let you savor
  • 50A. [Peruvian resourcefulness?] LIMAGINATION. Sweet. Ditto the animal-based
  • 64A. [Italian who dines on ants?] PARMADILLO. That would be some oddity. Seems the ARMADILLO is a New World mammal. But I’m gonna use my LIMAGINATION and accept the possibility that such a creature exists. In Italy.

So there ya have it. Terrific theme and theme set. When I rule the world, however, I’m gonna re-clue DANE so that (in this puzzle) it doesn’t refer to a person who’s a [Native of Copenhagen]. I feel like this city/person combo—which draws on the theme idea—is an inelegant distraction from the two very strong themers that sandwich it. Your mileage may vary.

Back in the plus column, with all those great themers occupying grid real estate, we still get two flat-out superb 10s: STREAMLINE and SAUSAGE DOG [!!!]. And there are two 6s as well: DEE DEE Ramone and COME UP, as in, “Did your name [Get mentioned] when they were discussing…?” While I very much like the baseball-based TAG UP as fill, I’m not deeply enamored of the repeated UP. And so it goes. The good news? The final “P” in COME UP is the first letter of PEAS those [Controversial guacamole ingredients]. Cluing don’t get much fresher than that! Oh, unless you want to include CARLI [Soccer star Lloyd who scored a hat trick in the 2015 Women’s World Cup final]. And I do! ;-)

A few more “likes” and then I’m outta here:

  • [Slug back?] for FEST. Nope. Not truly a clue about self-defense. For the noobs: FEST occurs as a suffix, at the “back,” of “slug,” giving us slugfest, as in the way to describe almost any boxing match. Or baseball game in which a lot of runs are scored.
  • [Jokingly] and IN FUN. Lovely. Light.
  • [Puma, to Puma] and LOGO. Nice and concise. Dynamic.puma
  • [“Chocolat” director Hallström] and LASSE, because the charming Chocolat was filmed, in part, in Sarlat, a most charming and impeccably maintained medieval town in the Dordogne region of France. I had the good fortune to spend a few days there. <sigh> This is what I mean when I talk about “evocative” fill. Same with
  • [Sam in “Wimbledon“] and NEILL. Okay, not a great movie. But. I recently binge-watched a 1983 Sam NEILL in Reilly: Ace of Spies. Seems the Jewish Sidney Rosenblum a/k/a Sidney Reilly was the prototype for Ian Fleming’s James Bond. Who knew? So that’s one connection. The other? Well, our constructor is a ***major*** tennis enthusiast. No doubt in my mind why Mr. NEILL has been so clued. There’s a nice piece of serendipity for ya. And congrats to Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic on their virtuosic playing this past weekend.

Til next week, I leave you with:

Sunset in Sartlat.  5/16/13.  9:25 p.m.  And do note the authentic medieval merry-go-round (she said in fun)...

Sunset in Sartlat. 5/16/13. 9:25 p.m. And do note the authentic medieval merry-go-round (she said in fun)…


Randall J. Hartman’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Tennis, Anyone?”—Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 07.14.15: "Tennis, Anyone?"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 07.14.15: “Tennis, Anyone?”

Good morning, all! We’re just coming off watching what just happened over in England at Wimbledon, so today’s crossword, brought to us by Mr. Randall J. Hartman, has some timeliness to it. In it, each of the four theme answers are multiple word entries in which the first word also relates to an element of tennis, specifically at the end of a contest. Some might point out that the saying actually goes, “Game. Set. Match.”, and that the presence of ‘point’ might be arbitrary. I would agree with that, yet, at the same time, the point immediately before the end of any game, including match point, is called a ‘game point.’ Therefore, having “point” to start the sequence off is OK by me. What say you?

  • POINT GUARD (17A: [Derrick Rose, for one]) – For non sports fans solving this puzzle, seeing his name might have made you say, “Who on Earth is Derrick Rose?”
  • GAME WARDEN (31A: [Wildlife protector])
  • SET FORWARD (48A: [Adjust, as a clock in spring])
  • MATCH LIGHT (65A: [Big name in charcoal])

Fastest time ever on here, which means this puzzle was probably even easier for you to solve. The two long down answers were highlights of the puzzle; BETTER HALF (10D: [Spouse]) and WAKE FOREST, the gorgeous university located in Winston Salem, N.C. (30D: [Home of the Demon Deacons]). Don’t think I hear the term ROOMER too much in terms of someone staying at a hotel, as I’ll be doing a lot in the next couple of months as college sports seasons get underway (49D: [B&B patron]). There should be something against having ORE (26A: [Prospector’s find]), OREO (46A: [Kraft cookie brand]) and OLEO all in the same grid (55D: [Butter alternative]). To close, I want to know when the word SHADE became an insult, as in “throwing shade” at somebody (20A: [Relief from the sun]). I’m sure it goes back a few years, but, literally, I’ve heard young people say that more and more, including a few times at the camp that I just came back from. Well, just looked it up, and I guess here’s a little background on it, if you’re interested.

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: NO-HITTER (21A: [Nolan Ryan specialty]) – To say that Nolan Ryan specialized in the NO-HITTER during his long Major League career is an understatement. His first no-hitter, while a member of the California Angels, came on May 15, 1973. His seventh and final no-hitter, while a member of the Texas Rangers, came on May 1…of 1991! That’s an 18-year span between his first and last no-no! Ryan also threw a Major League record-tying 12 one-hitters. The Ryan Express was truly one of the all-time great power pitchers. Oh, and don’t forget that Ryan’s only World Series championship came while he was a member of the Miracle Mets in 1969.

See you all on the top of the hump tomorrow! Have a great rest of your Tuesday!

Take care!


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18 Responses to Tuesday, July 14, 2015

  1. Steve J says:

    When someone’s pseudonym is Dr Seuss, can you really just refer to him as Seuss? To me, this was like having a puzzle about T without the Mr.

    • Jim Q says:

      Hmm. I see your point, but it didn’t bother me none. I think SEUSS is such a stand-alone legitimate entry that it works (whereas T does not). I’m willing to bet that Brad and Kevin chose to go with really colorful theme answers over trying to squeeze in a 7-letter entry in an awkward spot. I had a lot of fun remembering those titles from when I was a kid- I wasn’t expecting to see a revealer at all- so nice little surprise there.

    • pannonica says:

      When Seussian is a not-unheard-of epithet* I think one can easily get away with (pseudo-)surname only. Not so for T-esque.

      * 114,000 Google hits

      • Jim Q says:

        In Google Battles: S-Esque beats T-Esque 14,900 to 4,820. But don’t pity the fool. He edged out his other neighbor: T-Esque beats U-Esque 4,820 to 3,610. And they only had a ménage à trois (STU-Esque) 1060 times. I’m strangely jealous of STU-Esque.

  2. Dave says:

    I once glumped a body of water, but I was really glasted. I’m sure I’ll never do it again.

  3. sbmanion says:

    The comment on the geometry of pool reminded me of Donald in Mathmagic Land from my youth. I ran the pool room in college and when I was in law school played half an hour of pool and half an hour of billiards almost every day against an older law student who had been the last intercollegiate billiards champ. I chuckle at the masse and other geometry-defying shots that great pool players can manufacture.

    I would say that I have at one time or another read about 10 Dr. Seuss books. I have read all of the ones in today’s puzzle except the Circus one, which frankly I don’t think I had ever heard of.


  4. huda says:

    NYT: I love it. I love Dr. Seuss, I loved reading it to my kids (my son especially enjoyed him) and now to my grandkids. I only wish the Sneetches were in there. I feel that this country recently had a Sneetch moment:

    …..I’m quite happy to say
    That the Sneetches got really quite smart on that day,
    The day they decided that Sneetches are Sneetches
    And no kind of Sneetch is the best on the beaches.
    That day, all the Sneetches forgot about stars
    And whether they had one, or not, upon thars.

  5. Papa John says:

    As a child I was forbidden from reading Seuss books. I never knew the reason why but 46A HOP ON POP clued as “Red Ned Ted and ED in bed” may offer a hint. What the heck is that all about?

  6. PJ Ward says:

    Anyone else Naticked at 1D/12A on the Jonesin’ puzzle? I hope I’m using it correctly.

    • Gary R says:

      I don’t think this would fit Rex Parker’s definition of a natick, as I would expect that Dustin Hoffman’s Ratso Rizzo is a pretty widely known character. But if you don’t know the character or the band, there are certainly other plausible letters to guess at for that crossing (“F” comes to mind) – so it would qualify as a “personal natick.”

    • ahimsa says:

      I do not know the band name (RILO Kiley) but I do know JICAMA (and enjoy eating it, too!). So I got the crossing “I” without any problem.

      I think you’re using the term Natick correctly but I don’t know whether this crossing counts.

      The idea is that it’s two words crossing that are fairly obscure, e.g., fewer than 1/4 of the solvers would know (or something like that). But I’m no good at guessing how well known things are. I didn’t realize that JICAMA was obscure, for example, but two people have already mentioned that they don’t know it.

      • Gary R says:

        Oops – just realized after reading ahimsa’s comment that I was talking about the wrong crossing. I, too, have no sense of how widely known JICAMA would be (although I see the WordPress spell-checker doesn’t recognize it – maybe that’s an indication).

  7. makfan says:

    In the Jonesin’ puzzle, I naticked on RILO/RATSO but otherwise it was fun.

  8. Harry says:

    I agree with Derek. C.C. is fast becoming one of my favorites, as well.

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