Monday, 3/12/12

NYT 3:18 (pannonica) 
LAT 3:43 (Jeffrey -paper) 
CS 8:49 (Sam) 
BEQ untimed 
Celebrity untimed 

Lynn Lempel’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s review

NYT crossword • 3/12/12 • Lempel • Mon • solution • 3 12 12

Materials science time!

  • 18a. [Had a big influence on Philip’s music?] MOLDED GLASS.
  • 29a. [Harshly criticized Danielle’s novels?] HAMMERED STEEL.
  • 49a. [Scared the daylights out of Elijah in “Lord of the Rings”?] PETRIFIED WOOD.
  • 63a. [Trounced Chris in a comedy competition?] CRUSHED ROCK.

Not the most Earth-shattering theme concept, but executed supremely well, with additional constraints and consistency. The materials (two synthetic, two natural) are people’s surnames, they appear at the end of each phrase, each phrase also begins with an adjective ending in -ed, and each clue incorporates the person’s occupation.

The CAP Quotient™ is low, as is typical of early week puzzles. This crossword feels unusually freewheeling because constructor Lempel brings an extra dose of playfulness into the clues, which can often be staid and unchallenging at the beginning of the week. For example:

  • 73a [Charge for a bang-up job?] TNT.
  • 5d [Yoko from Tokyo] ONO.
  • 41d [High-voltage Australian band?] AC-DC.
  • 7d [“Ye __!”] GODS.

All good stuff for blah fill. Other bits:

  • NSA [Org. protecting U.S. secrets] and OSS [W.W. II intelligence org.]. SEGA and ATARI.
  • TONGS (4a) to go with HAMMERED.
  • Slightly advanced, crosswordy fill for a Monday: SAGO, RAISA, ZANE, ERLE.
  • 72a [Keats and Shelley] POETS crossing 65d [Keats or Shelley work] ODE.
  • Unfortunate repetitions: 62a USE UP and 51d ICED UP. 9d [Web site alternative to com or edu] ORG (see clues for NSA and OSS, above).

Very enjoyable puzzle, a cut above the typical Monday offering.

Patrick Berry’s Celebrity crossword, “Movie Monday”

Celebrity crossword solution, 3 1212 "Movie Monday" Berry

Among the more anticipated movies this summer is Christopher Nolan’s newest Batman sequel, The Dark Knight Rises. The cast is featured in today’s puzzle theme:

  • 15a. CHRISTIAN BALE, [Batman in the upcoming film “The Dark Knight Rises”]
  • 26a. ANNE HATHAWAY, [Catwoman in the upcoming film “The Dark Knight Rises”]
  • 33a. MICHAEL CAINE, [Alfred in the upcoming film “The Dark Knight Rises”]
  • 47a. MORGAN FREEMAN, [Lucius Fox in the upcoming film “The Dark Knight Rises”]
  • 24d. Plus a couple bonus answers. BANE, [Tom Hardy’s role in “The Dark Knight Rises”]
  • 50d. RAS, [__ al Ghul, Liam Neeson’s “The Dark Knight Rises” role]

It won’t be the same without Heath Ledger’s Joker, and I’ll miss seeing my neighborhood on screen (Gary Oldman’s commissioner character in The Dark Knight “lived” around the corner from me, and the movie trailers occupied my kid’s school’s property for two days).

Looking beyond the theme answers, we find lots of names from all areas, pop culture and more. We’ve got actors RENE Russo, Summer GLAU, Kristin WIIG, EVA Longoria, MEL Gibson, Elisabeth SHUE, OWEN Wilson, and ALIA Shawkat. Athletes Muhammad ALI and Steve NASH. Movie/TV creators ELI Roth and DICK Wolf. Tabloid-friendly names KIM Kardashian and K-FED. Movie characters NEMO and NERO. Politico RICK Santorum. Inventor Thomas EDISON. Radio’s Don IMUS. Music’s SYD Barrett. Writer NEAL Stephenson.

Donna S. Levin’s Los Angeles Times crossword – Jeffrey’s review

Los Angeles Times crossword solution Monday Mar 12 2012

Theme:  100 Years Ago Today…

Theme answers:

  • 17A. [Motto of 50-Across] – BE PREPARED
  • 50A. [Organization that held its first troop meeting 3/12/1912] – GIRL SCOUTS
  • 11D. [Founder of 50-Across] – JULIETTE LOW
  • 25D. [Popular funding source for 50-Across] – COOKIE SALES

This appears to be a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the GIRL SCOUTS. Nope. It is actually a subliminal ad to get you to order cookies from a certain former LA Times blogger and cookie seller at the ACPT. If you can call theme answers subliminal, and I just did.  It worked. I await my chocolate mints.

Other stuff:

  • 41A. [Donkey of kiddie lit] – EEYORE. Friend of Tigger.
  • 57A. [Airline that serves only kosher meals] – EL AL. Too bad I can’t get a kosher meal on Alaska Airlines. Too bad I can’t get a meal on Alaska Airlines.
  • 4D. [Bobby of hockey] – ORR. Does Bobby Hull get jealous that Bobby ORR gets all the crossword action?
  • 36D. [Eliza Doolittle, to Henry Higgins] – PROTEGEE. That should be ‘Enry ‘Iggins.

*** stars.

Updated Monday morning:

Bob Klahn’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Inside NASA” – Sam Donaldson’s review

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, March 12

We must be due for a blue moon! Long-time readers know of my self-imposed ten-minute solving goal for a Bob Klahn puzzle. It feels like I always fail at it, often miserably so. But not today! For whatever reason, I was on this puzzle’s wavelength. I realize most of the top solvers will knock this puppy down in their usual two- or three-minute sprint, but I don’t care–I’m still very happy with my time.

As usual, I spent a good minute studying the clues in the northwest and far north and had absolutely nothing to show for it. Fortunately, I found this puzzle’s “hole” in the northeast. There sat ELI Roth of Inglourious Basterds and TILDA [Swinton of “The Chronicles of Narnia” films], side by side. Once they were uncovered, the whole corner fell quickly (save for LETHE, the [River of oblivion] to which I was oblivious). That gave me RAIL as the end of the first theme entry, and I was off to the races.

The theme, incidentally, is the burial of NASA inside of four common terms:

  • 17-Across: TUNA SALAD is the [Sandwich spread usually made with mayonnaise]. I prefer a LOW-FAT ([Watchword for certain losers?]) variety myself, along with diced dill pickle and, if handy, chopped celery. Add lemon pepper et voila: the tuna salad of the Gods!
  • 24-Across: One who is [All skin and bones] is AS THIN AS A RAIL. The entry that comes closest to describing my body shape is LIKE A LOG, though that’s the answer to [One way to sleep?].
  • 48-Across: You may not want to know what’s in a VIENNA SAUSAGE, but it might interest you to know [It was invented by a butcher in Frankfurt]. Or maybe not.
  • 59-Across: The [Crime lab bit] is a DNA SAMPLE.

There were two stumbling blocks. I think I’ve seen GEWGAW, the [Bauble], in a prior crossword. It looked weird to me then, and it looks weird to me now. The second was when I kept trying to spell FAYE WRAY in such a way that it would take up nine squares. Who else would be the [“King Kong” abductee]? It turned out to be her character, one ANN DARROW.

Nothing else perplexed me for too long. I originally had ASKS UP as the answer to [Invites for a nightcap], but that proved to be ASKS IN. No big deal. My favorite clue was [Baby’s favorite art movement?] for DADA. Honorable mentions to [Kind of shy?] for GUN and [Moonball from Venus?] (as in Venus Williams) for a LOB shot in tennis.

Go ahead–tell me it was your fastest time ever on a Bob Klahn puzzle. It’s no skin off my nose. We can celebrate together!

Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday #160”

BEQ 418 solution

This puzzle, with the exception of 1.5 iffy entries, is incredibly smooth for a 62-worder and I wouldn’t be surprised it a lot of you solved the puzzle and didn’t even notice it had such a low word count. It feels like a standard BEQ themeless with a higher word count, though it’s a bit lighter on the standard BEQ “wow” answers.

39a: WITH A RUSH doesn’t feel “in the language” to me, and I’m not sure 9d: SAD MOVIE is a discrete “thing” other than adjective + noun. It may well be. What do you think?

But this flower-shaped grid has a two-Q answer across the middle, SQUASH RACQUET, with the second Q crossing slangy LIQUORED UP. The conversational IT’S TRUE, I FORGOT, and YES I SEE are other BEQ trademarks touches. Oh! I almost forgot my favorite answer, 3d: OH SNAP. I like how ESTATES and ESTADO sort of echo each other. SOBEREST is a boring EST-inflected word, but it’s helped by its cross-reference to LIQUORED UP. VCR TAPES is another zippy entry, with that consonant pile-up at the beginning.

Favorite clues:

  • 13d: [Party line?] for SURPRISE!
  • 22d. [Blank expression?] for I FORGOT.

4.25 stars. BEQs are more fun with a higher word count and crazier fill, but occasionally it’s good to see that yes, Brendan has the chops to make smooth low-word-count puzzles that aren’t boring.

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7 Responses to Monday, 3/12/12

  1. Plot says:

    Not related to the puzzle, but I wanted to post this where it would get a lot of views from people attending the ACPT. I’m going to be in Brooklyn on Friday night, but I won’t be attending that night’s events. Is there anyone that’s in the same situation and is interested in making some alternative plans for that night? If there’s enough interest, it’d be nice to get a small group together.

  2. Nina says:

    Happy Birthday to the Girl Scouts! I didn’t know their motto is “Be prepared.” I did know it is the Boy Scouts’ motto – learned it from Tom Lehrer. Nice to see two women today in NYT and LAT.

  3. ArtLvr says:

    Good set of Monday puzzles. I especially liked the Klahn with LETHE and the ILIAD, plus TUNA SALAD and VIENNA SAUSAGE. I forgot to check for the theme afterward, but It didn’t matter much, as it happened. Nice touch, though. And Happy Birthday to the Girl Scouts, which was tame in my day but allowed my daughter an unusual summer camp experience on staff at the Maryland shore — as the person in charge of the saddle horses! They were in sorry shape on their arrival, but nothing serious was amiss that TLC couldn’t fix… Talk about being prepared!

  4. Meem says:

    Glad to see the Girl Scout tribute puzzle. Had hoped the NYT would do the honors, but no such luck.

  5. The Bobs Fan says:

    Hey, I posted a jumble-type puzzle on the forum (Other Puzzles). Thought you all might enjoy the solve.


  6. *David* says:

    It wasn’t my fastest Klahn but I did keep it under 10 minues as well. ANN DARROW area slowed me down.

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