Friday, January 16, 2015

NYT 21:11 (Ade) 
LAT 13:07 (Gareth, paper) 
CS 9:36 (Ade) 
CHE 6:58 (pannonica) 
WSJ (Friday) 10:22 (pannonica) 

Michael Wiesenberg’s New York Times crossword

New York Times crossword solution, 01.16.15

New York Times crossword solution, 01.16.15

Good day everyone! Today’s guest blogger in the New Scooby Doo-Movies/NYT blog for Fiend is me, Ade (AOK). First off, let’s wish our fearless leader Amy all the best in feeling better!

Also, I wish you all had a good time in doing today’s chunky crossword, brought to us by Mr. Michael Wiesenberg. Fridays, even more than Saturdays, are harder for me to do, but this wasn’t too bad in terms of difficulty. A lot of long answers to keep you on your toes and have you (possibly) marveling at the fill. It didn’t hurt that our constructor started this puzzle off with a bang…well, an INTERROBANG (1A: [?!]). Along with my writing background, I probably type that at the end of every fifth sentence to someone when I’m excited. (“He really ate 50 chicken wings in 10 minutes in that eating contest?!”) Wasn’t too hard to fill in the rest of the Northwest after that, with the toughest task having to figure out which specific “kids speak” started with an “I.” Turned out to be IS SO (1D: [Childish comeback]). I can’t wait until “YOU SO” is used as fill, as in “You so crazy!”

My eccentric solving strategy on Friday/Saturday puzzles of first reading the clues to the long answers (because those answers just seem to pop into my mind without any letters filled in) paid off in the Southeast. Immediately was typing in “red blood cell” for 55A, only to look at “RED BLOOD CEL” and go, “WTH?” No problem, as ERYTHROCYTE was right around the corner in my head (55A: [Hemoglobin carrier]). I definitely listened in my biology class in high school!! That answer made the biblical adjacent answers of MYRRH (42: [Gift in a Nativity scene]) and DEUT, short for Deuteronomy, slam dunks (44D: [Book after num.]). Speaking of religious figures, hello there ADAM AND EVE (25D: [Earliest figures?]). Getting VET deep in the Southwest – and observing that intersecting “V” – was all I needed to act on my suspicion of Adam and Eve (52A: [One testing woofers?]). After not ever encountering the word until seeing it in crosswords about a few months ago, seeing “alcopop” again made WINE COOLER an easy get (26D: [Alcopop alternative]). Let’s break out the Bartles & Jaymes!

The corners weren’t hard, but had a tougher time filling in the middle of the grid, with SIGILS being just a total guess (40A: [Symbols with supposed magic power]). Took a lot of scratching and clawing to get L’APRÈS MIDI, thought I knew I was going to deal with/have to fill in foreign words for it by its clue (12D: [Time for Debussy’s “faune”]). If I’m going to be heading to the French Open tennis tournament this May (which I hope to be doing this year or next), I better have some French nailed down between now and then!! Near that answer, I loved the clue for, and the fill of, SAINTS’ DAYS (14D: [February 14 or March 17]). This was a puzzle for food lovers as well, especially for those who go to the JUICE BAR often to get their drinks  (33D: [Place to get a healthy drink]) or like the taste of a SWEET POTATO (17A: [Good source of beta carotene]). Is there anyone who doesn’t like sweet potatoes? If so, why?! (Interrobang sighting.)

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: LEB (39D: [Sidon’s setting: Abbr.]) – Of all the puzzles I’ve had the pleasure to blog here, this is by far the toughest in trying to excise a clue and give a sports tinge. I ended up choosing LEB, short for Lebanon, and will point out a couple of athletes of Lebanese descent who you might be familiar with. Probably the most famous Lebanese athlete who made good in North America was Beirut-born Rony Seikaly, who played basketball collegiately at Syracuse in the ’80s (Let’s Go Orange!) before embarking on a 11-year NBA career at center, playing mostly with the Miami Heat. Probably the most prominent athlete of Lebanese descent who’s currently active is hockey player Nazem Kadri, who currently plays for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Kadri, one of the few practicing Muslims in the NHL,  was born in Canada, though his parents were born in Lebanon.

If you were expecting a real incisive breakdown of the grid, as well as the breakdown of structure of it (e.g. word count), then my sincerest apologies for really disappointing you. But I hope you had fun with the read, regardless. Take care, and I’ll see you on the CrosSynergy/Washington Post blog a little later on!


John Lampkin’s Chronicle of Higher of Education crossword, “Tom Swift Considers a Major” — punnonica’s write-up

CHE • 1/16/15 • "Tom Swift Considers a Major" • Lampkin • solution

CHE • 1/16/15 • “Tom Swift Considers a Major” • Lampkin • solution

Or, “Tom Swift Considers a Major, [Academically]”, because we know these are merely idle thoughts. Quite a lot of mid-size theme answers here.

  • 17a. [“I’m pining to be in forestry,” Tom said __ ] SAPPILY.
  • 18a. [“Culinary arts could whisk me off to fame and fortune,” Tom said __ ] SAUCILY. Years later, unsuccessfully rising no higher than line cook, Tom looked back on this decision ruefully.
  • 29a. [“I could make hay in agronomy,” Tom said __ ] BALEFULLY.
  • 37a. [“Transportation and logistics is the route to take,” Tom said __ ] CIVILLY.
  • 48a. [“If I were sharp, I’d pursue music education,” Tom said __ ] NATURALLY.
  • 58a. [“A law diploma is a paper I could chase,” Tom said __ ] BRIEFLY.
  • 60a. [“Petroleum engineering would leave me well-equipped,” Tom said __ ] CRUDELY.
  • 10d. [A chemistry degree will provide the base I need,” Tom said __ ] ACIDLY.
  • 47d. [“I have high hopes for aviation science,” Tom said __ ] AIRILY.

“That’s right, 9 theme answers in a 15×15 grid,” she said pushily.

As you may know, I have soft spot—a weak spot—for Tom Swifties, so I certainly appreciated this theme. A deft consideration was to include a second-tier, more specific hint in each clue (i.e., pining, whisk, hay, route, sharp, paper, well-equipped(?), base, high hopes).

A downside—”Not quite an Achilles’ heel,” she said tendentiously*—to this theme is that a solver will know that each theme answer will be an adverb ending in -LY, and those letters can be filled in without a second thought. Further, such an abundance of Ls can (and in this case, does) beget more Ls, as it often pairs up with itself. These constraints make it doubly likely that lesser fill will be required to successfully fill the grid. So it isn’t terribly surprising that entries such as SYLL, CYLS, ILWU, LTYRS, as well as OOID, EDA, and AMS, are found here.

  • This puzzle seemed determined to be daunting right away, with one-across [A crane may extend across it] drawing on a lesser-known sense of crane, a holder for a pot or kettle in a HEARTH.
  • For the record, I was glad to see the 60%-L Charles LYELL in the puzzle, though the clue [Geologist who was a colleague of Darwin] reflects how sadly underappreciated this very important pioneer is in non-scientific circles.
  • Similarly, the gratuitous biological specifics in some clues won my heart: 23a [Ant-lion pit, e.g.] TRAP, and 25d [Oyster thief or mermaid’s wineglass, e.g.] ALGA.
  • 51d [With 8 Down, hors d’oeuvre base created by Auguste Escoffier] MELBA | TOAST. Always more palatable when cross-referenced clues can be arranged symmetrically in the grid. Obviously, this is dependent on the two parts being the same length.
  • dellronTENCH. 49d [Carp cousin]. I’d venture that the fish is not so well-known, but I suspect still more widely familiar than musician Benmont Tench. (‘Benmont’, incidentally, is a portmanteau of Benjamin Montgomery.)
  • 40d [Company whose logo features a crooked vowel] DELL. Also applies to another erstwhile Texas-based company, crossword-favorite ENRON. In fact, it’s the same letter, E. Of course, ENRON was crooked all over.
  • 30d [Fast-growing houseplant] FICUS. Vaguely dissatisfied because Ficus is a tree. On the other hand, it’s often cultivated in pots indoors, and taxonomically, all trees are within the kingdom Plantae and are unquestionably plants. On yet another hand, ‘tree’ is a variable and imprecise appellation, especially colloquially. Also, housetree isn’t a popular term.
  • Favorite clues: 7d [Help-wanted letters] SOS, 38d [Wind instrument] VANE.

“Solid, fun crossword,” she said squarely.

*Substandard on my part; there’s an extraneous SYLL.

Gail Grabowski’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “2-V Is To Do”—Ade’s write-up  

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 01.16.15: "2-V Is To Do"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 01.16.15: “2-V Is To Do”

Good day, everyone! For those who did the NYT puzzle today (and even for those who chose to pass on it), glad you can join me here as well. Today’s puzzle, offered up to us today by Ms. Gail Grabowski, is a nice way to head into the weekend of more treacherous crosswords, as each of the theme answers are two-word offerings in which the first letter of each word starts with the letter “V.”

  • VIRAL VIDEO (18A: [YouTube sensation])
  • VIETNAM VETERAN (28A: [One of over 58,000 memorialized on a Washington wall])
  • VINTAGE VEHICLE (49A: [1929 Studebaker Dictator, e.g.]) – Does anyone own a vintage vehicle that they want to talk about on here? I always catch a glimpse of those Barrett-Jackson car auctions on television and imagine what it would be like to own a vintage/classic car. Also, I imagine what it would be like to have tens of thousands of dollars in my possession to even bid on one of those cars!
  • VROOM VROOM (64A: [Speedway sounds]) – The car my sound usually makes is more along the lines of “cough, hack, wheeze.”

Obviously, what jumped out at me were all of the “V”s, including the entries that had more than one V that wasn’t a theme answer, like IVAV V (29D: [He reigned along with Peter I]) and AVIV (50A: [Tel ____]). Some may gripe at the Ivan V entry, but I’m cool with it, especially if that was his official title. Initially typed in “tea tax” instead of TEA ACT (4D: [Cause of the 1773 ‘party’]). Seeing the clue for IRAN made me remember that it’s pretty close to Academy Awards time (56D: [“Argo” setting]). I’m not much of a moviegoer these days (sadly), but I definitely wouldn’t mind someone handicapping what we might see at The Oscars next month, something that I’m sure I’m about to see on my Facebook/Twitter feed over and over in the next few weeks! Not that I’m complaining about that…and I’m definitely not complaining!

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: LOVE SET (9D: [Lopsided court success]) – In the third round at Wimbledon back in 2012, Yaroslava Shvedova produced a LOVE SET while defeating No. 10 seed Sara Errani, 6-0, 6-4. Even more impressive than putting up that love set, Shvedova actually achieved what is called a “golden set,” as she won all 24 points in that first set against Errani. Talk about a whitewash!

Have a great weekend, everyone! See you tomorrow!

Take care!


Marcia J. Brott and George Barany’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “NoTHing to See Here” — pannonica’s write-up

WSJ • 1/16/15 • "NoTHing to See Here" • Fri • Brott, Barany • solution

WSJ • 1/16/15 • “NoTHing to See Here” • Fri • Brott, Barany • solution

The little revealer, in one of the prime revealer spaces (not, say, second-rightmost vertical entry at the bottom) spells it out for the solver, and adds some more subtle information about the puzzle: 110a [Quantity of our language’s most common bigram in today’s grid and clues] NONE. Note that the clue can’t name the bigram directly, nor can it mention the ‘theme’ specifically.

So not only are the theme answers dethorned for new and wacky meanings, but TH doesn’t appear anywhere else in the grid, and further, it’s been expunged from the clues as well. Worked around and rephrased, that is, not simply eliminated. So the crossword is entirely … lipobigrammatic?

  • 23a. [Fan of cutting-edge cuisine?] AVANT-GARDE EATER (avant-garde theater).
  • 28a. [What bookish nature lovers did by the poolside?] READ BARE (threadbare).
  • nothorn35a. [Tip a canoe?] ROW OFF BALANCE (throw off balance).
  • 38a. [Where to find Piatigorsky in an alphabetical list of great cellists?] AFTER MA (aftermath). Ma Yo-Yo.
  • 58a. [What picnickers did when raindrops began to fall?] SCATTERED UNDER SHOWERS (scattered thundershowers).
  • 82a. [Refilling site for fountain pens?] INK TANK (think tank).
  • 84a. [Eden?] EARLY PARADISE (Earthly paradise). Clue works before and after.
  • 90a. [Sugary, as well?] SWEET, TOO (sweet tooth).
  • 97a. [Perp’s complaint after a stressful burglary?] ROBBING HEADACHE (throbbing headache).

Nine themers, four short and five long. But it’s all much more impressive in light of the other constraints. For those of you who are curious, here are a table and graph of bigram frequencies, drawn from a corpus of 40,000 words (top three are: th, he, in).

It’s testament to the prowess of the constructors that the omissions weren’t glaringly obvious. To be sure, there were more than a few noticeably odd or off-kilter clues (e.g., [Like porcini mushrooms] for EDIBLE; [Cuddly helpers of Han and Leia] for EWOKS; 72d [Clear of writing] for ERASE), but nothing superficially outlandish.

      • 61d/80d [Wardrobe relative] DRESSER / ARMOIRE; see also 66a [Story in a French house] ÉTAGE (the root of étagère). 42a [Lightning byproduct] OZONE; see also 24d [Patisserie creation] ÉCLAIR.
      • More connections. 56d [“Strange” particle] QUARK; 32d [56-Down binding particle] GLUON. 19a [Like grease or yogurt] SEMISOLID; 53d [Covered in grease, say] GUNKY. 44a/54a [Oscar nominee for “Platoon”] DAFOE / STONE. Less auspiciously, 70a [Exams for future attys.] LSATS; 95a [Exam for future M.D.s] MCAT.
      • 30a [Joltless joe] DECAF. Is this why Joe DiMaggio was a spokesman for Mr. Coffee? Am I just realizing this now, or did I know it and forget it?
      • 71a [Ink color to be avoided] RED. Clue duplicates the answer in the not-so-far-away themer 82a. -5 pts, tsk, tsk.
      • Least favorite fill: 62d [Make sudsy again] RESOAP.
      • 4d [Cuckoo clock weight] PINE CONE, not PENDULUM. 48d [Makes a lot] PAVES, not RAZES. 2d [Gun] REV, not ROD. I made all of these errors.

Not the most onerous lipogrammatic challenge conceived of or executed in crosswords, but suitably impressive and well done.

(Total number of words in write-up – 536; total number of characters – 3220; instances of th – 52)

Julian Lim’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary

la150116Sorry about yesterday. I feel like an attention whore, but possibly it was better for things to be said. ANYHOW (HOO?)…


My own draft… As it stood.

I spotted the theme halfway through the first entry. Why? Cos it’s in my “stuck” file. Marti duGuay-Carpenter (aka HeartRX) had the same experience with one of my recent offerings that pre-empted hers. Now it’s my turn! I gave up on this one cos I just couldn’t come up with enough answers I liked. ADDINGTWOCENTS, as in two instances of C, isn’t an easy one to pull off, so props for getting it publishable Mr. Lim. CHARDCROCK is one I did come up with. CHANSCARP is a stroke of brilliance, although whether Mr. ARP is famous enough for wordplay is a fair enough question. CRAMPEDCUP and CONANDCON both use prepositions, which seems a little weak. The latter is a great transformation though and works nicely in its transformed sense.

indexNice to have a double dose of LPGA in OCHOA (retired before her time) and full name SERI/PAK. NICESHOT! [Green sage] is a sublime clue for YODA.

Anyone here think changing XENA to PENA would not improve the puzzle? XENA and PENA are about the same – proper names Gen X-ers will probably recognize. PER is a real word, XER is super clunky. While I’m here the sugar highs intimated in HYPER do not exist. A classic example of confirmation bias if ever there was one. Children are always HYPER is the bottom line.

3.5 Stars

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37 Responses to Friday, January 16, 2015

  1. huda says:

    Amy and the whole Team Fiend– thanks for doing this day in and day out. It’s much appreciated.
    Doing these blogs must, at times, feel like being a parent. You’re there every day and may feel invisible, but if you disappear (or are late) the kids scream bloody murder.
    Gareth, I only do the NYT, but when I have time I read the write ups for the other puzzles and see what I can learn. The writing often triggers chuckles and once in a while it conveys so much fun I regret not having solved a puzzle and really wish I had more time/speed.
    Anyhow, you guys are terrific. Amy, feel better!

  2. john farmer says:

    Excellent work pinch-hitting, Ade.

    Really liked the longs in the NW stack. L’APRÈS-MIDI was tough for me to parse (thought it was LA PRES__D_ for a while). Anyway, “Afternoon of a Faun” was a documentary from 2013 about the life of Tanaquil Le Clercq, prima ballerina with the New York City Ballet during the 1940s and ’50s. She first danced for George Balanchine at age 15, and later became his wife. Her career was tragically cut short when she was stricken with polio in her late twenties. H/t to David Steinberg and Todd Gross, who noted that she went on to make crosswords in her post-dance career.

  3. john farmer says:

    Some of her puzzles here.

    • John, nice of you to draw attention to Tanaquil Le Clerq. I grew up in NYC in the 60’s and 70’s, and my family had a subscription to the ballet. Balanchine was a genius choreographer who would marry his muse du jour after divorcing his wife/ex-muse. Most people thought that with Tanaquil’s tragic career-ending illness, Balanchine would stay with her, but the emergence of Suzanne Farrell put this hypothesis to a severe test. The story is told in this remarkable documentary, which I’ve seen and must be a nice counterpoint to the documentary you mention, which I look forward to seeing in the not-too-distant future.

    • jj says:

      The first puzzle listed is a HEART rebus, containing the fatally-flawed theme entry MOSS HEART at 5-Across (His name is spelled MOSS HART). The ugly partial HEARTISA in the SE looks ravishing in comparison.

      For as much as we gripe about the NYT today, at least we don’t have these atrocities to ponder.

      • john farmer says:

        The other not-spelled-heart rebus answer is EARHART at 1D. (I alerted Jeff Chen last night and it looks like just the one at 5D has been updated so far.) Somehow, having two HART rebuses to go with the HEARTs seems slightly less an offense than having just one. Sort of makes it a soundalike rebus theme instead of a strict string-of-letters rebus, which I can’t recall seeing before. Not that we’re likely to have HART pass for HEART in a puzzle today.

        I don’t know what people thought about the puzzle in 1976. Four decades later, it’s not entirely fair to judge by our standards. Not to defend it, but look at virtually any puzzle from those days and you’ll find some things that seem awful to us. And in another forty years, many puzzles of today may look awful to our kids and grandkids. (I’ll hold off on the word “atrocities” unless puzzles actually start killing people.)

        The name Tanaquil Le Clercq would look good in a grid, though she’s not exactly famous today. But that got me pondering … have any crossword constructors been famous enough to be an answer in a crossword puzzle? Victor Fleming, David Steinberg, Sam Donaldson, and Robert Zimmerman have all been answers in NYT puzzles, but those were clued for people other than the puzzle makers. So, anyone know of a famous constructor who made it? Kind of curious…

  4. sbmanion says:

    The S in SIGIL was my last letter. I thought HOEVER/HIGIL was plausible.

    Only the NE was easy for me. I got EGOISTICAL immediately. The rest of the puzzle was very tough.


  5. Dook says:

    I still don’t understand “doable” as an answer to ‘not beyond one’. Can someone explain? Also, the crossing of VEDAY with SAINTDAYS is questionable. Ugh – aswirl, atwirl, awhirl!

    • Huda says:

      Climbing this mountain is not beyond me, it’s doable.
      Eating a whole pie is not beyond him, it’s doable.
      So, when something is not beyond one, it’s doable….

      (It’s that lovely use of ‘one’ that can raise one’s hackles).

    • CY Hollander says:

      Primary stress falls on “beyond” rather than “one”.

  6. Huda says:

    Ade, I had exactly the same solving experience, starting with Red blood cel…, going to Erythrocytes and building from there. It was fun, and reassuring, to see it recounted.
    I just returned from LEB and the sport I associate most with it is skiing. A recent storm dumped a ton of snow in the maintains and while everyone was complaining about the rain and cold temperatures (in the 40s!?) the skiers were bubbling with excitement. Have any well known skiers ever emerged from LEB?

    • sbmanion says:


      I do not know of any Olympic skiers from Lebanon who are famous for their skiing exploits on the slopes, but if you look up Jackie Chamoun, you might say that she is noted for her moguls.


  7. David L says:

    I’m surprised at the low ratings on this one — I thought it was a very nice puzzle. The repeated DAY is questionable, AWHIRL is an only-in-crosswords word, but other than that it had a great range of fill and some smart cluing.

    • Lois says:

      I liked the NYT puzzle overall, and except for the middle it was easier than usual for a Friday for me and I enjoyed it.

      However, I thought the two “DAY”s would be enough to bring down the ratings. You also have “LES” crossing “L’ ” (12a and 12d). The second-choice plural of grotto, which I wish had been “grottoes,” was more acceptable than I realized, being right there in my nice old Britannica dictionary. Perhaps the puzzle was lower-rated because it was not so hard, but that was a big plus for me and it was still hard enough (much easier than Thursday’s puzzle).

      The religious, French and musical subthemes were fun, and several of the other answers too.

      • Lois says:

        I realized after posting that the French subtheme contains the bad crossing of “LES” and “L’ ” but there you have it. Though I disparaged it, I also enjoyed it.

  8. CY Hollander says:

    As fun and fresh as INTERROBANG was, it was unfortunately clued incorrectly. An interrobang is a nonstandard punctuation mark that that combines an “interrogation point” [question mark] and a “bang” [exclamation point] into one; hence the name. It looks like this: ‽. Surely the New York Times could have managed to print one if they tried hard enough.

    • Bencoe says:

      In that article, in the first sentence, it says it is “often represented by ‘?!’ or ‘!?’.”
      Also, you see these representations far more often than the nonstandard mark.

      • CY Hollander says:

        The point is that “interrobang” refers specifically to the combined character, as opposed to the simple juxtaposition of a ? and !. You see “?!” and “!?” far more often than ‽ as representations of an incredulous question—but “interrobang” doesn’t refer to “an incredulous question” or “punctuation denoting an incredulous question”, but to the character ‽.

        I don’t know what the anonymous writer of that one unsourced parenthetical had in mind. Maybe he meant that “?!” and “!?” are often used as substitutes for an interrobang when the character itself is not available. Maybe he meant that if you want to refer to an interrobang but don’t know the name or have the character available, you might call it something like “‘?!’ as a single character”. Maybe I should have just linked to a dictionary.

        Obviously, you’re free to differ, but in my humble opinion, this clue was simply incorrect as written.

        • Howard B says:

          This is another of many examples where the “exact definition” is confused with the accepted definition for puzzle purposes, which can encompass both dictionary standard and common usage (slang, colloquialism, alternatives, etc).
          Here, CY is correct that the word refers specifically to the special character. However, in several reference articles that I have seen (Besides the Wiki which I do not count technically for reference), the ?! / !? is referred to as an alternative. Personally, I believe the actual character is not available in many typefaces or is not in wide enough usage, so the more common symbols are used in combination to impart the same concept. The “interrobang” term is used (perhaps incorrectly) to refer to this combination in many cases. You can Google to confirm usage instances.
          So while you can be correct by strict definition, the clue can still pass muster in a more common usage.

          • Bencoe says:

            I honestly didn’t know the INTERROBANG was supposed to refer to the simultaneous ?/! (Can’t do it on my iPad!?). I’ve never seen it used. Always the ?! or !? version, and I thought the term referred to all three. Makes sense to me, but the dictionary does not feel that way.

          • pannonica says:

            The name was coined for the special character, which if I recall correctly (haven’t looked at other commenters’ links) was invented more than once. Even though it was introduced by typographers as an addition to typefaces, it could be approximated more readily back in those days on a typewriter by backspacing and overstriking.

  9. nancy says:

    still waiting for Gareth’s LA Times review for Friday Jan. 16 – 12:30 P.M.
    I wish we weren’t usually last to receive them.

  10. lemonade714 says:

    There usually is a dearth of commentary on the LAT, and with the time difference and an active career, I can understand Gareth losing focus on blogging. One way to stimulate LAT activity is to talk about the puzzle even before GB posts. There are some low ratings for the puzzle but no disparaging remarks. Why pan with out penning your pan? I thought it was a solid Julian Lim, who has been published in various puzzles. The add a letter is doubled to make for more creativity in the theme fill.
    I had fun

  11. Gareth says:

    INTERROBANG is a great start; ERYTHROCYTE a great ending. The ROTTERS/RUPAUL clecho was superlative. I must say, I’ve never seen EGOIST and its various forms outside of dictionaries and crosswords… I want to say [Many a bachelor pad], STY is sexist, but then I look around my own pad… er sty and I have trouble arguing the point.

  12. Joan says:

    Is there any where I can get the LAT in AcrossLite?. Also does Merl Reagel have a subscription for puzzles.

    Thanks. Joan

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Hi, Joan. I’ve been in touch with Cruciverb’s Kevin McCann and he’s working on it. He may also set up an account so I can upload the puzzles when he’s unable to. It’s incredible how much work he does as Just One Guy to keep the Cruciverb machinery running! But everyone needs a team.

      No idea if Merl’s thinking of offering a subscription service.

      • Alex B. says:

        I’m glad to hear you’ve been in touch with Kevin, because I’ve been worried that he was having some serious health issues …

  13. Avg Solvr says:

    Liked the LAT, WSJ and CHE themes and found both a bit tougher than usual.

  14. Martin says:

    (Full disclosure: I’m a friend of George Barany, and hold stocks in George Barany Inc.)

    Today’s WSJ puzzle:

    When I first saw the title, I thought: “OK, they’ve dropped a letter or two in each theme clue: cue BEQ’s BS theme list.” But about halfway through the puzzle, I realized that “TH” (the dropped letters, or bi-gram) had been eliminated entirely from the grid. Then about three quarters of the way through the puzzle, I noticed that “TH” was also absent from the clues… with no apparent strain on the clue construction, which is especially hard since common words like “the”, “this”, “that”, and “thorium tetrafluoride” could not be used. This was (of course) confirmed by the revealer: NONE.

    The icing on the cruciverbal cake was the clean fill throughout the puzzle. So all-in-all an impressive puzzle.

    5 stars: minus 4 stars because I didn’t think of it.


  15. Margaret says:

    I found today’s LAT much harder than usual, had a lot of trouble getting started with it. The SW finally gave me an in, but I jumped to the conclusion that the original phrase was cramped up rather than ramped up (i.e., I thought only one C was added.) Con and Con didn’t make much sense to me and it was only when I got to Chard Crock that I clued in. And then once I filled in Carp, I was so confused because I only knew the name Jean Arp, wasn’t familiar with the Hans Arp version. All in all, pretty tough for me!

  16. HeartRx says:

    Gareth, I feel your pain.

  17. jae says:

    I’m with @Margaret, the LAT was tough today. Looks like I had the same erasure as Gareth with ADmen before REP. Didn’t like the clue for XER, Gen___ seems less awkward. I liked it, a solid effort @Lemonade714 that was fun to solve.

  18. arthur118 says:

    Another first-rate puzzle from Julian Lim in the LAT, but I owe him an apology. While posting my opinion as to a rating I inadvertently rated it 2.5 when my intent was to post a 4.5.

    Sorry, Julian; I truly appreciated your offering (and your corrected average rating should be 3.28 v. the 3.09 shown).

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