Friday, December 30, 2016

AV Club 8:36 (Ben) 


CS tk (Ade) 


LAT 7:28 (Gareth) 


NYT untimed (Amy) 


Ben’s AV Club write-up covers Francis Heaney’s puzzle, which was sent on not-the-usual-day but was intended to be the regular weekly AVCX offering.

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

NY Times crossword solution, 12 30 16, no 1230

Super-smooth Berry here. A B”erry smoothie. Do people already call his puzzles that?

My internet connection is poky right now, so short post. Never heard of a PURPLE COW (like a black cow, but with grape pop rather than root beer). I have heard of ube (sweet purple yam) ice cream, however, and have had it for dessert the last two days. ( A Filipino delight!) Likes: CREAM SODA, “MAN ALIVE!”, FOX NEWS as an entry, CON EDISON (do New Yorkers know that Chicagoans have Com(monwealth)Ed instead?), LAST NAMES, SHAREWARE, YOGI BERRA, MUDFISH, the O’JAYS, Ralph ABERNATHY (he worked with MLK Jr.), Alan RICKMAN, “N’EST CE PAS?”, and “WHO, ME?” Snoozers: EWERS, ADE.

Questions: Is HOLD-UP JOB really a thing the way “stickup job” is?

4.25 stars from me.

Jeffrey Wechsler’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up

LA Times

The revealer is an excellent answer – WINWINSITUATION. The answers feature two WINs somewhere in their letters – BLOwinINTHEwinD, TwinwinDOWFAN and TOwinGwinCHES; not the most splashy set, but the theme is most constraining.

The grid creaks in places (ROWA, TSPS, WTS, OSTEO) – 13’s never do constructors favours – but mostly holds up. DISRAELI is a bold opening answer to start with, but mostly it’s a functional grid, even the two long downs forced by those pesky 13s!

3 Stars

Francis Heaney’s AVCX crossword, “Secret Santas” — Ben’s Review

Time’s running out on the clock for 2016, but there’s still time for one extra AV Club review.  A little under a week ago, we were gifted a trio of puzzles from the AV Club, including this one, “Secret Santas”, from Francis Heaney.  Let’s tear off the gift wrap and check what’s inside this one:

  • 16A: Cow you can’t miss? — HEIFER APPARENT
  • 21A: “So centavo. ___”– MUCH CRUZADO
  • 40A:Songbird with bloodlust? — BATTLE CANARY
  • 60A:Friend of Tom Boring and Harry Mundane? — DICK PROSAIC
  • 68A: Instrument robust enough to last through an entire Blues Traveler tour? — HARDY HARMONICA

With a name like “Secret Santas”, I was expecting different names for St. Nicholas to pop up in this grid, but instead it was various Santa cities modifying phrases in the grid – Santa FE in HEIR APPARENT, Santa CRUZ in MUCH ADO (which, in response to the doge reference, wow), Santa ANA modifies BATTLE CRY, ROSA modifies DICK PIC, and Santa MONICA makes HARDY HAR Blues Traveler worthy

I really dug this grid theme, and the rest of the fill had plenty to enjoy as well – PANOPTICON, SEPTA (which I guessed from the public transit part of the clue, but who is also a GoT character), APOLLO VIII (if you’re going to put a roman numeral in your grid, at least attach it to something like this), I SPY, and WWI ACES

Thanks for a great year, AV Club!  Here’s to many more!

4.25/5 stars

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10 Responses to Friday, December 30, 2016

  1. Howard B says:

    PURPLE COW got me too. At least the clue was very helpful there.
    Very nicely done puzzle!

  2. Lise says:

    NYT: A fine puzzle; a pleasure to solve from start to finish. I was briefly stuck by answering GOLFS for “Has a rough time?” (that would be me) but the Good SAMARITAN saved me. Did not know that Mickey Mantle played in the ASTRODOME.

    CARLA Thomas and Richard KILEY were new to me, but gettable from crosses. I hope to remember them on their next crossword appearance.

    Thanks, Mr. Berry, for a TROVE of fun!

    • Bruce N Morton says:

      Never heard of Ms. Thomas either, but Richard Kiley was a superb baritone, who sang ‘The Impossible Dream’ in the original Broadway production of Man of La Mancha.

      Superb Patrick Berry; great to see his byline again.

      Happy New Year to all.

  3. Susan Hoffman says:

    Any word on when the links page will be fixed? I can’t get the java app on the WSJ page to run (apparently it doesn’t pass my computer’s security minimum). So I’m stuck with paper. Ugh.

  4. PJ Ward says:

    NYT 57a – A little google research indicates about 20% of women married in recent years kept their last names. Am I missing something or does that make that entry a little iffy?

    • Jenni Levy says:

      More than a little iffy, in my book. It made me growl. I’ve been married since 1984 and did not change my name. We gave our daughter my husband’s last name and I resent the implication that we are not a family because we don’t share the same last name.


  5. Adam N. says:

    TBH I don’t know why UBE (ice cream/cake/halaya) isn’t all over crosswords, it’s so crosswordable!

  6. Greg says:

    Among other achievements, Carla Thomas teamed with Otis Redding in a modest but humorous 1967 R&B hit, “Tramp.”

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