Friday, May 17, 2013

NYT 5:39 
LAT 6:57* (Gareth) 
CHE 4:09 (pannonica) 
WSJ (Friday) untimed (pannonica) 
CS 7:28 (Dave) 

Josh Knapp’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword answers, 5 17 13, no. 0517

Well! Josh Knapp’s last appearance in the NYT was on Thursday, May 2. While it may seem a little soon to repeat a byline, I can’t complain too much about having another Knapp attack. Because this guy makes puzzles with good fill. Highlights from his past crosswords include SUPERVILLAIN, RACHEL MADDOW, JACK IN THE BOX, CREEPSHOW, BUZZKILL, HELLO KITTY, and MEXICAN STANDOFF. (Way to set the bar high.) Does today’s puzzle rise to that level? It’s pretty darn good:

  • 17a. [“NYC 22” replaced it in 2012], CSI MIAMI. What is this NYC 22 you speak of? Let us ask the Google. “NYC 22 is an American police procedural drama which ran on CBS from April 15 to August 11, 2012. The series was a mid-season replacement for CSI: Miami. On May 13, 2012, both series were canceled.” Okay, then! I am surely not alone in not knowing of this 13-episode show.
  • 31a. [Style of New York’s Sony Building], POSTMODERNISM.
  • 34a. [’60s film character wearing one black glove], DR. STRANGELOVE. If only all the clues rhymed with their answers.
  • 35a. [Literary classic featuring the teen Tadzio], DEATH IN VENICE.
  • 52a. [Allowing no equivocation], EITHER/OR.
  • 55a. [Favor doer’s comment], YOU OWE ME. Gotta love the word “doer” in this clue. (Actually, you don’t.)
  • 57a. [Like some sunbathers], TOPLESS.
  • 15d. [It’s known for its start-ups], SILICON VALLEY.

Clue I found the trickiest: 34d: [Mailing to a label], DEMO TAPE. Record label, not address label.

Also hard, for me: 23a. [Hernando’s “Hey!”], OYE. As in “Oye Como Va.” (Translation here: (Literally) “Listen to how it goes”; (Colloquially) “Hey, what’s up?” or “Check it out!”, or more literally “How’s it going?”) The song was a hit for Santana, but written by Tito Puente. Also in the category of “Spanish words Amy doesn’t know” is verano, in 51d: [Verano, across the Pyrenees]. The answer is ETE, so I gather that verano means “summer” in Spanish. Speaking of Romance languages, boy, I sure didn’t know that  53d: [Yours, in Turin], was TUO. Hard to back out of that one.

Completely true: 54a. [Stupefying thing], OPIATE. I visited a friend in the hospital today, and that morphine drip kept making him nod off. I don’t know how he’ll handle the book of Saturday NYT crosswords I gave him.

Least favorite entry: 40d. [Antares or Proxima Centauri], M-STAR. Runner-up: 18a. [Key represented by all white keys on a piano], C MAJOR, which I entered as *M**OR and finished with the ABCDEFG/AI/JN letters from the crossings. I reckon a Dan Feyer had that answer after reading the first five words of the clue, but I don’t know musical stuff.

4.25 stars.

Updated Friday morning:

Bob Klahn’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Hidden Mikes” – Dave Sullivan’s review

No, this isn’t another Obama administration scandal about covert surveillance, but instead we have four phrases where a famous Mike’s last name is “hidden” within:

CS solution – 05/17/13

  • Clinton’s youngest cabinet member, Mike ESPY can be found within the German sports car PORSCHE SPYDER. I think he was the Secretary of Agriculture and was about 40 years old when he served. Contrary to popular belief, he was not named after the cable channel sports award.
  • Heavyweight champ Mike TYSON hides amid a PARTY SONG. What’s your favorite party song? I’m rather partial to The Chicken Dance and since this particular Mike shares his last name with a poultry farm, I bet it’s his as well.
  • Liz Taylor’s husband #3 and the tragic victim of a plane crash Mike TODD can be found in GREAT ODDS. Borderline phrase here–if odds are “great” are they actually “excellent” (as the clue implies) or are they prohibitive?
  • Like this review, the phrase ALL OVER THE MAP hides Beach Boy Mike LOVE.

Like all of Bob’s puzzles, the clues to the shorter fill are where the hidden gems lie. I’ll just choose the first two clues as my FAVEs today, but there are many more: [Potential puffball] for SPORE precedes [Potential puffin] for EGGS. My UNFAVE is the slightly jingoistic AH SO, even though it was mildly redeemed with the original clue [Words mocking grokking].

Loren Smith and Jeff Chen’s Los Angeles Times crossword

LA Times 130517

The asterisk is because I gave Loren advice on this puzzle in its early stages, so I knew most of the theme; although it was nearly a year ago, so my memory wasn’t so fresh! I expect this one to play quite hard for an LA Times, BTW, the theme’s a bit trickier, a lot like a Thursday NYT (in fact it’s similar to this Thursday’s NYT!) Loren and Jeff have certainly kicked things up a notch from when I saw it!

What has completely changed is the revealing answer, and I do love the new one: THEDEPARTED. When I saw it, it was MISSINGPARTS. DEPARTED is certainly more cute and more elegant! If you haven’t fully grasped it yet, PART is absent from each theme answer. What makes things extra-tricky is that a) The PART is removed from a different place in each answer, and b) each new answer is still a crossword-legal fill word. The latter fact is another stand-out feature of the puzzle in my book. Only in the case of PARTCOMPANY and TAKEPART is PART a stand-alone word. The ten(!!!) theme answers are:

  • [*Defensive fortifications], RAMPARTS
  • [*Noel bird], PARTRIDGE
  • [*East Lansing athletes], SPARTANS
  • [*After delivery], POSTPARTUM
  • [*Baggage holder], COMPARTMENT
  • [*Go separate ways], PARTCOMPANY
  • [*School celebration], CLASSPARTY
  • [*Bestowed], IMPARTED
  • [*Crumbled], FELLAPART
  • [*Opt in], TAKEPART

So 63 letters are thematic; that’s a lot, even with the advantage of placing themers in the first and last rows allowing for easier spacing than a typical puzzle. And yet we still have room for pizzazzy longer answers. I’m not privy to the back-story behind the top-left answers but sounds salacious! MAKESOUT/SKINTIGHT/ENDEDIT – straight from the pages of Mills and Boon! And then later, GOTBACKATTOTERM echoes POSTUM which is also nice! Not much that’s drecky either: ROREM and OMARR are Crossword-ese 201 names for me, but that’s about it!

Something else I appreciated was the clue for ETON, [School that celebrates George III’s birthday]. Extra-mile clueing is great, and I must admit to exasperation when writing clues and coming to such answers in my own grids! Nice!

I’m probably biased, but thought this was a stonker of a puzzle, an easy 4 1/2 stars!

Mark Feldman’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Doctors of Literature” — pannonica’s review

CHE • 5/17/13 • “Doctors of Literature” • Feldman • solution

Not the academic degree, but doctors from the pages of literature.

  • 17a. [Stevenson title character] JEKYLL (Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, 1886). Was surprised to find out some years ago that the correct pronuciation is /ˈjē-kəl/. No idea what kind of doctor he was, chemist, medical?
  • 18a. [Lofting title character] DOLITTLE (The Story of Doctor Dolittle, 1920, et seq.). Uhm, veterinarian?
  • 37a. [Marlowe title character] FAUSTUS (The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, published 1604 but first performed at least 12 years earlier, and based on older, German works). Dunno. Considering the age, perhaps just a general doctorate?
  • 39a. [Pasternak title character] ZHIVAGO (Doctor Zhivago, 1957). Medical.
  • 58a. [Rohmer title character] FU MANCHU (The Mystery of Dr Fu-Manchu, 1913, et seq.). Er, doctor of evil?
  • 60a. [Wells title character] MOREAU (The Island of Doctor Moreau, 1936). A physiologist.

As the clues consistently indicate, these doctors are all title characters as well.

  • In the 1967 film version of Doctor Dolittle, the pushmi-pullyu is an animal with the heads of two LLAMAS (1a), one on each end of its body, although the book has it as a “gazelle-unicorn cross.”
  • 27a RAP. Crosswords love rap’s Dr DRE.
  • 48a UMA Thurman, whose father is Dr Robert Thurman, a prominent Buddhist scholar.
  • 3d [Biblical vessel] ARK, famously pursued by archaeologist Dr Indiana Jones in the movies.
  • 4d [Chaos] MAYHEM.

Postdoctoral notes:

  • Stacking along themers: UPSTARTS and DRAWS OUT above DOLITTLE, OVERTONE and REDEEMED beneath FU MANCHU. Quite nice.
  • Less common spins on familiar fill: 32a [“Solaris” author Stansislaw] for LEM, rather than the more typical Lunar Excursion Module of the Apollo moon missions; 43a [FDR-created agency with the slogan “We do our part”] for NRA (National Recovery Administration) rather than the controversial and news-hungry association we all know.
  • Great clue: [Paradise described in a 1957 novel] SAL, although I’m not a Kerouac fan. See also, 29d [Former “CBS Evening News” anchor] COURIC.
  • 22d [It’s below the knee] CALF, 24d [It’s above the knee] FEMUR. Well, mostly above, anyway. And in between the two? A HEAD!

Fine puzzle.

Dan Fisher’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Here’s the Change-Up” — pannonica’s write-up

WSJ • 5/17/13 • “Here’s the Change-Up”• Fri • Fisher • solution

The title suggests it’s a baseball theme (what is it with baseball + crosswords, anyway?) and you’d be correct if you thought so. The twist, or change-up pitch if you will, is that a team name (identified by state in the clue) is anagrammed for the second half of each made-up phrase.

  • 23a. [Football blitzes in a California ballpark?] DODGERS RED DOGS.
  • 34a. [Decor feature  in a California ballpark?] PADRES DRAPES.
  • 51a. [Corners in a California ballpark?] ANGELS ANGLES. Stop right there! This is not a California-only theme, despite the way it’s shaped up so far.
  • 66a. [With 68-Across, bashes in a Pennsylvania ballpark?] PIRATES | PARTIES. See? I would never lie to you.
  • 86a. [Humorous tributes in a Texas ballpark?] ASTROS ROASTS.
  • 98a. [Part of an email address in a California ballpark?] GIANTS AT SIGN. Uh-oh.
  • 114a. [Perfume ingredient in a Maryland ballpark?] ORIOLES ROSE OIL.

So. There they are. Don’t ask me why 57% are California teams. And no, I don’t know why the ATHLETICS CHILE TATS aren’t in the puzzle.  I guess these themer phrases are okay, but none of them excited me much.

Thought I’d share the beginning of my solve with you:

  • 1a [Pale green hue] (7) – “Hm, could be a lot of things. Next.”
  • 1d [1978 Camp David guest] (5) – “SADAT or BEGIN, SADAT or BEGIN?”
  • “20a, too long. 23a way too long. 26a [Brewer’s output] (3) – “SADAT = A = ALE! But … BEGIN = I = IPA … crap!
  • 2d [Name on a famous B-29] (5) – “ENOLA. Okay, here we go, L = ALE = SADAT” et cetera.

Well, I found it entertaining anyway. Baseball and quasi-baseball stuff in the ballast fill: 57a [Home of the Marlins] MIAMI. 102a [First National Leaguer to hit 500 home runs] OTT. 103a [Indian chief] RAJA. 14d [Kind of slam] GRAND. 16d [Star pitcher] ACE. 17d [One involved in hand-to-hand combat?] CARD PLAYER. 24d [Oakland A’s legend Joe] RUDI – is this why no pepper tattoos? 94d [Top bond rating] AAA. 105d [Take steroids, slangily] JUICE. And of course the previously mentioned 26a [Brewer’s output] ALE.

Extra innings:

  • EDNA crossing ENID? That’s got to count for … something. (61a, 44d)
  • 29d [Suffix for a believer] -IST, 60d [Jargon suffix] -ESE. I do love me some believerists and jargonese.
  • 62d [It may be casual] FRIDAY, but I honestly thought it was NUDITY.
  • 76d [Brother of Adam and Little Joe] HOSS (Bonanza); 101d [Martin Crane’s younger son] NILES.

The usual good and occasionally playful cluing, under Mike Shenk’s reliable editorship, a good mix of fill, with some flashy stuff, some blah stuff, and some hoary stuff, but mostly solid middle-of-the-road material.

Good puzzle.

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28 Responses to Friday, May 17, 2013

  1. Jeffrey says:

    Not sure if it is intended, but there are strings of the same letter throughout the puzzle: A’s, B’s, O’s, M’s, E’s and C’s snake through the NE. M’s and T’s in the SW.

  2. Art Shapiro says:

    The musical key had to be A MINOR or C MAJOR. I guessed the former, guessing that J was less likely to be in the grid than N. Wrong!


  3. Not Josh Knapp’s Mother says:

    You’re right, Amy, the list of debut entries by John Knapp has several awesome words.

  4. Martin says:

    Josh Knapp shows us what can be done when long words are stacked ladder-fashion. It makes for an unusual grid with 13-letter words rarely seen in the middle of a puzzle. Nice work :)


    • Martin says:

      Another little thing, from a constructor’s point of view, is that even though the puzzle features a triple-stack of 13s, there are no 3-letter words going down through them. IMO, this gives the middle of the grid a nice open look. Harder to pull off, for sure, but more interesting for the solver… as a rule, the less short words the better.

      (I’ll shut up now)


  5. Boston Bob says:

    No one sends anyone a demo “tape” anymore. That is so last millennium.

  6. Brucenm says:

    What a superb puzzle by Josh. Even to a non-constructor, those step-wise 14’s in the middle were brilliant.

    I’m not sure of the etymology of “verano” either. “Vernal” is more spring-like than summer. But isn’t there also a Spanish word “estio”, which sounds more estival?

    • ktd says:

      Bruce, you’re right that verano is more closely related to the Latin root for “spring” (cf Spanish primavera, the actual word for spring). Estio does mean “summer”, but it’s really not used much in contemporary Spanish conversation or writing (except for poetry) perhaps suggesting that people think of it as quaint.

  7. Gareth says:

    Delightful NYT. Lots of great answers! Found the top-left and bottom-right corners to be extremely challenging, but nothing looks unfair now that they’re completed. MAMA for MEWL buffaloed me on the one corner, as did the tricky EITHEROR. On the opposite side, even with ZUMA as my first entry, and figuring out CSIMIAMI from M??MI I was quite stuck. What Ennead is Isis in? Unlike Zuma, the Augustus clue is supremely unhelpful to a South African. August is in winter damn it! My older Americans’ French was NASAL before it was RUSTY. Also my sunbather was BRALESS – 12 minutes into a crossword my brain starts doing funny things!

    I better start blogging the LAT shouldn’t I, can’t keep Loren and Jeff waiting :).

    • Papa John says:

      It’s Ennead, not Enneads. Ennead refers to various groups of Egyptian gods, nine in number. Enneads is the Greek literature of Politinus . (Someone will correct me if it’s not Politinus, but I think that’s it.)

  8. Katie says:

    Though I am loathe to show my ignorance, I sincerely appreciate when someone enlightens me. The following clue and answer in Bob Klahn’s CS today escapes me:
    Clue: Words mocking grokking
    Ans: Ah So
    Thanks for any help.

    • Evad says:

      Hi Katie, in old Charlie Chan detective movies (I think), the asian protagonist (Chan) used to say “Ah So” a lot as he was compiling clues to solve the mystery. It basically meant “I see” but in my mind was a derogatory way whoever directed these movies depicted his Chinese-American speech. Think of “fortune cookie” language, like “man who go to bed with itchy bottom wake up with smelly fingers.”

      That’s why “mocking” is in the clue…and grokking is another word for understanding (“I see”). Bob often has rhyming clues, which are a joy to me.

      • pannonica says:

        “Grokking” comes from science fiction writer Robert A Heinlein, and from my peripheral knowledge originally meant a specific type of deeper understanding (among individuals of an alien race?) before it was co-opted into popular parlance. Further, I’ll guess that the book was Stranger in a Strange Land.

        This comment sheepishly brought to you without the aid of Wikipedia or other reference sources.

        • Brucenm says:

          It was indeed Stranger in a Strange Land. The Martians did not communicate in the language of logic, but rather figuratively, metaphorically, intuitively, where the sender and recipient of the communication had to intermingle and become one with each other, thereby changing, modifying each. As I recall, a related metaphor involved drinking water — scarce on Mars, and also on Arakis in the Dune novels — where the water intermingled with the person who drank it, thereby changing the essence of each.

          The basic idea was borrowed in one of the Star Trek sequels, again involving a race which spoke in metaphor, symbolic free association, intuitive sensitivity to the emotions of the other. The idea has also been compared to modern psychoanalytic therapeutic practice, focussing on the transference and countertransference of the thoughts, ideas, feelings and experiences of both therapist and analysand, involving a similarly mysterious sharing, exchanging and transforming of each party. (And by the way, I do not use the word “mysterious” in a disparaging way. I think those experiences deserve to be taken seriously.) This is despite my appreciation of the joke:

          Q. What did the Zen Buddhist say to the hot dog vendor?

          A. Make me one with everything

          I hereby also sign the Google-free pledge.

    • Evad says:

      Here’s more on the controversy of his mannerisms:

    • Martin says:

      Actually, “Ah so” is not mocking in the mouth of a Japanese person. Agreement is often met with “Ah, so, so, so,” which sounds like English but isn’t.

      But Charlie Chan wasn’t supposed to be Japanese. It’s the “they all sound the same” aspect of the phrase that makes it so racist.

  9. Zulema says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed all the literary clues, Prufrock included. But in the SE, before I had EITHER OR, I had HOWL instead of MEWL, and you may guess what I got for “Biblical waste,” indeed a different kind of “waste.” “OYE cómo va” assumes a comma after OYE, and then it means exactly “What’s up? Without the comma they are listening to an engine of some sort, as Amy pointed out.

  10. Doug says:

    Nice one, Loren & Jeff! I agree with Gareth… a real stonker. (That means it’s good, right?)

  11. bencoe says:

    Loved seeing Dr. Strangelove in the middle of the grid. Highlight for me.

  12. loren smith says:

    Hey – thanks everyone for the comments on Jeff’s and my puzzle.

    John V and I started the whole process, and it was he who introduced me to either “OneLook” or “XWord Info” – I was so pleased with the enormous list he provided with all the PARTs included. I mean, we’re talking pages and pages of possibilities. I’m sure some of the theme entries were a result of @John V’s list. He just got too busy at work and asked to bow out.

    I filled a grid that Gareth was kind enough to build for me (I don’t have the constructing chops to do one like this without serious experienced muscle), got some advice from Rex and Tyler Hinman that the reveal was too dull (MISSING PARTS), and then Jeff came on board and took it to the next level.

    This feels like an Oscar acceptance speech, and, well, heck. Sorry. I just wanted @John V and @Jeff to get a lot more credit. I would also like to thank my children and husband. . .Yeah, right. Sorry.

    At the risk of seriously sounding Oscarish, Oscaristic, Oscaresque, Oscary. . . Thank you, Andrea. You saw something in me I didn’t know about. You have changed my life.

  13. andrea carla michaels says:

    Late to the PART-y, but wanted to chime in how proud I am of @Loren and how sweet and humbling it is to be reminded how much fun your first publication is…and hopefully a reminder to the quick to denigrate out there how much constructing and creating can mean to someone.
    And how great @Jeff Chen and @Gareth have been to new constructors to get them up and running when making a grid can be so tricky, but necessary to express a creative theme!!!
    Bravos all around. And weird about the Lazarus bleedover between the NYT and LAT today…esp bec a friend can’t come to my “No Kidding” performance in LA Saturday night , bec he’s having dinner with MELL!!!!

  14. Tita says:

    @Loren – You’ve got a thing for P__Ts that are not all there – or am I mis-remembering your other puzzle…
    I couldn’t find a puz file, so I went back to my comfy paper-solving.
    Boy am I glad I did!
    You really led me into a labyrinth…
    I got no help from the fill – so deftly clued that I found it really hard.
    For a time I thought the “DE” or the “D” had ‘parted”…wondered how dIMED could be bestowed.

    Then got an AHA moment at FELLA[PAR]TAKE – so promptly trued to figure out how IMED[de]FELL was gonna make sense.

    So in truth, it was only an AH moment. The entire time I kept wanting that D to PART! Oy Veh!

    Then got [PART]RIDGE…ok – put PART into the black squares – cool!

    Loved the cool clues for our old friends (aka xwordese). You fooled me for only a sec with anchor store locale…was surprised to see PRIE-dieu in the grid. You fooled me almost forever on waht I read as Choral chorus – was that from @JohnV?

    I could see you and your sister Tattling on each other – Mom, she TOLD on me…
    Then Ms. Trudy tucking you both snug as ABUG at night.

    What an awesome collaboration – I am in awe of you all. Couldn’t have happened to a more wonderful bunch of people

    • Tita says:

      Scary thing just happened…I’ve been solving so long on my tablet, which lets me use my finger to handwrite, and tap to navigate each clue.
      While writing my comment, I wanted to see how you clued 53A, so I tapped on the grid.
      Umm– except, as I said, I solved this one on paper…

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