Monday, 5/17/10

BEQ 5:31
NYT 2:57
LAT 2:46
CS 6:05 (Evad)

Warm congratulations to (the honorary) Dr. Will Shortz! Indiana’s own Wabash College bestowed an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree on Will today. What a lovely encomium accompanied the recognition.

Jay Kaskel’s New York Times crossword

Region capture 6The theme is leave-taking, with five adieux from pop culture:

  • 17A. “BYE BYE LOVE” is a song title that embodies [Parting words from the Everly Brothers]. I don’t know about you, but I needed to work the crossings to get this one.
  • 23A. [Parting words from the Lone Ranger] are “HI-YO, SILVER, AWAY!” If you’re looking to hash out whether it’s “hi-yo” or “hi ho,” be aware that the phrase with the former gets about 850,000 Google hits, while the latter has 10,000. (I thought it was “Hi ho, Silver, away!” when I was a kid, but it’s not as if I’ve ever seen The Lone Ranger.)
  • 34A. [Parting words from the Terminator] are “I’LL BE BACK.” All the best cyborgs have Austrian accents.
  • 49A. [Parting words from the von Trapps] in The Sound of Music are “SO LONG, FAREWELL, auf Wiedersehen, good night.”
  • 57A. “YOU’RE FIRED” are [Parting words from Donald Trump] on his reality show. I wonder how many times he had uttered those same words before the show began.

It’s a treat to have so many 7-letter answers squeezed into a Monday grid. Crossword SOLVERS SCREW UP and see their BLOATED PSYCHES shrivel up, making them MESHUGA.

Updated Monday morning:

Lynn Lempel’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, “Tees Up”—Evad’s review

Evad back for your daily CS/WaPo fix.

cs517 Today we have an offering from the queen of Mondays, Lynn Lempel. (I’m not sure if Ms. Lempel knows but her last name was featured in a recent MGWCC puzzle and knowing it helped me crack a particularly gnarly section of that grid.)

Today, Lynn “tees” up some common 2-word phrases (well, some more common than others, as we will see) by imbedding a double TT in either the first or second word. (Nice that there were 2 of each for symmetry.)

Without further ado, your theme entries:

  • “Dieter’s aim” clues BETTER BELLY, a riff on BEER BELLY
  • TOWN CRITTER is a “Community’s mascot.” I guess for my home town of Boston, that would be a lobstah, or a soft shell clam.
  • “Device for making identical burgers” is a PATTY SCALE, perhaps used for those who want a BETTER BELLY?
  • BABY BOTTOM is a “Diaper site.” Yes, and many other things that don’t pass the Sunday breakfast test. Here’s the one phrase (BABY BOOM) that isn’t as familiar to me. I’ve heard of Baby Boomers, but not a Baby Boom itself. Wikipedia seems to side with Lynn on this one.

Kudos to Lynn for some ZIPPY (“Spirited”) fill to spice up a Monday, in fact we have a pangram on our hands. One small quibble with the clue for HTML, “Web letters for documents.” It’s an acronym for the language used to create any web page; the term documents seems restrictive to me. I did learn from the puzzle that the Edgar Rice Burroughs hero, Tarzan, never actually said “ME, TARZAN.” But did he say “YOU, JANE?” Tune in tomorrow to find out!

Jack McInturff’s Los Angeles Times crossword

Region capture 7Just when I was feeling old, along comes Jack McInturff’s cowboys-and-their-horses theme to make me feel decades younger:

  • 17a. [Cowboy who rode the end of 25-Across] is ROY ROGERS.
  • 25a. He rode Trigger. [Sensitive gun-firing mechanism] is a HAIR TRIGGER.
  • 31a. [Cowboy who rode the end of 41-Across] is the LONE RANGER.
  • 41a. The Lone Ranger rode Silver. [Anti-gold standard policy that climaxed in the Bryan-McKinley campaign] is FREE SILVER. Okay, a show of hands, please: How many of you knew that one? (The history, not the horse.)
  • 46a. [“Good Morning America” weatherman] is SAM CHAMPION. He is not a cowboy, and I have never heard of him. Champion is a horse ridden by…
  • 58a. GENE AUTRY, [Cowboy who rode the end of 46-Across].

I don’t like the flip-flop of cowboy and horse in the third pair, nor the inclusion of FREE SILVER and SAM CHAMPION as theme entries. It’s Monday! Pretty much everything’s supposed to be broadly familiar. (Shades of the Monday NYT in April that featured ELLEN GLASGOW and HAROLD ROME as theme entries.) Isn’t it enough that the theme is 1940s’-’50s pop culture?

Selected crosswordese also takes this puzzle back a couple decades, to when such fill was markedly more common. 40a: [Flying shore scavenger] is the ERNE, a sea eagle also spelled ERN. 6d: [Fragrant resin] clues ELEMI.

More clues:

  • 45a. [10th-century emperor known as “the Great”] is OTTO I.
  • 62a. [Croatian-born physicist Nikola] TESLA was of Serbian descent. Where he was born is currently within Croatia’s borders.
  • 42d. I love the word SCHMEAR, meaning [Lay on thick, as cream cheese on a bagel]. I usually see it used as a noun: “bagel with a schmear.”
  • 10d. “CAN I GO NEXT?” feels contrived as a crossword entry. It’s just something someone might say in a [“My turn?”] circumstance. CAN I GO NOW is more of a “thing,” a classic line of impatience.
  • 52d. [Alamogordo is its county seat] clues OTERO County, New Mexico. The only people outside of New Mexico who know this are crossword solvers. Are you up on the many hundreds, if not thousands, of counties across the country? And the towns or cities that are their seats? Nope. Just the counties near you and the 60%-vowels-alternating-with-consonants OTERO.

Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”

Region capture 8I made smooth progress through most of the grid, but the southeast slammed the brakes on. Jazz lyrics? I don’t know ’em.

The two zippiest answers were both gimmes for me:

  • 1a. [Quitting time, in slang] is BEER O’CLOCK.
  • 47d. [Male prostitute] clues RENTBOY, thanks to Dr. George Rekers’ hiring of a “luggage handler” via

Also particularly lovely: DON DELILLO, X-RATED, TEEN WOLF, SUDOKU, EL NORTE, MOOD INDIGO, ANDY ROONEY (got him from the Ali G clue), and a Dickensian STREET ARAB.

Less lovely: Cross-referencing the OGEE and APSES answers. It’s apt, sure, but nobody really wants either of these words in their puzzle. And OCULARLY? It is indeed a legitimate word, but who uses it? “Ocularly speaking, I need glasses.” The neighboring L-TILES (7d: [Some bathroom floor pieces]) and OILY GOO (8d: [Gunk]) also chafed.

I didn’t know LIND was the name of 66a: [Scientist James who discovered citrus fruits cured scurvy]. Jenny Lind, the Swedish Nightingale, that’s the only LIND I know. And I know her from crosswords.

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7 Responses to Monday, 5/17/10

  1. ArtLvr says:

    Very enjoyable Monday puzzle! I knew BYE, BYE LOVE and the Everly brothers, who were from here in the Albany NY area originally as I recall… I also listened to the Lone Ranger on the radio, very quietly, while practicing scales on the piano and no one guessed why I was doing those so diligently for a quite a while! Lots of fun, kudos to Mr. Kaskel…

  2. Gareth says:

    BYEBYELOVE – complete gimme. Simon and Garfunkel also do a mean cover.

    YOUREFIRED seemed not quite the same as the rest? The first are things you/they say when they leave, whereas YOUREFIRED is what Trump says when he kicks someone off the show (I think… never watched it.) Agree all the long entries are a treat.

  3. edith b says:

    The Everly Brothers were popular when I was young so I needed no crosses whatsover to get BYEBYELOVE and I am sure you will hear from more peoplel like myself – of a certain age – throughout the day.

    Just as Rock music won no Grammys when it was popular, the Everly Brothers were not welcome as clue material in the New York Times in their time.

  4. ArtLvr says:

    I woke up this morning saying to myself no — it wasn’t the Everly brothers who were from upstate NY, it was Ray Eberle and family who came from Mechanicville, near here.

    Never mind, I did love Lynn Lempel’s adding to phrases with two TTs. Also the LAT by Jack McInturff with the three film cowboys and their doctored steeds… Is Jack’s last name for real, does anyone know? Sounds made up somehow, for a guy who likes horse racing!

  5. edith b says:

    My memory failed me about the Grammy awards as Rock began to win in the mid 60s but The Everly Brothers and their ilk were persona non grata as far as The New York Times puzzle was concerned.

    I apologize for the misinformation.

  6. john farmer says:

    EL NORTE (1983) is the “First American independent movie to get a Best Original Screenplay nomination”?

    Maybe that’s what Wikipedia says, but I think it ignores movies like “Atlantic City” (1980), “Easy Rider” (1969), “Little Fugitive” (1953), and no doubt a few others.

    I guess it depends on how you define “American,” “independent,” “Best Original Screenplay,” and for that matter, “First.”

    I like Wikipedia. I use it all the time. I like that it has a page advertising its own problems (though that page could be longer). What I’m not crazy about is that its standard is “verifiability,” not fact, and that you can get away with a lot as long as you have a link to another site. I’m not sure how else they could do it, but it raises a question about what you read there.

  7. ArtLvr says:

    p.s. I didn’t like a number of BEQ’s definitions — most glaring error was linking the beautifully slow swing-and-sway song MOOD INDIGO with “jazz”. Anything can be jazzed up after the fact of course, even “Old McDonald had a Farm” in a recent Carnegie Hall “From the Top” performance by a teenage girl doing it in a “skat” style, or “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”. Ugh. It was never jazzed up in the days when it was a top ten original.

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