Wednesday, 10/10/12

NYT 3:41 
LAT 4:02 (Gareth) 
Onion untimed 
CS 4:25 (Sam) 

(L to R) Amy, Howard, Evad the triumphant, Jeannie, Howard’s lovely mom, Gary

Time to brag on Evad’s terrific marathon performance last Sunday: He finished in 3:35:58, in the top 15% of all runners (beating thousands of younger runners). He may be the single fastest crossword constructor/webmaster there is.

Pete Muller’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 10 10 12 1010

If someone had asked you to come up with six phrases or compound words that have a PJ combo, could you have done it? Running the alphabet in my head, the only one I came up with that Pete doesn’t have is clip joint, though that would duplicate the J word in 17a, HIP JOINTS. The theme also includes 21a: PROP JET, 33a: SNAP JUDGMENT (my favorite of the set), 41a: STUMPJUMPERS (term for [Classic mountain bikes] that doesn’t ring a bell—turns out it’s a trade name from Specialized), 54a: TIP JARS, 59a: FLAPJACKS, and the unifying 26d: PAJAMAS. There are a lot of extraneous plurals in there to pad entry lengths and pair up symmetrically. Hmm.

Likes: TRIBECA, ANGELINA, SHOCKS to the TICKER. Dislikes: That [Defensive excavation], the GUN PIT (is that really a thing?); partials USE AS and ONE IS; the bad crossing of AS BAD and BAD JOKES; abbrevs/ugly bits GRO, TDS, STS, STL, SRO, INSP, SFPD, EMT, MSS, CIA, ATM; and the plural first name STANS.

Three stars.

Updated Wednesday morning:

Donna S. Levin’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “P&L Statement” – Sam Donaldson’s review

CS solution, October 10

The corporate boardroom has its own P&L statement, but this puzzle has four of them. Each of the theme entries is a two-word term with the initials P.L. Here, I’ll prove it:

  • 17-Across: A PILOT LIGHT is an [Igniter of a sort]. Of a sort? Is that part really necessary to the clue? It serves as a distraction of a sort.
  • 26-Across: PETTY LARCENY is the [Small-time thief’s crime]. When someone steals your idea for a great wardrobe, you’re a victim of pretty larceny.
  • 43-Across: Ah, PENNY LOAFERS, the [Slip-on shoes endorsed in “The Official Preppy Handbook”]. Those bring back memories of the mid-1980s. I never owned a pair, but I certainly know plenty of people who did.
  • 58-Across: PANTY LINES are the [Fashion faux pas addressed by Spanx]. Love the entry and love the clue.

The PARTY LINE is to denounce fill like MTGE, MME, IS TO, and PICK A, but to the extent those entries allow for others like STOP BY, LAID LOW, CATS EYE, HOME EC, HUBCAP, GLINDA, and LINCHPIN, I’m all for keeping them on the PLAY LIST.

GLINDA is the good witch, right? I admit I’m within walking distance of the PUBLIC LIBRARY and could easily look it up, but I’m too busy dreaming about the PORK LOIN I plan to cook up later today. All of the ingredients in the recipe have me drooling like I’m experiencing PUPPY LOVE. I think I’ll even skip my PIANO LESSON so I can get to the cooking that much sooner.

Favorite entry = DOT THE I’S, to [Attend to details]. Favorite clue = [Good place to find a date?] for PALM. He knows the intended context, but Inner Beavis enjoys this greatly.

Matt Skoczen’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Gareth’s review

This is going to be fairly quick. Simple enough theme to explain the TEAR of TEARAPART is hidden in another 5 answers, making for a very dense theme indeed. Also worth noting is that 4 of the 6 theme entries run down, an unusual feature! The entries – WYAT(T EAR)P, PLA(TE AR)MOR, LA(TE AR)RIVAL, RABBI (T EAR)S, PLANE (T EAR)TH – make for a pretty interesting, unimpeachable set.

Sometimes simple clues can delight. Exhibit A, 1A [Aphid’s meal] is really nice. Ditto its entomological echoer [Beetle juice?] that isn’t really about insects at all, but instead Volkswagen Beetles! I also liked [Opposite of apres] just because I’d never connected those two dots myself. The EMU is a [Source of lean red meat]. If you get in touch with Deb Amlen I’m told she may know some recipes?

Matt Jones’s Onion A.V. Club crossword

Onion AV Club crossword solution, 10 10 12

So, 54a: AD ADDS ([One way to describe the theme answers?]) means take an ADvertising slogan and ADD a letter to get something new:

  • 18a. [With 19-Across: “Coffee you can enjoy ’til you get really saggy…”], GOOD TO THE LAST DROOP.
  • 28a. [“It builds strong bones, but who cares in this dark, dark world…”], GOTH MILK.
  • 34a. [With 41-Across, “Buy her a ring, but make sure she agrees before necking …”], EVERY KISS BEGINS WITH OKAY.
  • 49a. [“This rental car commercial would be better with an eclectic soundtrack and Bill Murray …”], WES, TRY HARDER.

If you got a kick out of adding a letter to ad slogans, you’ll probably like changing or deleting a letter too. Patrick Blindauer, in his position at the Puzzlewright puzzle-book publisher, is running a contest until October 15: add, delete, or change a letter in an ad slogan. Go to the Twitter page for the hashtag #adpuz for the details and to read the submissions that have been tweeted thus far. My favorites: Joon Pahk‘s “it’s not nice to foul mother nature” and his “there are some things money can’t bury. for everything else, there’s mastercard”; Catherine Martin‘s “Calgon, take men away”; and Andy Arizpe‘s “Molts in your mouth, not in your hand.”

Back to the crossword. Favorite bits: LEMON LAW clue, [Used protection?]. LOLSPEAK, [Lingo heavy on pluralizing with Z’s]. SMOOSH, [Mash down]. And BLATHERS, [Speaks foolishly].

Unfavorites: LGL, -OUS, VBS, ISAO and OONA, WDET, KESSEL ([Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil]—who??), MISACT ([Behave badly]—this is a word?), RIT, DNCS.

2.75 stars, owing to the clunkers in the fill.

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11 Responses to Wednesday, 10/10/12

  1. Huda says:

    Congratulations, Evad– that is quite a unique combination of talents- sharp mind, nimble body, dashing good looks, triumphant yet modest smile! Bet you look stunning in your PJs too!

    Speaking of which, the PJ clew really helped me keep it popping along, especially around that STUMP JUMPER neighborhood. I bet Evad knows all about mountain bikes. Not I…

    A small correction is in order: DJINN (JINN) is a collective noun in Arabic indicating the whole category of spirits, DJINNI being its singular. So DJINN should have been more appropriately clued as “spirits” not “spirit”. Even though these spirits can be either good or evil, they are typically associated with unpredictability or impishness –they’re not easy to control and seem more temperamental than angels. When you go crazy, you are MAJNOON, i.e. inhabited by the JINN.

    • Daniel Myers says:


      Here is the OED’s typically de haut en bas addition to your erudite note:”DJ is not an English combination, but is sometimes used to represent the Arabic letter jim=English j, in Arabic, Turkish, or Berber words, which have come to us through a French channel, or are spelt in imitation of French orthography: e.g. DJEBEL, a mountain or hill, DJERID or DJEREED, a javelin, DJIN, genii or familiar spirits, DJUBBAH, an outer garment. So far as these come under the scope of this Dictionary, they will be found under J…”

      In other words: “Those perfidious French, always playing merry hell with proper spelling!”

      • Huda says:

        Daniel, yes, perfidious French fingers are to be found in all matters Middle Eastern…

        As to my knowledge of DJINN/JINN, it’s based on experience with countless people in said Middle East who believed in them, feared them, were spooked by them, or blamed them for their misdeeds. I had forgotten about the DJINN business until I had the amazing opportunity to meet the Dalai Lama. In the course of a discussion about emotions (and the brain biology thereof), he referred to emotions as “the little trouble makers”. As he said it, he fanned his fingers over his head and wiggled them, suggesting mischief. In a flash I saw a connection to the idea of DJINN in Islam– the uncontrollable troublemakers within us!

  2. Rob says:

    “Gun pit” was new to me as well.

  3. RK says:

    Congrats to Evad.

    What’s the difference between the Onion link here and the puzzle at

    GOTHMILK is great!!

    • Jim says:

      In Matt Jones’ AV Club xword I was stumped by the crossing of Kessel (some jock) and “adadds”. What is “adadds”? thanks

      • RK says:

        Advertisement additions. So the slogan Got Milk is changed to Goth Milk by the h addition. I got stuck at Kessel too. I think WESTRYHARDER refers to Wes Anderson who made several films with Bill Murray apparently.

  4. pannonica says:

    NYT: I can think of SKIPJACK TUNA and SKOPJE, MACEDONIA. The first repeats an element from an existing themer, the other is 15 letters and would have to go along the center, without a partner. Strange that they both begin with SK-.

  5. Gareth says:

    The high density and fun theme answers in the NYT were appreciated, although I had no idea about STUMPJUMPERS. A bit rough in the short answers but there’s a plethora of nice medium-length answers so, hmm, I’ll take it.

  6. AV says:

    AS BAD – BAD JOKES today, TO TOE – TOELOOP on Sunday … is this now acceptable at NYT?

  7. Ethan says:

    I don’t think that abbreviations should be counted as negatives against the puzzle when they are more well-known than the phrase they stand for. Just my opinion, but the inclusion of CIA and ATM in the list of “ugly bits” goes well past nitpickery to the realm of perverse wrongitude.

Comments are closed.