Monday, November 11, 2013

NYT 3:44 (pannonica) 
LAT 2:59 (pannonica) 
BEQ 4:45 (Amy) 
CS 4:55 (Dave) 

Elizabeth C. Gorski’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

NYT • 11/11/13 • Mon Gorski • 11 11 13 • solution

  • 20a. [Friendly comment after providing information] HOPE THAT HELPS. Awkward cluing, but it all makes sense.
  • 34a. [Goes “pop!,” as a jack-in-the-box] SPRINGS OPEN. Again, a bit awkward, “off.” But at least it’s followed by Joseph PAPP!
  • 42a. [Rome’s nickname, with “the”] ETERNAL CITY. Yes, but not wowing me,
  • 56a. [Author of the verse that starts with the beginnings of 20-, 34-, and 42-Across] ALEXANDER POPE. That would be from An Essay on Man, in which he opines:

    Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
    Man never is, but always to be blessed:
    The soul, uneasy and confined from home,
    Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

It all feels a bit strained, but it also feels about right for a Monday thing. At least the longer non-theme entries were interesting: CRÉPE PAPER, SPIKE JONES (clued in reference to his City Slickers), PROCLAIM and FLIP BOOK.

The rest of the puzzle is rather uneventful, with a low CAP Quotient™ and not much to get excited about, positively or negatively.

  • Crossword Cluism no. 481: If a magazine is invoked in the clue, editing or editors will without exception figure in the answer. Exhibit A: 7d [Does some magazine work] EDITS.
  • 25a [Cellist Casals] PABLO. Not the PABLO I would have expected on a Monday.
  • Some bleah partial action with LED UP to, UP ONE, new-AGER, and ON OR about.

A fair amount of the cluing felt rather simplistic, in away that seems calculated to be inclusive of new solvers. I’m of two minds about this, but ultimately come down on the side of inclusion (rather than snobbery).

Standard Monday.

C.C. Burnikel’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 11/11/13 • Mon • Burnikel • solution

PURE (59a) Monday-level crossword, solid and cohesive enough theme to be interesting with a minimum of off-putting fill along the CAP Quotient™ lines (crosswordese, abbrevs., partials).

64-across sez [Headliner, or symbol associated with 20-, 28-, 37- and 50-Across] STAR.

  • 20a.  [Five-time Super Bowl winners] DALLAS COWBOYS.
  • 28a. [“It’s all about the beer” Dutch brewer] HEINEKEN.
  • 42a. [Big name in sneakers] CONVERSE.
  • 50a. [Standard flown in Ho Chi Minh City] FLAG OF VIETNAM.

Sport, food and drink, apparel (and arguably sport), politics/geography/vexillology. Blue, red, white, yellow. Good mix. And no obvious STAR associates among the ballast fill.

So not only is the theme well-executed, but the remaining fill and clues are strong. Spiffy long entries in the mix: CLOSE-KNIT, OPEN FIRE, SWALLOWS, REGATTAS. Elegant touches such as getting both Obama children—SASHA and MALIA—in the grid, clued in parallel with their Secret Service code names (Rosebud and Radiance, respectively); [Lady lobster] HEN / [Gander or gobbler] MALE; [Whole bunch] PASSEL / [Parcels (out)] METES.

Least favorite fill: 30d [Mag. edition] ISS; 16a [D’back or Met] NLER.

Favorite clue: 62a [Shoe inserts] FEET.

A well-above average Monday, nigh on unimpeachable.

Updated Monday morning:

Donna S. Levin’s CrosSynergy / Washington Post crossword, “Hold It” – Dave Sullivan’s review

I hear today is the busiest shopping day for the Chinese; it likely stems from the good fortune of having both the month and day today be the number 11. (Lucky numbers seem to be of great importance to their culture, but also increasingly important to us as casinos sprout up across the country.) Back to the puzzle commentary, the word IT is imbedded into two-word phrases to (hopefully) humorous effect:

CrosSynergy / Washington Post crossword solution – 11/11/13

  • [Boys in the ‘hood?] clued CITY YOUNG – I believe the Cy Young award goes to the best AL pitcher; is there one for the National League as well?
  • [Lethal college protest?] was a DEADLY SIT-INCSNY anyone?
  • Another rather unpleasant subject, [Lawsuit between rigatoni makers?] was TUBAL LITIGATION – I believe the base phrase refers to tying Fallopian tubes if a woman is trying to prevent pregnancy, but I’m hardly the medical expert in the house right now.
  • [Emigrated from the United Kingdom?] clued LEFT BRITAIN – my FAVE of the bunch.
  • [Tennessee’s front seven?] was the TITAN LINE – another cute one. I think Jake Locker’s parents must’ve known he had a pro-football career ahead of him with that surname.

I wish there weren’t the two entries about deadly sit-ins or tubal ligation, but the puzzle did finish strong with a couple of more felicitous concepts. ARONI as in Rice-A-Roni has got to be one of my most UNFAVEs of all time; I’m hoping there were no better alternatives given the theme density in this one. I enjoyed the double-I action of AIOLI, LICIT and RADII; and speaking of sports, we have LANCE and FAVRE sharing quarters in the lower left. Seeing both Palm TREOS and the word TRIOS near each other gave me a bit of pause, but the former probably has nothing to do with the latter other than being almost a homophone. (I’m guessing it’s pronounce “tray-ohs,” but I don’t think I’ve heard the word spoken and only have encountered the PDA in crosswords.)

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday #242”

BEQ solution 11 11 13

Lots of zippy stuff in here: JET STREAM stacked atop EXIT RAMPS, juicy PERP WALK, beef JERKY, Vaclav HAVEL, PARCHEESI, CROSS (party) LINES, THE ALPS (85 times better than the more common crossword answers ALP and ALPE), PSYCHS, JITTERS, and au courant NANNY STATE.

Favorite clues:

  • 18a. [“The Unknown Known” documentary director Morris], ERROL. Loved his Robert McNamara doc (The Fog of War), Gates of Heaven, and Fast, Cheap and Out of Control, and should really see more of his work. I suspect the new Rumsfeld doc in this clue will be as fascinating as the McNamara film.
  • 30a. [Inner child?], FETUS.

Did not know Dirty South rapper PETEY Pablo, country singer JANA Kramer, or football’s PASS ROUTE. I had some crossings when I got to 32a. [Maker of the Xperia tablet], but wouldn’t have known it was SONY.

Four stars, solid Themeless Monday, a hair on the easy side.

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7 Responses to Monday, November 11, 2013

  1. Adam N says:

    NYT: Not particularly good, not particularly bad either. CREPE PAPER was new to me, now I know the term. Apparently FLIPBOOK and PROCLAIM have never been in a NYT puzzle before (!?). I did like OXBOW though, it’s the only word matching the pattern ?XB??. I got confused by PAPP, OREL and TOSCA. Anyone else find this more of a Tuesday puzzle?

    • Bencoe says:

      Yes, I thought it had some difficult entries for a Monday. My favorite of them: Spike Jones of course, with his delightfully cartoonish music.

  2. Huda says:

    NYT: This may have been my fastest solve ever, but independently of that, I really liked it. In my view, it hit the right note for a Monday. The theme is a little different twist on a quote puzzle, and on a Monday, hope should spring eternal. Also, if you read the puzzle after the fact, you recognize the words, in both horizontal and vertical directions. There are several excellent vertical answers and the fairly open feeling made it enjoyable.

    Well done!

  3. Gareth says:

    NYT: It’s a Monday, and it’s edumacational so it’s a win! Although I did know the source of the idiom. Finished in a sub-3 time despite not knowing SPIKEJONES, which goes to show that un-Monday words are a non-issue. (Not that I’m saying it’s “un-Monday” before someone jumps down my throat.)

    LAT: On the other hand, I finished this one slowly, mostly because of silly mistakes like CARPET for VELVET that I didn’t twig to. An interesting concept for a Monday even if the entries themselves weren’t especially so.

  4. sherman berger says:

    re Hold It in wash Post 11-11-13–chant of USA in 66 across was inside an arena, not outside in a stadium

  5. Zulema says:

    It was interesting. It struck me that the clues might have been very simplistic but the entries weren’t, which is a switch. And it was interesting in other ways.

  6. Alex Vratsanos says:

    Two years ago today, I had my second New York Times puzzle, which I regret not using to thank our veterans.

    One year ago today, I posted a message on thanking them.

    And today, I will post that same message: though I don’t see myself joining the military, today I salute all the men and women who have served, and are serving in, our military, and keep all 300 million of us safe day in and day out. Whether we realize it or not, we all owe them a debt; and today, Veterans Day, we pay some of it back. Thanks, veterans… we love you.

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