Friday, August 1, 2014

NYT 5:01 (Amy) 
LAT 6:00 (Gareth) 
CS 11:01 (Ade) 
CHE untimed (pannonica) 
WSJ (Friday) untimed (pannonica) 

Ashton Anderson and James Mulhern’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 8 1 14, no. 0801

NY Times crossword solution, 8 1 14, no. 0801

Lots of goodies in this grid:

  • 7a. [Cash flow statement?], “CHA-CHING!”
  • 16a. [Winner of the inaugural Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent (2012)], AI WEIWEI.
  • 18a. [The Hub], BEANTOWN. That’s Boston. Never been there.
  • 26a. [Steel-eyed one?], CARNEGIE. He (the steel magnate of yore) doesn’t get much play in crosswords. Would not have minded a Carnegie Hall, Carnegie Deli, or Carnegie-Mellon clue.
  • 41a. [First substitute on a basketball bench], SIXTH MAN. What’s the term in the WNBA?
  • 45a. [Willy Wonka Candy Company candy], NERDS. Sweet, crunchy pebbles o’ sugar.
  • 49a. [Modern storage space], THE CLOUD. Nice, very nice. Read this week about the massive solar farm Apple has to power its cloud computing.
  • 56a. [Be at the end of one’s rope?], WATERSKI. Nice clue.
  • 4d. [“No problem, I’m on it!”], “DONE AND … DONE!” (Punctuation unclear.)
  • 5d. [“Been there”], “I CAN RELATE.” Solid.
  • 12d. [It means “sulfur island” in Japanese], IWO JIMA. Interesting clue.
  • 25d. [Be a patsy], TAKE THE FALL. Good phrase.
  • 28d. [Catchphrase for the paranoid], “TRUST NO ONE.” Word to the wise.
  • 34d. [Deity with more than 16,000 wives], KRISHNA. Krisp answer, surprising clue. (Not up on my deities here.)
  • 35d. [“Easy-peasy”], “NO SWEAT.” Yet another spoken phrase.
  • 37d. [Rush home?], AM RADIO. Rush Limbaugh. Clue kept me wondering for a long time.
  • 40d. [Submit], KOWTOW. Love the word, don’t have much cause to use it.
  • 47d. [“Dirtbag,” e.g.], SLUR. The mostly humor (but sometimes with thoughtful essays) website The Toast makes excellent use of the term “dirtbag.” Here are scenes from Othello, rendered as if the characters are all teenage dirtbags. (There are multiple other dirtbag literary treatments at the site.) And then today, true-life teenage dirtbag confessions (recounting the times you set things on fire—I was a good kid and most certainly did not light stuff on fire for sport) were the name of the game.

I’m never excited to see AROAR or ENS, but OISE gets upgraded with a Van Gogh clue (42a. [Van Gogh’s “L’Église d’Auvers-sur- ___”]). This 70-worder is mighty clean, surprising for a puzzle with so very much lively fill in it. Messrs Anderson and Mulhern clearly work well together when it comes to polishing a grid. 4.25 stars from me.

Judith Seretto’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Setting an Example” — pannonica’s write-up

WSJ • 8/1/14 • "Setting an Example" • Fri • Seretto, Shenk • solution

WSJ • 8/1/14 • “Setting an Example” • Fri • Seretto, Shenk • solution

Crossword constructors are sometimes called ‘setters’, and in this puzzle the setter sets the letters EG—from the Latin exempli gratia, ‘for example’—into existing phrases to make new ones.

  • 23a. [Assignment that can’t be entrusted to fractions or decimals?] INT(EG)ER MISSION (intermission).
  • 36a. [Person with a poignant story about his dietary choice?] MOVING V(EG)AN  (moving van).
  • 47a. [Find some missing payments?] R(EG)AIN CHECKS (rain checks).
  • 66a. [Ones with bad things to say about the state of the nation?] N(EG)ATIVE AMERICANS (Native Americans).
  • 91a. [Started production on a movie that would ultimately earn zero stars?] B(EG)AN THE BOMB (“Ban the Bomb”).
  • 98a. [Sentiment of many a Tibetan?] B(EG)ONE, CHINA (bone china). See also, 24d [“Little Buddha” star] REEVES, 104a [Himalayan, e.g.] CAT.
  • 118a. [Hannibal’s army, crossing the Alps?] MOUNTAIN L(EG)ION (mountain lion). See also, Germany’s Alpenkorps, Romania’s Vânători de Munte, and others.

Fun wordplay, plus serious theme purity—no instances of the bigram EG outside of the theme answers. Only 7 theme answers, which allows flexibility for the arrangement and constitution of the ballast fill.

  • 41d [105-Down’s mate], 105d [41-Down’s mate], MAMA and PAPA. Okay.


    ©1973 EG Records

  • 97a [Annoys] IRKS, 124a [More than annoys\ ANGERS. Better.
  • Favorite clue: 95d [Business flier] LEAFLET, not LEAR JET; completely fooled me. Brilliant. 
  • Having just answered 6d [Ace of Base song that was the #1 hit of 1994] THE SIGN, was flummoxed by S––– at 27a [Official mark], as I could think of nothing else but SIGN. It was of course SEAL.
  • 73a [Canary tongue] SPANISH.
  • 75d [Thompson of 52-Across] KENAN (52a = SNL). Do not see also 108d [“Handsome, clever and rich” title character] EMMA.
  • 19d [Their mascot is BrooklyKnight] NETS. Brookly?

Solid crossword.

Samuel A. Donaldson’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Tenure Track” — pannonica’s write-up

CHE • 8/1/14 • "Tenure Track" • Donaldson • solution

CHE • 8/1/14 • “Tenure Track” • Donaldson • solution

Solved this one neglecting to look at the title or the notepad, which reads: “The circled letters, when read clockwise, reveal a literal interpretation of the puzzle’s title.” Was impossible to miss the circled letters, and it was easy enough to decode its constituents, and from there I intuited the title without realizing it.

They take the shape of an elongated loop, or a track. Starting from the last square in Row Three, the sequence runs ASSISTANT | ASSOCIATE | FULL | EMERITUS, which comprise levels of professorship in a typical tenure track, which takes much more than ten years.

Once again, a theme finds its pinnacle of aptness at the CHE.

typee_1846With the theme material confined to a central belt running from northeast to southwest, the northwest and southeast corners are free to get fancy. Check out those triple nine-stacks! I much prefer the bottom group, consisting of single words (IMAGINARY, CATALONIA, SLAPSTICK) to the other bunch (GETS A BITE, PLUNGED IN, AL MARTINO). More long fill with the verticals MISSILE SILO and TELESCOPIUM, also TRADE GAP and BET IT ALL.

However and alas, it isn’t all milk and mel here. There was a fair amount of fill to SCOWL (68a) at. YAT, ROLLAAN I, I ALSO, I DID, LTS, T-MAC, EAP, ALIS, and more. Some of these are redeemed with interesting and/or cute clues. Example: the self-referential 63a [Bad “Wheel of Fortune” purchase for the phrase BAD WHEEL OF FORTUNE PURCHASE] AN I. Which leads to the even better 43a [Quintet seen in late-night hours?] AEIOU, for which the clue is a so-called supervocalic.

Even so, the theme is superlative and the crossword is very good over all.

Julian Lim’s Los Angeles Times crossword – Gareth’s review

LA Times 140801

LA Times

This puzzle has a subtle, yet elegant theme concept. There’s no revealer, but the theme is revealed in the clues themselves. The four theme answers begin with potential flight statuses that you might read on an airport information board. The clues are adjusted as though their first word is in fact referring to these statuses. The concept is fresh and original (to me), although it doesn’t make for the most exciting word play. We have:

  • [Consequence of a late flight?], DELAYEDEFFECT
  • [Where to learn to be on time for a flight?], BOARDINGSCHOOL. Best theme answer!
  • [Luggage on a recently-arrived flight?], LANDEDPROPERTY. Never heard of the base phrase.
  • [Mark showing the status of a stormy-day flight?], CANCELEDCHECK


  • [Crystalizes], JELLS is spelt weirdly. I’m not sure the inclusion of a J is justification for using a variant spelling given that the square could easily be C or T.
  • [Stop kidding around!], OHYOU. Top answer!
  • [Harold’s film partner], KUMAR. Another good’un although I had MAUDE first…
  • [2014 U.S. Women’s Open champ], WIE. Her first major has given her fresh crossword legs! Look out for LEXI Thompson and MOMARTIN, or possibly don’t…
  • [Some hosps.], VAS. Don’t think I’ve seen this before! I assume V is for veteran?
  • [Boxer’s reward], BONE. Horrible clue. It might be “natural” but it has no nutritional benefits and leads to among other things obstructions, perforations, tooth fractures, and gastroenteritis. And no, the bones being “raw” won’t magically make all the bad things disappear.
  • The clecho [Chip flavor], BBQ; [Slip for chips, maybe], IOU was neat.
  • [Exchange notes], PAYCASH is my clue of the puzzle.

3.5 Stars

Jeff Chen’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Slacks Off”—Ade’s write-up  

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 08.01.14: "Slacks Off"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 08.01.14: “Slacks Off”

Welcome to Friday everyone!!

I hope everyone is doing well, and today looks like a washout, as the ominous-looking clouds have moved in. And sometimes, when doing laundry a little too many times, some clothes get washed out as well, in terms of color and other elements, and are almost unwearable. In this very fun puzzle, authored up by Mr. Jeff Chen, common phrases, with types of clothing bottoms at the end of each phrase, are clued as puns.

  • YOGA PANTS: (17A: [Downward Facing Dog sounds?]) – The football/academic camp that I work at once a year starts off each day with Yoga, and it’s amazing. Well, the student-athletes aren’t necessarily on board with that sentiment, however!
  • SKINNY JEANS: (31A: [Smart and Harlow after dieting?]) – There has to be a way to clue Jean Smart, who played Charlene on the sitcom Designing Women, in a way where the answer would have been DESIGNER JEANS.
  • RIDING CHAPS: (48A: [Englishmen on horses?])
  • GYM SHORTS: (66A: [Quick films about running laps?]) – Very strong clue and answer!

Some of the fill was just absolutely amazing, and SPY VS SPY takes the absolute cake in that regard (22D: [Mad Magazine feature]). COMEDY CLUB had a very slick clue, and another beauty to look at (30D: [Purveyor of funny business?]). Crossing that was CHOOSY, a word I don’t think I’ve ever seen in a crossword (36A: [Selective]). This puzzle was very, very sports heavy, which, to this solver, was looking at a juicy steak and mashed potatoes on the dinner table (yes, I like steak and potatoes). How sports heavy was it? Let’s count the ways: NASCAR (49D: [Winston Cup org.]), NINER, short for 49er (34D: [Montana in the ’80s, e.g.]), ISIAH (47D: [Thomas of the “Bad Boys” Detroit Pistons]), and ACC, short for Atlantic Coast Conference (28A: [College football powerhouse]) all are packed in the grid! All of this, and none of these made the “sports…smarter” section. Which one did?

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: MAYS (1D: [“The Say Hey Kid”]) – With so many sports clues, I had to whittle it down to one for this space, and I chose the all-time Major League Baseball great. Arguably the greatest living baseball player, Mays has appeared in the most All-Star Games than anyone in Major League history (24), and Willie ended his career with 660 home runs, third all-time at the time of his retirement (now ranks fourth). Mays’ godson in Barry Bonds, the man that now ranks first all-time with 762 home runs. As great of a hitter as he was, Mays was just as good of a defender, winning 12 Gold Gloves while playing centerfield, tied for the most Gold Gloves by any player at any position. Even more impressive, the first Gold Glove awards were awarded six years into his Major League Baseball career.

Here’s hoping you all had a great week, and we’ll see you on Saturday!

Take care!


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21 Responses to Friday, August 1, 2014

  1. Huda says:

    NYT: Very chit-chatty puzzle: Trust no one, I can relate… No sweat, done and done…

    I took the bait before taking the fall. But it felt really smooth and beautifully done.

    (Even the Flint to Kalamazoo clue was easy. I wondered about Gareth, though!)

  2. Martin says:

    Excellent puzzle… but the clue for CARNEGIE totally threw me,
    so: one star.

    (I’m joking)


  3. Alex says:

    SIXTH MAN. What’s the term in the WNBA?

    That’s a great question and I didn’t know the answer so I looked it up: apparently it’s (as you might expect) Sixth Woman:

    • Brucenm says:

      Interesting. Yet, I have noticed that (male and female) coaches of (college and professional) women’s basketball teams refer to a “man to man” defense.

      • Gary R says:

        “Woman-to-woman,” “player-to-player,” and “person-to-person” all have too many syllables. “Girl-to-girl” would likely generate protests, if not lawsuits. “Gal-to-gal” would make it sound like the coach comes from farm country. Maybe “Ms-to-Ms” would work.

        • Kim McW says:

          Try one-on-one.

        • CY Hollander says:

          Fortunately “man” has a well established gender-neutral meaning (see def. 2 here) for such cases, so “man to man” works just fine.

          • pannonica says:

            That’s just the patriarchy talking.

          • CY Hollander says:

            I think you’re joking, but I don’t know you well enough to be sure.

          • Amy Reynaldo says:

            I reckon she was dead serious, as the whole “man is gender-neutral” thing is a classic bit of the patriarchy. Women aren’t default humans, they’re weird things without penises. The language embodies that male = default thing and has for centuries. It doesn’t make the language a neutral fact.

          • CY Hollander says:

            I badly would like to take issue with your view of language as a tool of “the patriarchy”, Amy, but since I don’t wish to vex you, I will steer clear of that. Instead, let me just amplify my previous statement by saying that the language in its current form allows for the use of expressions such as “man on man” or “sixth man” to describe general concepts that apply to both men and women. Naturally, anyone is free to deprecate this or any other other usage for whatever reasons he (or she!) deems valid. Hopefully, that much we can both agree on.

          • pannonica says:

            True, but that’s essentially a tautological explanation.

          • pannonica says:

            And, Amy, just to formally state the obvious: female is the ‘default’ human, as embryonic development demonstrates.

  4. Brad says:

    I’m trying to knock a few heads together over the issue of why the CHE puzzle is not available on their web site yet. Please keep checking for it, as it’s a real gem by Sam Donaldson.

  5. Papa John says:

    WSJ The fill at 66A: N[EG]ATIVE AMERICANS is doubly meaningful, when clued as “Ones with bad things to say about the state of the union”. I firmly believe Native Americans have reason aplenty to complain about their plight.

  6. sbmanion says:

    Has something happened to the format? The reply button to a poster’s comment does not appear on my screen.

    The WNBA award is given to the SIXTH WOMAN, but the WNBA website refers to the main substitute as the Sixth Man.

    The puzzle was tough for me. I was definitely not on the right wavelength today. Solved it SW, NW, NE, SE. Cha-ching was excellent.


  7. ahimsa says:

    NYT: Liked it even though I got one letter wrong. My NEW AGEr answer led to a knight named SIR KAr which I thought was possible. I figured I had a typo somewhere and was too lazy to track it down. Oops!

    Re: KRISHNA, some say that the reason he had so many wives was that they were wives in name only. In olden days being unmarried (or widowed) was quite frowned upon in society. So KRISHNA helped these women by getting married to them. That’s just one of many versions of the story, I’m sure.

  8. Brucenm says:

    Very *very* nice CHE by Professor Donaldson, and I speak as someone who has completed the entire orbit. But mostly, no one can begin to imagine how thrilled and stunned I was to see the reference to the Beethoven Les Adieux (51a). That was my Juilliard entrance audition sonata at age 18, and it went well enough that I got a scholarship my first year. I still play it for anyone who will listen whenever my fingers have sufficiently recovered from their slumbers.

  9. Finn says:

    NYT: Two thumbs way up. I love how talkative it is. It felt harder than recent Fridays, but as I slowly found a toehold in each section, it was just a rewarding solve at every turn.

    CHE: Big fan of this too. I didn’t see the notepad and am not sure it’s necessary—once EMERITUS came to light in the NE, I kind of figured out what was going on. Perfect execution of the title!

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