Friday, October 31, 2014

NYT 4:47 (Amy) 
LAT 7:15 (Gareth) 
CS 12:45 (Ade) 
CHE tk next week (pannonica) 
WSJ (Friday) 10:47 (pannonica) 

Mary Lou Guizzo and Jeff Chen’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 10 31 14, no. 1031

NY Times crossword solution, 10 31 14, no. 1031

We had a themeless puzzle from Tracy Bennett not long ago, and now this one coauthored by a woman. I’m pleased to see more women venturing into the freestyle biz.


  • 1a. [Boston and Chicago, but not Seattle], ROCK BANDS. SEAPORTS was too short and doesn’t rock out. (See also: 44a. [Anthrax cousin], METALLICA.)
  • 29a. [Expert], COGNOSCENTE. The rarely seen singular! Plural cognoscenti is much commoner.
  • Halloween-suitable Poe two-fer: 32a. [Like Fortunato, in Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado”], BURIED ALIVE / 33a. [“The Cask of Amontillado,” e.g.], HORROR STORY.
  • 49a. [Get ready to click, maybe], MOUSE OVER. Visit the webcomic xkcd, mouse over the cartoon panel(s), and read the mouse-over text that pops up in a yellow box.
  • 3d. [Gambol], CAVORT. A wonderful word.
  • 7d. [Easy decision], NO-BRAINER.
  • 12d. [Introduction to English?], COINAGE. For example, “on fleek” has been introduced to English.
  • 22d. [Like the words “hoagie” and “kitty-corner”], REGIONAL. Chicagoans use “sub” and “kitty-corner.”
  • 28d. [“___, like lightning, seeks the highest places”: Livy], ENVY. Neat quote clue.
  • 31d. [Topping for skewered meat], SATE SAUCE. Also spelled satay. Peanut sauce (yum!) is common with chicken satay but other meats traditionally have other sauces, Wikipedia tells me.
  • 32d. [Idiot box], BOOB TUBE.
  • 34d. [The son on “Sanford and Son”], LAMONT. Watched the show as a kid.

That’s a lot of good stuff, especially considering that this is a 66-worder and not a looser 72.

47d. [Actress Russell of “Felicity”], KERI? Sure, why not go with her 1998-2002 series when she’s in a current show? Granted, The Americans is on cable channel FX and doesn’t have a huge audience—but then again, how many people were watching Felicity on the WB?

NOBIS, TAC, and ICONO- were on the blah side, but still, I’ll give this one an overall rating of 4.25 stars.

Doug Petersons Los Angeles Times crossword – Gareth’s review

LA Times 141031

LA Times 141031

Way more elegant than the usual “add some letters” Friday LAT! A very specific change is made – one word in the theme phrases has an additional ‘a’ both at the beginning and terminally. The AAS revealer is gratuitous though, IMO. Furthermore, the changes all hit my wacky bone dead-on; no mean feat given the restrictive nature of the thematic changes:

  • [*Media member with a curly tail?], PRESSAKITA. Given their reputation for unprovoked aggression, they’d probably be suited to the media corps!
  • […Travel guide that touts Oranjestad’s worst hotels and restaurants?], ARUBATHE/WRONGWAY. More fancy footwork from Doug! He fits in a 16 by making it two answers!
  • [*”Whatever you say, wise goddess!”?], ALRIGHTYTHENATHENA. Great answer!
  • [*Refrigerator on the front lines?], AMANAOFWAR. Another smiler!

Puzzles are always enlivened by chatty answers! See [“Not interested”], ILLPASS and [“Time to split!”], GOTTARUN. [Trip to see the big game?], SAFARI was a great clue! [Birth announcement abbr.], LBS is not improbable, but really you should write it “5 lb”…

4.5 Stars! Great theme & entries! Gareth

Donna S Levin’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “How Corny!”—Ade’s write-up  

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 10.31.14: "How Corny!"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 10.31.14: “How Corny!”

BOO!! Happy Halloween, everybody!

If today’s puzzle is any indication, I should have dressed up for Halloween today as the Nebraska Cornhuskers mascot! The sweet grid, brought to us straight from the corn fields by Ms. Donna S. Levin, uses common terms to highlight the relationship of each of the first words of the four theme answers to corn.

  • KERNEL OF TRUTH: (20A: [Accurate fact in an otherwise dubious story])
  • EAR TRUMPET: (37A: [First-generation hearing aid])
  • SILK BOXERS: (44A: [Luxe loungewear in the men’s department]) – Number of silk boxers I currently own? Zero.
  • STALK ONE’S PREY: (60A: [Go after quarry])

For this sports fan, it definitely didn’t hurt that there were a good number of clues of the sports variety, including ATHLETE (5D: [Jock]), PRO AM (40A: [Like an annual Pebble Beach tourney]), and CELTS, who got off to a winning start against my Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday (8D: [Boston Garden heroes, to their fans]). The earworm-inducing entry of the day is COLD AS ICE, as Foreigner has invaded my head and won’t go away for a while (35D: [Frigid]). For those that haven’t watched SICKO, but have wanted to because of what you might have heard about it, please get a chance to do so (68A: [Michael Moore indictment of the United States healthcare system]). And thank goodness HOTEL was in the grid, or I would have forgotten the number of hotels in that popular classic board game (54D: [One of twelve in a Monopoly game set]).

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: TYSON (59D: [“Iron Mike”]) – In my opinion, Mike Tyson ranks right up there as one of the most divisive entertainment figures in this country’s history. For those that are boxing fans and heap praise on Brooklyn natives that had/have made good (and I’m both), Tyson is remembered as the man who became the youngest boxer to ever win the heavyweight championship of the world (20 years old when he accomplished the feat in 1986), who brought a level of power with his punches never seen in the sport and was distinctive in the ring with his no-frills attire of solid black trunks and black shoes. Many others will know Tyson as the man whose boxing career was first halted when he was convicted of rape and sentenced to six years in jail in 1992 (he served three years in prison), who was disqualified in a 1997 match against Evander Holyfield for biting part of his ear off and who currently owns a distinctive face tattoo and has an affinity for pigeons.

Have a great weekend everybody, and, if you are wearing a costume tonight, let me know what you’ve dressed up as!

Take care!


Gabriel Stone’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Halloween Treats from the Poet” — pannonica’s write-up

WSJ • 10/31/14 • "Halloween Treats From the Poet" • Fri • Stone •  solution

WSJ • 10/31/14 • “Halloween Treats From the Poet” • Fri • Stone, Shenk • solution

Costumes + branded confectionery + rhyming.

  • 23a. [Caramel candies for one costumed as a “Star Wars” rogue?] SOLO’S ROLOS.
  • 25a. [Candy bars for one costumed as a Roman emperor?] NERO’S ZEROS.
  • 32a. [Candy bars for one costumed as [a] football player?] TACKLE’S KRACKELS.
  • 50a. [Candy bars for one costumed as a parish priest?] VICAR’S SNICKERS. Or Snickerses.
  • 69a. [Gummy candies for one costumed in a kilt?] SCOT’S DOTS.
  • 83a. [Candy bars for one costumed as a baboon?] MONKEY’S CHUNKYS. Ben & Jerry’s not available for comment.
  • 105a. [Malted candies for one costumed as a policeman?] COPPER’S WHOPPERS.
  • 114a. [Candy bar for one costumed as a Garden athlete?] KNICK’S TWIX.
  • 117a. [Candy bars for one costumed as a tusked beast?] BOAR’S SKORS.

Mostly fun rhymes, and a coherent theme. Were I feeling more ambitious I’d sort out which companies produce which products, for a tally of the haul.

Bonus Halloween-inflected clues and answers include:

  • 1a {Deal with the Devil, e.g.] PACT; 40a [Halloween costume choice] MAID; 42a [Cassidy of “The Addams Family”] TED; 64a [Howlin’ Wolf’s specialty] BLUES; 67a [Gremlin, e.g.] CAR; 71a [Frat party costume] TOGA; 112a [Wolf, say] EAT; 125a [Caveman costume accessory] SPEAR; 18d [Like many a trick-or-treater] MASKED; 49d [“Stalking the Nightmare” writer Harlan] ELLISON; 51d [“Give up the ghost,” e.g.] IDIOM; 53d [Jennifer of “Leprechaun”] ANISTON; 64d [Like skeletons] BONEY; 70d [Appropriate chocolate choice for Halloween] DARK; 87d [“The Devil’s Disciple” dramatist] SHAW; 100d [Gangster costume component] FEDORA; 106d [“Monsters, Inc.” studio] PIXAR. And that’s merely the top-tier, overt stuff.

More loot:

  • 88a [Bring to bear] EXERT, 66d [Brought to bear] USED.
  • 92a [Tic follower] TAC, 120a [Tick follower] TOCK.
  • 3d [Early Atari rival] COLECO. That’s the Connecticut Leather Company, originally.
  • Unknown (to me) baseballer: 15d [Boyer who played with Maris, Mantle and Berra] CLETE.
  • 44d [Property-based security option] REIT. Eww.
  • 76d [Fitting] MEET. Hum?
  • Favorite fill: PABLUM, REAGENT.
  • Favorite clue: [Depressing words?] SAY AH.
  • Weirdest clue: 119a [Place you might see legs in a bucket] KFC.

Very little frass in the grid, solid theme. The abundance of simpatico fill makes for a playful, fun treat.

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

16 Responses to Friday, October 31, 2014

  1. sps says:

    Am I the only one who doesn’t know what Sea-Tac is?

    • SophieB210 says:

      Seattle-Tacoma airport. Of course I confidently entered sea-DOO so took me forever to get there.

      • sps says:

        Apparently, it’s also the name of the small town surrounding the airport…

      • CY Hollander says:

        I was very hesitant about that one because I thought it was an airport code (like LAX), which would have to be written in all caps, but apparently it’s just a nickname and written “Sea-Tac”.

  2. CY Hollander says:

    In today’s NYT, loved the deliciously dark clue, “Prey for a dingo” (KOALA). “Food for a dingo” would have been even better.

  3. sbmanion says:

    I thought this was a superb puzzle in spite of the fact that it hit on my single greatest lack of knowledge area. I know very little about heavy metal and always comment to my students that I can read a poker article and remember who won the weekly tournament in Biloxi, Mississippi, but you could tell me the name of a heavy metal rock band every day for a year and it would still be new to me the next time I heard it.

    I googled METALLICA/ANTHRAX and found out that they were in a concert with MEGADETH and SLAYER. I had to re-google because when I wrote down the first two in this post, I had already forgotten the other two. Ironically, ROCK BANDS was my second entry after RWANDA.

    I was looking for something like WALLED IN for Fortunato and it look me a while to see BURIED ALIVE.

    I did not know that the singular of COGNOSCENTI ended in an E. I do not think I have ever seen the singular before.

    I also did not know SEA-TAC and the G in AWEIGH was my last entry.

    I felt like I learned something today and even though I never rate the puzzles, this one would have gotten highest marks from me if I did.


    • Bencoe says:

      Collectively, Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth, and Slayer are known as “The Big Four” of thrash metal. Thrash metal started in the US in the 80s and was faster and rougher than what passed for metal in the reigning LA glam scene. When I started learning guitar as a kid these bands were most young male musicians’ heroes in suburban America.

  4. GB says:

    Sea-Tac is the name of the airport, the call letters are SEA. The name of the surrounding city is SeaTac, without the hyphen. The city was established forty years after the airport.

  5. lemonade714 says:

    I really enjoyed the NYT, Mary Lou and Jeff individually and together are very entertaining, with the added joy of heavy metal music being in the puzzle, this is one of my favorite Fridays all year. Loved BOOB TUBE and LAMONT being successive fill and SATAY is yummy.

  6. Zulema says:

    Took me forever, but pulled it out finally. I didn’t think of the airport and figured it was something to eat. Brain not flexible enough.

  7. huda says:

    NYT: Surprised the ratings are not higher. It’s a beautiful puzzle, no dreck and some great entries.
    My only nit was that Sea and Seattle were sort of duplicated, but they were in 2 different clues and I’m not even sure that it breaks any rules. I mean there are clearly deliberate dupes like the Cask of Amontillado. This one was avoidable.
    One advantage of traveling all over the place is that names of airport are totally familiar. And if you need any pointers on shopping at various airports, I’m your woman.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      There’s no rule, spoken or un-, about repeating words in clues (just repeating words in the grid, or duplicating an entry in its clue—and some of us don’t like to see other clues repeat a word in an entry). Jeff’s a Seattleian (what?) so I bet he wrote those two clues as a hometown shout-out.

    • Avg Solvr says:

      “NYT: Surprised the ratings are not higher. It’s a beautiful puzzle, no dreck and some great entries.”

      A tad trivia heavy? I both loved and didn’t this puzzle. A lot great stuff but a lot outside my knowledge base.

Comments are closed.