Tuesday, July 1, 2014

NYT 3:59 (Amy) 
Jonesin' 3:56 (Amy) 
LAT 3:08 (Amy) 
CS 9:54 (Ade) 
Xword Nation untimed (Janie) 

Gary Cee’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 7 1 14, no. 0701

NY Times crossword solution, 7 1 14, no. 0701

This puzzle’s stretched to 16×15 to accommodate the central answer in this collection of five song titles that begin with DON’T:

  • 18a. [Appeal from Elvis, 1956], DON’T BE CRUEL. A classic.
  • 25a. [Reassurance from the Beach Boys, 1964], DON’T WORRY BABY. Never heard of it, and neither has my husband. Rolling Stone may have included it on their list of the 500 greatest songs of all time, but it’s not a single that charted.
  • 39a. [Encouragement from Journey, 1981], DON’T STOP BELIEVIN‘. Yes!
  • 52a. [Plea from the Human League, 1982], DON’T YOU WANT ME. Yes! A #1 hit in the US. Enjoy the video.
  • 64a. [Reproach from the Buckinghams, 1967], DON’T YOU CARE. We don’t know this song, either.

I started solving the puzzle in the 1-Across corner so I hit ERN, clued as [Seaside eagle], early on and feared there would be a plethora of non-Tuesday-grade fill. And then! PLUTON hit me. 8d. [Mass of crystallized magma]? You don’t say. (And with the N crossing erstwhile tennis star HANA Mandlikova.) And also! 12d. [Game similar to hide-and-seek], RINGALEVIO. If you don’t know this game, also spelled ringolevio, I suspect you did not grow up playing games in the streets of New York City. (A constructor friend suggests AT SEA LEVEL as another entry that might have fit well in this spot.) And then there’s also 48d. [Groucho foil Margaret ___], DUMONT. AMO, ERST, and EBON are more familiar crossword fill, but perhaps unfamiliar to newbie solvers. I am surprised this puzzle wasn’t either reworked to get easier fill or slated to run on a Wednesday.

Favorite clue: 49d. [African country known as the Land of a Thousand Hills], RWANDA. I didn’t know Rwanda was so hilly. Favorite fill: CANNONBALL, 31d. [Dive done with the arms around the knees]. *Splash!*

2.9 stars from me.

Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ crossword, “S-to-P”

Jonesin' crossword solution, 7 1 14 "S-to-P"

Jonesin’ crossword solution, 7 1 14 “S-to-P”

Technically, the theme isn’t “S-to-P,” it’s SS-to-PP at the end of each phrase, and single S’s in the base phrases are left as is.

  • 18a. [One of cartoonist Al’s parents?], MAMA CAPP.
  • 23a, 50a. [With 50-Across, high praise for Snapchat?], YOU’RE SUCH / A SMART APP. Two other S’s in this one.
  • 35a. [Scottish girl further north in Scandinavia?], BONNIE WEE LAPP.
  • 55a. Comet partially discovered by the guy who wrote about Quasimodo?], HUGO BOPP.

I like the smartass-to-SMART APP play here.

Five more things:

  • 28a. [Secret sightings], ESPIALS. Not a word I’ve really encountered in the plural. It’s rare enough in the singular.
  • 40a. [Some men’s mags], GQ’S. The plural is a little iffy, but I would certainly say “There’s a whole stack of GQ’s in the dentist’s waiting room.”
  • 61a. [Eric Cantor defeater David ___], BRAT. We’ll find out in November if he’ll go to Washington or fade back into obscurity.
  • 65a. [Nook companion], CRANNY. This is a great all-purpose word. I encourage you to work it into your conversation today.
  • 37d. [Money issue], EQUAL PAY. Not sure I’ve seen this as a crossword answer before, but it’s definitely a contentious issue. (Shouldn’t be, but is.)

HOP ON POP and BUS ROUTE brightened my solve. Good fill.

3.66 stars from me.

Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle, “Turning Tricks”—Janie’s review

Crossword Nation 7/1

Crossword Nation 7/1

No “Love for Sale” here, but a seriously solid puzzle built on ANAGRAMS [44A. Puzzle theme] of the word PARROTED [22A. Repeated by rote … or a word that’s mixed up in three themed answers]. That is, Liz does lexical “tricks” by “turning” around the letters in that word. No mean feat rearranging this eight-letter word three more times and seeing these variations in highly puzzle-worthy phrases, but that’s what’s going on today. The rangy trio is made up of:

  • 16A. PRORATED TUITION [College cost borne by a mid-year transfer student]. If not the most sparkly of fill, impressive nonetheless given the constructor’s challenge. And we get a grid-spanner to boot.
  • teardrop-earrings34A. PREDATOR DRONE [Unmanned craft that makes targeted attacks]. And is also doing more and more surveillance work apparently. Fascinating. It’s a new world… I also like how ACCOST [Approach aggressively] sits atop this, too. Though the predator drone does aim to do its work a little more stealthily.
  • 53. TEARDROP EARRING [Pear-shaped piece of jewelry]. Ah. There’s that “sparkly” fill I was thinkin’ about. And another grid-spanner, too.

In addition to the tight theme set, there’s a greater amount of longer fill than we’re accustomed to seeing in these Crossword Nation puzzles. All I can say is, fill like this makes it worth the wait. Not only do we get a CRULLER (À LA MODE if you so desire!), but there’s classical ROMAN ART off-setting a “vintage” SPITTOON. BEER MUG comes to us with the smile-inducing [Pub souvenir inscribed with “You’ve got Ale!”]. And there are also clues that might PERPLEX as you try making sense of [Interrupts a sentence?] for PAROLES (so that’s a prison “sentence”); or (with a shorter word) [King known for his gilt-y pleasures?] for the original “Goldfinger,” MIDAS (punning on “guilty pleasures” [a Fox sitcom like Zooey Deschanel’s highly-rated “NEW Girl,” perhaps?]).

Those corner triple 6-columns are pretty nifty, too. Especially love the rhyme-y clue-fill combo right there at 1D., [Get drunk on ripple]? TIPPLE! And down in the SE, I’m delighted by that lively combo of the perky and pragmatic JIMINY Cricket, PLUNGE [800-point drop in the Dow, for instance] (yikes…let’s hope not), and the blessedly less dramatic SAGGED [Drooped]. Ditto SMOOCH, while we’re on the subject of sixes that delight.

I like the round-up of five-letter names, too: singer-actor Lotte LENYA, author Bret HARTE, actor George SEGAL, boxer LAILA Ali; and the five-letter prefixes as well (because of the cluing, I suspect): the always-in-the-news PETRO [Prefix with dollar or chemical] and, with its “oh-that’s-what-she-was-going-for” [Muscular leader?] clue, NEURO. What? You were trying to fit SCHWARZENEGGER into those five squares? (Oh, right. He’s a former leader…)

Not keen for the way EARS [Servings of corn] crosses teardrop EARring. Yes, different meanings of the word ear here. But by changing very few letters, what I see as a duplication (and thus a “flag-raiser”) could have been avoided entirely. Much happier with the zing provided by JAVA and JETÉ, EPIC and APEX, and especially discovering—from the get-go—TUSH, a Yiddishism, here humorously defined as [Mooner’s “stand-out” feature?]. Not to mention—right down there in the SW corner—encountering the unflattering yet specifically character-defining YUTZ [Yiddish word for “fool”].

What can I say? This puzzle’s simply got a lotta geschmak, a Yiddish word meaning “tasty” or “delicious,” but which, in the household I grew up in, was used as a noun meaning “serious flavor“!


Gareth Bain’s Los Angeles Times crossword

LA Times crossword solution, 7 1 14

LA Times crossword solution, 7 1 14

“OH, GEE” is the revealer (38a. [“Gosh” … and a hint to the answers to starred clues]), and the four theme answers have O.G. initials. And yet! Not a one of them is ORIGINAL GANGSTA.

  • 17a. [*”We’re All Family Here!” Italian restaurant], OLIVE GARDEN. Solid.
  • 56a. [*Goal for many an elite athlete], OLYMPIC GOLD. Nice entry.
  • 3d. [*Barbecuing option], OPEN GRILL. Haven’t heard this terminology before.
  • 34d. [*Kitchen safety item], OVEN GLOVE. I’ve always called it an oven mitt, as I’ve only ever seen a glove form (as opposed to a mitten) in one place: The as-seen-on-TV ‘Ove’ Glove. Do you use the term OVEN GLOVE?

Five more things:

  • 53a. [Hid from the police], LAY LOW, past tense of “lie low.” I suspect half or more of Americans who need to lie low say they’re going to “lay low.”
  • 33d. [Coral phenomena], REEFS. I thought the answer was going to be something unusual and not just “those things that corals form all over the world.”
  • 43d. [Capt. Hook’s henchman], MR. SMEE. We almost always see just SMEE in the puzzle, not this MR. SMEE.
  • 14a. [Hale-Bopp, e.g.], COMET. In case you were wondering if that one theme answer in the Jonesin’ puzzle was skewing a little obscure in its astronomy … not at all! It’s Tuesday LAT grade.
  • 24d. [Bite-sized Japanese fare], SUSHI. “Bite-sized”? Hardly! Look at the size of this sushi roll. Why, it took an entire crew of sushi chefs to roll it.

Fill from the “meh” files: SAE, ESTEE, EGAD.

3.5 stars.

Raymond Hamel’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Golfers’ Banquet”—Ade’s write-up  

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 07.01.14: "Golfers' Banquet"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 07.01.14: “Golfers’ Banquet”

Good morning everyone, and I hope you have your red, white and blue face paint on (or black, yellow and red paint) in preparation for the United States vs. Belgium Round of 16 matchup at the FIFA World Cup.

Today’s crossword puzzle doesn’t deal with soccer, nor does it deal with tennis, unlike yesterday’s. Mr. Raymond Hamel takes us out for a round of golf, as each of his theme answers is a type of food, and the first word of each answer is also a word that is associated with the game of golf (and is clued in such a way). When’s tee time today, Raymond?

  • WEDGE SALAD: (17A: [Course at the golfers’ banquet?])
  • CLUB SANDWICH: (23A: [Stack at the golfers banquet?])
  • SLICE OF PIZZA: (53A: [Snack at the golfers’ banquet?])
  • GREEN BEANS: (64A: [Veggies at the golfers’ banquet?])

Mark Twain famously said that golf is a good walk spoiled, but this crossword was definitely far from spoiled. My favorite fill-in, surprisingly enough, was PHIZ (6A: [Face, in slang]), as I’m probably one of the eight people left that still say that word from time to time. And since I’m a huge fan of James Bond movies, seeing BACCARAT not only was fun because of the strong fill but because I can think about Sean Connery and Roger Moore as 007 playing that game (38D: [Casino card game]). Not sure how I feel about DOZINESS (40D: [Tired feeling]), as I kept questioning myself whether that was a word at least twice before somewhat confidently placing it down in the grid. I’m much more confident in knowing that I almost always need to have BBQ chips when I eat turkey sandwiches, which I have often (65D: [Potato chip flavor, for short]). I can’t remember the last time I had a turkey sandwich – or any meal – while watching HBO, since I haven’t been a subscriber to that channel for a good four years now (44D: [Starz rival]). Those cable bills were a killer for me then, and though I can add the channel back on with no problem, I’ve just been too lazy to do so.

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: SMUSH (18D: [Compress, informally])– William Parker, better known by his nickname, Smush, played for five seasons in the NBA, and is mostly known for his time with the Los Angeles Lakers from 2005-2007. Parker is a New York City native and became a streetball legend before attending Fordham University for one season (2002). He bounced around the NBA and Europe for a couple of seasons after being undrafted, but became the surprise starting point guard for the Lakers to begin the 2005-06 season. Smush had his best NBA campaign that year, averaging 11.5 points and shooting a very respectable 36.6 percent from three-point range on the year.

Have a great day, everybody, and will talk with you all on Hump Day!

Take care!


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5 Responses to Tuesday, July 1, 2014

  1. sbmanion says:

    One of the great records of the ’60s: the A side was I Get Around and the B side was Don’t Worry Baby. The Beatles probably kept Don’t Worry Baby from charting higher, but the A side was the Beach Boys’ first number 1 single.



  2. Bencoe says:

    RINGALEVIO is completely new to me. Luckily the crosses were reasonable. Margaret DUMONT is more in my wheelhouse, as a big Marx brothers fan. She was more of a Marx brother than Zeppo or Gummo.

  3. Gareth says:

    Except for the last one, the theme answers just about filled themselves in! A really nice find from our cruciverbalist DJ! DONTWORRYBABY is track #4 on my Beach Boys 20 Golden Greats disc as it happens… I spent a bit of time eyeballing RINGALEVIO – I still can’t quite believe that’s a word!

  4. Gareth says:

    A few constructors notes if I may indulge: This puzzle started out as the more Scrabbly OHJEEZ, but Rich Norris preferred the simpler OHGEE for an early week puzzle, and on balance, he’s right! I’m often blinded by my enthusiasm to use not-in-the-databases answers like OHJEEZ! Plus the new revealer lets me link to this 1954 song by the Crows. Another 50’s song by Chuck Berry is the source of OPENGRILL. Fingers or not, OVENGLOVES are always so called here (at least around me!), although I note a few confused Americans!

  5. Linda says:

    Is it only me, or is anyone else confused by BBQ chips and turkey sandwiches? I always thought turkey sandwiches were on the menu the evening after the big Thanksgiving dinner. But BBQ’s are usually held in June, July or August, aren’t they? In either case, someone send me a ticket, because otherwise how would a potato chip know when to adorn the table? Promise– I’ll do the dishes.

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