Thursday, February 12, 2015

NYT 6:16 (Amy) 
LAT 7:20 (Gareth, paper) 
CS 26:33 (Ade) 
BEQ 7:08 (Ben) 
Fireball untimed (Amy) 

Jacob Stulberg’s Fireball crossword

Fireball crossword solution, 2 12 15 "Coined Phrases"

Fireball crossword solution, 2 12 15 “Coined Phrases”

The theme contains three phrases with a DIME rebus chunk, and the phrases take a 90° turn to TURN ON A DIME. We’ve got SE{DIME}NTARY ROCKS, SPEECH IMPE{DIME}NT, and RU{DIME}NTARY STATE. The last of the three feels a hair not-a-lexical-chunkish to me.

Five things:

  • Didn’t know 10d. [Wu-Tang Clan member with the solo album “Mr. Xcitement”]. UGOD? Google shows it’s hyphenated and short for “Universal God.”
  • 51a. [Actress Long of “Baadasssss!”] really just needed the first two words; NIA is the only famous 3-letter Long actress. But it’s fun to include that title.
  • 36d. [Where Zeus trapped the monster Typhon], MT. ETNA. Well! Did not know that. A fresh ETNA clue for us.
  • 1d. [Stiff], *ORP**? I tried TORPID but it turned out to be CORPSE.
  • 54a. [He had visions of a plumb line and a basket of fruit], AMOS. Presuming this is a biblical reference, but for all I know it’s from the old “Amos and Andy” radio show.

Don’t love INURN and TRA but nothing else alienated me. Like PINCH ME, FEYNMAN, THE BIRDS, SOFT SELL, FLYLEAF, and TAMPAX (who knew they produced bandages and surgical dressings in WWII??) a lot. 4.2 stars from me.

Jules Markey’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 2 12 15, no. 0214

NY Times crossword solution, 2 12 15, no. 0214

Rebus themes abound! CORNERSTONE is in the center, and each corner of the grid has a {STONE} rebus square. STONEWALLS meets STONEHENGE in the 1a/1d corner. Then GEMSTONE/STONEMASON, TOUCHSTONE/STONE AGE, and GRINDSTONE/RHINESTONE. The theme is further fleshed out with the often-relevant INSCRIPTION on a cornerstone and the less commonly found TIME CAPSULE.

Before I figured out the rebus theme, I blithely filled in BLUE for 10a: [Turquoise, e.g.]. It worked with BALL but nothing else (supposed to be GALA crossing GEM{STONE}).

Five more bits:

  • 24a. [Cable channel that has “Idiotest,” for short], GSN. The name is a squishing of Idiot + Test, and not Idiot + the -est suffix. My colleague Trip works there.
  • 3d. [Neighbor of Ventnor on a Monopoly board], ATLANTIC. I filled in ILLINOIS. It’s been so long since I played that woeful, endless game, I muddled my red and yellow properties.
  • 44d. [Adriatic peninsula shared by Italy, Slovenia and Croatia], ISTRIA. Call me crazy, but I filled that in off pretty much just the first letter. Would be cooler if it were Italy, Slovenia, and Troatia as a mnemonic.
  • 25d. [Certain dragster], NITRO CAR. That’s a thing? I knew drag racing sorts of cars use nitro boosts.
  • 39d. [Means of communication using dots and dashes], EMOTICON. We all thought of Morse code, right? Clever clue!

Least favorite fill: LIENOR, SAMI, OSA, NEAP. Not too many in this list.

4.19 stars from me. I like the theme a little better than the Fireball, but the Fireball edged out the NYT with a little more colorful fill.

Bob Klahn’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Land of Lincoln”—Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 02.12.15: "Land of Lincoln"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 02.12.15: “Land of Lincoln”

Good morning, all! Hope you all are doing well, and also, that you were able to tame today’s crossword puzzle, offered up to us by Mr. Bob Klahn. The theme is actually pretty straightforward, as each of the three theme answers start with words that also can come immediately after the word “Lincoln.” It took a while for me to see it however, as I explain why that’s the case in the answer to the first theme clue.

  • PENNY WHISTLE (20A: [Six-holed fipple flute heard in much Celtic music]) – Of course, my first thought was tin whistle, only for me to come off of that when the letters didn’t fit. Only got the “penny” part when I got the other two theme answers first and saw that the first words follow “Lincoln.” Never heard of it as a penny whistle. Is that strange?
  • CONTINENTAL ARMY (36A: [Revolutionary group])
  • TUNNEL VISION (52A: [Insular outlook])

I actually didn’t have a stressful time/struggle in trying to solve this puzzle, despite the tortoise-like pace I did this puzzle in. For the first time I can remember in a Klahn puzzle, I actually filled in most of the Northwest to start off the grid, with CUSPID (1D: [Vampire fang, traditionally]) and UPROAR opening things up nicely (14A: [Pandemonium]). I knew I was in trouble when I saw the clue for DALE EVANS, as I thought to myself, “What could Buttermilk be (Quarter horse), and why the *%$# is Buttermilk capitalized?” (34D: [She was often on Buttermilk]). Definitely not well-versed in Roy Rogers as much as I should be, huh? This was a pretty sports-heavy puzzle, and thank goodness for that! One the right side of the grid alone, there was the well-clued SCREEN PASS (10D: [Blitz counter]), the even-more clever clue to STEFFI (Graf), Agassi’s tennis-great wife (24A: [Andre’s off-court match]), and TEES OFF (43A: [Goes for a drive]). And below “tees off” was MAE, Madonna’s best non-Evita acting role…unless you preferred her as Breathless Mahoney/The Blank on Dick Tracy more (50A: [Madonna’s role in “A League of Their Own”]). On, another day, screen pass would be the “sports…smarter” moment, the football play in which an offense intentionally lets pass rushers go towards the quarterback, only for the QB to throw a short pass over the onrushing defenders’ heads, usually creating acres of running room. But the clue that’s in the spotlight below is a show that Erik Agard, who creates weekly puzzles on his crossword website Glutton for Pun, worked at as an intern a couple of summers ago.

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: HORN (4D: [“Around the ____” (weekday ESPN roundtable show since 2002)]) – This was the first answer I filled in today, and there’s not too much to say about the show since it was explained fairly thoroughly in its clue. The term “around the HORN” is derived from the process of infielders in baseball throwing ball “around the horn” after an out is recorded on the infield while no runners are on base, with the third baseman throwing the ball to the second baseman, who then throws it to the shortstop. A double-play that goes from the third baseman to the second baseman to the first baseman (5-4-3 if you’re scoring at home) is also called an “around the horn” double play. (Yes, there have been “around the horn” triple plays pulled off in the past.)

It’s TGIF tomorrow! Have a good rest of your Thursday!

Take care!


Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website crossword – “Let’s Get Together” — Ben’s Review

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 9.15.10 PM
Valentine’s Day is coming this Saturday, and BEQ’s given us the perfect theme puzzle as we head into the weekend.  As 59A points out, this one’s all about MAKING LOVE, with themed across clues taking the LOs and down clues taking the VEs (those are the hearts in my grid):

  • 17A: “Festical whose first headliner was Jane’s Addiction” – LOLLAPAZOOLA (not to be confused with Lollapuzzoola.  That’s in August and has no headliners yet)
    1D: “Queen’s home” – HIVE
    6D: “Assorted” – SEVERAL
  • 29A: “Making no sense” – FULL OF BALONEY
    : “Classic pizza order” – VEGGIE
    31D: “Show room?” – VENUE
  • 45A: “Sealed, as a deal” – CLOSED THE LOOP
    46D: “Sprint competitor” – VERIZON
    48D: “Hitchcock classic that takes place in San Francisco” – VERTIGO

Figuring out what was going on with the rebus squares took me a little longer than I’d care to admit (I had the LO part nailed, but couldn’t figure out why it didn’t work with the downs, and that was even after getting 59A right away), and realizing each across had two rebus squares took a little longer still.  That said, I really liked this puzzle – the twist with the rebus squares made this more than just a standard Valentine’s puzzle, and some other fun fill along the way (23A‘s CRAYOLA and 44D‘s SPANGLY pop to mind) made this a challenging solve, but a fun one.

4/5 stars

Jeffrey Wechsler’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s review

LA Times 150212

LA Times

I assume Rich has resolved his issues with circles in several of his client papers, because otherwise this theme will be difficult to suss. There are 7 TOWNSQUARES – 4 2×2, 3 3×3 – 1 – where circles spelling out towns (actually, cities). We get 4 European (PISA, FLORENCE, OSLO and BUDAPEST) 2 South American (LIMA & BRASILIA) and 1 North American (RENO) “town”, with Africa, Asia and Oceania ignored entirely. We also get 4 capitals and 5 not.

Steve MillerQuite a few names out of my wheelhouse today: [Lehrer partner], MACNEIL (seems to have nothing to do with singer Tom, but rather US news) ; [Broadway songwriting team __ and Ebb], KANDER; [Composer Schoenberg], ARNOLD – didn’t know he had a first name…; [Android media console brand], QUBI. There are several more that would certainly be considered as crossword-esey. A lot of this is down to the nature of the theme. Except QUBI – that’s there to provide freshness and to avoid QEII…

3 Stars

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17 Responses to Thursday, February 12, 2015

  1. Martin says:

    Clever NYT tonight!

    As an aside: I grew up less than 60 miles from Stonehenge, and was lucky enough to actually wander through the stones and touch/climb/sit on them. Needless to say this was back in the late ’60s, a decade or so before the authorities decided that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to let me and my other 9 year old friends loose on a world heritage site with pocket knives and other destructive tools!

    Fun puzzle!


  2. ArtLvr says:

    I can’t wait for someone to explain why Klahn’s puzzle is titled “Land of Lincoln”…

  3. Martin says:

    Re Bob Klahn’s WP puzzle:

    Try putting “Lincoln” before the first words of each of long Across answers and see what you get ;)

    -MAS (a member of the CS gang)



  4. CY Hollander says:

    I felt the SAMI/SIMI crossing in the NYT was a bit unfair: two proper nouns with no easy way to make an educated guess if you didn’t happen to know them. Hard to think of a good fix, though. Something along the lines of “___-AM (noted despiser of green eggs)” might have worked, but I expect that lots of people would disdain it as a partial.

  5. huda says:

    New format for the Fiend or is it just my laptop going green?

    I really liked the NYT. Took a bit to tumble to the theme but I thought it worked very well—

    WINESAP sounds interesting! I don’t know if I’ve ever eaten one.

    Just this week, I met a scientist who was born and raised in Croatia. I was thinking that I’d like to know more about that part of the world, actually visit. Those ISTRIA beaches look great. There’s something about the Mediterranean colors that makes me happy just to look at. I guess a truer blue that oceans?

    I always appreciate a puzzle that makes me think about new places and things, without being too obscure.

    • huda says:

      weird… it’s back to it’s orange self!

      • Matt says:

        Maybe your browser loaded the mobile site.

      • Papa John says:

        I ran into the same thing, this morning. It’s happened before.

        • Avg Solvr says:

          The site didn’t seem to be loading fresh for me yesterday, with Tuesday at the top of the homepage, until I cleared my cache and flushed my dns, though I’m not sure the second step was necessary. Didn’t seem to have a problem with other sites. I’ve had the blue mobile glitch a few times before but not in a while.

          • Evad says:

            Our webhost requires we use a caching plugin for performance reasons, and it sometimes caches the mobile page for non-mobile users. The short-term solution is just to clear the cache manually (which I’ve done).

    • Bencoe says:

      I spent some time in ISTRIA a few years ago and really loved it. Beaches, big hills, old cities. Good people and good food.

    • Zulema says:

      Winesaps were ubiquitous when I was living in Northern California. They were very good eating apples. That valley in California always turns out to be SIMI, and SAMI (the language) is now an official minority language in Sweden.

  6. Norm says:

    Totally missed the Lincoln penny/Continental/Tunnel connection. I thought Klahn was going for “IL” sounds, and only “whistle” worked — for me, at least, since “Continental” and “tunnel” are more “ul/el” the way I pronounce them.

  7. pannonica says:

    BEQ: Reminded me of the Robert Indiana piece.

    CS:“Only got the ‘penny’ part when I got the other two theme answers first and saw that the first words follow ‘Lincoln.'”

    So, you could say that that’s when the penny dropped?

  8. Jonesy says:

    Maybe I’m missing a joke but it looks like in the BEQ writeup the lollapuzzoola comment got in the way of the correctly spelled LOLLAPALOOZA (though it’s correct in the grid)

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