Fireball tk (???)
NYT timeless (Doug)
LAT 9-ish (paper, battery went dead) (Gareth)
CS 8:46 (Ade)
BEQ 8:10 (Ben)
Herre Schouwerwou’s New York Times crossword
Greetings, crossword fans. Doug here. I’m filling in for Amy, who’s a bit under the weather tonight.
It’s rare to see a quote theme on a Thursday, though the hyphen in the last entry gives it a slight Thursdayish twist:
- 20a. [Beginning of a quote by Ogden Nash, with punctuation] I COULD HAVE.
- 27a. [Quote, part 2], LOVED NEW YORK.
- 43a. [Quote, part 3], HAD I NOT LOVED.
- 54a. [End of the quote], BALTI-MORE.
The quote is clever, but not laugh-out-loud funny. And it was fun to tease out the hyphen in the last line. Not much else to say about that. Let’s look at the rest of the puzzle.
- 37d. [Fashionable 1980s item resembling a bit of astronaut’s attire], MOON BOOT. Wait a second. Moon Boots were fashionable? I wore those things as an ’80s kid, and I looked totally stupid. Great entry though.
- 11d. [Perfect night for a pillow fight], SLEEPOVER. Is this also from Ogden Nash? “Perfect night for a pillow fight / A downy bashing would be smashing.”
- 10d. [Girl who challenges stereotypes], TOMBOY. One of my favorite old-timey superheroes is the awesome Tomboy. An ordinary girl who ran around and beat the crap out of criminals. “Mention the name Tomboy and the underworld shudders and crawls into its hole.” Comics were strange and wonderful in the ’50s. Tomboy only made four appearances and has since fallen into the public domain. Come on, Hollywood. When are we finally going to see Tomboy on the big screen?
The fill was generally nice in this one. I also liked SLOVENLY, OK THEN, ART TATUM, PIED PIPER, and EUCHRE. The Pied Piper is also a comic book character (a Flash villain), but you’ve probably heard enough out of me about comic books. I’ll leave you with one more bit of doggerel: “Congrats on the debut / To Herre Schouwerwou.” Does it rhyme? I have no idea.
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website crossword – “BLANK OUT” — Ben’s Review
I’m not sure what’s been up with me and the last few BEQ Thursday puzzles, but I found this week’s entry more frustrating than fun. Despite my brain being in full Mystery Hunt mode, I literally couldn’t figure out the theme going on here until after I had solved the puzzle and walked away for 5 minutes.
All the theme answers felt crossword-y, but I just couldn’t parse what was going on that linked them to their single letter clues and the title. Then, finally, I thought about what 17A, SULKING FACE, defined: a pout, or more accurately, a P(OUT). Suddenly, everything made sense:
BLANK OUT = _OUT
- 23A: R(OUT) = ASS KICKING
- 32A: L(OUT) = CRUDE DUDE
- 42A: G(OUT) = BIG TOE WOE
- 51A: T(OUT) = TRACK MAVEN
- 61A: B(OUT) = BOXING MATCH
What may have added to my theme-blindness this week was a bunch of fill that was just outside of my Crosswordese knowledge. I’ve never heard of 25D‘s Andre GIDE (or his books), IRE isn’t my first thought for another word for spleen, and Alan Dershowitz isn’t the first person who comes to mind when I think of YALE LAW. Admittedly, no one is, but certainly not Alan Dershowitz. 65A‘s IN A TRAP and 47D‘s SKYCAM also irked me this week – both had decent clues, but neither answer scanned as the smoothest answer to their respective clues.
But enough griping for now; I swear there were things I enjoyed about this puzzle as well. As far as current events go, it was nice to see AMY Pascal’s Sony emails get her a little bit of crossword infamy at 69A, and thanks to the Bachelorette, we finally have an alternate clue for OTERI! How did I miss that news? I also liked seeing shoutouts to DALEK and the DUO Daft Punk. All in all, there were some bright spots, but I finished this puzzle more frustrated that fulfilled. Maybe I just wasn’t doing it right.
Alan Arbesfeld’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “What is the Question?”—Ade’s write-up
Good morning, everyone! I think there should be a mandate out there that states that at least one crossword per month should deal with something Shakespearean. Today’s crossword, brought to us by Mr. Alan Arbesfeld, fills January’s quota, as each of the six theme answers start with letters that, combined, make up the famous line in HAMLET (73A: [One posing a famous question found at the starts of 17-, 27-, 34-, 44-, 52-, and 64-Across]), “To be or not to be…”
- TOOTH FAIRY (17A: [One doing nocturnal dental work?])
- BEANPOLES (27A: [Skinny Minnies])
- ORGAN STOPS (34A: [Parts of some church pipes])
- NOTTINGHAM (44A: [Locale of a Robin Hood nemesis]) – My thanks to pannonica, who, in the comments section a couple of days ago, cleared up the Robin Hood/Ivanhoe question that I had posed the other day.
- TODAY SHOW (52A: [Program first hosted by Dave Garroway, with “The”]) – Nice little bit of trivia! To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I spent more than a 10-minute span watching a network morning show uninterrupted. Anyways, which network morning show do you prefer?
- BEER CHASER (64A: [Boilermaker component])
SEVENS may very well be the most common roll, but, knowing my luck, my most common roll would be snake eyes (1A: [Most common dice rolls]). I’m hoping a few friends and I will come through with our plans to head to the casino that’s now in the Queens section of New York City, so I can know SOONER or later whether my opinion on my dice playing is founded (51A: [Oklahoma athlete]). Initially wrote in “errors” instead of ERRATA, which only held me up for a small bit before I realized my, um, error (14A: [Listed mistakes]). During lunch today, I’m going to text my old science professor and ask her if she ever taught us about ACTH (60D: [Pituitary gland product, briefly]). If so, and I didn’t remember, then I might be in a little hot water! There’s been a lot of GRAND JURY news lately, so, I guess this is a timely entry – as well as very nice fill (36D: [Its proceedings are always sealed]). And the entry of RADIO had to be a shout out to me, as not only have I been/still am an on-air personality on the radio and Internet, but I definitely possess the face for radio as well (35D: [Contact, in a way]). *Cymbal crash.*
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: DAYAN (9D: [Israeli leader who joined the Haganah at the age of 14]) – Unlike the famous Israeli general referenced in the clue, this DAYÁN, Dayán Viciedo, is Cuban, and he is currently a starting outfielder (for now) on the Chicago White Sox baseball team. He defected with his family from Cuba to Mexico in 2008, and, later that year, signed a free agent deal with the White Sox organization. His nickname is “The Tank,” as he packs a wallop (240 pounds) in a not-so-tall frame (5-foot-11). Last year, he hit 21 home runs, with his best season in The Bigs coming in 2012, when he hit 25 homers and had 78 rib-eye steaks (baseball slang for RBI, just in case you needed a new way to clue the ever-popular RBI in a future puzzle).
Have fun for the rest of the day, and I’ll speak with you all on Friday!
David Steinberg’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary
I’m losing what little motive I had to keep doing this. Day after one puts up a blog, and tries to encourage interaction, but no-one really wants to talk about the LA Times it seems. So I don’t really have much incentive to rush off and put this up, do I? I thought now that I’m solving on paper it’d be colourful to include the grids. It’s not as though anyone needs them to check the answers since they’re freely available from Across Lite and the applet.
The puzzle features CREAM anagrammed in TH(EMARC)HHARE, S(MEARC)AMPAIGN, and DAN(CEMAR)ATHON.
I didn’t know ALMAY, or RIVERA or that VIOLONCELLO was spelt that way. I bet I’m not alone in being skeptical of that second O.
Nice quote puzzle, and nice debut puzzle all round!
I understand from the xword info site that Herre is from (or currently residing) on Vancouver Island. That’s the same place that both me and occasional “Fiendsman” Jeffrey Krasnik reside. So, if you’re reading this Herre, where on Vancouver Island do you live? (we both live in Victoria)
-Martin Ashwood-Smith (AKA “MAS”)
Thanks Martin. I’m (currently residing) just an hour north of Victoria in the Cowichan Valley.
I enjoyed the NYT but note that AcrossLite did not accept the [-] as shown above: you had to spell it out! And what was OTHER referring to?
I took OTHER to be referring to that catch-all at the end of a list. Occupation: butcher, baker, candlestick maker, OTHER. The one you pick if yours is “not included” in the list. Didn’t like it, but that’s the way I interpreted it.
Good one, Gary! I was trying to tie it to the rest of the puzzle…
Q – what morning show do you watch? A – Squawk Newsmakers on CNBC (since they stopped inviting D. Trump to participate.): Today Barry Diller is explaining his plan of constructing a Floating Island off NYC, to include gardens and performance venues. How does one get a permit to do that?
The blank space defeated me — I had no idea what to put in there, even with the hint from the theme clue.
Also, “prepares for printing” = TYPESETS? C’mon, nobody typesets anything these days, unless maybe you’re making hand-lettered artisanal wedding invitations or something of the sort.
The BEQ was tricky if you started at the bottom because the two lowest theme answers began with the same letter as was given in the clue. Above those, anything but!
I loved the BEQ offering. I didn’t figure out the theme until the end. I originally had SUCKINGFACE for 17a. When I corrected that the light went on. As did Happy Pencil.
Really enjoyed FB, too.
Alas, I was not able to “tease out” the hyphen near the end of the quote. I contented myself with “Balticmore”, thinking it might be a pun on Monopoly.
Re: “Dershowitz isn’t the first person who comes to mind when I think of YALE LAW.”
I think of Bill and Hillary Clinton, who met there!
Disgusted with Gareth’s very late tk’s.
Also, his hand written reviews are impossible to read.
I hope this will improve!!!
“Disgusted” seems like an awfully strong word.
You know he doesn’t get paid to do this, right?
Also, if anyone knows what to enter in the iPad app get it to accept today’s NYT, I’d appreciate the tip. Tried spelling out hyphen and dash but neither worked.
Yeah! I hate it when things I don’t pay for aren’t exactly the way I want them! Also when people live in different time zones and have jobs and stuff! I hope this will improve!!!!!!
This must be satire.
Don’t really get the point of the hypen. It didn’t puzzle me at all, once I had enough of the first part to see the city was going to be BALTIMORE, and it doesn’t seem particularly necessary for the quote to work either. Spent an awfully long time staring at the blank space of ?UCHRE/?AST.
NYT: I thought the quote was cute. I had not heard it before. Congrats on the debut!
I got the general idea but my solving software (Black Ink) would not accept the “-” symbol or “DASH” spelled out (did not think of HYPHEN). So I tried a period. Strangely, this was accepted as a correct solution but it turned that square black!
I opened the .PUZ file again to see what it actually thought was the correct solution and it showed HYPHEN, spelled out, as the answer. Weird, but I think it’s just my software since the solution displayed above shows the “-” symbol.
I’ve never heard anyone pronounce VIOLONCELLO, I’ve only ever heard people say cello. Is the VIOLON part pronounced like violin? Or it is more vye-oh-lohn? Or something else? I thought the fill in the LAT was nice today but its theme is always so light.
I checked a couple of dictionaries and it seems to be either VIOLIN or VEEOLIN for some peculiar reason.
The root of the family is the viola, an Italian word for “viol.” The smaller soprano member of the family, violino in Italian, became “violin” in English. The largest member, roughly the double base, is the violone. That word never made it into English. But the “small violone,” or violoncello did — both as spelled in Italian and as the abbreviation, ‘cello (which is just a diminutive ending in Italian).
Although the violin is the most important member of the family today, the second “i” comes from the diminutive form. And “cello” is actually the abbreviation of the diminutive of the augmentative of “viola.”
The second “o” in “violoncello” is a long O in Italian and a schwa in English.
I can’t get teh LAT from cruciverb this whole week. Anyone know what’s going on with that?
Others having the same trouble, per comments earlier in the week. Not sure if it’s related, but Kevin was out with health issues earlier this month. Puzzle is available at LA Times website (but not AL), if you’re interested.
Gareth – A lack of interest in LAT this week might be due to it not being available through the cruciverb.com link. I know that’s kept me from solving and commenting about it.
Hey, Gareth, Thanks for blogging the LAT. An avid reader here, though I understand your feeling with not a lot of feedback (except when you’re “late”). I may have had one overwrite in common with you (POLL instead of POOR). Impressed that you didn’t need to correct CRIWD, as I did. Seems that VIOLONCELLO is the same instrument as “cello.” I learned something new.
Count me as another LA Times review-reader. I rarely comment because there’s rarely anything interesting for me to say, but these writeups are a fun way for me to see the themes and good clues when I don’t have time to do the puzzle (which is almost every day). So thanks.
Gareth – I read your post every day. I subscribe to the LAT and do the puzzle in the evening. I thought today’s puz was on the tough side with some excellent theme answers and without much dreck. Liked it. Please keep doing this and I’ll try to comment.
Hi, Gareth, I’m another one who reads your thoughts on the LAT puzzle every day. I am part of the old school whose members do the puzzle with pen and paper, because I don’t know how to access anything on the computer, and I’ve never seen a happy pencil. There are a lot of us out here, don’t think we don’t love to read your comments!
Gareth, I don’t get the NYT except for the Sunday puzzle (a week late), so the main reason I come here each day is for the LAT which is the puzzle that runs daily in the San Francisco Chronicle. I always enjoy reading the write-ups but only comment if I think I have something to add to the discussion. Please don’t be discouraged, there are a lot of us reading!