Tuesday, 12/25/12

LAT  3:10 (Jeffrey – paper) 
NYT  3:03 (Jeffrey – paper) 
Jonesin'  untimed (Jeffrey) 
CS  5:09 (Sam) 

Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas! This is Jeffrey, the Crossword-blogging Elf, here for your holiday enjoyment. Let’s see if we can find Santa.

Ellen Leuschner and Victor Fleming’s New York Times crossword – Jeffrey’s review

Theme: Where’s Santa?

Theme answers:

  •  20A. [1966 Johnny Rivers hit] – SECRET AGENT MAN
  • 25A. [Create skid marks, perhaps] – SLAM ON THE BRAKES
  • 43A. [One with lots of experience] – SEASONED VETERAN
  • 48A. [Certain holiday mail … or what 20-, 25- and 43-Across have in common] – LETTERS TO SANTA

Three solid phrases and a revealer. Light and easy for the holiday.

Fun fact: If you use the postal code H0H 0H0 in Canada, the letters get to Santa in Montreal.


  • 16A. [“___ the other reindeer” (common mishearing of a Yuletide lyric)] – OLIVE. I’ve got issues with those reindeer and their reindeer games.
  • 41A. [“Stop right there!”] – FREEZE

Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ crossword, “Spellbound” – Jeffrey’s review

Theme: Say the letters out loud and they make a wacky phrase.

  • 16A. [Written test involving a sly prison breakout?] – KGSKPSA – Cagey escape essay
  • 20A. [“C’mon, those sunglasses don’t fool me!”] – EZPZICABDI – Easy-peazy, I see a beady eye
  • 39A. [Statement from a codependent tent dweller?] – OKFURNATPIMNATP – Okay; if you are in a teepee, I am in a teepee
  • 55A. [How quickly pachyderms get seen at the hospital?] – LFNTRXPDNC – Elephants are expediency
  • 63A. [Help save people, like a trained dog?] – BRSQNML – Be our rescue animal

Um, not sure what to make of these. Please let me know if there is some deeper meaning here. I don’t see how all the suboptimal fill is worth these phrases.

  • 65A. [Singer Carly ___ Jepsen] – RAE
  • 13D. [“Upstairs at Eric’s” band] – YAZ
  • 27D. [Suzanne Vega song with the lyric “I live on the second floor”] – LUKA


John Lampkin’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jeffrey’s review

Los Angeles Times crossword solution Dec 25, 2012



Theme: Where’s Santa?

  • (17a, 26a, 48a) [Unexpected Christmas morning observation] – SOMETHING HUGE IS  CLOGGING UP OUR CHIMNEY
  • (61a.) [Goodies unclaimed as a result of this puzzle’s predicament] – COOKIES FOR SANTA

Hey, who needs to figure out what to write about a puzzle when the constructor provides helpful information. Tell us about this puzzle John:

The puzzle is a reincarnation of a song I composed and recorded in 1996. Mara & Sue, a popular local kid-oriented duo performed the vocals and I myself performed all the instrumental tracks—keyboards, bass, drums and percussion.  I recently remastered it.  Watch it here:

Something Is Clogging Up My Chimney

 Totally could have had Canadian clues department:

  • 46A. [ExxonMobil trade name] – ESSO
  • 2D. [Matty or Felipe of baseball] – ALOU

Wet subtheme:

  • 4D. [Underwater weapon] – SPEAR GUN
  • 62D. [Ocean] – SEA
  • 63D. [Ocean traveler] – SUB

Garfunkel department:

  • 68A. [Paul’s partner in song] – ART

Updated Tuesday morning:

Patrick Blindauer’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “P’s on Earth”- Sam Donaldson’s review

CS solution, December 25

It’s official: I was on Santa’s “nice” list! How else to explain receiving a Patrick Blindauer puzzle to solve on Christmas Day? Patrick’s gift to us today is peace, er, Ps. Lots of them: 29, by my count. According to xwordinfo.com, the record for most Ps in a 15×15 NYT puzzle is a “mere” 19 (the record is shared by Paula Gamache and a puzzle co-constructed by BEQ and Ian Livengood). I don’t know about other puzzle outlets, but I wouldn’t be surprised if today’s puzzle sets the all-time record. More importantly, though, it was a fun solve throughout.

Normally I list all of the theme entries and discuss them in my review. But by my way of thinking, anything with a P in it would be a theme entry. And if I took the time to list them all out here, you’d quit reading much sooner. So I’ll just focus on the three long entries that traverse the grid:

  • 17-Across: The [Equipment used in a tabletop game] refers to PING-PONG PADDLES, featuring three Ps.
  • 38- and 41-Across: Something that’s [edenic] is PICTURE / PERFECT. It’s nice when a 14-letter entry can break in half since that allows for placement in the middle row.
  • 63-Across: Two things about PEPPERMINT PATTY: (1) she’s got four Ps in her name, and (2) [Marcie calls her “sir”]. Ever wanted to know what happened to Peppermint Patty? Find out here.

I didn’t know Joseph PAPP ([…who started Shakespeare in the Park]), but given today’s theme it was pretty easy to figure him out. My only real error in solving was having CROCK POT as the [Specialty cookware item] instead of CREPE PAN. Silly me–I should have known there’d be another P in the correct answer. Oh, and I really wanted PAPAYA as the [Fruit also known as “prairie bananas”]. Yeah yeah, I know papayas aren’t exactly from the prairies, but when faced with PAPA- already in the grid, you can see why I was seduced into it.

Favorite entry = ALLSPICE, the aromatic [Pumpkin pie component]. Favorite clue = [Play thing?] for PROP. Indeed, many props to Patrick for this puzzle!


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3 Responses to Tuesday, 12/25/12

  1. Zulema says:

    Merry Christmas to Vic, Ellen, and all of you here. Healthy and happy year to come and PEACE, please, everywhere.

    • Vic Fleming says:

      Thank you, Zulema. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you as well! No comments on the puzzle, huh? In that case, I’ll just take a bow and bow out.


  2. Jan says:

    Thanks Jeffrey and Sam for holding down the fort. Happy holidays to all!

Comments are closed.