Monday, 8/29/11

NYT 2:50 
LAT 2:40 
CS untimed (Sam) 
BEQ 6:29 

Andrea Carla Michaels and Michael Blake’s New York Times crossword

NYT crossword solution, 8 29 11 0829

Cute theme with a New York carbohydrate bent: Four phrases end with BAGEL varieties. In the online applet edition, at least, there is a mistake in the clue for 62a—the fourth bagel variety is found in 52-Across, but the clue mentions only “the endings of 20-, 28- and 46-Across.” D’oh! Anyway, the bagels are found in THE PURPLE ONION (which is a place I have never, ever heard of), “OPEN, SESAME,” a timely FLOODPLAIN (I sure hope Fiend readers are all out of harm’s way post-Irene), and the awesome answer THE WHOLE SHMEAR.

Thirteen proper nouns in the fill is a little on the high side, which makes me wonder if this puzzle would’ve been better slotted on a Tuesday.


  • 39d. [The Greek “khalix” (pebble) for the English “calculus,” e.g.] is a ROOT WORD.
  • 1a. Fun to start off with a Q. Q-TIPS are clued [You can stick them in your ear]. Please note that while you certainly can, you oughtn’t stick Q-tips inside your ear canal. Do you think anyone actually heeds that advice?
  • A couple answers make me say “Eh?” (but in a good way)—we’ve got both SAID “AH” and “UH-OH.”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think SLEAZE and [Schlock] are interchangeable. Schlock’s just cheap and tacky, whereas sleaze has a morally unsavory tinge to it.

3.5 stars.

Updated Monday morning:

Bob Klahn’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Put a Lid In It!” – Sam Donaldson’s review

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, August 29

A nice counterpart to the typical Monday fare, Klahn gives us a fun theme with his typical knotty twists.  As 64-Across explains, CAP is the [“Lid” in each of this puzzle’s theme entries]:

  • 20-Across: SPANISH RICE becomes SPANISH CAPRICE, clued as [Ferdinand’s flight of fancy, say?].  Klahn has a penchant for alliterative clues, and it’s a nice added touch to this theme entry.
  • 37-Across: [Al’s entire family?] is EVERY LAST CAPONE, the result of adding a CAP to EVERY LAST ONE.
  • 52-Across: [Goldilocks’s maddening escapade] clues a CROSS BEAR CAPER, the fusion of  a CAP and a CROSS BEARER.  Yeah, I suppose maybe this theme entry is inconsistent with the other two–the CAP is inserted in the middle of the last word instead of at the front of the last word.  But the fun in sussing out CROSS BEAR CAPAER outweighed the inconsistency (heck, I didn’t notice the inconsistency until writing this post), so I’m fine with it.

I lost a good twenty seconds trying random letters for the intersection of VEDA, the [Sanskrit sculpture], and DOGE, the [Bygone Venetian VIP].  I tried L, N, R, J, V, and even Z before tumbling to the D.

To CAP off this post, here are five highlights from the fill and clues:

  • SQUARE PEGS ([They don’t harmonize well]) is a great entry.  It would be fun to place it opposite ROUND HOLES in a freestyle grid, no?
  • I like the consecutive clues of [Bright red] for CHERRY and [Big Red] for Vladimir LENIN.
  • Here’s another example of how a potentially ugly partial, NO MORE, can get dressed-up all formal-like through a good clue: [Introduction to Mr. Nice Guy].
  • It’s almost a given that I’ll enjoy a crossword that starts with ASS ([Ninny or hinny]) at 1-Across.

Jennifer Nutt’s Los Angeles Times crossword

LA Times crossword solution, 8 29 11

When you fail to carefully read the clue that explains the entire theme, you can confuse yourself. “What do LIVE, SLOW, BASKET, SEX, and EMPTY have to do with a COURT OF LAW?” Of course, the clue for 59a reads [Where the ends of the starred answers are filed], not the starts:

  • 16a. [*Not animated, in filmmaking] = LIVE-ACTION.
  • 23a. [*Like replays that reveal bad calls] = SLOW-MOTION.
  • 49a. [*One who can’t function under stress] = BASKET CASE.
  • 10d. [*Ineffective executive] = EMPTY SUIT. Great phrase.
  • 33d. [*Hunk or babe’s attribute] = SEX APPEAL. I like the unisex clue.

8d: MANHOLES are [Ways to get under the street]. A few weeks ago, President Obama came to town and manholes were sealed along the route he was taking to his birthday-party fundraiser. What I want to know is how they’re sealed and when they’re returned to openable functionality.

There’s a lightness to the fill, isn’t there? “Do the HUSTLE” crosses a SMILE. There’s an ANTSY, SILLY SCAMP. Even the boring little LEA (19a: [Grassland]) evokes amusement because I passed signs for the Gay Lea Dairy Heritage Museum in Ontario the other day, and it turns out Gay Lea is a big dairy company in Canada. Would you believe their milk is available in “homo” as well as 2%? Totally true.

Four stars.

Brendan “Papa” Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”

BEQ 362 solution

Pardon me. I’ve lost my prose.

Favorite bits:

AT THIS STAGE, BBC RADIO, MEN’S SHOP, and ESHKOL‘s ungainly-looking consonant pile-ups. Full names for HANS BRINKER and HAMID KARZAI. BIT.LY hiding its dot. Thinly veiled snarkiness of A LOT TO LEARN with an “on their plates” clue, hinting at overfrequent 15-letter answer A LOT ON ONE’S PLATE. [Fatherless state?] as a clue for ATHEISM. Scrabbly KWANZAA.

Overall rating: 3.75 stars.

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18 Responses to Monday, 8/29/11

  1. Gary says:

    @Amy – I’m with you on sleaze/schlock. Don’t think that 52A is a “variety” of bagel though. I’ve seen an “everything” bagel and a bagel “with a shmear,” but not a bagel called “the whole shmear.”

  2. Tuning Spork says:

    Yep, no such thing as a “shmear bagel”. The shmear is what you smear on the bagel — i.e. cream cheese.

  3. @Gary, @Spork – Apparently you’ve never bought your bagles from Les Goyem Bagelry, where the ‘everything’ bagel is called The Whole Schmeer.

  4. Tuning Spork says:

    @Wilford: Ah, but the shmear, by definition, is not a part of the bagel itself. You must shmear on the shmear in order for it to be the shmear.

    Yes, the term “the whole shmear” means “everything” and, therefore, has two possible meanings, depending on the context.

    When it comes to bagels, Les Goyem Bagelry is clumsily folding a metaphor back on itself by applying it to its original source, much like a clumsy baseball announcer who might say: “That last pitch came out of left field!” when, clearly, the left fielder did not throw the pitch. :-P

    EDIT TO ADD: And just what does “Les Goyem” mean? The French non-Jew?

  5. andrea carla michaels says:

    Hi Amy,
    thank you for the nice write up…I’m with you on the SLEAZE/Schlock thing…
    I’m less than happy when they change a definition, esp of a Yiddish word and not quite get it right, but I was happy that they tried to squeeze in another Yiddishism (Schlock) into the puzzle!
    THE WHOLE SHMEAR is not meant to be a bagel name. This was indeed meant as a Tuesday. Three kinds of bagel and THE WHOLE SHMEAR as a kind of funny reveal…
    with the extra bonus being that we got the word SHMEAR literally atop a bagel!
    So, technically the applet is correct.

    SCHMEAR is usually with the C, but needed it to balance with THE PURPLEONION (14) which Puzzlegirl also had not heard of :( but it’s a super famous club here in SF where Woody Allen, Lenny Bruce, Mort Sahl, the Smothers Brothers all got their starts…and as a former comedian and current SF resident (and I’ve performed there!) I think I thought it more famous than it is! But again, more Tuesday, tho I have to accept my fate as a Monday gal no matter WHAT I throw in front of Will!

    The puzzle was bounced off an idea of Michael’s where he started with a PLAIN, CINNAMON (! NonJews Only!) and an ONION bagel. I thought it would be fun to sum up with THEWHOLES(C)HMEAR, but that seems to have thrown off both you and Puzzlegirl! Where are the Jews when I needs them???!!!

    And yes, it’s meant to be both Scrabbly AND a pangram! :)

  6. Tuning Spork says:

    Andrea, as if it’s any consolation to you, I had to keep backspacing to erase those pesky “c”s. :-)

  7. Gareth says:

    Solved this puzzle on paper at the outpatients in Mamelodi township! My bagel knowledge comes from xwords but still was a fun easy puzzle!

    My high school physiology teacher always said the smallest thing you put in your ear is an elbow!

  8. Amy Reynaldo says:

    Andrea, what about chocolate chip or cranberry? Those are fine bagel varieties!

  9. Jeffrey says:

    Yay pangram!

    I’ve said this before. The only “true” bagels are sesame and poppy seed, and they must be from Montreal.

    Good thing I saw “Les Miserables” on Saturday, or I never would have gotten 63 down. Ok, maybe I would have.

  10. Zulema says:

    I agree with Gareth about the ear and the elbow. I have been hoping to see a clue that reads “What you should never put into your ear.”

    THE PURPLE ONION was a fun and classy place. I went there many times in the 50’s. It and THE HUNGRY I were the venues in San Francisco for what in those times were avant garde singers, comics, musicians, etc., many of them going on to fame and fortune.

  11. Sam S says:

    I don’t think there’s a mistake in the clues of today’s Times (8/29/11).

  12. Amy Reynaldo says:

    @Sam S: Yes, the earlier commenters established that. It would have helped if I’d actually read the clue for THE WHOLE SHMEAR.

  13. Harry says:

    What’s with BEQ and Jonesin’? Both links are broken!

  14. Amy Reynaldo says:

    This week’s Jonesin’ puzzle hasn’t been released yet. If you visit Brendan’s website, you’ll have three options for downloading today’s puzzle (.puz, .jpz, .pdf).

  15. Harry says:

    Thanks, Amy. I did go to BEQ and donloaded the puzzle, but the numbers didn’t match. I completed it then saw on your site that it was the current one. Doh! (slaps head)

  16. Jenni says:

    Amy, you’re kidding about the chocolate chip bagel, right? There are blueberry-studded toroid objects in my cabinet as we speak, but then my husband was born a WASP. Even after all these years he doesn’t get it that those are *not* bagels.

    I liked today’s puzzle – and, Andrea, I have heard of The Purple Onion and enjoyed seeing it today. I didn’t get the theme until I got to the “reveal”, which made it more fun for me.

  17. Didn’t love this puzzle, didn’t hate it. I liked Matt Gaffney’s everything bagel puzzle better (blog post) (puzzle).

  18. pannonica says:

    A schmear is a thin layer of cream cheese. That is, the appropriate amount for a [real] bagel.

    I find it hard to believe that those mostly New York based entertainers got their starts in a San Francisco club. Perhaps it was part of their early tours?

Comments are closed.