Monday, 3/21/11

NYT 3:04 


CS untimed (Evad) 


LAT 3:10 


BEQ 7:21 


Yay for SethG! Everyone else with the keys to this joint lit out for Brooklyn for the weekend, and the blog would have been covered with fusty cobwebs by now were it not for Seth’s able stewardship. Let’s all give Seth a rousing round of applause!

There may be some sort of ACPT roundup after I catch up on sleep and find my sea legs again. Long story short, I did not disappoint my kid because I brought home a trophy (what is more coveted than the second-place-in-the-Midwest-region trophy, I ask you), and I didn’t disappoint myself despite making an error in easy puzzle 6 because I was shooting for the top 20 and finished 14th. Congrats to champion Dan Feyer and all the other finalists and trophy winners (particularly the second-place-in-a-region winners!).

Steve Salitan and Patrick Blindauer’s New York Times crossword

3/21/11 NYT crossword answers 0321

What a terrific Monday theme! Steve and Patrick managed to pack the grid with six fantastic phrases that mean [“Absolutely!”]. You know those colloquial spoken phrases that I love to see in crosswords? YOU BETCHA, AIN’T IT THE TRUTH, and their four friends are excellent examples. Love the theme. The fill and clues are generally Mondayish, so there you are.

I can barely type two words in a row correctly, so I’ll sign off for the night and see you tomorrow…maybe not first thing in the morning because I hope to sleep in!

Patrick Blindauer’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, “Body Language”—Evad’s review

3/21/11 CrosSynergy crossword solution

It’s a good day when we have two puzzles to blog from the prolific Patrick Blindauer. The theme in this one is a bit harder to describe (which usually doesn’t bode well in my estimation of the theme’s appeal). Three phrases which include a body part (or, more specifically, something found above your neck) have that part replaced by a slangy nickname. The only indication of this change is a question mark added to the clue. It’s probably easier just to dive in and take a look:

  • A [Birdbrain?] is a knucklehead. Here we actually have two body parts, but only one found above your neck, so the “head” part becomes “noodle,” leading to KNUCKLENOODLE. I was bothered that this phrase had two body parts as well as a general concern about not recluing these modified phrases in a more wacky way.
  • The clue [Beatles song on “Help!”?], other than featuring 3 punctuation points in a row, leads us to I’ve Just Seen A Face. Your “face” is above your neck, and that becomes a “mug,” and so we have I’VE JUST SEEN A MUG. Only one body part here, so that’s a good thing. Not a familiar song in the Beatles canon to me.
  • I first thought [Nickname for Frank Sinatra?] was Mr. Blue Eyes, but I soon remembered with the crossers that it was Ol’ Blue Eyes. Anyway those “eyes” became “peepers,” and we have OL’ BLUE PEEPERS.

So why limit the theme entries to those particular body parts? Even if you wanted to stay north of the neck you could have FALSE CHOPPERS, NEEDLE SCHNOZ, or RIVER YAP. For me, the joy in this one came from the longer fill entries as well as some creative cluing:

  • LED ASTRAY, DREAMBOAT, VIDEO GAME and DEMI MOORE are all nice longer entries. I used to be a big fan of the video game Myst and its sequel Riven. Loved those worlds, the puzzles and the soundtracks.
  • Hard to fit in MAMMALIAN for [Had breasts] when you only have 3 boxes; it was ATE instead.
  • Had “I’M SO delighted” before “I’D BE delighted.” Was I thinking of Patti LaBelle?
  • The [Theme song from “Beverly Hills Cop”] was AXEL F. The F is short for FOLEY, the character’s last name played by Eddie Murphy.
  • Liked the rhyming clue [Joke or choke] for GAG.

David Levinson Wilk’s Los Angeles Times crossword

3/21/11 LA Times crossword solution

Oh, dear. I seem to be even more tired now than I was last night.

Theme is ROMAN, or “R.O. MAN,” and each of the four longest answers is a man with the initials R.O.:

  • 17a. Actor RYAN O’NEAL
  • 59a. Singer RIC OCASEK
  • 10d. Singer ROY ORBISON
  • 30d. Nineteenth-century automotive pioneer RANSOM OLDS, [Henry Ford contemporary]. Remember the Sesame Street game/song, “One of these things is not like the other”? I guess we haven’t got a quartet of R.O. men who fit the theme entry lengths and are all in the arts and more contemporary.

I wasn’t a fan of the fill in this puzzle, which wasn’t as zippy as I would expect from DLW. And the “coml.” abbreviation for “commercial” in the clue for 7d looks so, so wrong to me. I’m not saying it is wrong, I’m saying it looks crazy.

Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “You’re Solving…With What?”

BEQ 316

I told you I was tired. I solved this whole puzzle, loved the interesting theme, noted the 17×17 size, and wondered why it wasn’t an ACPT puzzle with a theme and grid size like that. Then I noticed the “©2010 ACPT” above the puzzle. Then I read Brendan’s blog post. It’s utterly true: I didn’t remember it from last year. (Am brain-dead.) I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it took me longer the second time around.

Anyway, the sort of mind-bending required to solve this puzzle is typical of what you need to bring to any ACPT puzzle #5. I won’t discuss this year’s tournament puzzles right now since the solve-at-home-on-paper crowd haven’t gotten their ACPT crosswords yet. I do encourage everyone who wasn’t at the tournament to take advantage of the “play by mail” option. $20, cheap! Ellen Ripstein will even score your puzzles and tell you how you would have finished at the tournament with your solving times and accuracy.

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11 Responses to Monday, 3/21/11

  1. Congrats to all of you who went to the ACPT. I look forward to getting back there in 2012 after taking this year off. Fun NYT Monday puzzle.

  2. Tony O. says:

    Congratulations, Steve! Good work, too, getting PB2 to take kindness on us all being part of an easy, breezy Monday. A great idea, well-executed – and none of the hard work shows as it’s so much fun to solve. Looking forward to more, duets and solos (OK: SOLI!).

    Brent H: we missed you at dinner in Brooklyn. Careful “slugging” around D.C.!

    Also, thanks to Evad for his nice write-up of yesterday’s CrosSynergy themeless – OREMINER and all! It was nice solving with you and themeless expert Barry Silk at the ACPT – I wish we could get together every weekend.

    Anoa Bob? I’m a tad late responding but, you got it right, pal – I’m no gear head! If I’d stuck to what I really know fewer people would have know what was going on with the less-than-stellar-to-begin-with RESEAT: a saxophone key pad is said to be RESEATED on the rim of a tone hole when it is repositioned to properly cover it so as not to leak air. I didn’t think many solvers outside of the woodwind section would get that so I researched a bit and founf some support for the spark plug. Hey, at least it wasn’t RESEATER! [Ush, again?]

    Tony O.

  3. sbmanion says:


    I am not quite sure how or where RESEATED appeared, but if it ever comes up again, RESEATING is a term of art in the process of getting a tire back on the wheel. I suppose that this is even more esoteric than the sax reference. Sadly, I don’t think the tire changer/installer is called a reseater.


  4. Amy Reynaldo says:

    And if you have a crown fall off your tooth, your dentist will RESEAT the crown.

  5. AV says:

    True 5-stars from me.

    Six, SIX?, theme entries, all wonderful, and a clean puzzle. This is not easy!!

    Used to be when a Sunday 21×21 with 6 entries was acceptable!

  6. Sparky says:

    This a treat. Afraid my brain burned out after ACPT. Well done, Karen. Thanks, Amy, for the blog.

  7. JaxInL.A. says:

    Thanks again to @SethG for keeping the home fires burning while the puzzle world did (friendly) battle in Brooklyn. I, for one, would have felt quite bereft if everyone had decamped to ACPT and left the rest if us in the dark. @treedweller did the honors over in Rexworld and (amazingly) @PG and @Doug posted at L.A. Crossword Confidential even while competing. Oh, and @Evad, too. Thanks to everyone who gave us real-time info, and I look forward to fuller accounts when everyone is no longer sleep deprived.

    Liked the PB puzz today. Can we learn more about Mr. Salitan? Very fun solve, but a surprise to see @pauer on a Monday. Likewise the LAT from David Levinson Wilk at

  8. JaxInL.A. says:

    Oops. Pressed post on accident. Was just going to wonder (in conclusion) whether puzzle editors pay special attention to the puzzles they print after the ACPT. Thanks to all bloggers, constructor’s, and genial puzzle folk.

  9. Daniel Myers says:

    Just a note on an already much belabored issue -from last week. I had to revert to Chrome again today for the first time in months to access the NYT puzzle. The NYT website completely blocked me on IE8. Who knows what they’re up to these days?

  10. Meem says:

    JaxinL.A.: Take a visit to Deb Amlen’s blog at Wordplay. Steve S. introduces himself and talks about how he got into constructing. Thought the puzzle was a good Monday effort.

    I think we can safely say that Pauer likes Elena Kagan and Leona Helmsley. They make appearances in both of his puzzles today.

    And congratulations to you, Amy, on ACPT. And also to Joon. And Howard B. And all of you who competed. It was fun to follow your progress.

  11. pauer says:

    Thanks for the nice words about my latest collaboration, this one with the wise and witty Steve Salitan. Tony introduced us at the Pleasantville tourney two years ago, and we’ve been chums ever since. He’s got an incredible (and incredibly supportive) family who are quite understanding about this “puzzle bug” Steve has caught. I think he may have it bad, actually, which for solvers is very good.

    As for my CS puz, I picked those theme entries for their zooming-in sense (head is on the body, face is on the head, eyes are on the face). Every other set I considered had a less elegant sequence; like with CHOPPERS/SCHNOZ/YAP, the teeth are part of the mouth and the nose is an OMO (Odd Man Out).

    @Meem: Can you blame me for loving ELENA lately? Ms. Verdugo can finally take a break. As for LEONA, I like her vowels much more then her. It’s interesting to see which words constructors gravitate toward, I think. I’m more of an ELOI man, myself.

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