Sunday, February 1, 2015

NYT 11:48 (Amy) 
Reagle 7:08 (Amy) 
LAT 6:26 (Andy) 
Hex/Hook 11:21 (pannonica) 
WaPo 10:58 (Sam) 
CS 34:44 (Ade) 

David Steinberg’s New York Times crossword, “This n’ That”

NY Times crossword solution, 2 1 15, "This n' That"

NY Times crossword solution, 2 1 15, “This n’ That”

David’s theme is “X and Y” phrases in which the “and” becomes a schwa + N attached to the first word, with spelling changing as needed. Resulting goofy phrases are clued accordingly:

  • 23a. [Content of a demand to attend?], SUMMON SUBSTANCE.
  • 32a. [Freaky funeral noise?], COFFIN WHEEZE. “Cough and wheeze” as the basis for a wordplay theme answer? Not sure I like that.
  • 49a. [Dive from a fire-breathing creature?], DRAGON DROP.
  • 71a. [Venti, vingt or zwanzig?], FOREIGN TWENTY. 
  • 93a. [Woe for a sunburned sea monster?], KRAKEN PEEL. “Crack and peel” stickers/labels are a thing. Do you know how to use them? Here’s a demonstration video, complete with music soundtrack.
  • 110a. [Intel products used at a nuclear facility?], FISSION CHIPS.
  • 119a. [Overseeing a work crew, e.g.?], FOREMAN FUNCTION. I like that one.
  • 17d. [Feathers, pointy bill, long legs, etc.?], HERON MAKEUP. “Hair and makeup” riff.
  • 70d. [Period when rabbits stop fighting?], WARREN PEACE. This one was the first theme answer I got and it helped me understand the theme … though the puzzle still took me a lot longer than the typical Sunday puzzle.

Solid theme, and lots of interesting fill throughout the grid (CAROL ALT, DON IMUS, and DAVID LEAN‘s full names, Lake MARACAIBO, “LET’S NOT,” NECTARINE), but also some stuff I didn’t know:

  • 62d. [Skeletal enemy in Mario games], DRYBONES. No clue.
  • 21a. [Nymph jilted by Paris], OENONE.
  • 79a. [43-Across ball carriers: Abbr.], HBS. Unless it’s QB, I’m going to wait for the crossings to tell me what football position abbreviation I need.
  • 94d. [Site of ancient Greek Olympics], ELIS. Seen it before, didn’t recall it without crossings.

Things I did not like:

  • 128a. [Beggar’s receptacle], TIN CUP. Either clue this overtly as a retro thing, perhaps Dickensian, or clue it as the Kevin Costner/Rene Russo golf movie Tin Cup. I’ve seen hundreds (at least) homeless people on the streets of Chicago panhandling. You know what I’ve never seen? A tin cup in their hand. The word “beggar” doesn’t sit right with me, either.
  • 32d. [Garbage collector, informally?], COON. Okay, so the clue is being playful about raccoons, which are wont to raid garbage cans for food. But you know what? “Garbage collector” makes the solver think of people, first and foremost. And then the answer is COON, which is also a racial slur. This is entirely unnecessary, as you can easily clue this word in a way that doesn’t evoke people. Is it intended to cause offense? No. But can it come off as offensive, make solvers look askance, jar the solver out of the solving flow? It sure can. Why risk offending people when it so easy to avoid it? Sigh.

4.2 stars from me.

Postscript: Don’t miss David’s remembrance of the late crossword constructor Bernice Gordon, who died at age 101 this week. It’s impossibly sweet and you just might cry reading it.

Jeffrey Harris’s Washington Post crossword, “The Post Puzzler No. 252”–Sam Donaldson’s review

The Post Puzzler No. 252

The Post Puzzler No. 252

I think I need to surrender my nerd credentials.

Never in a million years (or parsecs) would I have imagined that the last entry to fall in this week’s Post Puzzler, a 70/28 freestyle from Jeffrey “I Never Met a Meta I Couldn’t Crack” Harris, would be THE FORCE AWAKENS, the title for the next, eagerly-anticipated installment of the Star Wars franchise. And yet it was.

When I read the clue, [2015 Ford vehicle, informally?], Harrison “Thank God the Only Thing I Hurt on Set Was My Ankle” Ford was among the furthest things from my mind. I figured there was some cutesy nickname for a new Ford Fusion or something and this became the seed for the puzzle. Alas, some key crossings kept me from parsing the answer.

I’m not familiar with MEET-CUTE, the [Romantic comedy trope] Take it away, Wikipedia: “A meet-cute is a scene in film, television, etc. in which a future romantic couple meets for the first time in a way that is considered adorable, entertaining, or amusing.” Perhaps the concept was alien because most of my relationships in the past began with a meet-creep. Luckily for purposes of this solve, however, the crossing letter for the Ford vehicle was part of the obvious THE at the front.

A more critical error was choosing DOES for [Common deer]. I just thought the clue was trying to be cute in using a homophone for “commandeer,” and with -OES in place, DOES (some deer, some female deer) came to me immediately. Yet the answer was ROES, a much better fit for the clue.

Moving on, ODETS was apparently a [Hart contemporary]. Sadly I had filled in AD?TS in the grid, as I misspelled the [Rio sound] of BOSSA NOVA as BASSA NOVA. So that complicated things. And! I couldn’t think of the right Hart. I thought of former senator Gary Hart, cartoonist Johnny Hart, and “The Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart–but not American playwright Moss Hart, who was indeed a contemporary of Clifford Odets. (If you think I knew any of that stuff after the hyphen until about 20 seconds ago, you’re mistaken. I suppose Moss Hart’s plays were a big hit on the north side.)

It wasn’t until I was done with the puzzle that I finally figured out how AMA is the answer to [Reddit Q&A thread]. I confess to possessing only a marginal familiarity with Reddit, so that’s probably why the acronym for “ask me anything” didn’t occur to me until it was already in the grid. But yeah, that conspired with the other unknowns to hide the Ford vehicle pretty well.

I’m still mad at myself for not seeing it. To make the pain more acute, I’ve been openly gushing about The Force Awakens to the few who will listen to me. As I’ve written here before, I trust J.J. Abrams with anything from my childhood, so I’m beyond excited for this December.

The balance of the puzzle fell neatly and nicely. Let’s review the highlights:

  • [Writers of tough crosswords, some say] is a nice self-referential clue for SADISTS. Some constructors consider that a badge of honor.
  • I loved the clue for ENCLOSED, [“Check ___” (the two most beautiful words in English, facetiously)], though I don’t think I’ve ever heard that observation before.
  • I like both meanings of [It may wrap around you] for BOA, as both the feathered accessory and the snake will do just that. I didn’t notice until just now that the same clue appeared three squares over for OBI. Nice! (That wasn’t the only clue pulling double-duty, as [Range] clued both SPAN and GAMUT.
  • I had forgotten that some dude named Jamie Dornan landed the title role in the upcoming film adaptation of 50 Shades of Grey, so GREY as the answer to [2015 title role for Dornan] took a while to emerge. But I like the contemporary feel of the clue. It will be interesting to see how well this clue stands the test of time. When one solves the puzzle in ten years, will the clue seem outdated? Or will Christian Grey be Jamie Dornan’s Forrest Gump?

As usual, I fell into nearly every trap set in this puzzle: I had EDIT instead of OMIT for [Replace with ellipses, say], DAB instead of TAT for [Bit of ink], and SUPER instead of SWEET for [“Awesome!”]. And yes, I was thinking of flailing students instead of battery companies when I read the clue, [Maker of a lot of C’s and D’s], the answer to which here was ENERGIZER.

Before we check out, we have to admire those lovely open corners in the northeast and southwest. You have a couple of 6×4 slabs of white squares, half the area of which feeds into triple-9s, and they’re both filled skillfully. Yet one more reason it’s not too early to grieve the pending demise of the Post Puzzler.

Favorite entry = THE FORCE AWAKENS, dammit. Favorite clue = [Candy corn source?] for the corny television skit show from which John Candy rose to fame, SCTV.

Bob Klahn’s Sunday Challenge CrosSynergy crossword —Ade’s write-up  

CrosSynergy Sunday Challenge crossword solution, 02.01.15

CrosSynergy Sunday Challenge crossword solution, 02.01.15

Good morning everyone on this first day of February! Hope you all are doing great, as well as staying warm!

Nothing like beginning a Super Sunday with a significantly super challenge of a puzzle, and we definitely got that with Mr. Bob Klahn’s grid. Actually, my solving experience was actually a pretty smooth one (compared to my other experiences with Mr. Klahn’s grids), and it definitely helped that I could actually start off in the Northwest and build from there – something I usually am not able to do in a lot of Klahn grids. Thank goodness I heard enough about the Twilight saga and the big question that many fans had to answer: Are you Team Edward or Team JACOB (1D: [“Twilight” series werewolf]). Speaking of movies, I definitely remember seeing the ads on television for COLLATERAL and just remembered the movie title afterwards (17A: [2004 Cruise/Foxx neo-noir crime thriller]). There are lots of movie titles I can remember just by seeing the ads for them only (and never watching the movie). Again, getting those answers made the rest of the Northwest pretty easy, with just MALLE not being in my wheelhouse (3D: [“Atlantic City” earned him a Best Director Oscar nomination]). The only one of the three 13-letter sandwich in the middle of the grid I was real comfortable in putting down was the bottom slice of bread, RENÉ DESCARTES (35A: [“Everything is self-evident” philosopher]). Actually, that was more of an educated guess, since Descartes was on my mind and then decided to see if it would fit if using his first and last name. And voila! Elsewhere in the grid, how awesome was seeing HELLHOLE (34D: [It’s a very unpleasant place])? The Southwest was a double-edged sword, as I got GHANA (41D: [Ivory Coast neighbor once called the Gold Coast]) and NIXON with ease (42D: [US President who allegedly said “I would have made a good pope”]), and because of those answers, it made me put down “taxi driver” going across. Took some time to untangle that mess and get TAXI DANCER (52A: [Hired hoofer]), with ANTE being the entry that I got which was able to get me out of jail (50D: [Up the ____ (make things more interesting, in a way)]). Actually wasn’t familiar with the nicknamed mentioned in the clue to PELÉ (16A: [Brazil’s “Black Pearl”]). I’m sure he’s (Pelé) been the subject of one of my sports moments in the past, so, with that, here’s our last of the back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back Super Bowl-themed “sports…smarter” moments.

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: TYLER (9D: [“Breathing Lessons” Pulitzer winner ])– When the Los Angeles Rams made their Cinderella run to Super Bowl XIV to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers, their best offensive weapon was running back Wendell TYLER. Tyler, who played his college ball also in Los Angeles at UCLA, led the Rams with 1,109 yards rushing in the 1979 season, and his 5.1 yards per carry led the league. He led all running backs in Super Bowl XIV with 60 yards on the ground on 17 carries, but it was not enough as the Rams lost to the Steelers, 31-19, cementing the Steelers as the team of the 1970s.

Enjoy the Super Bowl, Puppy Bowl or whatever choice of recreation you decide on between the hours of 6:00 and 10:00 PM Eastern this evening. See you all tomorrow!

Take care!


Gail Grabowski’s Los Angeles Times crossword, “You Must Be Joking”—Andy’s review

LAT Puzzle 02.01.15 by Gail Grabowski - "You Must Be Joking "

LAT Puzzle 02.01.15 by Gail Grabowski – “You Must Be Joking “

Frequent Newsday contributor Gail Grabowski brings us this puzzle, “You Must Be Joking,” in which we encounter some phrases in which an A has been replaced with a U. I’m not entirely sure what the title has to do with the theme, other than the you/U pun, so any explanation from U, dear readers, would be appreciated. Theme answers:

  • 27a, DOGGIE BUG [Flea?]. DOGGIE BAG. Here, Gail shows that when cluing, sometimes less really is more.
  • 29a, SMOKING BUN [Sign of a barbecuer’s inattention?]. At first this made me think of SMOKING GUN, but it’s a play on SMOKING BAN. If the bun caught on fire, Gail might call the barbecuer a BURN RAISER.
  • 48a, TRUCK RECORD [Most miles logged in a pickup, say?]. TRACK RECORD.
  • 64a, SNOW FLUKE [Blizzard in Birmingham?]. SNOW FLAKE. I’m assuming Gail means Birmingham, Alabama, since a blizzard in England seems entirely possible.
  • 81a, THINKING CUP [Vessel that inspires ideas?]. THINKING CAP.
  • 99a, TIN FOIL HUT [Shack made of aluminum wrap?]. TIN FOIL HAT.
  • 102a, YELLOW CUB [Cowardly lion, once?]. YELLOW CAB. Cute clue.
  • 36d, MULE BONDING [Prospector’s close attachment to his helper?]. MALE BONDING. This one was the toughest for me. Seems to me that MULE BONDING would be two mules bonding with each other. But what do I know?
  • 40d, BUNK DEPOSIT [Reservation for an upper berth?]. BANK DEPOSIT.

A very simple theme, very well executed. In all nine theme entries, there’s only one A in the base phrase, and it’s always changed to a U. Plus, there are nine theme entries, which is a nice high number for an LAT Sunday. I found a couple of these legitimately funny (SMOKING BUN, YELLOW CUB), and that was largely due to some really nice cluing.

The fill was completely forgettable, but that’s not always the worst thing in a Sunday puzzle (it’s certainly better than being memorable for the wrong reasons). Stuff I liked: A WEE BIT, LAB FEES, CHIA PET, HANGTIME, ARROW KEY. Stuff that stuck with me as less good: IS DONE, A RUT, ISERE, AWEEK.

I really truly thought NETZERO was out of business, but the Internet says otherwise. How about that? I’m still undecided about whether I like NEW IDEA or not. It feels ever so slightly roll-your-own-phrase-y, but the clue [Fresh bean sprout?] was funny, so I let it slide… this time.

Not much else to say about this one. 3.5 stars. Until next week!

Merl Reagle’s syndicated Sunday crossword, “Four Little Words”

Merl Reagle crossword solution, 2 1 15 "Four Little Words"

Merl Reagle crossword solution, 2 1 15 “Four Little Words”

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Merl’s theme this week is four-word phrases that are rhyme A + preposition + article/pronoun + rhyme B:

  • 23a. [Shell-shocked, in WWII slang], NERVOUS FROM THE SERVICE.
  • 30a. [Milestone 1950s recording], ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK.
  • 53a. [Has it ___], MADE IN THE SHADE. I haven’t tried cluing this without the FITB approach. [All set] or [Sitting pretty] don’t quite work, as you’re not made in the shade, you’ve got it made in the shade.
  • 64a. [Spend with abandon], SHOP TILL YOU DROP.
  • 71a. [A case of the jitters], ANTS IN YOUR PANTS. May I just say how refreshing it is to see this with YOUR instead of ONE’S?
  • 89a. [Transmission type], FOUR ON THE FLOOR. No idea what that means, exactly.
  • 106a. [Pushin’ one’s hot buttons, maybe], CRUISIN’ FOR A BRUISIN’.
  • 119a. [Perfect party thrower, slangily], HOSTESS WITH THE MOSTESS. This one feels a hair incomplete without an initial THE. I wonder how many people made it MOSTEST and wondered how NOTES made sense as an answer for 112d. [Attendance count]. (It’s counting NOSES.)

It’s ever so slightly inelegant to have two themers with IN in the second word slot. But the phrases are all fairly lively, and rhyming phrases have an inherent appeal to the mouth and ear.

136 theme squares? Given that the LA Times’ specs call for a minimum of 84 theme squares, I will concede that this puzzle—though it has just 8 (long) theme answers and is not one of those stacked-up Merlstravaganzas with 16 theme entries—has a lot of theme packed in it. That explains all the blah fill, the crosswordese peppered throughout the grid. STENO, EDO, ENDO- in the opening corner. Partial capital ABABA crossing plural AARONS and partial A SHOE. The 93d. [Eskimo knife] called an ULU. That ALIENEE. ASTA and ODA. Plenty of abbrevs and partials. I liked the theme but the interstices of the puzzle were largely stripped of cruciverbal joy for me.

Five things:

  • 84a. [BOLO’s precursor], APB. Guessing that BOLO = “be on the lookout,” but I’ve never encountered it before.
  • 86a. [Spoonful, maybe], DOLLOP. Think whipped cream rather than medicine. No DOSAGE here.
  • 129a. [Unsmiling], DEADPAN. Apparently pan = face in this word.
  • 56d. [Drug-resistant bacterium], SUPERBUG. Did you see the news a few weeks ago about an entirely new sort of antibiotic that’s being developed? This is good news in the superbug era.
  • 67d. [Illegal bat goo], PINE TAR. I hope some folks were picturing a flying mammal rather than a wooden club used in sports.

3.66 stars from me.

Henry Hook’s CRooked crossword, “My TV Set is Possessed” — Pannonica’s write-up

CRooked • 2/1/15 • "My TV Set is Possessed" •  Hook • hex/hook, bg • solution

CRooked • 2/1/15 • “My TV Set is Possessed” • Hook • hex/hook, bg • solution

Greetings through your orthocon tube!

Welcome to the write-up of this crossword featuring a line-up of television show titles featuring possessive adjectives/determiners – whatever you care to call them. Reader’s choice.

  • 24a. [Silly 1960s sitcom] GILLIGAN’S ISLAND.
  • 67a. [PT 73 sitcom] MCHALE’S NAVY.
  • 106a. [Law show that debuted in 1981] THE PEOPLE’S COURT. One of those rare times I’d prefer the definite article was omitted from the fill and put in the clue (“, with ‘The'”). That’d keep it consistent with all the other theme answers. I’ll assume that there was no other title available with the same letter count as GILLIGAN’S ISLAND. Also, the only themer employing a common noun.
  • 4d. [“Your Show of Shows” offshoot] CAESAR’S HOUR.
  • 16d. [1986 show about a crimefighting illusionist] BLACKE’S MAGIC.
  • 34d. [W.W. II sitcom] HOGAN’S HEROES.
  • 41d. [Seattle-based hospital drama] GREY’S ANATOMY.
  • 47d. [1960s Gene Barry drama] BURKE’S LAW.
  • 70d. [“Carol Burnett Show” spinoff] MAMA’S FAMILY. Clue is missing the definite article.

Good range, sampling programs from essentially all eras of television. Some weren’t familiar to me, but I’ll mark that as personal ignorance. Impressive distribution throughout the grid, too.

Not part of the theme: 83d [“__ Day” (magazine)] WOMAN’S; 11a [Noah’s passengers] TWOS; 42a [Lamb’s dam] EWE; 50a [Odin’s bailiwick] VALHALLA; 72a [Programmer’s creation] CODE; 95a [Mr. Rogers] FRED (of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood); 110a [New Hampshire’s state flower] LILAC; 117a [Dionne Quints’ dad] OLIVA; 53d [Old chap’s declaration] I SAY; 108d [Tackle’s teammate] END.

Programming notes:

  • edip_halideCompletely new to me: 56a [Muslim veil] YASHMAK. Turkish.
  • Simple clue that completely fooled me: 30a [Empty boxes] UNPACK. Was looking for a noun rather than an adjective. Experienced just the opposite with 77a [Court conformity] LEGALISM.
  • 114a [Dickensian clerk] HEEP, more or less duplicates 44d [Resembling (suff.)] -EAN.
  • 106d [Summer-weather stat] THI. Temperature-Humidity Index. Meh.
  • 14d [“Manga” inspiration] SHINTO. Misunderstood the clue to be suggesting an inspiration for the form itself rather than for some of its characters and plots. Also, the quotes in the clue suggest that the original, print version italicized manga, which I don’t think is necessary; it looks especially inapt with quotation marks.

Good puzzle.

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28 Responses to Sunday, February 1, 2015

  1. VB says:


    I rather liked the NYT. Cute theme, the phrases all worked for me, and the rest of the fill felt smooth. Not an amazing puzzle, but a very enjoyable one.

    As to COON, it could have been eliminated entirely by going with REEF/FRAME/MANIS (the last clued either as the things we get at the spa along with pedis or as the partial “No ___ an island,” which would not be terrible as partials go). I like the COEN brothers more than Nicolas ROEG anyway.

    I did struggle with the clue for LEFTEYE. First, it felt a bit “blue car” to me. The whole “one-eyed” thing might make it okay, but it just felt less than great. Worse, I pulled out a deck of cards (American Contract Bridge League standard issue, not some weird fly-by-night deck), and the jack of spades faced the other way! His left eye was there for all to see, and his right eye was missing. I would have much preferred it clued as the late singer Lisa Lopes, even if TLC references require that one be in a fairly narrow age window. No doubt about which eye then, and clearly a single entity. “What OS means in prescriptions” would also be fine. Other possibilities that keep the blue car problem but at least eliminate any potential ambiguity: “Magical prosthetic for Alastor Moody in the Harry Potter films”? “What John Wayne’s patch covered in Rooster Cogburn”? “One of the Six Million Dollar Man’s bionic parts”? (how’s that for dating myself in case TLC didn’t do the job?)

    I emphasize that my harangue on LEFTEYE is small compared to my enjoyment of the puzzle. One of my favorites recently. I thought that FOREIGNTWENTY was particularly clever.

    • sbmanion says:


      Are you sure you weren’t looking at the jack of hearts, which has a left eye but no right eye.? A brief look at Google images does not show any spade jacks with a left eye.

      My all-time favorite card image quiz is this: Which King has no moustache?


      • VB says:

        No, no doubt. Jack of spades. Looking to the left of the card and showing me his left eye. Odd. Maybe the ACBL has some reason for it.

      • Amy Reynaldo says:

        This is VB’s playing card. That sure looks like the jack’s LEFT EYE to me.

        • Brucenm says:

          That’s his left eye. A similar (much more tricky) perceptual test: Look at an overhead fan (slow moving with large vanes), and ask yourself whether it’s turning clockwise or counterclockwise. (Anticlockwise for MAS and a few others)
          :-) Try it — you will be amazed at the confusion and uncertainty, and the perceptual illusion.

          • pannonica says:

            Consider also, Richard Wiseman’s “Q Test“.

            More entertainingly—at least for me—blink your eyes (rapidly, repeatedly) at that ceiling fan for a stroboscopic / old-time-film-wagon-wheel effect.

          • pannonica says:

            Also, is your example a perceptual illusion or a cognitive dilemma?

        • Linda says:

          Yikes. He’s facing the other way on the card in the link I provided. I don’t have a deck of cards handy here or I’d look on them. Not sure why the Jacks face differently.

      • john farmer says:

        “Which King has no moustache?”

        My first guess was King Gillette. What else would a man do with all those razors? But looking him up I see he did have a mustache after all. So Steve must be looking for the King of Hearts. We used to call him the Suicide King (he’s sticking a sword into his head).

        Agree the Jack of Spades shows a left eye in the pic that Amy posted. Agree the Jack of Spades shows a right eye in the link that Linda posted. Seems that everybody’s right. Or wrong. Take your pick.

        I took the Q Test and finished over my Right Eye. So apparently I am a poor liar. But how do you know I didn’t really finish over my Left Eye and am lying (well) about it?

        What do you call a person who begs if not a “beggar”? (That’s actually a real question.) A mendicant? A panhandler? Is he a panhandler only if using a pan? Is she not a beggar if using a tin cup? What do the people who beg call themselves? Do they even care?

        • Amy Reynaldo says:

          I call them homeless (usually) people looking for money. I don’t think the fact that they spend some of their time asking for money justifies labeling them as if that’s their full identity. If we had a better social safety net (e.g., affordable national health care, effective mental health care, housing supports), many of them wouldn’t be on the street and unable to find decent-paying work.

          • Papa John says:

            I’m confused. I might call a homeless person who is begging a beggar, just as I might call a person dancing a dancer. A homeless person may have a job and doesn’t beg. A beggar may have a home, yet begs. Who’s being insulted – the homeless, the beggar, the dancer? None of the above?

            I don’t get it.

        • Papa John says:

          The Q Test didn’t work for me because I wrote a cursive capital Q that looks much like the numeral 2.

        • Linda says:

          There are programs for the homeless that provide them with their own places to live, and then proceed from there. The idea is that once they have stability and a stake in their community, the costs are less to everyone than to leave them homeless and try for change from that standpoint.

          I have a tin cup necklace and a deck of Tarot cards if you need pearls or a reading. My Q is an introvert indicator. What else is new!

  2. Brucenm says:

    Liked the NYT and the LAT, but downgraded Klahn’s WaPo (slightly) for the horrible SW, which included 26d 36a and 38a; and the equally horrible crossing at 1a and 1d, though the guess seemed pretty obvious. But this is the first time in recent memory I’ve give a Klahn less than 4.5.

    I’d much rather talk about the excellent Hammond Innes novels, some of which have been made into movies (e.g. the Wreck of the Mary Deare), and I think a couple others, without checking.

    • Brucenm says:

      Just to insist on being clear, I am NOT the 1* on the Klahn.

    • pannonica says:

      The Wreck of the Mary Deare … read that in my mid-teens, an ’80s paperback reissue. Don’t know any of his others offhand. But yes, that title is very well-known, as these things go.

      • Brucenm says:

        (Having now checked), another of his novels was made into a well-known late 40’s movie called ‘Snowbound’. I think the novel had a different title.

  3. Where’s the Merle Reagle solution today?

  4. Steven harper says:

    Where’s Merl?

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Patience, people! I’ll get to it soon enough. If you are really desperate to check your work, I’m pretty sure you can access the solution at Merl’s website,

      • rrpl says:

        Amy’s missing retro clue for tin cup is the word beggar. which, although she (and I) feel is non PC today, was a real thing. Beggars used tin cups in day’s past.

  5. Papa John says:

    Where is the notion that “beggar” is non-PC coming from? I checked three different online sources and could find nothing indicating that.

    I didn’t find any offense with 32D: COON, either, given the clue was “Garbage collector, informally?” This solver did not see the possible insult. Maybe it’s like the therapist in the old joke who was accused of drawing “dirty pictures” for the inkblot test. Funny thing about dirt – if you look for it, you’ll usually find it.

    This was an awful weekend of puzzling, for me. I’ve made my point, many times, about not enjoying puzzle themes with puns, so today’s NYT was a bust. Hook’s BG offering was simply dull, dull, dull. Who* cares about old TV shows, especially the insipid ones he dredged up? Most of his clues seemed uninspired, as does the theme for the LAT. Whoopee! We’re changing an A for a U. with resultant nonsense fill.

    I don’t usually go off on puzzles like this but, when I complained to my wife about it, she didn’t care. I was hoping to get a more sympathetic ear from you guys. [sigh…]

    *I suppose those who are still reaping royalties from reruns (now known as “marathons” or “encores” in adspeak) care.

  6. doug says:

    Re: Reagle. My first car, a 1954 Ford, had three on the tree (standard shift, 3-speed, on the column). Then in 1967 I got a 1966 Barracuda Formula S, which had FOUR ON THE FLOOR. I loved that car. The car I have now is a six-speed stick, but no one says six on the floor – it just doesn’t have the same ring.

    • Bencoe says:

      FOURONTHEFLOOR also refers to a type of rhythm in popular/dance music where in a 4/4 the bass drum is struck on every beat.

  7. patti says:

    Amy et al-
    I appreciate all the volunteers who post solutions. I can’t believe the gall of some readers. (As they say, you don’t appreciate what you don’t pay for.) Don’t let a few oafs spoil your day. Keep up the good work. Thanks, from a fellow unpaid blogger at a non-profit website.

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