Thursday, 11/24/11

NYT 4:42 
LAT 11:13 (Neville) 
CS 5:17 (Sam) 
BEQ 6:06 (Matt) 
Tausig 6:01 (pannonica) 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sharon Delorme’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 11 24 11 1124

Whoops, took 45 seconds to find the typo in OLD SCORA, because that looks so right.

The theme is NO-GO, and yet it works. Five familiar phrases that start with “go” have no “go” now:

  • 17a. (Go) FOR THE GOLD.
  • 27a. (Go) BY THE BOOK.
  • 34a. (Go) WITH THE FLOW.
  • 45a. (Go) TO THE DOGS.
  • 57a. (Go) OVER THE TOP.

The tightness of the theme comes from the parallel structure of each theme answer: (go)/preposition/THE/noun. My only cavil about the theme is that the “go” doesn’t seem tightly linked to every theme phrase. You might “do it by the book” and “really be over the top,” while the other three are definitely “go” idioms.

Favorite parts: The four 8-letter answers. SHANGHAI as a verb, slangy HOOSEGOW (which derives from the Spanish juzgado, for “tribunal”), the phrase and Who album WHO’S NEXT, and that OLD SCORE you need to settle. And GROOVES are cool, though the word would be cooler as a verb than a noun ([Musical cuts?] refers to the cut groove in a vinyl record album, I believe).

Question-mark moment: The 53a clue, [Anchorites], sounds more like minerals or mollusks than LONERS to me. Dictionary tells me anchorite is a “historical” (read: rather obscure) word for a religious recluse.

Crosswordese klaxon: SRIS right there at 1a was a little painful. OLLA and ANENT, oof! Glad we rarely see ANENT in the puzzle these years. Who remembers the botanical/tree crosswordese word AMENT? I went to college with a guy named Alan Ament and always wondered if he knew he was walking around with a crosswordese label.

3.25 stars.

Updated Thursday morning:

Randolph Ross’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “That’s a No-No” – Sam Donaldson’s review

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, November 24

Nom nom nom. No time for a long post. Must return to the National Day of Gluttony. Oh, the yams! Oh, the stuffing! Oh, the pumpkin pie!

Oh, the puzzle! The theme consists of four familiar expressions that use the “NO ___ NO ___” format:

  • 20-Across: NO HARM, NO FOUL is a way of saying [“Everything’s OK”]. It’s also a way of saying “Stop crying, you big baby.”
  • 27-Across: The [Statement about sacrifice] is NO PAIN, NO GAIN. In the exercise world it’s a little different: without the pain of exercise, you’re apt to gain weight. So they say just, “No Pain, Then Gain.”
  • 47-Across: NO MORE, NO LESS is a snazzy way to say “[Exactly that] amount.”
  • 54-Across: NO FUSS, NO MUSS means [Without any bother].

The grid assaults us with some loud terms, no retreat, no surrender. There’s both DEAFENED ([Overwhelmed with sound]) and NOISILY ([How New Year’s Eve is often celebrated]) in the east. On the other hand, I like the multiple-word fill entries like SO DO I, ON AIR, and NOT SO. I’m less enamored with all the INs: GO IN, SIT-IN, and IN USE. I think I would be okay with two of these in one grid, but three is noticeable (for the wrong reason).

There were other rough patches, especially with the pairing of I FEEL and ROLEO in the southwest. Other splotches include AGRI-, E. LEE, and IDE. ZINNIA, the [Colorful animal] was interesting, as was CRANIA, the [Head cases?]. I needed every crossing for DIADEM, the [Jeweled hairpiece].

I would tell you more about this puzzle, but we here on Team Fiend don’t get paid. And you know what they say: no money, no honey. So as I was saying, back to the food!

Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Are You Not Satisfied?”

BEQ 387 solution

Brendan anticipates the day’s gluttony with a quip from comic LOUIS C.K.: “THE MEAL / IS NOT OVER WHEN I’M / FULL. / THE MEAL IS / OVER / WHEN I HATE MYSELF.”

Five observations:

  1. Took me 6:06, which means this was easy.
  2. So much good 3-point fill: I SEE NOWBEATS METWELVE AMA AVERAGEEDGE OUTBARHOPBMW, IT’S OKBAZOOKA and EL GRECO. Only one lousy entry, which is so far outweighed by the good stuff that I won’t even name it.
  3. 44d is a star clue: [[Throw the tennis ball!]] for ARF. I had _ RF and it still took me a few seconds to see what was going on.
  4. Just 31 entries going across, but 47 going down. This is an east-west grid.
  5. That upper-left corner is beautiful.

Thanks for the Thanksgiving puzzle BEQ, and enjoy your wine and turkey coma, everyone!

Ruth Ann Dailey’s Los Angeles Times crossword – Neville’s review

Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle solutions Thanksgiving '11

Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle solutions Thanksgiving '11

Happy Thanksgiving! But more on that later. We’v got a puzzle to get to, and it’s not holiday themed. I was surprised – weren’t you? [Digs] clues each of the four theme entries in this puzzle:


It’s a nicely executed theme, with some clever bits of fill all around. Ms. Dailey GOT ME with the clue [Whopper juniors?] for FIBS. I had ale- instead of TAPHOUSE, and seeing MY TREAT was a treat! This puzzle is one of the few places where you’ll see IRAQ just north of CANADA.

I can never remember who or what OUIDA is/was (pseudonym of an English novelist) – but her name is the concatenation of two foreign words for yes, so that’s a thing. Bits like this made this puzzle ridiculously difficult for me. I suppose I just wasn’t on the right wavelength today.

A moment of Thanksgiving:

  • Thanks to Rich Norris, Patti Varol and all of the constructors who contribute to the LA Times for putting out a fun, fair (and free!) puzzle each day.
  • Thanks to Dear Leader Amy & the rest of the Fiend Team for allowing me to spend two days a week here, and you, the reader, for helping me out when I haven’t got a clue about something.
  • Thanks to turkey, for being so tasty.

Ben Tausig’s Ink Well/Chicago Reader crossword, “Trios” — pannonica’s review

Tausig • 11/25/11 • "Trios" • solution

The reason for those circled squares is laid out in two clues: 22a [With 31-Across, what each of the starred entries conútains two of] THREE-LETTER | BAND NAMES. Thus we get an octet of these “trios,” seven of which I’m familiar with.

  • 17a. [*Hypoallergenic breed native to North America] MEXICAN HAIRLESS. Someday it may be important to know how to spell xoloitzcuintle, but not today. The ensconced bands are German Krautrock pioneers Can—my favorite of those appearing in the puzzle—and Air, but I’m not sure which one. I’m hoping it’s the good one, the free jazz ensemble which happened to be an actual trio.
  • 43a. [*Nassau relatives] BAHAMIANS. How about that? Two three-letter band names in a nine-letter single word! I guess the odds were fairly likely that they’d be next to each other too. If I could remember my junior high-school probability lessons, I could tell you the probability of that happening. The bands in question are the Norwegian MTV darlings a-ha and Anglo-Sri Lankan electronic musician/rapper M.I.A. (akaMaya Arulpragasam).
  • 50a. [*Dermatologic treatment that can be achieved with duct tape] WART REMOVAL. This technique I did not know. Here we have War, the funk-soul band (not to be confused with the song of that name sung by Edwin Starr) and REM, of whom I’m supremely tired and who seem not to have gone away after breaking up this past September.
  • 59a. [*Gravitational limit] MAXIMUM VELOCITY. My knowledge of physics isn’t strong enough to know if those two terms are synonymous, but from a layperson’s view it seems plausible. Mum is the outfit unknown to me; can’t even be sure if the referred group is the Austrian electronic beats duo which released two albums in the early 2000s, or the Icelandic pop/electronic group múm, with an acute accent (active throughout the 2000s). I’m guessing the latter because they appear to be more prolific and current. Last on the bill at this unusual music fest are the crossword mainstays ELO (Electric Light Orchestra); of them nothing more shall be said here.

All of the theme phrases are strong and in-the-language. Not all of the bands are well-known, but then again the choices are limited and none is too obscure or unreasonable. An impressive feat, getting them all to show up for this gig. For a puzzle with a sizable dose of theme fill (70 squares), the ballast fill is pretty strong. Aside from a pair of sevens, everything is six or fewer letters long.

In that fill we have:

  • Some political and socioeconomic commentary. 16a [Boomers’ org., nowadays] AARP crossing 12d [De facto primary care centers, often, in the U.S.] ERS. «sad trombone» 21a [9-9-9, in essence] FLAT TAX; it’s also the emergency telephone number in the UK. 58a [It would, at last, make the Constitution discuss sex] ERA; I believe the Equal Rights Amendment’s time has passed, so I think the clue should be in the past conditional tense.
  • Some odd phrases. 14a [Two-word descriptor for the sun, in Spain] DE ORO; awkward! 26d [Airbus A300 alternative] is the DC-10, converted à la crosswordese—as Amy was discussing the other day—to DC TEN; somewhat, similarly we see AA CELL for a [Common remote battery] (40d). TUNA OIL sounds a bit strange to me, but it’s legitimate and can be bought as a supplement; this is not the oil that some canned tuna is packed in.
  • 67a [“Wrong answer” sound effect] is BZZT, but I thought it might be BUZZ.
  • For foreign language action (aside from the aforementioned DE ORO), we get a [Winter coat in France?] NEIGE, or snow; ESA, a [Spanish 101 word], and the Cambodian RIELS [Angkor Wat currency].
  • A couple of non-thematic musical clues reference neo-folkie juggernaut Sufjan Stevens and his album The Land of ADZ, as well has hard-rock dinosaurs Aerosmith, cluing JANIE. I suppose our erstwhile and sometimes-reappearing Fiendy reviewer of that name is too obscure for the solving masses.
  • Uncommon words. 6d [Loop of __ (kidney part; anagram of HELEN)] HENLE. When a clue gives you the letters of the answer, you know the constructor was reluctant to use it. CALX is [Mineral residue] (10d).

Very enjoyable puzzle.

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8 Responses to Thursday, 11/24/11

  1. Dave G. says:

    Earlier this year I had a Baba-au-Rhum in Nancy on the place Stanislas where it was likely invented. Unfortunately baba means cake, not rum-laced cake. Baba is a french derivation from the Polish word babka – meaning cake – brought to France by Stanislas the exiled Polish king who lived in Nancy in the Lorraine region of France. Baba has become strongly associated with baba-au-rhum, so probably it passes the dictionary test in some edition, but barely. By the way, it’s really good served with small yellow plums local to Lorraine called mirabelles.

  2. Gareth says:

    Very easy Thursday! The phrases were quite colourful, though I agree not all that tightly linked to GO in all cases. “Anchorites” meant my last letter was GROOVES/LONERS. No mention of TESORO? IMO that’s a way worse answer than SRIS or ANENT!

  3. Julian says:

    I had to redo a corner because of ANENT recently, so it makes me kinda unhappy to see it here :/ Enjoyed the fat white corners though.

  4. ArtLvr says:

    Thanks for the etymology of HOOSEGOW — who knew? I think of TESORO as akin to Treasure, though maybe it’s not. Anchorites or religious hermits seemed a stretch for mere LONERS, but I like the clue anyway. No problem with GO BY THE BOOK as an imperative (you know, pepper spray again.) IRENE of the Forsyte Saga was haunting in the BBC version: I wish PBS would air it all again — best TV series ever, in my book, though West Wing was a close second…

  5. Matt says:

    …and here I always thought HOOSEGOW came from ‘whose cow?’ Or something.

  6. MD Solver says:

    The LA Times answers are awkward for me, as the answers are so very much not in-the-language. I suppose a volleyball dig is a “move,” but the wording feels vague.

    The Tausig was hip in ways that totally eluded this old brain. I did, however, greatly enjoy the clue for LIBIDO, perfectly timed for the day’s broadcasting schedule.

  7. Jeff Chen says:

    @Neville: thanks for putting out a word of thanks! Very nice to see the spirit of kindness on Thanksgiving. Thanks to the entire Team Fiend for giving me something to look forward to every day!

  8. ktd says:

    Just dropping in to say Happy Thanksgiving to all here. We have started by making the desserts and hoping the Lions can give Green Bay a run for their money. I’ll echo the Thanksgiving sentiment–thanks to Amy and the rest for giving us such entertaining and intelligent crossword reading each day. Gobble gobble!

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