Monday, July 7, 2014

NYT 3:42* (pannonica) 
LAT 3:24* (pannonica) 
CS 3:16 (Amy) 
BEQ 5:02 (Amy) 

Lynn Lempel’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

NYT • 7/7/14 • Mon • Lempel • 7 7 14 • solution

NYT • 7/7/14 • Mon • Lempel • 7 7 14 • solution

All the theme elements are mid-length, and there’re a bunch of them. The revealer is bipartite and flanks the grid on either side: 22d [With 33-Down, where to go for the ends of  16-, 20-, 40-, 56- and 62-Across] BEAUTY | PARLOR. The cited entries comprise a sequence, more or less:

  • 16a. [Tom Sawyer’s bucketful] WHITEWASH.
  • 20a. [Lure for bargain hunters] PRICE CUT.
  • 40a. [General way of thinking] MINDSET.
  • 56a. [Like some champagnes] EXTRA DRY.
  • 62a. [Sweet spot in a hive] HONEYCOMB.

So that’s wash, cut, set, dry, and comb. As far as I know, drying and combing (as well as curling/straightening, brushing, et cetera) are possible components of the setting, or styling step. I feel the ‘sequence’ aspect holds up, as the final two serve to expand their predecessor.

Bonus answer placed center, vertical: 29d [Change back to brunet, say] REDYE.

  • 47a [What a knitter might have a ball with?] YARN; 54a [Knitter’s creation] SWEATER. 41d [Puts down roots?] SODS; 55d [Like an untended garden] WEEDY; 61a [Wilt] DROOP. Welcome playfulness in the clue for 41d.
  • Some crosswordese-esque fill in the shape of EPEE, LOCI, ERGS, NEO-, -OTIC, but nothing even close to awful.
  • One non-Monday item: 50a [Beach town that’s home to Cape Cod’s oldest lighthouse] TRURO.
  • 44d [Close to the stage, say] seems better as UP FRONT, but IN FRONT works fine.

Doesn’t it feel as if there should be some magazines lying around? Maybe ELLE or the UTNE reader? Perhaps an HDTV mounted in the corner? But that’s inconsequential.

Very good Monday crossword.

Jerry Edelstein’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 7/7/14 • Mon • Edelstein • solution

LAT • 7/7/14 • Mon • Edelstein • solution

A recorded music theme, with a two-part revealer as intro and outro: 1a [With 66-Across 1967 Petula Clark hit, and a hint to the three longest puzzle answers] THIS IS | MY SONG.

Put in your quarters, make your selections.

  • 23a. [1927 soft-shoe classic] ME AND MY SHADOW. {Insert Young Frankenstein link here}
  • 35a. [1971 Janis Joplin chart-topper] ME AND BOBBY MCGEE. {Insert Two-Lane Blacktop link here. Yes, it’s the Kris Kristofferson version}
  • 47a. [1972 Billy Paul #1 hit] ME AND MRS JONES. {Insert Bridget Jones’s Di— zzzzrrrrrrrp! No, I can’t. Not even metapostingly. Insert Amy Winehouse or Sun City Girls link here. So what if these aren’t films}

SIDE A: With the ME AND Χ … commonality, it seems to be that these are more “our” songs than “my” songs as per the revealer.

SIDE B: Wow. Skews rather old, doesn’t it? From 1927 all the way up to 1972. Aside from the mildly interesting but wholly coincidental partial palindrome, that’s four items, the most recent of which is 42 years ago.


Lots of blocks, lots of ‘cheater’ squares. Normally I’d be praising a puzzle that doesn’t try to overtop its theme’s potential by squeezing in extra entries, and this one with just three (sizable) themers plus a well-placed but modest revealer would seem to fit that profile. But with the questionable aptness of that revealer and all the fragmentation in the grid engendered by the black blocks it just doesn’t feel robust enough.

Beyond that, there are more meh entries than I care to see in what’s supposed to be a smooth, neophyte-friendly crossword. Though there aren’t too many Scrabbly letters, the grid is nevertheless populated with the likes of B-TEN, A-ONE, ESA, MSW, TEL, CPA, SÃO, ASTA, ANAT., RAES, RRS, PPOS, and more. It ends up being too much.

The long answers OMISSION and UPSTAIRS, as well as the paired sixes of ICEMAN / SEDONA and POSSUM / ONIONY are quite nice, but not enough to redeem the other shortcomings.

Mildly disappointing crossword.

Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”

BEQ crossword solution, 7 7 14 "Themeless Monday"

BEQ crossword solution, 7 7 14 “Themeless Monday”

Apparently online shorthand has proceeded apace without me, because I have no idea why FTW is the answer for 55d. [“Not a good day today,” briefly]. I know FTW as “for the win.” The clue seems to pair with FML, “eff my life.” What’s the new FTW, people?

Nine things:

  • 1a. [Underground rock source], IRON ORE. I get the desire to trick us with “underground rock” pretending to be music, but iron is a metal, not a rock.
  • 18a. [15th-century French king nicknamed “The Prudent”], LOUIS XI. Never heard of Mr. 11 here.
  • 19a. [Mercilessly aggressive], SLASH AND BURN. Great fill.
  • 27a. [Tenses up, as muscles], SQUINCHES. Clue needs to specify face muscles, no?
  • 31a. [“No need to introduce us”], “WE MET.” Nah. “We’ve met” or “We met before,” sure, but WE MET doesn’t sound natural to me.
  • 49a. [Tough World Cup draw], GROUP OF DEATH. Hey! The USMNT made it out of the Group of Death alive. (And then Belgium came along. The revenge of Hercule Poirot?)
  • 10d. [Med. school special], NEUR. Typo, “special” instead of “specialty”?
  • 28d. [Reader of the Gulf Times newspaper], QATARI. Knowing full well that the newspapers in Tampa/St. Petersburg are not called the Gulf Times, I filled in TAMPAN anyway.
  • 34d. [The influence a certain news media has on government], CNN EFFECT. Tell me what this is, people. I don’t know the term.

Appreciated the JETSONS and LAPD clues: [Famous family that lives in Skypad Apartments] and [O.J. chasers?], respectively.

3.75 stars from me.

Randolph Ross’s Washington Post/CrosSynergy crossword, “Let’s Eat”

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 7 7 14 "Let's Eat"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 7 7 14 “Let’s Eat”

Amy here—Ade is spending the week volunteering in Texas at the 4th and 1 football training/SAT prep camp. (A worthy cause, and one that appreciates donations.) Ade may or may not pop in later to share his thoughts on today’s puzzle. Meantime, here’s the grid and the theme lowdown. Phrases that include food words in non-food contexts are clued as if they apply to both the food and non-food contexts:

  • 17a. [Eat some cole slaw or potato salad with an advocate?], TAKE A SIDE.
  • 20a. [Eat something sour with a troublemaker?], GET INTO A PICKLE.
  • 30a. [Eat bacon with a schmoozer?], CHEW THE FAT.
  • 39a. [Eat a piece of chocolate with a paramour?], ENJOY A KISS. Not sure that “enjoy a kiss” is actually an in-the-language phrase.
  • 48a. [Eat a sandwich with an admiral?], DOWN A SUBMARINE.
  • 55a. [Eat a piece of fruit with a friend?], HAVE A DATE.

The inclusion of six theme answers tightens up the wiggle room in the grid, leading to the woeful EMAG (2d. [PC periodical], terrible clue) and unexciting fill like SMEE, A LOOP, SRTAS, NAE, TEMPI, OMARR, Y-SHAPED, and LEE J. Knock out the two 10-letter themers and let the grid breathe some more, eh?

EASY RIDER is great fill, though, and I liked finding GOLIATH in the grid.

2.9 stars from me. Sports will make you smarter … if you attend the 4th and 1 camp.

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14 Responses to Monday, July 7, 2014

  1. ArtLvr says:

    Re LAT – I’d have singled out the paired long downs TUMMYRUB/EMISSARY and BARMAID/ OVERGROW for praise, and carped a tad at the odd degree BBA (vs MBA), but of course everyone is struck by different features. Is DJED acceptable? I suppose it can be something done, similar to “emceed”…

  2. HH says:

    This puzzle exemplifies why I hate revealers. The theme would work just fine without one.

    • pannonica says:

      (Assuming you’re referring to the NYT, as most unspecified comments are.)

      But it isn’t significantly impacted by it, unlike the LAT, where it feels detrimental, no?

      • Papa John says:

        I agree, pannonica. I actually thought the revealer added to the overall enjoyment of this particular puzzle. I chuckled at the quaintness of the term, BEAUTY PARLOR. In most cases, I would say that revealers are helpful for less experienced solvers but, in other cases, as Hook says, they’re unnecessary.

  3. Jenny says:

    Is the CS solution no longer going to be posted here?

  4. Huda says:

    NYT: Such a girly theme :) It made me chuckle, and the sequence, as pannonica notes, is correct. But SETTING, in the olden days, meant putting the hair in curlers not styling more broadly, so it was a specific step. Now that the techniques have changed and curlers rarely used (at least that I’ve seen) that meaning may be lost.
    HH, I actually thought that the revealer was particularly useful today because the theme is the kind that takes a few seconds to figure and some guys may not actually consider the BEAUTY PARLOR aspect of it? Even the words BEAUTY PARLOR have an old fashioned vibe that adds to the ambiance of the puzzle.
    And I would add WISP to the atmospheric contributors. When humidity is high, DROOP can be considered thematic, unless hairspray is involved, clearly a missing element in this scene :)

  5. Norm says:

    Amy: FTW = “f*** the what” which is just another way of saying “what the f***”!

    • Bencoe says:

      “F the world”, I believe, is the expression.

      • lorraine barg says:

        but beware before using it amongst your fellow biker gangs. To wit, from the urban dictionary:

        “In biker gangs it meant F*** the World, but in online usage it mainly means For the Win. When you see FTW, don’t ever get a biker confused with a gamer or else you might be like “stfu n00b” and then get your face smashed in.”

      • Norm says:

        f*** the what gets 211,000,000 Google hits; f*** the world gets 188,000,000

        that’s probably a statistical tie, but f*** the what is all i’ve ever heard or used (california/not a gang-banger).

        i think it fits the clue better, but maybe BEQ can clue us in as to which he meant. cheers!

  6. lorraine barg says:

    re: FTW, and sorry, i meant to hit the reply button!

    but beware before using it amongst your fellow biker gangs. To wit, from the urban dictionary:

    “In biker gangs it meant Fuck the World, but in online usage it mainly means For the Win. When you see FTW, don’t ever get a biker confused with a gamer or else you might be like “stfu n00b” and then get your face smashed in.”

  7. brucenm says:

    World here — never heard What.

    I had the same thought re {Underground rock source}, but I decided it could be interpreted as “an underground rock which is or can function as a source for something which will eventually become iron.”

  8. Michael says:

    The “CNN Effect” is a political science coinage that refers to what, if anything, policymakers do differently now that events are broadcast to the world in real time. The term preceded the rise of the Internet –think Gulf War, O.J.– and isn’t used much anymore.

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