Monday, May 26, 2014

NYT untimed (poltergeisty keyboard) (pannonica) 
LAT untimed (ditto) (pannonica) 
CS untimed (Ade) 
BEQ 5:26 (Amy) 

Dan Margolis’ New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

NYT • 5/26/14 • Mon • Margolis • 5 26 14 • solution

NYT • 5/26/14 • Mon • Margolis • 5 26 14 • solution

Popular music styles taken literally and exemplified by song titles:

  • 17a. [“Hip-hop” song of 1967?] WHITE RABBIT. Jefferson Airplane. See also, 67a [It was dropped at Woodstock] LSD.
  • 29a. [“Rap” song of 1966] KNOCK ON WOOD. Eddie Floyd. I have a special fondness for the quirky 1969 Harper’s Bizarre version.
  • 45a. [“Country” song of 1971] AMERICAN PIE. Don McLean. A canonical country song posits the question, will the circle be UNBROKEN? (7d)
  • 60a. [“Metal” song of 1950] SILVER BELLS. Bing Crosby. Couldn’t think of anything interesting to say about this one, so here’s a photo:silverbells

Mildly entertaining theme, fine for a Monday.

For paired entries, I much prefer UNBROKEN | SEA WALL to IT IS SAID | TELL A LIE.

Cute one-two of 20a [When a cock crows] SUNUP and 21a [Cock] ROOSTER, though it’s somewhat marred by the former crossing 4d [Abate] LET UP. See also 5d SNAP TO and 9d AS TO. I have a funny feeling, too, about 15a NANAS and 38a NANETTE, but that may be unjustified.

Dr PHIL does not pass my personal breakfast test, not at one-across on a Monday.

No real junk in the fill, A smattering of arguably slightly-beyond-Monday answers (NANCE, NCR, ILER), but overall pitched appropriately. Good crossword.


Gail Grabowski and Bruce Venzke’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 5/26/14 • Mon • Grabowski, Venzke • solution

LAT • 5/26/14 • Mon • Grabowski, Venzke • solution

Theme’s laid out down at the bottom right: [Kid’s response to “Who wants some?” … and a hint to what’s hidden in 17-, 33-, 41- and 61-Across] ME, ME. And thus those answers take the form of *me *me. While it’s an apt revealer, I don’t quite agree with the description of them as hidden.

  • 17a. [AABBA, in limericks] RHYME SCHEME.
  • 33a. [Evening TV viewing period] PRIME TIME.
  • 41a. [Pass-the-buck accusations] BLAME GAME. Nice, succinct clue.
  • 61a. [Words on a banner for returning soldiers] WELCOME HOME.

Standard, solid stuff. Two are rhyming, two are not. Found myself marginally distracted by both 25d [Actress Rogers] MIMI and 49a [Becomes foolishly passionate (over)] GOES GAGA.

In addition to 49-across, other augmentative midlength fill are BASE HIT, TAMALES (see also 39d AGUA, but not 36d MOLE), STAGE MOM, and ROMANCES. For TEXAS TEA [Crude from a well, slangily], see also 50d OILER [Crude carrier].

Partial, fill-in-the-blank A-RONI is not pretty, all the more so as it’s dead center in the grid, and anchors the row OOP | ARONI | BOL. yecch!

54a [Isn’t feeling up to snuff] AILS above 60a [Winter bug] FLU; see also 6d [Scalp parasites] LICE? How is that, breakfastwise, by the way?

Modest highlight: USTA crossing Arthur ASHE in the upper left. Lowlight: partial “Son of A GUN!” (46d).

Decent Monday.

Alan Arbesfeld’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Gridiron Games”—Ade’s write-up  

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 05.26.14: "Gridiron Games"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 05.26.14: “Gridiron Games”

Good morning to you all on this Memorial Day!

Currently in Baltimore getting ready to cover the LAX (19A: [Negligent]) Division-1 championship game between Duke and Notre Dame (“lax” is short for lacrosse), so can’t stay too long here to blog this Monday edition by Mr. Alan Arbesfeld. A very slick puzzle, although a bit of a stretch (more on that in a second), with the theme answers inverting common football terminology to create puns. The reveal is the final theme answer.

  • BACK RUNNING: (17A: [On the track once again?]) From running back.
  • COACH HEAD: (24A: [Handbag honcho?]) – From head coach.
  • PENALTY CLIPPING: (37A: [Item in a prison scrapbook?]) From clipping penalty.
  • DOWN FIRST: (51A: [How L.L. Bean prioritizes its winter jacket ads, maybe?]) From first down.
  • REVERSE PLAY: (62A: [Football maneuver, and the key to 17-, 24-, 37-, and 51-Across])

Liked the execution, although, in the football world, I’ve rarely, if ever, heard a reverse play actually be termed a “reverse play.” It’s just a reverse. A small nit to pick, but the other theme answers were either strong or very strong, with DOWN FIRST taking the cake!

I’ve heard a few football players, after bad games by themselves or their team, not want to address the media and answer some questions by saying NO COMMENT (3D: [Press conference reply, at times]) and staying pretty much SILENT (46D: [Like some auctions]). That’s very CHEAP if you ask this sports media member (22D: [For a song]).

Non-sports talk, right? Gotcha…well, somewhat. Loved the movie MUNICH (9D: [2005 Best Picture nominee]). Always knew about the terror attack at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, but unaware of the Israeli covert retribution plan until the movie was being seriously hyped.

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: ADIDAS (8D: [Reebok rival])– My personal footwear of choice when playing athletics. not too many people know that the word “Adidas” is a portmanteau, combining the first and last names of the company’s founder, German shoemaker Adi Dassler. In a serious case of sibling rivalry, his brother, Rudolf, who once worked with his brother, left the company and founded his own sneaker company, Puma. Not only is it my personal footwear choice, Adidas was the focus of a pretty famous song by the rap group Run DMC.

Thanks for your time, even though my time wasn’t so much on here.  I will see you all tomorrow!

Take care!


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

BEQ 5 26 14 crossword solution, "Themeless Monday"

BEQ 5 26 14 crossword solution, “Themeless Monday”

I liked the good stuff in this puzzle, but a couple awkward plurals and some crosswordese put me off. First up, the goodies:

  • 1a. [First NBA Hall of Famer who went straight from high school to the pros], MOSES MALONE. Good to pick up random trivia bits.
  • 15a. [Extremely competitive], IN IT TO WIN IT. Great entry.
  • 17a. [Split decision?], LEGAL SEPARATION. Good clue—also evokes the variety word puzzle called Split Decisions.
  • 30a. [“xkcd” cartoonist Randall], MUNROE. If you like science, math, technology, language, and smartness in general, xkcd is for you. Here’s a recent language comic you’ll appreciate.
  • 33a. [Trifle], SMALL POTATOES. 
  • 6d. [Of greatest importance], MOST OF ALL. Familiar, comfortable, yet not something that fills crosswords much.
  • 12d. [French mathematician Henri whose conjecture was one of the great unsolved problems (until it was cracked in 2003)], POINCARÉ. In case you were wondering, the Poincaré conjecture states: “Every simply connected, closed 3-manifold is homeomorphic to the 3-sphere.” Got that?
  • 24d. [Seminal punk band who took their name from a Paul McCartney pseudonym], RAMONES. I never knew their etymology.
  • 30d. [Comic with the WTF podcast], MARC MARON. Now, the MARC/MUNROE crossing might be tough for those who don’t know either of these men, but what else will complete *UNROE or *ARC and form plausible names?
  • 31d. [Sandy spot], UTAH. Sandy, Utah is a suburb of Salt Lake City; I’ve stayed in a motel there.

In the debit column, we have these:

  • 22a. [Chatpati bhindi vegetables], OKRAS. A bunch of okra is still okra, no? Unlike carrot or apple, some foods—like broccoli and okra—don’t seem to take an S plural.
  • 43a. [Ref. books with almost two million quotations: Abbr.], OEDS. Perhaps you could argue that the newest edition and the previous editions are all OEDs, but the plural is suspect.
  • 11d. [Raison d’___ (national interest)], ETAT/36a. [Relating to a nation], STATAL. Not only is STATAL an uncommon word, it’s a cognate with ETAT.
  • 4d. [French stage], ETAPE. How many French words beginning with ETA— can one English crossword hold? I had thought the maximum was one, but this crosswordese French snuck in.

Never heard of PLAYBOX, 47a. [Toy’s container in a preschool]. Hmm, Merriam-Webster says it’s “chiefly British” and it appears only in the unabridged dictionary. Boo, hiss?

3.75 stars.

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22 Responses to Monday, May 26, 2014

  1. Martin says:

    Re Dr. Phil:

    Agreed… also, I much prefer our own “Dr. Fill”. Now “he” passes my breakfast, lunch and dinner test!

    (Nice Monday puzzle, BTW!)


  2. Huda says:

    NYT: I liked. Easy and clean. Clever theme, succinctly defined by panonica. And it so happens that these songs rang a bell (ahem) with me.
    Back in the late 70’s, while a postdoc, I taught a course on drugs and the brain at Stanford and I would play White Rabbit for the students, to get them in the mood. And LSD is a definite tie in, with American Pie adding to the vibe.

  3. Gareth says:

    Loved the theme, though think it’s misplaced for a Monday, as the theme clues aren’t so direct. I guess it’s best to stick with the original, but for me Amii Stewart’s 1979 disco cover is the best-known KNOCKONWOOD.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Agreed on the song! That was a cover?

      Had no idea the video would be so trippy. Pre-MTV videos can be so strange.

    • john says:

      Someone ought to mention there was a famous “Knock on Wood” long before Amii Stewart and Eddie Floyd, though I wouldn’t call the video very trippy.

      Thought the theme was quite cool today. Good chuckle with “hip-hop.”

  4. Matt says:

    Gillian Welch is at or very near the top 0f my all-time favorites list, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t provide a White Rabbit link:

  5. ArtLvr says:

    I hated the gore in the movie Munich, and walked out on it. Enjoyed reading the wiki article on the history of “America the Beautiful” — everyone knows Francis Scott Key, but how many know about Katherine Lee Bates, author of this poem, or Samuel A Ward, who composed the music?

  6. Jesse says:

    Second time in three days that the NYT doesn’t work in the Android Shortyz application. Never happened before – I hope it doesn’t become a trend.

    • Gareth says:

      The URL of the .puz file seems to have changed. Cruciverb also doesn’t find it. But if you go to the NY Times puzzle website itself the .puz file is still there.

  7. David L says:

    The best I could come up with for “Sandy spot” = UTAH in the BEQ was that it was an oblique Memorial Day reference to one of the D-Day beaches.

    Unfortunate that the puzzle had ISLA vista, given what just happened there.

    • ArtLvr says:

      Thanks for the D-Day UTAH beach connection, David! I’d thought of Utah since it had the provisional state name Deseret in 1949 — but wiki says that didn’t mean desert, but “honeybee” to the Mormon settlers. Weird?

    • Norm says:

      Sandy, Utah, is actually a real place, although I only know it as the site of a high school policy debate tournament (Silver & Black Invitational — a Tournament of Champions qualifier) that daughter went to three or four times.

  8. Norm says:

    BEQ: The M cross for MARCMARON and MUNROE was not the problem for me; it was the POINCARE/ADT cross (and even the R was a guess). I had POINCHRE/HDT, which seemed completely plausible. I think I’ll call a Natick on that one. There are a lot of home security signs in our neighborhood. Not sure I’ve ever seen an ADT one. It was still a fun puzzle.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Lots of ADT signs around here, including at my house. Don’t bother trying to break in!

      • Norm says:

        Yeah, but tell me what it stands for. American Digital Technology? Advanced Digital Technology? I still like my guess — Home DT — as much as any, and I still call a Natick! :)

  9. Lorraine says:

    amy you wanted us to remind you to blog the Fireball #21!!

  10. Judy says:

    Can someone please explain why NAN is the answer to 26A (“Spoiler from Salisbury”) in BEQ’s puzzle? Thanks.

    I agree with Amy’s comments. The puzzle had some great fill.

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