Friday, February 3, 2017

CHE untimed (pannonica) 


CS 11:29 (Ade) 


LAT 6:13 (Gareth) 


NYT 4:40 (Amy) 


Paolo Pasco’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 2 3 17, no 0203

Nice puzzle, Paolo! Standard Friday difficulty for me, but pannonica says she flew through it. How’d it play for y’all?

Favorite fill and affiliated remarks: DRUNK-DIAL (if you’re so drunk you’re making calls you shouldn’t make, consider drinking less), RENE RUSSO (men named René don’t care for her coopting the traditionally male spelling, because people already think these guys are named Renée), Warren ZEVON, THE EU, FACEPALM, TO WIT, fictional PAWNEE, BIKE LANES (always check for cyclists before opening the car door into the street!), FAJITAS (my son’s dinner tonight), DOVE BAR (chocolate-coated ice cream > soap), and TOASTY (I wish it were toasty…).

Six more things:

  • 20a. [Pickup line?], CABS. As in at a taxi stand.
  • 26a. [Arm muscles, in bodybuilding lingo], BIS. Never encountered this shorthand for biceps. Bis and tris, I guess?
  • 1d. [Tumbling equipment], DRYERS. This one confused me at first. Tumble dryers for drying laundry, not gymnastic tunbling.
  • 9d. [Twitter titter], LOL. I feel like I see a lot more laughter emojis than “lol” on Twitter … but another crossworder who flew through this puzzle did just use “lol” in a tweet tonight.
  • 43d. [Many a Taylor Swift fan], TWEENER. Come on, Paolo. Fess up. You’d never used the word TWEENER in your life before it held the corner of your puzzle together, had you?
  • 14d. [Power line?], DYNASTY. Great clue.

4.2 stars from me.

Kevin Christian’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Home of the Whopper” — pannonica’s write-up

CHE • 2/3/17 • “Home of the Whopper” • Christian • solution

The revealer lies sits in the center: 38a [Supposed sign of lying … or a hint to the answers in the circled squares] PANTS ON FIRE. This is also the most dismal rating issued by the fact-checking website PolitiFact.

(On that subject, there have been some criticisms that PolitiFact has a liberal bias, but by my estimation it’s mostly true (in their parlance) most of the time.)

Back to the theme. The first and last pairs of rows feature those circled squares. In each stacked pair, the entry on top can precede pants while the one below can precede fire. Ergo, pants on fire.

  • 1a. [Something cut without damage] DECK. Deck pants, not the most common collocation, which makes it less than ideal for the theme pair that ostensibly demonstrates what’s going on.
    14a. [Forthcoming] OPENOpen fire.
  • 5a. [Support for a proposal?] KNEEKnee pants.
    15a. [Dante setting] HELLHellfire.
  • 9a. [Worry about, informally] SWEATSweatpants.
    16a. [Lay off] CEASECease fire.
  • 63a. [Boatload, say] CARGOCargo pants.
    66a. [Annoyed] CROSSCrossfire.

  • 64a. [Picnic problem] RAINRain pants.
    67a. [Brand with a “raise your hand” ad campaign] SURESurefire.
  • 65a. [Lotus-position discipline] YOGAYoga pants.
    68a. [Barbecue rod] SPITSpitfire.

Very deft, coming up with all those pairs of equal letter length, stacking them and so forth. Only a couple needed extra spandex in the waistband.

Forgive me, but I have to talk about the elephant in the room. Yes, I know it’s tedious, but these things must be done, they simply cannot be ignored. 46d [Bent over] ASTOOP? That’s quite a cruciverbal contortion necessitated in part by the YOGA / SPIT stack. I’m looking at it with my eyes acrook.

Some other down entries are also questionable, but to a much lesser degree. 47d [Stuffed dumpling] PIROGI would have benefitted from a var. qualifier (Ngram). 41d THE REAR is pulled out of the fire by a well-crafted clue, [What a loser brings up?]. A similar though less impressive feat is achieved with the merely blah 19a IT’S IN: [Exultant golf whisper, maybe].

  • 20a [Max on a Spinal Tap amp, famously] ELEVEN. Some people don’t understand mathematics, or seemingly much else. By the way, there’s a new mash-up video, have you seen it?
  • 7d [Split to unite?] is another variation in the apparently limitless cute clues for ELOPE, telegraphed here by the preceding 6d [Bridal bio word] NÉE. Still waiting for someone to clue elope as leaving a hospital without being formally discharged (aka, escaping).
  • 11d [Manhattan area closest to Brooklyn and Queens] EAST SIDE. That’s East Side, not Eastside, for those of you who didn’t see the discourse on Monday’s LAT.
  • 35d [Jack who wrote “I Kid You Not”] PAAR. Sounds as if it’s tangentially related to the theme.
  • 38d [Shakespeare creation who says “Now my charms are all o’erthrown”] PROSPERO. From the final soliloquy of the final (solo) play. An appeal to the audience.

Jeff Chen’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post Crossword, “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” —Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 02.03.16: “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”

Good day, everyone. Hope you have some nice plans awaiting you this weekend. An interesting concept with today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Mr. Jeff Chen. Here’s hoping I explain this correctly. In the grid, the the three long theme entries all contain the letters A-R-R-O-W, appearing consecutively. The sequence of those letters contained in the third theme entry actually intersect with HEART (44D: [Target for 69-Across]), making it look as if CUPID, arrow-shooter of lore, hit his intended target (69A: [Archer whose third shot in this puzzle hit his target]). One out of three is usually not a good ratio in hitting your targets with arrows, isn’t it? Cupid needs to work on his aim.

  • NARROW ESCAPE (18A: [Brow-wiping occasion (miss!)])
  • WHEELBARROW RACE (38A: [Field day event for pairs (miss!)])
  • BIZARRO WORLD (55A: [Alternate universe for Superman (hit!)])

It is just a couple of weeks away until Valentine’s Day, so I guess the theme is pretty fitting for this time of year. Really liked seeing DREW LOTS in the grid, especially since, at least a far as I know, I only hear that term when it relates to international soccer when a tie has to be broken (34D: [Decided in a random manner]). Along with that, my favorite fill was definitely BUM’S RUSH (39D: [The old heave-ho]). Not sure what I think about BA-BAM, as that’s kind of borderline in terms of whether that’s an actual utterance people use (15A: [“And…..voila!”]). There’s many different varieties of “ba-bam” floating out there, and I personally use “shazaam” to express that specific thought. It’s pretty amorphous, so I guess I can be OK with “ba-bam.” But barely.

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: ALOMAR (32D: [Big family name in baseball]) – What? A baseball family in a crossword puzzle starting with the letter “a” that’s not Alou? Indeed. But, definitely, the ALOMAR family has made a major impact in Major League Baseball, with Hall of Fame second baseman Roberto Alomar being the most noteworthy of them all. Roberto won 10 Gold Gloves as a second baseman and was the first-ever player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame as a Toronto Blue Jay. His older brother, Sandy Alomar Jr., was an All-Star catcher during the revival of the Cleveland Indians’ fortunes in the early-to-mid 1990s and currently is the Indians’ first base coach. Their father, Sandy Alomar Sr., played 15 years in Major League Baseball between 1964 and 1978.

Have fun for the rest of your Friday! See you tomorrow!

Take care!


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

LA Times

ITSALLGARBAGE seems like a theme oddly in tune with current “events”. A couple of phrases, SPAREFUSES and THATWASTERRIBLE seem to lean towards the contrived end of the spectrum. However, given the long nature of the words being hidden, I’ll give it a pass for its ambitiousness. Synonyms for GARBAGE span two words in four horizontal themers: THAT (WAS TE)RRIBLE, EX(TRA-SH)ARP, SPA(RE FUSE)S, MARTINI AN(D ROSS)I.

A lot of theme material and a central 13 leading to big corners rein in the rest of the grid. MAHIMAHI does add some exotic colour. My mystery clue/answer pair was [SEC powerhouse, familiarly], THETIDE. I have yet to google the connection between the Security Exchange Commission and the University of Alabama…


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12 Responses to Friday, February 3, 2017

  1. Andy says:

    For me, the most common use of TWEENER in modern parlance is to describe an acrobatic tennis shot hit between the legs. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what Paolo had intended.

    A great video of Federer’s best TWEENERS:

  2. Matt says:

    The NYT felt harder than it was- at least as measured by the clock. Surprised to end up at a typical Friday time, but also surprised to finish at all. I guess that some large empty areas filled up quickly when I got a foothold in them. Also noted the RENEE/RENE issue. I wouldn’t have spelled her name correctly. Good puzzle.

  3. huda says:

    NYT: It’s an excellent puzzle. It felt harder for me as well, as if it had too many proper names I don’t know, but when I look at it, it doesn’t seem to be the case. It didn’t help that I plunked down I REPEAT in place of AS I SAID— that slowed down the NW.

    The puzzle has emotional overtones- REAM OUT, FACE PALM, DRUNK DIAL and PITY PARTY…not too cheery. Even the LOL sounds sardonic…

  4. Paul Coulter says:

    I have to agree with Pannonica about the strangeness of ASTOOP and PIROGI needing (var.) in its definition, but otherwise, the CHE was excellent. Congratulations to Kevin for working in all these lovely pairs, along with a terrific revealer.

  5. David L says:

    Harder than usual for me, mostly because of unfamiliar names, along with some cluing that was evidently not on my wavelength. I don’t really understand how “Crying for attention” becomes PITYPARTY.

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard or used the phrase “keep your pants on,” and I had INAMINUTE, which didn’t help.

    I don’t care for THEEU, although I’m not sure why. Maybe because I wouldn’t like THEUSA or THEUK either.

    Nice puzzle, though.

    • Joe Pancake says:

      “Stop the crying for attention, already!”
      “Stop the pity party, already!”

      It’s a little awkward, but I think it works, especially since it’s a ?-clue, which tips off the solver to look for an unconventional, punny clue.

      You probably don’t like THEEU because it looks weird. But it’s total legit (as are THEUSA and THEUK). It’s a standalone phrase we write and say all time, which makes it crossworthy to me.

      And, yes, the puzzle was quite nice, as Pablo’s usually are.

      • Steve Manion says:

        I have never used PITY PARTY. I have used PITY POT as in get off the pity pot. At the poker table, we usually provide a chorus of tiny violins when a player gets on the pity pot.

        Average difficulty for me. Outstanding puzzle.


  6. Scott says:

    Opposite result for me on the NYT. I found it easier than a typical Friday.

  7. arthur118 says:

    Gareth wrote- “I have yet to google the connection between the Security Exchange Commission and the University of Alabama…”.

    Nor will you find one, since the SEC in this instance stands for U.S. college football’s (S)outh (E)astern (C)onference, of which Alabama is the reigning champ.

  8. Jacksent says:

    Who might exultantly whisper “it’s in”?

    • pannonica says:

      (I deliberately avoided invoking how-would-BEQ-et-al-clue-this speculation.)

      • Jacksent says:

        Good thing I suppose, but I’m not sure who’d whisper such a thing as it relates to golf. Once a ball is struck, quiet is not demanded.

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