Sunday, 4/15/12

NYT 13:51 
Reagle 9:18 
LAT untimed (Jeffrey -paper) 
WaPo Doug – untimed 
CS 6:44 (Sam) 
Celebrity untimed 
Hex/Hook 11:54 (pannonica) 

Kevin Der’s New York Times crossword

NYT crossword solution, 4 15 12 "Grid Iron"

Okay, so it’s a crazy-wide grid, there’s a rebus (a bunch of “iron” squares with FE in them), there’s a TITANIC theme, the grid has top/bottom symmetry, and … I don’t quite know what all else is involved. Deb Amlen told me the circled squares (which do not spell anything) are the big boat’s smokestacks, and the FE squares make a connect-the-dots long, skinny ship. (My FE in square 50 turned into a regular F.) I’ve got a headache and I have no patience for tracking down the “reflection” of the rebus squares. Deb said Kevin got most of the cast into the puzzle, but all I’m remembering is WINSLET and DICAPRIO. I do not care what 12-letter term is another name for the boat.

You know what I did care about? All the terrible little pieces of ugly fill in this puzzle that were not hiding. LEFT ARM is rather arbitrary. C-TEAM is … is that a thing? ENE as a suffik for alk- is ick. IS I, DOOS (which is a vulgar word in Afrikaans/Dutch), so, so many 3s in general. STOL, EASER, RASA, EDER, OTT, OTO, STR, IND, YRS, SRS

And then there are two irksome clues for short answers. EEG at 86a is clued as a [Hosp. scan]. Paging Will Shortz: Stop calling it a “scan”! It’s not a scan. Scanners send beams through the body, they do not record electrical signals via electrodes on the skin. How many times must a medical editor kvetch about this on a crossword blog before people quit publishing “scan” clues for E_G tests? OLAY at 2d is clued as [Oil producer]. No! Again, paging Will Shortz: “Oil of Olay” ceased to be a product name in the US some years ago. Olay sells a ton of lotions, moisturizers, soap, anti-wrinkle products. Not oil. Maybe if we had more female crossword editors in charge, the clueless OLAY cluing would cease. (Two pet peeves in one puzzle. What luck!)

I do like seeing Celine Dion title words smushed together in the grid. MY HEART / WILL GOON. Goon on, crazy heart! Man, I cannot abide that song. It needs more goon.

So I had a two-star experience, but I suppose many of you were knocked out by a five-star experience. Go ahead and tell me what the reflection squares spell out and what made you love this puzzle. Tell me how all the clunky short fill wasn’t even noticeable because you were having a blast while solving.

Don Gagliardo and C.C. Burnikel’s Los Angeles Times crossword, “K-2″—Jeffrey’s review

Los Angeles Times crossword solution Sunday April 15 2012

Theme: Two word phrases, the first word ending in K and the second word beginning with K. The full names of my father (Jack) and brother (Mark) would both be valid theme answers.

Theme answers:

  • 23A. [Geisha wear] – SILK KIMONO
  • 35A. [Oven seen at Colonial Williamsburg] – BRICK KILN
  • 43A. [Be complimentary (of)] – SPEAK KINDLY
  • 72A. [Form of bank fraud] – CHECK KITING
  • 92A. [Warehouse worker] – STOCK KEEPER
  • 105A. [Friendly greeting] – CHEEK KISS. This clue should have been changed: 67A [Cheeky] – BOLD
  • 119A. [Prepare a seder, say] – COOK KOSHER
  • 14D. [Football surprise] – QUICK KICK This play makes more sense in Canadian football, where the kicker or anyone behind the kicker is onside and can recover the kick.
  • 80D. [He debuted in Action Comics in 1938] – CLARK KENT

Other stuff:

Quiz time: For each, tell me if I am describing Jack Krasnick or William Shatner:

    1) Born in Montreal.
    2) Lived in Cote St Luc, Quebec.
    3) Parents were Jewish immigrants.
    4) Attended Baron Byng High School.
    5) Obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree.

Answer in all cases is both.

  • 41A. [Shatner’s “__War”] – TEK.
  • 37D. [Hard on the eyes, in a way] – LOUD. “Hard on the ears” could have the same answer.
  • 60D. [Language in which “Shazbot!” is a profanity] – ORKAN. Do people even remember Mork and Mindy anymore?
  • 22A. [One-time TV medical expert Art] – ULENE. Who? Is he no longer an expert?

***¾ stars

Updated Sunday morning:

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

Solution to CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, April 15

The centerpiece of today’s 66/32 freestyle “Sunday Challenge” crossword is, well, the center piece. Two triple-15 stacks meet in the middle, each held in place by off-shooting paired 10s. That makes for six 15s and eight 10s in the same grid–impressive.


Is this what’s called “90-degree rotational symmetry?” Normally crossword grids look the same when turned upside-down. This one looks the same with every 90-degree turn.

Here were my favorites of the longer entries:

  • BORIS AND NATASHA are [Bullwinkle’s nemeses]. And now, here are some entries we think you’ll really like.
  • To [Stay informed] is to REMAIN IN THE LOOP. I’m often outside of it.
  • THREE MEN IN A BOAT is [Jerome K. Jerome comedy novel of 1889]. The middle initial stands for “K-Jerome.”
  • BIOLUMINESCENCE is the [Natural glow?] that can make a fish look like it swallowed a light bulb.
  • LIVED IN SIN refers to having [Cohabited while unwed, idiomatically]. In my early years of teaching, I got in trouble for using the expressions “living in sin” and “shacked up” jokingly when discussing a particular case study involving unmarried cohabitants. A student actually reported me to the associate dean and asked that I be reprimanded for making such a disparaging remark. It was not the last time I got reported to the associate dean. I guess I’m a poor judge of assessing student sensitivities.
  • AISLE SEATS are [Fliers’ requests, at times]. I used to be all about the aisle seat when I flew, but lately I’ve been coveting window seats. Fewer people bump into you when you’re in the window seat, and it’s easier to get a little shut-eye because you can lean over a tad without resting atop a stranger’s shoulder or suffering a concussion from the beverage cart. I don’t think I’ll ever prefer a middle seat, though. One day, I hope, someone will make a fuel-efficient airplane with a 2x2x2 coach class configuration instead of the standard 3×3 layout.

EGOCENTRICITIES feels more like a portmanteau of “ego” and “eccentricities” than a real word. GLOBE-TROTS also felt clunky to my ear, as “globetrotter” and “globetrotting” feel more natural than simply “globe-trot.” But Martin’s dictionary is bigger than mine (it takes a secure man to say that), so I’m sure these are both legit.

Merl Reagle’s syndicated crossword, “Hunger Games”

Merl Reagle Washington Post crossword answers, 4 15 12 "Hunger Games"

This week’s theme is words that mean “eat” hidden inside longer phrases:


  • 23a. MUNCHKINS, [Lollipop Guild members]
  • 25a. MARS ORBITER, [NASA launched one on December 11, 1998]
  • 35a. LANDOWNERS, [Property-tax payers]
  • 40a. SIGN A WAIVER, [Let a franchise off the hook, perhaps]. Is this pertaining to professional athletes? My first impulse is “franchise” = fast-food restaurant.
  • 52a. A WORD IN EDGEWISE, [It may be hard to get this at a debate]. This is a 15-letter partial in a puzzle filled with partials.
  • 65a, 70a. THE WITCHES / OF EASTWICK, [1987 film from a John Updike novel]
  • 83a. GO AT A STEADY PACE, [Do 60 the whole way, e.g.]
  • 96a. HAVE NO SHAME, [Lack the decency to be embarrassed]
  • 98a. WINNINGEST, [Most successful, as a team]
  • 113a. MUSTACHE WAX, [Facial-hair goo]
  • 118a. COMES UP TO, [Approaches]

I liked the theme okay, but the rest of the grid lost me. A bunch of partials and one deadly crossing—the latter sitting in square 76. 65d: [“Perry Mason” lieutenant] TR*GG meets 76a: [Simple chord, briefly] * MIN. I guessed TREGG and E MIN, because the only Perry Mason characters I know of are Perry Mason and Della Street, and because if it were TRAGG and A MIN, the latter could be clued as Idi AMIN or the partial AM IN (though that would duplicate 19a: I’M IN). I don’t know music, but my husband reports that it is easier to play an E minor chord on a guitar than an A minor. And yet the answers were indeed TRAGG  and A MIN. Boo, hiss. Am I the only one who doesn’t know the name of this fictional lieutenant?

As for the partials, oy. From left to right, we start with 98d: [“Try as ___ …”] WE MAY. 41d: [Cagney film, “Each Dawn ___”] I DIE. Never heard of it. 99d: [“Made ___”] IN USA. 24d: [Half a lover’s quarrel?], HE SAID. 42d: [Solid followup?], AS A ROCK. 53d: [Part of SWAK], WITH A. 74d: [“History is ___ that men agree to believe” (Napoleon)], A MYTH. 10d: [“For want of ___ …”] A NAIL. 47d: ONE OF [___ a kind]. And 17d: [“Rumor has it …”], I HEAR feels like it’s knocking at the door of this category. It’s not that any of these is so terrible on its own, just that there are so very many of them. Right? I’m not imagining that this is more partials than we see in a typical Sunday crossword?

3d: [In sports, it often comes down to this] clues FINAL GAME. Now, in any tournament/playoff setting, and in tennis, doesn’t it always come down to the FINAL GAME? Like, if it doesn’t go to game seven, the round is decided after game five, then game five is the FINAL GAME.

5d: [Try again, on the set] clues TAKE TWO. I’ve always viewed “take 2” as a noun phrase, i.e., “this is the second take.” Is it in fact a verb phrase, as the clue suggests?

11d: [Nora portrayer] for MYRNA suggests that the intended audience used to watch “Perry Mason” and enjoyed all the Nick and Nora stories in movies and on radio and TV (Wikipedia: “The characters were later adapted for film in a series of movies between 1934 and 1947; for radio from 1941 to 1950; for television from 1957 through 1959”), is on a first-name, household-name basis with Myrna Loy. [Nora Charles portrayer ___ Loy] would be more of a sop to solvers under 60.

2.75 stars from me. The deadly crossing and the abundant partials knock this one down.

Doug Peterson’s Washington Post crossword, “The Post Puzzler No. 106” – Doug’s review

Doug Peterson's Washington Post solution 4/15/12, "The Post Puzzler No. 106"

Hey, crossword fans. Doug here. I’ve been taken off the Sunday LA Times beat after last week’s unfortunate joke at the expense of Tom Cruise. In case you missed it, I basically implied that he’s a creepy little dude. A few of Mr. Cruise’s people dropped by Fiend HQ earlier this week and “suggested” that I be reassigned. So now I’ll be blogging the Post Puzzler on Sundays. To quote a stale year-old catchphrase: “Winning!” The Post Puzzler is often my favorite puzzle of the week, and I’m not just saying that because Peter Gordon’s people are bigger and meaner than Tom Cruise’s people.

So I’m blogging my own puzzle today. Is that legal? I don’t recall having a particular seed entry in mind for this one. I started by trying to find two 14-letter answers that would work well together in the center of the grid. I’ve been working with 14-letter words in some of my recent themelesses because they’re a largely untapped resource. According to the online databases, neither MICROBREWERIES nor MISSILE COMMAND has appeared in a puzzle before. And I was able to sandwich XANADU in between those two, so I knew I was in business.

  • 34a. [1980 film with No. 1 hit “Magic”] – XANADU. Sometimes people ask me how long it takes to construct a puzzle. It varies, but I remember this clue took me at least an hour to write, because I got trapped on YouTube watching Olivia Newton-John videos. It was totally worth it.

  • 36a. [Game that’s played until the batteries are depleted] – MISSILE COMMAND. The three missile batteries. Once you use all your missiles, you’re toast. I was usually toast long before my missiles ran out. I sucked, and continue to suck, at any video game that requires hand-eye coordination.
  • 45d. [Her “Ulysses” counterpart runs a brothel] – CIRCE. I liked this one because it’s not obvious, but it’s figure-out-able even if you’ve never read Ulysses. (I haven’t.)

It’s April 15th, and I’ve got taxes to do, so I’m leaving a little early today. I hope you enjoyed the puzzle. If not, feel free to unload in the comments.

Henry Hook’s Sunday crossword, “Once is Enough” — pannonica’s review

Hex/Hook • 4/15/12 • "Once is Enough" • Hook • solution

Economize! Names and phrases beginning with a repeated word drop one of the duplicates for the mers.  Sorry, I meant “the themers.”

  • 21a. [*Normality of a sort] TWENTY VISION (twenty-twenty).
  • 35a. [*Musical set in Sweet Apple, Ohio] BYE BIRDIE (Bye Bye).
  • 67a. [*Home of Whitman College] WALLA WASHINGTON (Walla Walla,).
  • 101a. [*1951 Hank Williams hit] COLD HEART (Cold, Cold).
  • 120a. [*”You can come out now] OLLY OXEN FREE (olly(-)olly). I hew to the theory that the phrase derives from German “alle, alle, auch sind frei” (“everyone, everyone is also free”).
  • 9d. [*”Tea for Two” show] NO NANETTE (No, No,).
  • 13d. [*Oft-wed actress] ZSA GABOR (Zsa Zsa). AKA Sári Gábor.
  • 14d. [*Best song of 1964 Oscar] CHIM CHE-REE (Chim Chim).
  • 72d. [*Hudson facility] SING PRISON (Sing Sing). Technically, a “correctional facility.”
  • 80d. [*Pun, often] KNOCK JOKE (knock-knock)
  • 84d. [*Caged entertainer] GO DANCER (go-go). Oft-caged?

If anyone is like me and is keen on keeping useless, trivial tallies, the breakdown is:  3 ( or 4) hyphenated, 5 (or 6) unadorned, and 2 with commas. Total: eleven theme entries—5 acrosses and 6 downs—for a nice mix.

Started off with a good feeling, plunking in PICAS [Typesetting measures] unhesitatingly at one-across. With the exception of a few CAPpy™ (crosswordese, abbrevs., partials) potholes, the benevolent feeling persisted, and there were quite a number of clues and answers that really shined, for cleverness or nostalgia.

The smiles first:

  • PICAS at 1a. Yes, I’m repeating myself.
  • 24a UNTERSEE [The “U” in “U-boat”]. Yay German! So often a cinch to parse words. Unterseeboot = “undersea boat.”
  • 26a GAM as a [School of whales] rather than something along the lines of [Leg, to Betty Grable]. I appreciate that was transferred from gam, meaning “a visit or friendly conversation at sea or ashore especially between whalers,” which is in turn thought to derive from the obsolete gammon, to talk.
  • 30a COMANCHE as a [Bygone Jeep pickup]. I think it was the sister vehicle of the Cherokee, which persists.
  • 61a PIEHOLE!
  • 74a TONEARM [Phonograph part].
  • 123a [Movie-light name] KLIEG. Liked this one because I had just filled in 126a [Popular theater name] ROXY and was misled.
  • 30d [Crowning achievement] CAPSTONE.
  • ZOG! I can’t help but like ZOG [Albania’s last king] (113a).

The frowns:

  • 46a [Prot. branch] EPISC. I couldn’t make any sense of this because “Prot.” was a mystery; all I could think of was Protists. After getting the answer through crossings I understood it was Protestant (and Episcopalian).
  • 28a AYR, 31d ORT, 77d OLEO, 105d ENID, 110d ELEA. Just deadly tired of seeing them lately.
  • 98a [See 100-Across] INTO, 100a [With 98-Across, take up wholeheartedly] DIVE. Do we really need a cross-referenced pair of clues in reverse order for two common words that can easily be clued individually, even if they are separated by only one clue in the list?
  • 112a [Madison or Monroe, for ex.] JAS. Yes, that’s short for James, saving a whopping two letters and looking thoroughly ridiculous. Chas. and Jos. save three letters each, and I realize now that my dividing line (at the moment) is between two and three letters.
  • 108d [Turnkey] SCREW. I find zero support for this definition of turnkey (have checked RHUD,  m-w, Compact Oxford, American Heritage, Wikichitlán, among others).

The others:

  • 43d [What to do next?] STEP TWO. Redundant of themer 9d [“”Tea for Two” show]?
  • 107a [Monokini’s lack] BRA. Some, especially the “modern” ones, are relatively (I stress relatively) demure, more like one-piece swimsuits with extreme cutouts.
  • [Thinks way back?] TROWS. (1) obsolete: believe (2) archaic: think; origin:
    Middle English, from Old English trēowan; akin to Old English trēowe faithful, true — more at true; first known use: before 12th century. (  Saved because the clew acknowledges the creakiness. Obsolete and archaic!
  • Felt too vague: 15d [“__ you!”] SEZ. Ditto, but to a lesser extent: 121d [“__ out!] YER.
  • 41d [“”Arrivederci!””] CIAO. Are the double double-quotes necessary? Are they there to counterbalance the theme?
  • New definition for me: VESTA [Short wooden match]. I only knew it as the Roman goddess of the hearth. Obviously, there’s a connection.
  • 71d [“__ choose to run”] I DO NOT. Uttered by Calvin Coolidge, regarding the 1928 Presidential election.

Good puzzle, would solve again.

Once is Enough,” by Lyle Lovett (featuring the great Willis Alan Ramsey) in a live 1990 performance.

Tony Orbach’s Celebrity crossword, “Sunday Funday”

Celebrity crossword answers, 4 15 12 "Sunday Funday" Orbach

Kaboom! Tony gathers some explosive material and blows it up in the backyard:

  • 15a. GRENADE, [Bruno Mars “detonatable” song of 2010]
  • 28a. FIREWORK, [Katy Perry “detonatable” song of 2010]
  • 33a. DYNAMITE, [Taio Cruz “detonatable” song of 2010]
  • 45a. EXPLODE, [Appropriate playlist title for the three songs at 15-, 28-, and 33-Across]

I’m not a Katy Perry fan, but I do love “Dynamite” and “Grenade.” Super-catchy tunes, and they might both have escaped my notice if my son hadn’t started devouring top 40 radio in 2010.

Favorite clue: 44d. KIA, [Korean automaker that sells its Soul]. My 70-something uncle has his eye on a Kia Soul, in the “alien green” color you may have seen on the roads.

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35 Responses to Sunday, 4/15/12

  1. Jim Horne says:

    On XWord Info, I try to make the case that this is the world’s first cubist crossword.

    You’ll either buy that or not but either way, you’ve got to love the title. If you’re not a sports fan, your heart sunk a little when you read GRID IRON. After all, the puzzle even looks like a football field. There’s the faceoff circle at center ice and, well no, I mean, maybe the shaded squares look like hash marks or something. Anyway, it’s the right shape. Just the wrong sink.

  2. ibabel says:

    Wow, what a snarky review. Guess it wasn’t the ship of dreams for you was it?

  3. Erik says:

    i need to stop reading the blurb when it says [See blurb]. it always takes like three minutes off my solving time just trying to parse it. so convoluted.

    the puzzle was good

  4. Jenni Levy says:

    THANK YOU for pointing out that EEG is not a scan. That annoyed the bejesus out of me. Enough already. Really.

    I liked it better than you did, but didn’t bother with the reflection, either. That kind of meta-puzzle leaves me cold.

  5. Jeffrey says:

    Wow who could have suspected a 31×17 grid with the shape of a ship hidden inside and other gems would have a few subpar fill entries. Please constructors, continue to innovate and push the envelope! Some solvers and parttime bloggers love that stuff.

  6. Martin says:

    Amy’s nits didn’t bug me. She forgets that clues are in a state of temporal grace: “formerly” can always be omitted. (Mel Ott is no longer a Giant, for instance.) When there’s misdirection involved, it’s a no brainer. So if Olay now flogs its oil as Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Formula with Nanobot Pearl Compost because women will pay way more for it than for “oil,” by the Wayback Crossword Clue Tense Fungibility Rule, it’s still 1998.

    And even if an EEG is not what is properly called a brainscan, it’s not only in crosswords that the mistake is common, so the answer was obvious.

    On the other hand, it irked me that some of the cross-refs meant the ship and others meant the movie. That seems like a flaw for some reason, but I’m not sure that it’s ever come up before so we could be making rules up as we go.

  7. Jeff M. says:

    110% agree with Amy. Really look forward to hearing the Saturday paper hit the door in the morning so that I can run out and walk through the puzzle (at least for us NYCers the mag comes on Sat). I woke up and saw this monstrosity. Figured both the Fe catch and the Titanic theme before anything was in the grid; the constant barrage of three letter answers ruined the usual Sunday enjoyment. Paired with the instruction blurb that took a few minutes to understand…and well there you have it. It felt like one of those dishes where a cook throws everything in to say that it has a million ingredients, whereas a chef would have stuck to one main ingredient and let it shine.

    Sorry about the depressing commentary, love reading your thoughts on the blog. Great job Amy & Co!

  8. Deb Amlen says:

    I was exaggerating when I said most of the cast was in there, but you have to admit that Kevin *did* get a lot of movie stuff into his ginormous grid.

    And my South African connection tells me you were remarkably restrained in describing DOOS. Even he was shocked.

  9. Martin says:

    Apparently, the original meaning was “a small box in which medicine is supplied.” It’s too easy so this will be a write-your-own-punchline exercise.

  10. joon says:

    On the other hand, it irked me that some of the cross-refs meant the ship and others meant the movie. That seems like a flaw for some reason, but I’m not sure that it’s ever come up before so we could be making rules up as we go.

    in the cross-referenced clues, 56-down refers to the ship and “56-down” refers to the movie. seems fine to me.

  11. Tuning Spork says:

    But what does this have to do with Clara Barton?

    (SHIP OF DREAMS is in the reflection, btw. Nice touch in a grid with top-bottom symetry.)

  12. Jared says:

    I liked it (nyt) because I was able to solve it. Sadly, that’s still my main criterion for nyt thurs-sun.

  13. granbaer says:

    This was really ugly on the iPad. I agree with Amy about all the awkward fill. And there was no way I could ever see any reflections on my screen. I did not enjoy this one at all.
    On another note, I have been posting my abysmal times on this site to encourage more people to put theirs on also. Not everyone works at the speed of Amy and Joon!

  14. donald says:

    Do they even chew their food?

  15. Matt says:

    A lot going on in the puzzle and a neat construction, but I agree about the weak fill. AIRE is the little river that broke the camel’s back– I haven’t seen that one for ages.

  16. pannonica says:

    ALL OK, which appears in both the NYT and LAT, irks me because it feels redundant. One of the theories for the origin of “OK” is that it derives from the cheeky “all korrect” and I’ve internalized that sense.

    “ENE as a suffik for alk- is ick” —Amy

    That didn’t annoy me nearly as much as -IEST as a [Suffix with luck] (NYT 130d).

    My overall take on the NYT is that it’s ambitious but the gimmicks (and engendered weak fill) drag down the puzzle-solving experience (to the frigid depths).

    Another thing: LAT 108d [Boxy Toyota] for SCION is a terrible clue. Scion is an economy brand of Toyota and only one (xB) of the five base models they offer can be described as boxy.

  17. Dook says:

    bad. nasty. overreaching. unnecessary. and I am really sick of the Titantic.

  18. Bruce N. Morton says:

    Regrettably, I’m completely with Amy on this one, and mostly found the puzzle annoying, so I won’t indulge in detailed overkill. I spent a couple minutes trying to anagram the circled squares (something I rarely do.) And of course we just had a Titanic theme (not the constructor’s fault) and even the first one didn’t do much for me. I still don’t quite get the supposed connection between the iron (fe) squares and the Titanic theme. It is occurring to me (maybe this was Amy’s point too) that the the central black squares could be taken as the outline of a ship sailing East to West, with the prow of the ship (between ‘etat’ and ‘noah’) about to hit the iceberg solidly positioned in the middle left of the grid, between da(fe) and vhs. And New York Etat was *supposed* to appear before an iceberg and Kate and Leo are certainly a pair. But now I am hallucinating.

    But what a marvelous, effortless puzzle by MAS with the intersecting 3 x 15 bands and the 9 – box center. The best fill for that grid I have ever seen. I think it’s an instant masterpiece.


  19. Lois says:

    I really enjoyed the NYT puzzle, as well as the comments today. (I have a lot of sympathy with Jared’s point of view.)

    Thank you, Bruce N. Morton, for the recommendation of the MAS puzzle. I just printed it out, and will do it this week. I’ll have the extra fun of reading Sam’s column when I finish (or don’t finish).

    Thanks for the explanation at 9:47, pannonica.

  20. pannonica says:

    If you want a connection between iron and the Titanic, some assert that the real [Cause of 56-down’s demise] (60d: ICEBERG) was the use of iron rivets instead of the newer and superior steel ones. As I understand it, the reasons were twofold: they required more effort to install, and many (all?) were used in repairs to the Titanic’s sister ship, the Olympic.

    (Edited in the hopes of removing subsequent comment jinx.)

  21. Bruce N. Morton says:

    Pannonica, I hope this is not the comment jinx you feared but surprisingly, given some of my recent online grumbles, I was a Titanic junkie, as a child, reading all the available literature; and yes, I think the investigations of James Cameron and others have conclusively established that the hull was not ripped by the ice, but rather compressed, so that it bowed outward, systematically popping the rivets, front to back.


  22. pannonica says:

    Not at all, Bruce! A technical jinx (appropriately enough), not anything regarding opinions. Tuning Spork mentioned (in the comments of the Saturday post) that something about my comment seemed to be preventing additional ones from being posted.

    The researcher I had in mind was Paul Louden-Brown.

  23. Bruce N. Morton says:

    Pan, Yes, Louden Brown’s book about the in fighting between Bruce Ismay and Captain Smith (and others) is fascinating, but ultimately inconclusive. Louden Brown apparently has assembled a large treasure trove of Titanic memorabilia in England (or maybe it’s Ireland.) but I digress.


  24. Anoa Bob says:

    I agree with Bruce that Martin Ashwood-Smith’s CS puzzle is a masterpiece. The crossing three-stacked 15’s are all marvelous, captivating, witty, intelligent—I could use a whole Thesaurus entry here.

    Sam, EGOCENTRICITIES doesn’t look portmanteauish to me, any more than “egocentric” does.

    Martin gives us solid crossing fill with just the right level of clueing to be interesting and yet make the big gun 15’s gettable. That’s old-school at its best.

    I laughed when I saw the clue for 20A KIWI “Shinola competitor”. When I was a kid growing up in Tennessee, there was an expression of disdain for someone who was considered to be totally clueless and wrong about some topic: “He doesn’t know sh_t from Shinola.” (It wasn’t use in polite company!)

    This is my favorite puzzle in a long, long time. Gave it five stars; woulda gone to six.

  25. pannonica says:

    Anoa Bob: It sure as **i* wasn’t limited to Tennessee, and I’m certain the implication was intentional.

    For the record, I also liked MAS’ puzzle very much.

  26. Josh Bischof says:

    I’m with dook’s concise review.

    AGN is the low point for me. Just a headache-inducing, completely unenjoyable solving experience.

  27. Josh Bischof says:

    WOW on Martin Ashwood-Smith’s CS puzzle. To have a grid like that completely crap-fill-free–just wow.

    Those intersecting 3 x 15’s are fantastic. The two single-word 15’s are great words. And to throw in eight 10’s, every one of which is good…that’s just showing off.

    Five stars.

  28. joon says:

    fyi, kevin has posted his constructor’s notes about this puzzle on quora. i doubt it will change how anyone feels about the puzzle but it could demystify some things that people are confused about.

  29. paula says:

    As a rank amateur in finish times (compared to all of you) and even to the finishing of many Fri-Sun puzzles, I found this one a potpourri of mish-mash. I, too, thought we were finished with the Titanic theme — once a century is enough — but having caught onto it very early, imagine my surprise about the chem symbol for Iron also thrown into the mix (despite the theme name).

    Then I looked for FE to be repeated in words along the same rows at bottom (symmetry) et voila non!

    Bottom line (no pun intended), I found it mostly easy, even to the esoteric and painful stretches of definitions, but it left me with a blah feeling — sort of like — is this clever enough for the NYT?

  30. Bruce N. Morton says:


    As a Gary Larson – Far Side fan (too bad that he finally ran dry), I used to send him ideas for cartoons, completely waiving any claims, which he occasionally acknowledged and at least a couple times used. The idea behind one of *my* favorites, which he didn’t use, involved two of his animal characters–I suggested bears. The drawing showed an amorphous mass on the ground and one character was saying patiently to the other

    “No, Carl, that’s Shinola.”


  31. Lois says:

    I did like the MAS puzzle. I hadn’t done many or any such puzzles with stacks of 15-letter answers that were at such a moderate level of difficulty, and it was a real treat.

    Joon, thank you for the reference to Kevin Der’s article. I enjoyed it, and his puzzle.

  32. Zulema says:

    Just a note about OLAY, it’s oil in Polish or close to it. If it were an oil producer, a lot of women wouldn’t use it. AGN is as awful as can be. And what war is VHS? Sorry, I just got to it this morning.

  33. Lois says:

    VHS versus Betamax.

  34. Zulema says:

    Thank you, it was the only VHS I knew.

  35. Tom Grubb says:

    I did poorly on Sunday’s puzzle and now I know why: I am NOT a fan of James Cameron or his silly, bloated film.

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