Monday, 7/18/11

BEQ 4:57 
LAT 2:45 
NYT somewhere under 3:30 (pannonica) 
CS 6:09 (Sam) 

Kevin Donovan’s New York Times crossword puzzle — pannonica’s review

NYT crossword 7/15/11 answers 071811

I’m not sure, but this seems to be yet another début. Cute crossword. The theme is explained at 25-Down [Small amount of blood serum…or a title for this puzzle] FIVE CCS. Yes, there are three across and two down answers composed of two words each, each beginning with the letter C.

  • 17a. [Legendary 1920s–’30s Harlem nightspot] COTTON CLUB.
  • 39a. [Popular Massachusetts vacation area] CAPE COD.
  • 61a. [Pioneering French designer with her own fragrance] COCO CHANEL.
  • 11d. [Comic actor who shares a name with a Washington suburb] CHEVY CHASE.
  • 29a. [Capital of Nevada] CARSON CITY.

With the exception that last, these clues all seemed the teensiest bit long-winded. Then again, early week puzzles strive to avoid ambiguity, so it’s understandable. I do think it would be more accurate, and better, to have clued 11d indicating that Cornelius Crane Chase used the suburb as a re-namesake, rather than seeming to imply it’s a coincidence. As for 61a, Coco Chanel had many signature scents, though perhaps the clue is referring to “Coco,” which is far from the best-known or best-loved perfume from the house of Chanel; it’s a latter-day creation, dating only from 1984, well after her 1971 death.

The rest of the fill is appropriately smooth, with a nice mix of letters and a minimum of  yuckiness. Good to see some interesting words such as ESKIMO, SUCTIONBRITISH, GASBAG. Could have done without BAYH, ELBE, and the partials IN ON and A STEP. Worst though, is the themic toe-stepping engendered by 31a MECCA; a strong effort should have been made to excise it.

I’ll call this ever-so-slightly above average, for a Monday.

Updated Monday morning:

Bruce Venzke’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Dress Close” – Sam Donaldson’s review

CrosSynergy/Washington Post Crossword Solution, July 18, 2011

Today’s puzzle features four wardrobe malfunctions.  In each theme entry, an article of clothing is replaced with its homonym:

  • 20-Across: The [Dog-paddling Dogpatch drawer] is a SWIMMING CAPP, a play on “swimming cap” that honors Al Capp, the cartoonist best known for Li’l Abner. I was a bigger fan of Andy Capp, myself.
  • 31-Across: The [Eastern takeout favorite at a British royal castle] would be WINDSOR THAI, a play on the Windsor tie.  I’m familiar with a “Windsor knot,” not a Windsor tie–but I don’t get out much so I can’t say for sure that this is an error.
  • 41-Across: The [Pigeon coop built like a movie set?] is a CUTAWAY COTE, from “cutaway coat.”  Here again I’m well outside my wheelhouse.  To me, a cinematic “cut away” is a type of camera shot–it wouldn’t describe the movie set itself.  Hopefully some film buffs can provide guidance in the comments.
  • 53-Across: The [Choreographer’s signals to get off the stage?] are DANCING SHOOS, from “dancing shoes.”  I liked this theme entry best.

It was distracting to see ABNER clued as the [Dogpatch resident] when there’s already a reference to Dogpatch in the first theme entry.  Parallelism in the clues for nontheme fill is common (indeed, often welcome), but parallelism in the clues for a theme entry and a fill entry is unusual (and, obviously, less welcome in my view).  A clue referencing some other Abner–like Doubleday, for instance, would have been the better choice.  I also didn’t care much for having both SNAG and UNSNARL in the grid.

On the other hand, I liked ZESTA, the [Ritz rival], MA AND PA, [The Kettles], and YES OR NO.  There were some fugly abbreviations, like STR (for “strait”) and PCTS, but some interesting proper names, especially the reference to the lovely STACEY Dash from Clueless.  The big “Huh?” for me was the intersection of AMAS and GASPE, the [Peninsula and town in Quebec].  I knew the crossing had to be AMAS or AMAT, and I almost talked myself into GATPE–it looked French enough to do the trick.

Robert Fisher’s Los Angeles Times crossword

LA Times crossword solution, 7 18 11

PHOTO FINISH theme: First three theme answers begin with words that can follow “photo.”

  • 17a. [Penning ads and such] is COPYWRITING (photocopy).
  • 26a. [Mall habitué’s motto] is SHOP ‘TIL YOU DROP (Photoshop image editing software).
  • 42a. [Instrument Bob Dylan was once booed for playing] is the ELECTRIC GUITAR (photoelectric, as in photoelectric sensors).
  • 56a. [Race decided by a camera, or what the start of 17-, 26- or 42-Across literally is] clues PHOTO FINISH.

Five more clues:

  • 36d. I have never heard of HERSCHEL [__ Bernardi, who played Tevye on Broadway].
  • 28d. [Emotionally expressive, as poetry] clues LYRIC.
  • 5d. [Line on a tugboat] is a TOW ROPE. Will this help in the event of a RIPTIDE (41d: [Scary beach current])?
  • 9d. MONOPOLY is a board [Game with tiny hotels] and houses. Nice clue.
  • 15a. [Saigon’s Vietnam War counterpart] is HANOI. Hanoi was the capital of North Vietnam, Saigon the South. Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City.

3.5 stars.

Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”

BEQ 7 18 11

Only 68 words? Felt so smooth, I would have believed it was a 72-worder.

I’m short on time—lots of crosswords to edit here—so let’s get right to the good stuff:

  • The 9×4 stacks are sweet, particularly the ROENTGENS with a good trivia clue, LEO ROSTEN (who’s only a couple letters off from being an anagram of ROENTGENS) with a good quote clue, and THE SKINNY.
  • Had no idea that Arsenal’s coach was named ARSÈNE. Hey, I can remember that now! (Not that I’ll ever need to, but…)
  • TANDOORI chicken, yum.
  • Tricked by [Med. feeder] clue into thinking I needed a 6-letter river that empties into the Mediterranean, but it’s an IV TUBE feeding medication.
  • WATERSKI and JUICER, the UNION LABEL and BAD REVIEWS, ASIAN FOOD and a clue that tells me, at long last, what BEAU GESTE means: [Gracious motion]. How many years have I seen [“Beau __”] and [“__ Geste”] and never known this?

4.5 stars. Even APERS and LUCIE didn’t make me grumble. More like this, please.

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5 Responses to Monday, 7/18/11

  1. arthur118 says:

    Per XWord Info, this is Kevin Donovan’s fourth Times puzzle. The others were a Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.

  2. jane lewis says:

    herschel bernardi at one time was the voice of charlie the starkist tuna. the advantage of being my age is have been around when he was doing charlie and his sitcom; the disadvantage is not being into current music very much.

  3. john farmer says:

    Today, COTTON CLUB in the crossword puzzle. Then, the crossword puzzle in “The Cotton Club.”

  4. bob stigger says:

    If you believe Al Kooper, who was onstage as part of the band for the set, Dylan wasn’t booed for going electric, he was booed for playing a meager 15-minute set when he was supposed to be the headliner. Supposedly they only managed to get 4 songs rehearsed the night before.

  5. SEMINOLE SAM says:


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