Thursday, August 21, 2014

NYT 5:11 (Amy) 
LAT 6:45 (Gareth) 
BEQ contest puzzle, so no review (Matt) 
CS 7:59 (Ade) 

Jules Markey’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 8 21 14, no. 0821

NY Times crossword solution, 8 21 14, no. 0821

The theme is PO boxes in rebus squares:

  • 39a. [Mail conveniences … or a hint to eight squares in this puzzle], POST OFFICE BOXES.
  • 18a. [First place], {PO}LE {PO}SITION. Crossing C-S{PO}T (aw, man, why isn’t that first letter a G? Would work with *LASS too) and SO{PO}RIFIC.
  • 61a. [Means of murder in some Agatha Christie novels], {PO}ISON {PO}WDER. I was thinking POTION for the second word. Apparently POISON POWDER Googles up heavily to POkemon stuff, but Christie’s poisons included a number of powdered ones. DE{PO}SE and S{PO}KE are the rebus crossings.
  • 4d. [Throwing one’s weight around, in international relations], {PO}WER {PO}LITICS crossing TEM{PO} and TEA{PO}T.
  • 27d. [Feature of many a movie house], {PO}PCORN {PO}PPER crossing E{PO}NYM and S{PO}NGE.

I like the consistent structure of PO— PO— phrases, rather than mixing in some words where PO is in the middle. The “PO boxes” concept is good, too.

Five more things:

  • 16a. [26-Across of a North Carolina “-ville”], ASHE / 26a. [See 16-Across], EPONYM. That’s a long way to go for ASHE.
  • 20a. [Roman road], ITER! I was going to say that I hadn’t seen this entry in ages, but then I checked. It’s been in five NYT puzzles in 2013-2014 alone. That might be too many.
  • 44a. [Hose attachment], GARTER. I was picturing a garden hose, and then garter took me to garter snake. Nope—hosiery hose of the stockings/thigh-highs variety, clipped to a garter.
  • 47a. [Intermediate, in law], MESNE. Markedly less common in the NYT than ITER, but still used 8 times in the 20-year Shortz era (which is a fourth as often as in the preceding eras—and people wonder why I have so little interest in the “pre-Shortzian” puzzles. It’s because of fill like MESNE and ITER being so commonplace back then).
  • 3d. [Prepare to give blood, perhaps], MAKE A FIST. Good clue.

3.66 stars.

Mark Feldman’s Los Angeles Times crossword – Gareth’s review

LA Times 140821

LA Times

Cute theme. DOGSOUNDS are hidden in the other long across answers: WOOF, ARF, BARK and RUFF. No YIP or YAP. They can be found in [Tarot card representing union], TWOOFCUPS; [Brightening near a sunspot], SOLARFLARE; [Mixer?], BARKEEPER; [Ingredient that mimics the flavor of an edible fungus], TRUFFLEOIL. The last is a nice answer, but a bit cheap to hide within a single part of the theme answer.

Other bits:

  • [Genre that evolved from ska], REGGAE. I thought it was the other way round originally, but investigations into early ska like this taught me otherwise!
  • [King and Queen], AUTHORS. Great clue! Steven & Ellery.
  • [Second-most-massive dwarf planet], PLUTO. I appreciate the careful phrasing of “most-massive”.
  • [Beethoven’s last piano concerto, familiarly, with “the”], EMPEROR. Beethoven piece begins with E – EROICA. Wait that’s too short!
  • [Deals with a patchy lawn], RESEEDS. Lawn with ‘r’ must be RESODS, wait thats too short!
  • [Time associated with graceful children], TUESDAY. Odd clue. Although they mean the same, “full of grace” and “graceful” seem to imply different meanings.
  • [Gold brick], INGOT. As opposed to a goldbrick.

3.5 Stars

Donna S. Levin’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Get the Picture?”—Ade’s write-up  

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 08.21.14: "Get the Picture?"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 08.21.14: “Get the Picture?”

Hello everyone!

My apologies again, but so busy while on location that I can only make this review a really quick one. I like the theme that Ms. Donna S. Levin presented to us very much, with words that entail all of the elements/actions of taking a picture as the first word of each theme answer.

  • AIM TOOTHPASTE: (20A: Dentifrice since 1975]) – For a long time as a kid, I used Aim toothpaste, though towards high school, my dad would buy Aim in bulk and it would be the toothpaste we used as an emergency when our Colgate/Crest/Arm & Hammer toothpaste ran out.
  • FOCUS GROUPS: (35A: [Market researchers’ feedback-givers])
  • SHOOT BLANKS: (42A: [Perform ineffectively, slangily])
  • PROCESS SERVER: (59A: [Delivery person a defendant might try to duck])

My apologies for being HASTY with this review (32D: Precipitous]), but one thing that really jumped out at me was SCISSOR, as that’s the first time I believe that I’ve ever had to input that word in a puzzle, written or typed (9D: [Cut with shears]). We don’t have a WINE VAULT here in the press room, but the picture below shows that they do have alcohol that the press can guzzle on (11D: [Secure storage spot for the Syrah]).


Is it weird to see alcohol next to Sprite and Coca-Cola in the media room fridge?? Well, it’s a first for me and finding alcohol in the media room during a sporting event, that’s for sure!  Drink up!

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: YOGI (5A: [Boo Boo’s buddy]) – My favorite Yogi Berra Yogi-ism: “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.” What’s yours?

See you all on Friday for another puzzle review. It’ll be like déjà vu all over again (another Yogi-ism).

Take care!


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9 Responses to Thursday, August 21, 2014

  1. Gareth says:

    Rebus puzzles are a lot easier when you spot ’em at 1A!

  2. CY Hollander says:

    I enjoy seeing the little twists constructors come up with to keep old theme concepts fresh. In this case the theme was a standard-issue n-gram (I reserve rebus for a pictogram) playing on the word “boxes”, but the revealer was mildly unexpected in using what amounted to a synonym of the term played on by the theme. That’s a twist I hadn’t seen before.

    Is anyone else tired of the NYT routinely giving the number of theme answers in the revealer clue? That’s more help than a solver should need and it only serves to dilute the trickiness. In general, I wish the extraneous help from clues were kept to the minimum that fairness dictates.

  3. Jules says:

    Gareth, I agree about the rebus showing up a bit too early, but once I was able to have the two vertical themers cross the reveal symmetrically I just couldn’t pass that up. Amy, I almost went with GSPOT at 5-Down, but with the crossing at 18-Across it probably would have been more suited for the Kama Sutra ;-)

  4. Bill Sullivan says:

    Can someone please explain an answer to me? It is from “A Bit Off” by Henry Hook.

    The three-letter clue for 122 across is Pros. preceder.

    I solved it, but I don’t understand it.


    • Gary R says:


      Nol. pros. is an abbreviation for a legal phrase, nolle prosequi, which Merriam-Webster defines as “an entry on the record of a legal action denoting that the prosecutor or plaintiff will proceed no further in an action or suit either as a whole or as to some count or as to one or more of several defendants.” New one to me, too.

    • pannonica says:

      Not to pursue this too doggedly, but that was addressed in my write-up on Sunday.

  5. ArtLvr says:

    I enjoyed today’s LAT — it appears in my daily paper. As for the rest, my newish computer is giving me problems: it’s a 5-year-old MacBook. Thought I had Acroslite and the latest Java installed, but nothing happens. Woe. Any help appreciated!

  6. sbmanion says:

    Fun puzzle I thought the revealer was excellent.

    I wasn’t crazy about the clue INTERMEDIATE for MEsNE. It is correct, but it is a meaning that is obscure even to the most steeped-in-history lawyers. The main estate is the DEMESNE and the feudal sub-estates are MESNE. I am not truly knowledgeable on this subject as I frankly do not know if the plural is MESNE or MESNEs

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