Wednesday, 3/21/12

NYT 4:21 
LAT 3:36 (Jeffrey -paper) 
CS 5:45 (Sam) 
Onion untimed 
Celebrity tba

Peter Collins and Joe Krozel’s New York Times crossword

NYT crossword solution, 3 21 12 0321

This Sunday is my late grandpa’s birthday. He would have been 100-and-something. It’s also ARETHA FRANKLIN’s 70th birthday. She’s THE QUEEN OF SOUL, which means that James Brown is one of her loyal subjects as queen outranks godfather by far. I know the songs THINK, CHAIN OF FOOLS, and RESPECT, but BABY I / LOVE YOU is one I’ve never heard of. It actually peaked higher on the singles charts than “Natural Woman” back in ’67, but did not become a timeless classic like the others. It is, however, in the Goodfellas soundtrack, and 46d: DE NIRO is in that.

Hadn’t noticed until inserting the non-square grid that it’s a 15×16 grid.

Super-sleepy so let me abbreviate things here. Good: Parts of theme that I knew are terrific. Don’t know LITTLE ME and don’t care for musicals but somehow like 40d anyway. LA MANCHA and RANCHO have a Spanish echo. Meh: UNPRICED and UNSTOP. DOES SO may be a new addition to the “playground retort” category but it looks like DO ESSO.  Not captivated by much of the fill,

3.25 stars.

Updated Wednesday morning:

Martin Ashwood-Smith’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Gut Busting” – Sam Donaldson’s review

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, March 21

Three answers all share the clue [Bust a gut]:

  • 19-Across: BE IN STITCHES.
  • 37-Across: ROLL IN THE AISLES.
  • 51-Across: LAUGH OUT LOUD.

But that’s not the interesting part. The interesting part is that the grid has only 72 entries (like many freestyle puzzles), including six 10-letter entries, a couple of nines, and a couple of eights. That allows for some sparkly entries like GET A SHOT AT, BREAD DOUGH, ERECTOR SET, IRS AUDIT, GRAPE SODA, and, like, omigod omigod omigod, VALLEY GIRL. THICKENER ([Cornstarch, e.g.]) is pretty cool, too, unlike a lot of crossword fill ending in -ER. Importantly, we get all this goodness without enduring cruddy crossings. Even RED A, the [Unwanted letter of fiction], was fun.

When I saw OPERATIONS ([Organ transplants, e.g.]) so close to BE IN STITCHES, I wondered if there was some added layer to the theme. I don’t see similar connections for AISLES or LOUD or any of the other words in the remaining theme entries, though, so I don’t think there’s more to the theme than what’s obvious.

OODLE, the [Craigslist competitor], was new to me. Is that a place where you can buy a poodle that won’t pee?

Don Gagliardo and C.C. Burnikel’s Los Angeles Times Crossword – Jeffrey’s Review

Los Angeles Times crossword solution Wednesday Mar 21 2012

Theme: One letter nicknames for 1000.
Theme answers:

  • 17A. [With “The,” Bette Midler’s debut album] – DIVINE MISS M. M is the Roman numeral for 1000.
  • 26A. [Kellogg’s cereal] – SPECIAL K. K is used for a 1000 in computer speak. 10k is 10,000 kilobytes.
  • 51A. [Riboflavin] – VITAMIN G. G is slang for $10,000.
  • 64A. [Spectacular concert ender, or what 17-, 26- and 51-Across numerically contain] – GRAND FINALE

About as slight of a theme as you can get.
Longest answers (non-theme):

  • 4D. [October custom done in costume] – TRICK OR TREAT
  • 23D. [De Beers properties] – DIAMOND MINES


  • 41A. [Lady in a Beatles song] – MADONNA

That’s all I got. Really nothing to say about this puzzle. **½ stars.

Aimee Lucido’s Onion A.V. Club crossword

Onion AV Club crossword solution, Lucido 3 21 12

Anagram theme! SENIOR SCRAMBLE—a 62a: [Final attempt to hook up among college students … or a hint to this puzzle’s theme]—is probably something that existed when I was a college senior but that lacked a specific name. The other theme answers include in the circled squares a scrambled SENIOR:

  • 21a. ITUNES ORIGINAL, [Download sold through the Apple music store]
  • 28a. CAMPFIRESONG, [Ditty played on an acoustic guitar]
  • 39a. MOONRISE, [Wes Anderson’s “___ Kingdom”]
  • 41a. NOSE RING, [Bling for a bull]
  • 56a. CASINO RESORT, [Foxwoods, for one]

Never heard of the Wes Anderson movie, but I admire the elegance of including two 8-letter answers that contain the 6-letter anagram.

Six more clues:

  • 2d. [Cobbler, for one] is a shoe ARTISAN as well as a fruit/pastry dessert. Mmm, cobbler.
  • 12d. [Addictive Playstation game about rebuilding the universe, for short] is KATAMARI. Never heard of it. Wanted KATAMARO crossing MOONROSE (which would absolutely violate the anagramminess of the theme answers).
  • 52d. [They may keep you from scoring] clues GOALIES. See? The Onion crossword isn’t all about sex. Sometimes it only looks like it if you have a filthy mind.
  • 50d. [Steal, as music] clues TORRENT. As in using sites like BitTorrent that have illegally downloadable files of songs, movies, etc.
  • 11d. [Title film character idolized by a boy named Joey] is SHANE. John Wayne, Western? Not in my bailiwick. Crossings all the way here.
  • 54d. [Hard copy of a document, in office slang] clues DTF. Dead…tree…file? Dunno.

BREA ENURE NANG IUM leave me cold but overall I’ll go with four stars here. The 39a/41a combo elevates the theme.

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15 Responses to Wednesday, 3/21/12

  1. Did not care for this one. Even after I unearthed ARETHA FRANKLIN, a name I only know from crosswords, it didn’t do me any good to help with the other theme answers.

  2. David says:

    I’m not too familiar with Ms. Franklin’s body of work, unfortunately. I had the EYOU in 10D and thought the song title was “It had to be you”. The 8×3 fill was very good, especially considering both sections had to cross part of the theme.

    Particularly liked the Onion puzzle as well. No spoilers since it hasn’t been blogged yet, but I was surprised at the number of theme entries, given the theme’s restriction.

  3. J. T. Williams says:

    Vitamin G???? Since when?

  4. Nina says:

    I never heard of Vitamin G, either, but I did like the puzzle. Perfect Wednesday, for me.

  5. klew archer says:

    Now I can’t get that signature Joe South guitar lick at the start of CHAIN OF FOOLS out of my head. Required reading: Sweet Soul Music, by Peter Guralnick

  6. Jenni Levy says:

    I love Aretha and knew most of the theme answers, but didn’t like the rest of the puzzle much. In particular, the reversed SORE/EROS was awful. That’s just not the kind of thing I expect in an NYT crossword.

  7. ArtLvr says:

    I got a kick out of the LAT – it was GRAND, what else? The CS was quite well done, and also had a little bonus answer in that if you’re busting a gut over something then it SLAYS you!

  8. Margaret says:

    Me three on Vitamin G??? on the LAT. I always thought riboflavin was B2. Also, the clue for 62D in my paper read “Who’s turn is it?” Shouldn’t that be “Whose turn is it?”

  9. Old Geezer says:

    Isn’t a G $1000 (as in a Grand)? Well of course it is, and that was just a typo.


  10. Jeffrey says:

    Oops. Right.

  11. klew archer says:

    Second hit for Riboflavin Vitamin G says “Originally called lactochrome, it was also once known as vitamin G”

  12. Lois says:

    Margaret: The same error appeared in the title of a Newsday puzzle called “Who’s Zoo?” I think it was in May 2011.

  13. TGK says:

    Your version of Lucindo’s 3/21/12 Onion crossword appears to be different from both my hard copy and the one posted online (

    In those:

    54d clues “Willing to participate in a 62-across, briefly.” The answer is still “DTF” (but in this case it stands for ‘Down to F*ck’)

    64d clues “Guy or gal who may be 54-down, pejoratively.” The answer is “Slut” not “Slat”

    72a clues “Tim with catch phrase ‘make it work’.” The answer is “Gunn” not “Gann”

    I wonder if some regions get a censored Onion puzzle?

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      @TGK: There’s a slightly “cleaned-up” version of the Onion puzzle for the Crosswords by PuzzleSocial app on Facebook. I try to blog the official risqué Onion puzzle, but I may have inadvertently used the other version last week.

      I would have had no idea about that DTF shorthand!

  14. Mike says:

    I noticed this variation, as well, TGK. I wonder who “cleans up” the wonderfully ribald Onion CW for the PuzzleSocial app. In any event, gimme that nasty Onion!

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