Friday, September 16, 2016

CHE untimed (pannonica) 


CS 8:16 (Ade) 


LAT 5:50 (Derek) 


NYT 4:46 (Amy) 


Patrick Berry’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 9 16 16, no 0916

NY Times crossword solution, 9 16 16, no 0916

Okay! All is right with the world. The Friday NYT is at its standard difficulty level as a balm to the solvers who were beaten up the last couple Fridays or who loathed the deliciously insane Thursday puzzle. And it’s a Berry puzzle, with all sorts of tasty clues. I like the grid, with its stacked 9s all bordered by peripheral 9s broken into pairs of 4s. Pretty smooth for a 66-worder, but I’m not here to talk about the fill. Let’s appreciate these clues:

  • 17a. [Life preserver?], CEREAL BOX. I’m more of a Cheerios person, but that can’t hide in plain sight as the first word of a clue the way Life can.
  • 37a. [Eponym of Bible history], KING JAMES. That “Bible history” phrase kinda threw me.
  • 40a. [Was unconsciously disturbing?], SNORED. It’s fiendishly difficult to hear oneself snore.
  • 55a. [It may be off the charts], ISLET. As in an uncharted isle that’s not recorded on maps.
  • 56a. [Like some physicians], ATTENDING. Collect the whole set!
  • 2d. [School zone?], OCEAN. School of fish.
  • 6d. [It’s hard to find in a crowd], ELBOW ROOM. You’re looking everywhere and you just can’t find it.
  • 10d. [Winner of back-to-back Best Rock Instrumental Grammys in 1980 and 1981], THE POLICE. Okay, I don’t really care about this clue. I just like the Police. Hey, Sting has a new album coming out in November. Here’s the lead single, “I Can’t Stop Thinking About You.”
  • 29d. [Quarters’ quarters?], COIN PURSE. Nice clue.

4.3 stars from me.

James Sajdak’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Repeat After Me Timbers!” — pannonica’s write-up

CHE • 9/16/16 • "Repeat After Me Timbers!" • Sajdak • solution

CHE • 9/16/16 • “Repeat After Me Timbers!” • Sajdak • solution

So here we are.

  • 54aR [Do impressions to observe September 19, maybe] TALK LIKE A PIRATE. In case you’re unaware, ITLAPD is a “parodic holiday” since 1995. Links to various sites can be found there. It’s characterized most readily by repetition of “Arrr!”, but there are plenty of other verbal trappings.
  • 17a. [You can 54 Across by naming … this prolific British romance novelist] BARBARA CARTLAND. Not an author I’m familiar with.
  • 23a. [… this quarterback hero of the 1967 “Ice Bowl”] BART STARR.
  • 36a. [… this “Yardbird” of jazz] CHARLIE PARKER.
  • 46a. [… this tooting mime of Hollywood] HARPO MARX.

Each of these people’s names repeats the characteristic exclamation. Not finding this to be an exciting theme, but it’s timely and works well enough. But yeesh! what an ungainly title. Not that any better alternatives are readily manifest. I’m convincing myself that here “timbers” is the variant spelling of timbres, “the quality of the sound made by a particular voice or musical instrument.” (The etymologies are different.)

  • Last square: Intersection of 5a [Jettison] and 5d [“Guess what I heard?” follow-up, perhaps]. Had PITCH, which made the nonsensical PIRT. The correct entries are DITCH and DIRT. For the latter, see also 10a [Sibilant summons] PSST. The former evokes jetsam, and that isn’t the only nautical/piratical resonance in the crossword …
  • 7d [It may be marked by an X in a pencil game] TAC, 10d [Be at the helm of] PILOT, 48d  [Pussycat’s boatmate] OWL, 58d [Suffix with cannon] -ADE, 52a [“Hug __” (Shel Silverstein poem] O’ WAR (man o’war, anyone?). And there are some even greater stretches, such as 20a [Off-course] ERRANT (“course”), 24d [What assesses current conditions?] AMMETER (electrical current vs ocean current), 33a [Stave off] COMBAT (staves are parts of barrels, and barrels are on pirate ships!), 1d [They might get rattled in tense negotiations] SABERS (sabers, cutlasses, whatever), 23d [Vacation island served by Qantas airways] BALI (piracy in Indonesia!), 59a [“The African Queen” screenwriter James] AGEE (Charlie Allnut, somewhat like a pirate?), et cetera.
  • 16a [Assemble-it-yourself chain] IKEA, but for some reason I first tried IHOP.
  • 33d [Piccolo-playing actor] CAAN. Football player Brian Piccolo, not the woodwind instrument.
  • 14a [Passion for Picasso?] AMOR. Though it could just as easily be AMOUR, as he spent a lot of time in France.
  • 28a [Time-zone word: Abbr.] STD, 35d [Nasdaq, notably] MKT, bleah. There’s also the less-offputting SEN, MFA, TAS (12d, 43a, 19d). Not too terrible a tally, all told.
  • 42d [One making carnival come-ons] BARKER. Will mention again that the preferred term is “talker”.

… And that’s a good place to finish, wouldn’t you say?

Mark McClain’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up

Screen Shot 2016-09-16 at 2.14.33 PMSubbing in on a Friday LAT today! Obviously this is tougher than the Tuesday I usually cover, and I daresay I found it almost as challenging as the Saturday puzzle I normally post a review of. Maybe I am still reeling from that Thursday NYT anagram extravaganza! Theme is good: remove a “T” sound from several common phrases and let the puns fly!

  • 20A [Number on some beer bottles?] BREW STRENGTH (brute strength)
  • 35A [Washateria wear?] LAUNDRY SHOE (laundry chute) – Washateria?? I guess it is an actual thing … in Australia!!
  • 42A [Musical work played where Brits go?] LOO CONCERTO (lute concerto)
  • 59A [Smokeless chimney ducts?] THE MAGIC FLUE (The Magic Flute)

Not sure which one I like the best; probably the last one. Theme not too hard to figure out. I got LAUNDRY SHOE first, which then easily identified what was going on. Lots of great entries, including one or two I may never have seen before! Way more good than bad; 4.3 stars.

The good (and bad):

  • 9A [Contraction used with “up”] WHAT’S – I thought it might be TURN’T!
  • 15A [River originating in Manchuria] AMUR – Ick. I tried to do better, and I got DRAM, A-ONE, and YADA for the across answers. Not much better, but I think better than AMUR. (ROAR, ANDES and MEANT going down.)
  • 23A [Make even the slightest comment] SAY BOO – One of the entries with no NYT occurrences! Nice!
  • 66A [Contemporary of Beethoven] WEBER – Although much less well known!
  • 4D [Pass easily] BLOW BY – This got one NYT hit. Again, well done!
  • 11D [Phil Mickelson’s alma mater: Abbr.] ASU – Arizona State University. Why do I know where Phil went immediately? It was one of the Sports Jeopardy! questions when I was on there! (Season 1, Episode 2 on Crackle!)
  • 26D [Italian soccer great Rossi] PAOLO – Don’t know this dude. Evidently a star of their 1982 World Cup champion team. A little before my time! He doesn’t look like this now!rossi
  • 45D [Like the maximum sum] TIDIEST – Before I figured this out, I thought this might be an error and it was TINIEST!
  • 50D [Less, when added?] PREFIX SUFFIX – Not crazy about this one. It doesn’t seem to read very well.
  • 61D [“What a darling baby!”] AWW! – Always said in a sing-songy manner!

Stay tuned for my regular Saturday LAT writeup! Until tomorrow!

Bruce Venzke’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post Crossword, “Four Inches, Too” —Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 09.16.16: "Four Inches, Too"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 09.16.16: “Four Inches, Too”

Good day, everyone! Let’s give Mr. Bruce Venzke a hand for this puzzle, as this puzzle features four 15-letter theme entries that all are different definitions and descriptions of what “hand” could mean.

  • ROUND OF APPLAUSE (17A: [Hand])
  • FARMERS EMPLOYEE (28A: [Hand])
  • DEALER’S DELIVERY (47A: [Hand])
  • POINTER ON A CLOCK (62A: [Hand])

Not too many trouble spots in the grid, though it took me a while to believe that OH, GEE was correct (16A: [Wistful exclamation]). Seeing XIS made me want to go back to the Greek alphabet and remember the letters in order once again (39A: [Nus’ followers]). No fill really stands out today, though WHATNOT is pretty interesting given its increased use these days with people (10D: [This and that]). I find myself saying “whatnot” a good number of times, which I know I hadn’t done at all not too long ago. Not sure if UMW is referring to the United Methodist Women, or if it refers to something else, like a drilling company or a group of people who dress as moles and meet underground (42A: [Underground org.]). OK, it’s time to head out to start the weekend. Well, almost…

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: SMART (69A: [Suffer hurt feelings]) – Current NBA player Marcus SMART was the sixth overall pick of the 2014 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics. Smart played two seasons at Oklahoma State and won the Big 12 Conference Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year after his freshman year in 2013.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Take care!


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9 Responses to Friday, September 16, 2016

  1. huda says:

    NYT: Seeing Berry on a Friday is like coming home after a long trip. It just feels all kinds of right.
    In response to the clue: Soft Options? I put SELLS… I still like it. And I’ve just had a reminder crash course in DIAPER BAGs and changing needs.
    I plunked down the ENGINEERS answer right off, but that clue kinda hurt.
    I forgive you PB…

  2. John Johnson says:

    One star for the NYT since it didn’t have even one anagram.

  3. David L says:

    A real crossword, and Patrick Berry to boot! A great relief after yesterday.

    I wasn’t fond of ENGRAFTED (which seems to mean exactly the same as GRAFTED) and JETSETS as a verb, but those are minor complaints.

    Huda, I didn’t like the clue for ENGINEERS either. A philistine remark. Anyway, think of all the scientists these days who have started biotech and other companies…

    • PhilR says:

      And what’s the first thing the scientists do once they start their new biotech companies? Hire engineers. Or, in the case of Theranos, hire a PR firm because, you know, actually taking the idea from theory to practicality would involve engineers, and yuck.

      [Full disclosure, I live leaching off my wife, an engineer who makes things, including a living wage. I’m a scientist who only dreamt of things, which doesn’t pay well. ]

      • huda says:

        PhilR, in biomedical sciences we typically don’t hire engineers when we start biotechs… Eventually, the business people seem to take over…I guess that’s called success.
        Actually, collaborations between scientists and engineers are really powerful and in my area of brain research, increasingly critical.

  4. Bruce says:

    Agree with David about ENGRAFTED and JETSETS (as a verb). I was unhappy with [top of the winter] being PARKA. A hat of some kind, I thought.

  5. Steve Manion says:

    I did not get a chance to do Thursday’s puzzle. Were there any comments? :)

    Friday’s was pretty easy compared with the past few weeks. Only the NE gave me any problems even though I knew HOI POLLOI. When I had the O, I kneejerk inserted OTHELLO, which held me up. I should have known better.

    I would have preferred a card game reference such as Pinochle for MELDS, but other than that and HEIGL on top of EPPIE, it was a pretty smooth and fun Friday.


  6. Karen says:

    LAT confusion! Is the answer to 50D prefix or suffix?

    • pannonica says:

      It’s SUFFIX. Derek must have had a brain lapse while typing the write-up.

      I don’t, however, buy 45d’s characterization as maximum. Large, yes, maximum, no.

Comments are closed.