Tuesday, May 7, 2013

NYT 3:29 
Jonesin' 3:02 
LAT 2:55 
CS 5:29 (Dave) 

Jeff Chen’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 5 7 13, no. 0507

Huh. If you asked me the source of “WATER, WATER, EVERY WHERE; nor any drop to drink,” I probably would have said Shakespeare. But it’s Coleridge’s “Rime of the ANCIENT MARINER,” and Jeff combines those theme answers with nine water molecules (two H’s joined by an O) all over the grid, in circled squares.

Until I filled in some of the theme answers, I thought the theme was Santa Claus and “ho, ho, ho.” Uh, no.

Let me get out in front of the outraged geeks and say that there is no such thing as DR. WHO. The [BBC sci-fi show] is Doctor Who, and the character is “the Doctor” and not someone called Dr. Who.

I like those HOMOPHONES and TYCHO BRAHE both partaking in two water molecules. One might say Tycho is taking a 7d: HOT BATH.

Could do without E MAJ, LITH (and I say that despite being an eighth Lithuanian), RETD, AMAH, MECH, ENTR, RATA, USRDA, and AROO. But the rest of the fill is solid.

Interesting theme concept executed fairly well, but not perfectly. Four stars.

Jack McInturff’s Los Angeles Times crossword

LA Times crossword solution 5 7 13

Apparently I don’t know enough about electricity because I don’t get this theme.

  • 20a. [Defend a position], STAND ONE’S GROUND. (Given the case of Trayvon Martin’s killing, this phrase has picked up unsavory connotations.)
  • 33a. [Walk-off home run, often], TIE-BREAKER. (I don’t know what “walk-off home run” means, to be honest.)
  • 40a. [Explodes with rage], BLOWS A FUSE.
  • 47a. [With “The,” PBS show for kids, and a hint to the ends of 20-, 33- and 40-Across], ELECTRIC COMPANY. (Uh, you know the show stopped being made in the 1970s, right? The clue gives no hint that the show was on TV decades ago.)

So I know that a house with electricity might have a fuse box or it might have a box of circuit breakers, but I have no idea how well GROUND fits with BREAKER and FUSE. Are these three an obvious set, or is it just three random words with connections to electricity?

I look to Jack McInturff for old-school fill, and he never lets me down. LAHR, ESSO, GAM, ERROL Flynn, ASTA, ELBA, E-BOND, and IRMA Rombauer are all here. However! So are SPONGEBOB, the ACELA train, and the lively phrase “HUMOR ME.” So there’s a balance.

Three stars. Maybe the theme merits more than that, but I can’t give it credit for what I can’t figure out.

Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ crossword, “New Wave”

Jonesin’ • 5/9/13 • “New Wave” • solution

Well, I couldn’t figure out the theme until I reached the theme revealer at the end of the puzzle, even with the title sitting there being helpful. 65a: SURF is clued [It follows the last word of each starred entry], and sure enough, that works:

  • 17a. [*Gossiping sort], BUSYBODY. Body-surf.
  • 20a. [*Infamous Hollywood institution], CASTING COUCH. Couch-surf. That’s just lounging about, right?
  • 35a. [*Retailing buzzword], OMNI CHANNEL. Channel-surf. I have never heard this retailing buzzword.
  • 52a. [*Company follower?], THREE’S A CROWD. Crowd-surf.
  • 56a. [*Mr. Hyde, for Dr. Jekyll], ALTER EGO. Ego-surf. I haven’t done that in months … let’s check. Oh! Still running about 14,000 Google results. Will Shortz garners 394,000.

Let’s look at five more things in this puzzle:

  • 5a. [Letter sequence in the air], KLM. KLM is three consecutive letters in the alphabet as well as the name of a Dutch airline.
  • 19a. [Put in storage, like coal], BINNED. Oh! I binned today. Put some winter stuff in plastic storage bins in the basement. Very soothing. Have you ever binned mellow?
  • 5d. [Rap duo Kris ___ (R.I.P. Chris Kelly)], KROSS. He was only 34. Remember the Kris Kross kids and their backwards jeans?
  • 8d. [Oprah’s longtime personal trainer], BOB GREENE. Not to be confused with the erstwhile Chicago newspaper columnist who was fired.
  • 43d. [Slightly], A SHADE. Eh. Looks wrong with that indefinite article tacked on.

3.5 stars.

Updated Tuesday morning:

Raymond Hamel’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Triple Check” – Dave Sullivan’s review

Sheesh, thanks puzzle for putting back in my head the image of Packers QB Aaron Rogers doing the State Farm Discount Double Check. Just had gotten that one out of my head! Back to the puzzle, though. Today, we have 3 alternate definitions of the word CHECK:

CS solution – 05/07/13

  • SLOW THE GROWTH OF – verb, did the old-time grammarian in you bristle at that ending preposition or it is something you’ve grown up from?
  • ORDER OF PAYMENT – hmmm…is this trying to describe what a bank check is? Unfamiliar phrase to me; those in the financial world, please weigh in!

This is perhaps my least favorite type of theme, and not only because of the connection to the State Farm advertisement. Add to that a questionable third entry and I wasn’t the happiest of campers. I did have a FAVE though: [Bruce Wayne, for Batman] was an ALTER EGO. Unfortunately, I had more than one UNFAVE today. First, the word DEPRIVAL. I’d use DEPRIVATION myself, are both as common? Oh, and I’ve heard of RADIAL tires, but a RADIAL engine? And finally, who out there is still watching movies from a VCR?

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28 Responses to Tuesday, May 7, 2013

  1. Huda says:

    NYT: Chemistry and poetry in one puzzle! NEHRU , TYCHO BRAHE and the ANCIENT MARINER rubbing elbows, with water bubbles around them and many other ECHOES of the water theme: A BERG, a HOT BATH, an IsLand (ARUBA) and a Lake (HURON), and even a submarine under attack (ASHCAN). Even the SAGA and the YARNS are linked to the Ancient Mariner’s tale. Way to create atmosphere!

  2. pannonica says:

    NYT: Amy’s linking of TYCHO BRAHE to a HOT BATH allowed me to notice that ARCHIMEDES would have fit in the former’s position in the grid, and shares the CH bigram!

    LAT: Didn’t think the FUSE themer was so hot because it’s a metaphor that relates directly and entirely to the electrical sense. The other two are sufficiently removed, though of course they share definitional qualities with the theme’s ambit circuit.

    • joon says:

      i love me some ARCHIMEDES, but he would not be able to participate in two theme answers the way TYCHO BRAHE does because he lacks a second H.

      amy, GROUND is an essential part of any household circuit, although not such an essential part of one you might connect using just a battery and some wires. this LAT theme seemed fine to me, if a bit dry—i don’t know if either is directly attributable to the fact that i’ve just finished up a semester teaching circuits in an intro physics lab.

  3. Gareth says:

    Brilliant visual in the NYT! Top-notch!
    Reserving judgement in the LAT as I don’t think I understand everything… SPONGEBOB was indeed a surprising answer in a puzzle by an octogenarian!

  4. HH says:

    “ELECTRIC COMPANY. (Uh, you know the show stopped being made in the 1970s, right? The clue gives no hint that the show was on TV decades ago.)”

    Can you say “remake”?


    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      I had no idea that show existed. Apparently it began in 2006, by which time my kid was moving on from PBSKids programming. He says he may have seen the show once.

      • HH says:

        Yeah, I know … it just ain’t the same without Morgan Freeman.

        • Matt J. says:

          The remake has its moments; one of the oddest elements is that they retained the guy in the gorilla suit as a running gag. And the “Hey, you guys!” call. And the silhouette skits. But the beatboxing guy, the whole good guys vs. Pranksters, the fact that most of the action takes place outdoors…that’s all new. (And I have to at least give props for naming one of the Prankster characters Danny Rebus, whose forte is providing clues in rebus form.)

  5. janie says:

    hey, dave — i’m thinkin’ that ORDER OF PAYMENT corresponds to the words “pay to the order of” seen on checks. not sayin’ it’s the most elegant turn of phrase, but suspect that’s what may make it legit…


    • Sam Donaldson says:

      Janie’s right, as usual. A check is a form of “order paper.” It literally orders the bank to pay to funds to a specified person (rather than just the bearer of the instrument). Twelve years of teaching commercial paper for bar review classes has paid off!

      • janie says:

        >Janie’s right, as usual.

        uh, that’s not what my brother sez…

        >Twelve years of teaching commercial paper for bar review classes has paid off!

        yay — a red letter day indeed!


  6. jane lewis says:

    a walk-off home run happens in the bottom of the ninth or in extra innings. the score is either tied or the visiting team may have a lead. the home team batter hits a home run which scores enough runs for the home team to win and everybody walks off the field.

  7. pauer says:

    Awesome puz, Jeff! Great idea and execution. Did you send it in with lines and or circles?

    • Jeff Chen says:

      Thanks for the nice words, Patrick!

      With lines. The chemistry dork in me sent it in with slightly angled lines, to represent the 104.5 deg bonding angle.

      (pushing glasses up nose)

  8. jane lewis says:

    if the electricity in your home is not grounded you are in a very dangerous situation – you could be electrocuted. i watched the original electric company (until i got a job). among the cast were rita moreno , bill cosby, and morgan freeman – one of his characters was named easy reader.

  9. ArtLvr says:

    The Jonesin’ use of KLM at 5A is a bit out of date as that Royal Dutch Airline merged with AirFrance in 2004 and the resulting company is now known as AirFrance-KLM, Europe’s largest but still (sadly) not quite out of the red.

    • pannonica says:

      In happier news, Marimekko is creating designs for FinnAir planes.

    • Matt J. says:

      Good point.

      Although…to think that AirFrance missed a prime opportunity to bow out, and hand over partnership to The American Broadcasting Company, Russell Simmons, the Association of Indian Cooks in Favor of Clarified Butter, and Julius Erving, to form the megaconglomerate ABC-Def-Ghi-J-KLM.

      • pannonica says:

        LOL (I practically never do this, and certainly am averse to reporting it in on-line form).

  10. Brucenm says:

    I’m afraid I still don’t even remotely understand the explanation for the word “Belieber” in the Monday BEQ. What does “directioner, selenator or swifty” mean? What does “belieber” mean?

  11. Brucenm says:

    Does it have something to do with Justin Bieber?

    • pannonica says:

      Yes. You don’t want to know. Except that Anne Frank may or may not have been one.

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