Thursday, April 11, 2013

Fireball 5:54 
BEQ 4:45 
NYT 4:44 
AV Club 4:24 
LAT let’s say 4:00 (Jeffrey – paper, what other way is there?) [Apologies if some of the post is garbled, the carrier pigeon got a bit wet]  

Jim Hilger’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 4 11 13 #0411

It took me forever to find the theme. 18a, 61a: [With 61-Across, some beachwear … which literally can be found five times in this puzzle], WRAP-AROUND SUNGLASSES … where? Eventually I found them. In the top row, the last two letters are SH and if you wrap around to the left of that row, you finish the word with ADES. Row 5 has SHADE and S(ty). The center row has (nata)SHA and DES(pair). Row 11, (ba)S and HADES. Bottom row, SHAD and ES(s). I would like the gimmick better if it hadn’t started us off with ADES at 1-Across. (A noted constructor, in an email completely unrelated to tonight’s NYT, wrote “ADE isn’t really a word, despite what crosswords have claimed forever.” It’s true. Check a dictionary.)

I actually had one square wrong. Where 5d: [Spiraling] and 15a: [G.M.C. truck] met, I gambled on ATWIRL and TIERRA. Turns out it’s ASWIRL (which is in the dictionary I checked, unlike ATWIRL) and SIERRA. I guess the dictionary thing overrides my disgruntlement that we didn’t have a more obvious SIERRA clue (referencing mountains, perhaps). I was leaning towards ROME instead of ROMA for 14a: [Ruler of Gallia and Britannia, once], but 4d: [1974 Peace Nobelist] pointed towards the Japanese SATO more than the nonsensical SETO. (That’s Eisaku Satō, former prime minister, honored for his anti-nukes work.)

Favorite fill: 3d. [Adviser on dos and don’ts], EMILY POST. I had the E and I and couldn’t see how ETIQUETTE EXPERT would fit. I also liked how neighbors THE and CAN were clued as a unit … though I confess the toilet definition comes to mind before the prison one.

I didn’t love most of the fill, though. One EMEER variant, one ALETA, and any number of ALEROS go a long way. They go too far, in fact. Over the edge. I would like those answers to wrap around the grid … and fall off it entirely.

3.25 stars.

Doug Peterson’s Fireball crossword, “Mobile Alabama”

Fireball solution, 4 11 13

There’s no comma between the city and state because that’s the theme—the abbreviation for Alabama, AL, is mobile, and that letter pair moves within a word to form a different word.

  • 20a. [Line from a young basketballer who idolizes Shaq?], I WANT TO BE O’NEAL. Riffing on Garbo’s classic line from yesterday’s movie quote puzzle, “I want to be alone.”
  • 34a. [Roller-skating revue featuring Chippendales dancers?], MALES ON WHEELS. Originally Meals on Wheels.
  • 42a. [Alaska?], STATE OF DENALI. State of denial.
  • 56a. [Heated “Myra Breckinridge” debates at the book club?], VIDAL ARGUMENTS. Valid arguments.

Nice assortment of base phrases, though the valid arguments are a tad duller than the others.

Here are the clues I liked best:

  • 49a. [Budgetary metaphors], PIES. Every day this month, you can vote for the Munchies: People’s Choice Food Awards. I make a point of voting for Hoosier Mama Pie Company, which is AWESOME and I’m not even a pie person, and New Glarus Brewing Company, because their Spotted Cow cream ale is worth the trip to Wisconsin (New Glarus doesn’t distribute their wares outside of America’s Dairyland). And there are crossword tie-ins for both: It was Nancy Shack who told me about Hoosier Mama, and Doug Brown has brewed his own knock-off Spotted Cow because he doesn’t live in Wisconsin anymore.
  • 2d. [TV show inspired by the 1975 New York magazine article “Night-Shifting for the Hip Fleet”], TAXI.
  • 5d. [Sound quality], FITNESS. Because if it is sound, it is fit.
  • 21d. [Bell or truck preceder], TACO. Nailed it with zero crossings.

Unfortunate parts of this puzzle: None, really. It’s Doug, you know? You expect no different.

4.25 stars.

Marti DuGuay-Carpenter’s Los Angeles Times crossword – Jeffrey’s review

Los Angeles Times crossword Thursday April 11, 2013

Theme: Worned out stuff

  • 20A. [Post-marathon sounds?] – FATIGUED PANTS
  • 37A. [Golfer’s outdated set of clubs?] – TIRED IRONS
  • 43A. [Casualty of an all-night poker game?] – POOPED DECK
  • 55A. [Problem for Sherlock when he’s out of tobacco?] – EXHAUSTED PIPE


  • 2D. [Country’s McEntire] – REBA. She was on “Hee Haw” several times.
  • 40D. [Prophetic attire worn by most doomed characters on the original “Star Trek” TV show] – RED SHIRT. Wanna see some RED SHIRTS on “Hee Haw”? Pfft You Were Gone
  • 54D. [Florida attraction] – EPCOT. R. I. P. Annette Funicello. Can’t find any shots of her in EPCOT, but here she is at Disneyland. Singing the line “Let the Tweeters tweet”.

I’m worned out. See you next week.

Aimee Lucido’s AV Club crossword, “Grating”

American Values Club crossword solution, 4 11 13 “Grating”

I haven’t seen a hidden-words-in-longer-answers puzzle in which the circled squares alternate with regular ones like this before. It’s most elegant in 36a, where the pattern holds to the answer’s end. Each phrase has a hidden 4-letter cheese:

  • 20a. [Criticize symbolically, as a political figure], BURN IN EFFIGY, Brie.
  • 36a. [Episodes of excitement about scientific discoveries or new Star Trek movies, e.g.], NERDGASMS, Edam. Terrific answer, that.
  • 43a. [Globalization proponent’s pursuit], FREE TRADE, Feta.
  • 58a. [What 20-, 36-, and 43-Across each do], CUT THE CHEESE. You wanna open a window in here?

Five more things:

  • 9a. [AIM alternative], GCHAT. Do many people still use AIM?
  • 33a. [Collegiate stand locales], KEG. I don’t think keg-stands had been thought of yet back when I was in college. That’s a headstand/handstand on a keg? No, it’s when you’re dangled over a keg/doing a handstand and chug as much as you can upside down. That can’t be healthy. See also: DO SHOTS.
  • 46a. [Adventure game partly inspired by Jules Verne], MYST. Did not know the Verne angle.
  • 71a. [Emulate politicians engulfed by scandal, say], DENY. Great clue.
  • 4d. [Adult men who enjoy Hasbro horse toys], BRONIES. They appreciate My Little Pony. One of my son’s friends is a brony.

I agree with the CRAYOLA clue. Roseart crayons/pencils/etc. are nowhere near as good as Crayola crayons, Dixon Ticonderoga pencils, etc.

4 stars.

Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Musical Compositions”

BEQ 4 11 13

Oh! There’s the theme. I couldn’t find it, and then it popped out at me. (Matt’s booked solid today so you get an abbreviated Amy write-up.)

The long answers are hiding four-letter stage musicals: RENT in LEDGER ENTRY, AIDA in AIR RAID ALARM, HAIR in THAI RESTAURANTS, NINE in BORN IN EAST L.A., and FAME in the “is that really a thing” HELL OF A MESS.

Not sure why 46d: [Stoppage times?] clues NIGHTS. Stoppage of what? Why the question mark?

Anyone else have AIR RAID SIREN and then AIR RAID ALERT before the ALARM came out?


Toughest corner: The ASYLA/SOEUR/SPASM bit.

Least desirable fill: Boy, look at ESSO, ASEA, ONE-A, IN A TIE clued as [Knotted], and ORONO.

3.5 stars.

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16 Responses to Thursday, April 11, 2013

  1. Gareth says:

    So nobody’s gonna put a pic of wrap-around sunglasses so I know what they are? OK, I’ll google then… Oh, those things. I’ve never understood why sunglasses exist, so I don’t really know the differences between them… Appreciated the novel theme, after the fact. Didn’t see it while solving and it wasn’t the most pizzazzily-filled…

  2. pannonica says:

    NYT: Least favorite clue, by a long way: 38d [Suffix with govern] -ING (despite the repetition of the clue for 67a -ESS).

  3. Daniel Myers says:

    I checked the OED: ADE-noun – Originally and chiefly North American – A drink composed of fruit juice diluted with water and sweetened with sugar; any of the category of drinks of this type, such as lemonade, orangeade, cherryade, etc.

    Random Example Citation:

    2007 Metro (Toronto) 22 Feb. 23/1 Nine in 10 Canadian dietitians agree that 100 per cent pure orange juice is healthier than most energy drinks, juice cocktails, ades and fruit punches that are available on the market.

  4. Jeffrey says:

    AV: Sorry, but TEH is not a valid entry, even with a cute clue. Imagine the reaction if Krozel used it.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      I like TEH. It amuses me. It’s got sort of meme status for deliberate ironic usage. “Oh noes, teh gay!,” for example. If Krozel only publishes in the NYT, then we won’t be seeing it in his puzzles because TEH is more of an indie/alt-weekly answer word.

      • Matt says:

        If one just considers how often I type ‘teh’, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion taht it’s a word.

      • Davis says:

        I’m with Amy on this one. If you engage with internet memes on even a casual basis, you’ll recognize TEH as a long-running gag. I loved seeing it in a puzzle–in my book, the fact that you’d never see it in the NYT is a point against the NYT, not against TEH.

      • pannonica says:

        I noted and liked it in Jeffrey Wechsler’s 2 April LAT puzzle, though by referring to it as “most precious clue” I may not have made my approval explicit.

    • Doug says:

      If Joe Krozel uses it in a puzzle, I’ll add a star to teh rating.

    • Dayo says:

      Considering the most popular definition for “the” on is a common misspelling of teh, I am cool with it.

  5. Huda says:

    NYT: At first I had WRAP AROUND SUN dreSSES because wrap around had elicited images of clothes, e.g. a sarong. I got the GLASSES part but could not see them in the puzzle. While staring at the completed solution, I noticed VIEW and SHADE and thought: “nice echo of the theme”. In looking for things that bend I noticed that starting at 29 A, you can grab the RA (from RAISA) and bend down to generate RAINY which is also the full down entry– but of course that got me nowhere. And since I need to be working on a talk, I decided I’d let Amy solve that little mystery for me. I have a feeling I’m not the only one who might have given up…

    I should have thought more literally about the wrapping around. In spite of my own failure, I appreciate the creativity of the concept.

  6. ktd says:

    I’m also a huge fan of Hoosier Mama pies! The chocolate cream pie is to die for. I’ve been voting for them and other Chicago businesses in the Munchies poll and I hope they win (I’m also supporting Black Dog Gelato but it looks like they are trailing Graeter’s of Cincinnati, which a friend tells me is the best ice cream you can get–and she travels the country for her job, so I guess she’s onto something there!)

  7. Jim Hilger says:

    @Doug–Really enjoyed your Fireball puzzle. Took me nearly forever to piece together the midsection of those crazy roller-skating Chippendales. Thanks for everything.

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