Thursday, September 4, 2014

NYT 4:10 (Amy) 
Fireball 3:29 (Amy) 
LAT 4:21 (Gareth) 
BEQ 8:09 (Matt) 
CS 13:11 (Ade) 

Peter Gordon’s Fireball crossword, “Themeless 76”

non-atomic Fireball crossword solution, 9 4 14 "Themeless 76"

non-atomic Fireball crossword solution, 9 4 14 “Themeless 76”

Is it just me hitting the right wavelength, or did this puzzle tumble as fast as a CrosSynergy “Sunday Challenge”? The clues aren’t roundly familiar and stale, no, and yet I breezed through the puzzle. Peter! Bring us a toughie for the contest puzzle next week.

Top fill includes DAY JOB, MÖBIUS STRIP, MARINE CORPS, BEER NUTS in the plural we were missing in the NYT puzzle the other day, BLUE ÖYSTER CULT, SNAKES ON A PLANE. For the less common fill, we’ve got Max YASGUR, the UBANGI river, LIFTMAN (19d. [Elevator operator, to a Brit]) and Michael STICH.

Clues I liked:

  • 28d. [Person with a mortarboard], MASON. I come from a long line of brickmasons.
  • 24a. [What’s perched on a cactus on the Mexican flag], EAGLE. Vexillological trivia!
  • 28a. [Surface with crawling ants in an M.C. Escher woodcut], MÖBIUS STRIP.
  • 50a. [Works made by artists who read the quarterly Groutline], MOSAICS. I am not a subscriber.
  • 14d. [“More cowbell” band], BLUE ÖYSTER CULT. Christopher Walken, SNL.

3.29 stars for the difficulty level but 4.25 stars for the puzzle’s fill.

Sam Donaldson’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 9 4 14, no. 0904

NY Times crossword solution, 9 4 14, no. 0904

Love the theme! 61a. [Go crazy … or a hint on how to enter five answers in this puzzle] clues FLIP ONE’S LID, and the five relevant answers are types of headwear, entered backwards (flipped) in the grid.

  • 17a. [Sherlock Holmes accessory], REKLATSREED. Deerstalker.
  • 28a. [Biker gear], TEMLEH. Helmet.
  • 31a. [Siesta shader], ORERBMOS. Sombrero.
  • 47a. [Orthodox trademark], EKLUMRAY. Yarmulke.
  • 49a. [Sinatra cover], ARODEF. Fedora.

The revealer’s a fun rationale for the theme, and I like how the theme clues use five different nouns, none of them involving “hat” or “head” or “wear.”

Where 3d. [Game with horns] crossed the Sherlock Holmes answer, I suspected a rebus. EL*S, must be EL{AND}S! Except no, it’s just ELKS.

Five more things:

  • 38a. [Appointment holder], DAYBOOK. Koobyad!
  • 11d. [Very distant], FAR REMOVED. This one sounds weird to me. Do we say that? Google (by page 3 of the search results) says yeah, plenty of the time. Feels weird as a crossword answer.
  • 12d. [Bedroom poster subject], IDOL. My bedroom wall, in 7th grade, featured this Andy Gibb poster that confused my great grandma as much as hard taco shells did.
  • 29d. [___ Aybar, 2014 All-Star shortstop on the Angels], ERICK. Who??
  • 40d. [Byron of “MythBusters”], KARI. Kari, Grant, and Tory all got canned from the show last month. Ratings are down and the producers are paring the budget?

Four stars from me.

Bruce Haight’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s review

LA Times 140904

LA Times

I didn’t see the theme here until after the solve. NOWSEEHERE is a very nice, colloquial, if somewhat old-timey answer. HERE is hidden in four other phrases. [Box instruction], OPENOTHEREND and [Usually not a good way to get married], ONTHEREBOUND are both punchy as answers, while [Keep one’s landlord happy], PAYTHERENT and [Optional learning], HIGHEREDUCATION are more prosaic; it’s difficult to come up with a whole bunch of good answers all concealing the same letter string. Which brings me to one other inelegance – two answers have THE as the source of the HE of HERE. Not a huge one, but I’d be remiss in not mentioning it.

When you have a biggish theme like this, the most you can probably hope for is one or two nice downs and the rest solid. ONONESMIND is more like big glue, but WAGONTRAIN will provide many with nostalgia, an essential ingredient in any crossword!

Like most regular solvers confronted with [Gusto] at 1a, I was anticipating ELAN or BRIO, but it’s the zestier ZEST. That corner manages the scrabbly additions well, but the bottom-right…
I realise with a constrained grid in most corners, one feels the need to splash up these corners I’m not sure JAX/XENA/OKLA is an effective way of doing so.

indexThe top-middle was one area that was very name heavy: ALCOA, LOEWS, EVEL, ALEVE, LOREN and CEELO – mostly pretty big as names go, so I don’t think anyone will have troubles! I didn’t know LOEWS, but that emerged. CEELO Green is in the papers at the moment for the wrong reasons – rape allegations and ill-considered words on Twitter.

On confrontation with [Rainbow ___] (5), I filled in BRITE rather than TROUT. Make of that what you will.

3.5 Stars

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website puzzle, “Feeling Sheepish” — Matt’s review


If you’re ready for some baaed ovine puns, then do I have the puzzle for you. For shear insanity, wool you take a look at these:

17-A [Castrated sheep losing all its clothes?] = WETHER STRIPPING. I didn’t know the term “wether.”

23-A [“See that mama sheep over there?”?] = LOOK AT EWE.

31-A [Where a Barbary sheep hangs its hat?] = AOUDAD HOME. From “out at home.” I knew “aoudad” was a word of some kind but didn’t know it was a sheep.

41-A [Female New World sheep?] = DAM YANKEES. I didn’t know “dam” for a female sheep. You may be able to tell by now that I grew up far from the land.

50-A [Soft sheep that’s an expert in judo?] = DAN MERINO. I had the incorrect SAN MERINO at first, since judo’s a Japanese sport and “san” is a title of respect in Japan.

59-A [Advice to use young sheep as a means of moving?] = TAKE IT ON THE LAMB.

So this isn’t my favorite puns puzzle. Some of them are pretty well-worn (“ewe = you” puns, “dam = damn” puns, plus there used to be a knitting shop here in Staunton called “On the Lamb”), and five of them are straight-up homophones but the aoudad one isn’t. None of which matters, Merl Reagle will tell you, as long as the answers are funny, but these fell a little flat for me on that count, too.


***Just like SAN MERINO working for DAN MERINO, I also had the incorrect ADS for [They’ll help you get into work] at 60-D. But it was IDS.

***Favorite clue: [Have an outstanding figure?] for OWE.

***Favorite fill: FREDO (Whenever this guy at my poker table wins a hand he goes “I’m smart! I know things!” in a Fredo voice while raking in the pot), CHILI’S, FIRKINS, AGNEW, RANSOM, CHEKOV, LORDE and PENNY.

3.50 stars.

Randolph Ross’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Special Teams”—Ade’s write-up  

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 09.04.14: "Special Teams"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 09.04.14: “Special Teams”

Hello there, everybody!  How’s your Thursday going?

Later on today, a football game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks will mark the very beginning of the National League Football season, which is either a source of glee or derision for many people.  Today’s puzzle, offered up to us by Mr. Randolph Ross, is somewhat of an homage to the gridiron, as the theme answers are common two-word terms in which the second word is also the nickname of a current NFL team, hinted at by the cluing for each of the theme answers. 

  • LITERARY LIONS: ([20A: Team of published NFLers?]) – My prediction for the Detroit Lions in 2014: 6-10, no playoffs.
  • BALD EAGLES: ([27A: Team of hairless NFLers?]) – Prediction for the Philadelphia Eagles: 9-7, just miss out on playoffs.
  • JUMBO JETS: ([34A: Team of overweight NFLers?]) -Prediction for the New York Jets in 2014: 7-9, no playoffs…this coming from a perpetually pessimistic New York Jets fan/masochist.
  • HONEY BEARS: ([44A: Team of sweet NFLers?]) -Prediction for the Chicago Bears in 2014: 12-4, NFC North Division Champions, Conference Champions, loser in the Super Bowl.
  • TREASURY BILLS: ([51A: Team of invested NFLers?]) -Prediction for the Buffalo Bills in 2014: 5-11, no playoffs, continued pro football misery in Western New York.

Only fitting that this sports-themed grid had a few other sports minutiae in it, including GOALIES (2D: Crease protectors]).  Outside of sports, there were other fun highlights in this grid, including the sweet fill of DRY LAND (41D: [Sight for a sailor’s sore eyes]) and MASS MEDIA (17A: [Radio, television, etc.]).  Unless I’ve been asleep (and I might have been), haven’t heard of the use of COTTONY that’s being alluded to in its clue (38D: [Parched mouth descriptor]).   Oops…forgot some other real good fill, and time to mention that now.  I should end every crossword blog by exclaiming to everyone, “DUTY CALLS,” superhero style, and fly off to tackle the rest of the day and what’s in store (32A: [“I’ve got responsibilities”]).   Took a while to retrieve it from the recesses of my brain, but once doing so, appreciated ADMIRALTY in the grid also (9D: [Board in charge of the British navy])

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: DEION (16A: [Sanders with the nickname “Deion”]) – Also known as “Primetime,” Deion Sanders was a standout in both baseball and football at the professional level in the late 1980s and 1990s. Though his Major League Baseball career proved to be a fleeting one, playing for such teams as the New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds, Sanders’ football career was nothing short of outstanding, as he became one of the great cornerbacks and kickoff return specialists in NFL history.  Sanders also won two Super Bowls – one with the San Francisco 49ers and one with the Dallas Cowboys.  He was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011.  He also pulled off the remarkable feat of hitting a home run AND scoring a touchdown in the same week in September of 1989. 

We’re one day closer to TGIF (1A: [Pre-weekend shout])!!  Thank you so much for your time, and I’ll see you on Friday!

Take care!


This entry was posted in Daily Puzzles and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Thursday, September 4, 2014

  1. Slowpoke Rodriguez says:

    The batteries holding up that poster are what’s confusing me.

  2. Martin says:

    Amy says: ERICK who?

    Martin says: I believe he is the 2014 All-Star short stop on the Angels. Does this help? ;)


  3. Gareth says:

    Loved the revealer! Was wondering if it was going to be some reference to turned back basebll caps…

  4. Huda says:

    Quintessential Thursday!

  5. Linda says:

    Just love the picture of the unicorn. Is that a toy clown sitting on it behind the adorable little girl? Amazing how Jungian the universe is.

  6. Matt says:

    I zipped through the FB, so, yeah, it must have been an easy one.

  7. Linda says:

    Okay, so it isn’t a unicorn.

    That’s like the old joke about the man in line to give his respects to a rabbi who is on his deathbed. He hears the rabbi say to each person, “Life is like a river.” When the man gets his chance to chat, he says, “Tell me, why is life like a river?” The rabbi is quiet for a moment and then says, “Okay, so it isn’t like a river.”

  8. Papa John says:

    Linda, I’m glad you saw it as a unicorn. That’s nice. I saw it as an Amazon warrior, retuning from battle with her war trophy. If pannonica is right, should I be worried?

  9. Avg Solvr says:

    BEQ: The obscurity of some of the sheep terms unfortunately made the clever theme answers funny only in retrospect. And AOUDADHOME is a mighty clunker.

Comments are closed.