Monday, August 4, 2014

NYT 3:35* (pannonica) 
LAT 3:41* (pannonica) 
CS 7:50 (Ade) 
BEQ 5:37 (Amy) 

Joel Fagliano’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

NYT • 8/4/14 • Mon • Fagliano • 8 4 14 • solution

NYT • 8/4/14 • Mon • Fagliano • 8 4 14 • solution

Today’s theme is all business. Well, it’s inclusive of first and coach classes as well, but it’s a no-nonsense sort of thing. The revealer at 48-across lets us know that [What the ends of the answers to 20-, 26- and 42-Across are] is AIRPLANE SEATS.

  • 20a. [Lets some air in, say] CRACKS A WINDOW.
  • 26a. [Compromised, as two parties] MET IN THE MIDDLE.
  • 42a. [Get hitched] GO DOWN THE AISLE.

Just three (excluding the matter-of-fact revealer), and no change of meaning for the pivotal words. See? All business.

This crossword seems as if it would have been a good candidate for vertical theme answers, as most of us experience and visualize the layout of an airplane as being oriented that way.

Spiffy double-eights in the northwest and southeast. CALCUTTA / ENORMITY and EVIL TWIN / MISUSAGE. There’s a link between 4d [Sheer awfulness] ENORMITY and 35d [Malapropism] MISUSAGE; word purists and language prescriptivists will assert that ENORMITY should only reflect that sense, and not the one that means bigness. See usage discussion here and here, and elsewhere if you like.

39d [Exercise one’s right under the Second Amendment] OWN A GUN, but I tried the too-long BEAR ARMS first. The text mentions the right to “keep and bear arms.” I don’t doubt legal crosshairs may be split here.

  • Window! 19a [ __ in a blue moon] ONCE. Quite the narrow one.
  • Middle (or Near) East! GAZA Strip, GOLAN Heights, IRAN, Edward SAID. (8d, 53a, 14a, 51d)
  • Aisle say! 17a [Venus de __ ] MILO, who is missing her bare arms. Found on the Greek island Milos.

Sole crosswordese/non-early-week item: 7d [Plant bristles] AWNS.

Solid, stolid Monday.

Updated Monday morning:

Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”

BEQ crossword solution,  8 4 14 "Themeless Monday"

BEQ crossword solution, 8 4 14 “Themeless Monday”

Top 10 list, to be followed by a “meh 10” list:

  • 1a. [Prime minister who fought in the Yom Kippur War], ARIEL SHARON. Full name #1.
  • 15a. [Comic who has a Fox “Project”], MINDY KALING. Full name #2, and a delightful one at that.
  • 52a. [Vaudeville comic brother who was part of the United States Croquet Hall of Fame inaugural class], HARPO. What an unusual clue. Couldn’t believe how long it took me to figure out what sort of “vaudeville comic brother” options there were.
  • 56a. [Queens, in headlines, e.g.], BORO. Was thinking of the monarchs, not the place.
  • 63a. [Suspended], LEFT HANGING. Don’t think I’ve seen this in a puzzle before.
  • 4d. [Lollapuzzoola’s setting: Abbr.], EDT. This Saturday! In Manhattan! Or in your own home, in the solve-at-home tournament!
  • 11d. [“A Man Lay Dead” author], NGAIO MARSH.  Don’t know the title so I was wondering who this N.G. AI— person was.
  • 29d. [Freestyle competitions], RAP BATTLES. First thoughts were of freestyle skiing, skateboarding, etc.
  • 42d. [1981 comedy with the tagline “The story of a man who wanted to keep the world safe for democracy…and meet girls”], STRIPES. Starring Bill Murray and a spatula.
  • 48d. [Busybodies], NOODGES. Love Yiddishisms.



  • 64d. [Charity stripe scores: Abbr.], FTS. Charity free throws in basketball? Why “stripe”? Why “stripe” when STRIPES is in the grid?
  • 50d. [Started up a Super PAC, perhaps], RAN. Wait, can candidates launch their own super PACs, or are those for outside interests? I’ve lost track of such things.

3.75 stars from me.

Jeffrey Wechsler’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 8/4/14 • Mon • Wechsler • solution

LAT • 8/4/14 • Mon • Wechsler • solution

Solved this one last night, but wasn’t inspired to write about it at the time. It stands in stark relief to today’s NYT puzzle, for which I was in retrospect perhaps not praiseful or exuberant enough.

Sure, I said that there was only one item that seemed inappropriate for a Monday, but I failed to emphasize just how clean the grid was, how free of abbrevs. and unaesthetic fill.

This offering is chock full of abbrevs., partials, and names or words seen (at least by the likes of us) far more commonly in crosswords than anywhere else.


Oh, right. Theme. The theme is word triplets beginning with the letter Y.

  • 17a. [Whom “I’m in love with,” in a 1953 hit] YOU YOU YOU. That’s, erm, the AMES Brothers. When was the last time a crossword clue referenced them as opposed to the place in Iowa?
  • 32a. [“… and so on and so forth”] YADDA YADDA YADDA. See also Dory Previn in 1971 with “Yada Yada La Scala“.
  • 40a. [1968 song title words before “I got love in my tummy”] YUMMY YUMMY YUMMY. By the studio-only band Ohio Express.
  • 63a. [“Won’t they ever stop talking?”] YAK, YAK, YAK. Wish I could (easily) locate a clip of Carole Lombard in My Man Godfrey, “Ya, ya, ya!”

Sorry to say, the repetitiveness of the themers served to emphasize the staleness of the crossword as a whole. On the bright side, there was consistency in that all the clues featured quotations. The answers: two song titles, two conversational comments.

A less-than-satisfying introduction to the week.

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

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution: 08.04.14: "Joined Together"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution: 08.04.14: “Joined Together”

Hey there! Welcome to a new week of crosswords!

We’re all joined together for the purpose of crossword solving, and this puzzle, by Mr. Raymond Hamel, is all about unity. Specifically, it’s four theme answers in which the first words are synonyms of joining together, just in the past tense.

  • UNITED WAY: (18A: [Charity founded in Denver in 1887])
  • COMBINED EFFORT: (24A: [Teamwork])
  • BLENDED WHISKEY: (49A: [Seagram’s Seven Crown or Four Roses]) – I can’t say that I’ve had blended whiskey before after reading that clue. Might have to change that…or I might not!
  • MIXED NUTS: (59A: [Salty treat]) – I LOVE the smell of the cans that mixed nuts/peanuts come in, but I don’t eat peanuts or any of those mixed nuts. What a shame, huh?!

A nice, light offering for a Monday. I wasn’t too much of a last-minute studier during all of my years at school, so staring at a FINAL EXAM didn’t make me stay up and do all-nighters a lot of the time (31D: [Reason for a cram session]). Wasn’t too much of a fan of the “A” partials, and there were two with A PLUM (3D: […”and pulled out ____”]) and A CASE (65A: [Develop ______ of the jitters]). Seeing SHERBET made me wonder aloud whether I actually liked sherbet, and I think the answer I’m going to come up with is, I think, a positive one for sherbet (4D: [Cold dessert]). Can’t remember the last time I had a sherbet though, and don’t think I’ll be craving one anytime soon. Oh, and what a shame that MYSPACE has pretty much gone way of the dinosaur (45D: [Social media site that launched in 2003]), as I remember when it was the ALPHA dog in terms of social media when I was wrapping up college (14A: [First of a series]). Remember when your automatic first friend on MySpace, when you signed up, was Tom (co-founder Tom Anderson)? And how can you forget that face???


“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: EDU (6D: [University address concluder]) – Maurice EDU is an American soccer player who currently plays for the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer. Edu is one of the few players to have played in what is considered the best soccer league in the world, playing in the Premier League (England) for Stoke City after playing for the Scottish Premier League giants Rangers F.C. Edu was a member of the 2010 United States Men’s National Team that competed in the World Cup in South Africa, and was at the center of probably the most controversial play at that World Cup – and maybe the most controversial moment is U.S. Soccer history. In The States’s second group stage match, Slovenia took a 2-0 over the U.S., only for Uncle Sam’s Army to tie the game at 2 in the second half. In the 85th minute, it looked as if Edu had scored the game-winner for the United States to cap off a dramatic comeback, but the goal was disallowed on what appeared to be a phantom foul on the U.S. The game ended 2-2. Here’s the video, and see if you can spot a foul on the U.S. on the game-winner that wasn’t (go to 3:14 on the video for Edu’s “no-goal”)…

See you all on Tuesday, and thank you for your attention!

Take care!


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11 Responses to Monday, August 4, 2014

  1. Huda says:

    NYT: Those AIRPLANE SEATS are my second home. I prefer the aisle…and a first class upgrade while we’re at it. Having flown over 1.5 million miles on one airline, I feel I’m worth it. Sadly, said airline agrees only occasionally.

    Something about the tenses of the theme answers turned me around… It felt like they should all be the same tense- Cracks a window, meets in the middle, goes down the aisle. I know they don’t fit. It just threw me slightly off kilter.

    And is it GO down the aisle or WALK down the aisle? Google shows over 10 fold more hits for the walking. But GO is clearly legit.

    I appreciated the clean grid and some of the juxtapositions- MISUSAGE and EVIL TWIN in particular. Nicely done!

    • sbmanion says:


      In the mid ’80s, I had close to a million frequent flyer points, although I did not actually fly anything close to a million miles. A routine flight in that era often gained you 3,000 points and if you rented a National Rent a car and stayed at a Marriot, you would get everything tripled: 27,000 points for what might be a 1500 mile flight. Anyway in that era, Eastern upgraded every flight out of Buffalo to first class for the passengers with the most points. I used to fly from Buffalo to Atlanta every Monday, always first class.

      Also an aisle guy, although in first class, I didn’t care.


      • Huda says:

        Steve, sounds like a wonderful deal! I vaguely remember those days, but I had little kids back then and didn’t travel much. Nowadays, they seem to resent giving you the little bag of pretzels.

  2. Jeff M says:

    I thought this Monday puzzle was close to perfect. No arcane references, no terrible abbreviations or esoteric fill-in-the-blanks. Elegant simplicity is hard to achieve; this did the trick.

    • Jim says:

      Got stuck in SW only because I thought TUNE IN was a bit arcane and had TURN ON (doing acrosses only)… I don’t think we’ve “TUNED IN” to a television show since the 70s. Good puzzle though.

  3. Isadora Rosenkrantz says:

    Did this one by only the across (hey, it’s Monday) and had BLOGS for 5A (isn’t that what a blog does…promote one’s self), which made 6D “LOOKS” and 7D “OWNS”, the latter much preferable on a Monday to “AWNS”. Just sayin’

  4. Brucenm says:

    Re 13a of yesterday’s WP by JH, edited by PG, what does an “EP” of an Abba cover mean?

  5. Linda says:

    A noodge isn’t a busybody in the same way that a yenta is. A yenta gossips, but a noodge is sure that whatever you are doing or thinking, her way is better and therefore you should do it her way, too–as in “to nudge.” Noodge is said more affectionately, too, than yenta is. It can also be a verb, as in “If I don’t hear the alarm clock, noodge me, okay?”

  6. Jeff Johnson says:

    Thanks to Joel Fagliano for a fun puzzle on Monday.

    Unfortunately he confused the two methods of printmaking in art. The answer he wants for 57-across is “etch” which means making the lines on a copper plate by use of a resist, which is scratched for an acid to then etch the plate. To make an “engraving” however,. the artist uses one or more sharp tools to manually cut the desired image on the surface of the plate. The result may look alike when printed, but to etch is not the same as engraving. FYI item…

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