Wednesday, March 25, 2015

AV Club 7:19 (Amy) 
NYT 4:38 (Amy) 
LAT tk (Gareth, paper) 
CS 11:39 (Ade) 

Jacob Stulberg’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 3 25 15, no 0325

NY Times crossword solution, 3 25 15, no 0325

The painting alluded to in this puzzle recently appeared on this blog. NUDE DESCENDING A STAIRCASE NO. 2 occupies the zig-zagging circled squares that traverse this grid. Unlike the old-fashioned “stepwise quote” themes, the Across and Down chunks occupy parts of longer words or serve as distinct answers on their own. Not that all of those answers are great ones—the three least familiar entries are 2d. [Brazilian people], TUPI; 39d. [Winter setting for P.E.I.], AST (Atlantic Standard Time); and 54a. [Opposite of debits: Abbr.], CRS (credits, I assume).

The painting theme is fleshed out with these:

  • 12d. [Event at which the work spelled out by the circled letters was first exhibited in America], ARMORY SHOW.
  • 28d. [Like the work spelled out by the circled letters], AVANT GARDE.

I wasn’t fond of the fill overall, though KNEE-DEEP and ENAMORED and BESMIRCHED are nifty words. Too much EEN UNPEN ASIM PCT CRS TVA ONEON AST ENIAC EDDAS EBB TSOS for my taste.

Three more things:

  • 5d. [Like candles that might remind one of the beach], SEA-SCENTED. Is that actually a thing?
  • 45a. [“Thou ___ aloft full-dazzling!”: Whitman], ORB. I assume Whitman was getting mooned by a pale person of great posterior rotundity.
  • 61a. [Film whose sequel is subtitled “The Sequel”], AIRPLANE. I forgot this bit of trivia despite almost certainly having seen that movie the year it came out.

3.4 stars from me.

David Steinberg’s American Values Club crossword, “Inside Dope”



Various terms for marijuana are squeezed into rebus squares because of the term HOTBOXING, 64a. [Getting high in an enclosed space, and what’s literally depicted five times in this puzzle?]. I did not know that term. My only use of “hotbox” pertained to visiting my grandma’s apartment where the temperature was always about 80° and Grandma was a bit het up, perhaps owing to her lifetime lack of marijuana exposure.

  • 16a. [Poetry volume that caused Walt Whitman to lose his job at the Department of the Interior], LEAVES OF {GRASS} / 8d. [TeenNick show that Drake was in before he became Drake, casually], DE{GRASS}I. True confession: I was thinking of the Drake of Drake & Josh and not rapper Drake.
  • 30a. [Thing that’s closed off and immature in bed?], FLOWER {BUD} / 10d. [They’re tight], BOSOM {BUD}DIES.
  • 39a. [Mythical rainbow prize], {POT} OF GOLD / 17d. [Shipment center], ENTRE{POT}. The pot of gold helped me grasp the rebus concept here, but ENTREPOT sure is not a common word.
  • 48a. [Place to keep thyme], {HERB} GARDEN / 29d. [Institution known for making inaccurate guesses], WEAT{HER B}UREAU. Is this some specific agency? National Weather Service, NOAA … “weather bureau” isn’t ringing a bell.
  • 66a. [Ceremonial serving tray on wheels], {TEA}CART / 55d. [Try to sink one’s teeth into], BI{TE A}T. BITE fit, which led me to put ERGO at 69a and slowed down the development of that corner.

This puzzle may mark the moment when David went from “that nice high school boy who’s fabulous at making crosswords” to “another of the collegiate hipster indie puzzlemakers.”

Four more things:

  • 53a. [Important figure in metal], DEVIL. Yes, he was the bassist for Black Sabbath.
  • 3d. [Utah city that’s not predominantly Mormon], MOAB. Interesting mote of geotrivia. I wonder how many Utah towns are not majority Mormon.
  • 12d. [Crosswordese word, with or without its first letter], STET (see also TET).
  • 52d. [Language that gives us “cookie”], DUTCH. Thank you, fine Nederlanders.

Four stars from me.

Randolph Ross’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Fractured French”—Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 03.25.15: "Fractured French"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 03.25.15: “Fractured French”

Good morning, all! Hope everyone is doing great on this Hump Day! Today’s crossword, brought to us by Mr. Randolph Ross, makes puns out of frequently used French expressions, creating new, zany expressions. How about this one: “All hail the Montreal Canadiens goaltending legend?”

“Vive le (Patrick) Roy!”

  • BONE APPETIT (17A: [“Enjoy your dinner, Fido”]) – From “bon appétit.”
  • OAR REVOIR (24A: [“So long, paddle”]) – From “au revoir.”
  • OH DE COLOGNE (32A: [“That perfume is too strong”]) – From “eau de cologne.”
  • C’EST LA FEE (44A: [“That’s my price”]) – From “c’est la vie.”
  • COUP DE GRASS (51A: [“Nice win at Wimbledon”]) – From “coup de grâce.” Nice one!

I know some of you sports fans will have an issue with HUP (6D: [Quarterback’s call]), but read this article by Ben Zimmer about the evolution of quarterback cadence to see where “hup” came from and why that answer is (somewhat) acceptable. With that said (and read), no quarterback says “hup” these days, including this former high school signal caller. The Southeast was an absolute cluster**** for me, and took a good while to slay that dragon down there. If it wasn’t for its crossings, TONIO (47A: [“Pagliacci” role]) and GOOBER were going to be really tough to get (49A: [Southern peanut]). Again, thank goodness for a sports misdirection with ON BASE to get me out of a jam (41D: [At first, perhaps]). Just recently, while ordering pizza from my favorite pizza place, I put my knowledge of saying numbers in Italian into use, as the owner, who’s of Italian descent, asked for my phone number. SETTE does not appear at all on my phone number, though I wish that was the cost of my last order (10D: [Otto follows it]). It was more like quattordici!

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: LACROSSE (11D: [Game with sticks]) – Which school is currently – and unanimously – ranked No. 1 in the college lacrosse poll?!?! That would be my alma mater, Syracuse University, who’s currently 7-0 and kicking butt while taking names. This Saturday, the Orange(men) take on the No. 2 team in the country, Notre Dame, in South Bend.

Thank you for your time, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

Take care!


Carol Lachance’s Los Angeles Times crossword

LA Times 150325

LA Times

Since we’re (and by we I mean me) going into autumn, today’s puzzle is about SPRINGCLEANING. I’m no expert on the subject, but isn’t the focus on chucking out accumulated junk? The puzzle suggests it will be done with WATER, SOAP, a RAG, and a BUCKET. Google suggests it is used to describe more general thorough cleaning. Who knew? In any case, there’s a hole in my bucket…

Theme answers:

  • [Like some watches], WATERRESISTANT. “Proof” seems to be a no-no now.
  • [Bath floater], SOAPBUBBLE.
  • [Patchwork plaything], RAGDOLL.
  • [Running a marathon may be on it], BUCKETLIST.
  • [Project suggested by the starts of 16-, 22-, 35- and 47-Across], SPRINGCLEANING

The 14-letter revealer has forced the unusual grid arrangement: 1×3 blocks in the top-right and bottom-left corners, and four generally big and oddly-shaped corners too.

Interesting answers:

  • [Private school student], PREPPIE
  • [River through Toledo], MAUMEE. But not very inferrable for those not up on difficult US river names.
  • [Golfer Sorenstam…], ANNIKA. Long clue!

3.5 Stars

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12 Responses to Wednesday, March 25, 2015

  1. David Halbstein says:

    Does anyone else find it unusual that the artist was not mentioned in this puzzle? Seemed odd to me. Also the inclusion of the “2” at the end threw off the symmetry. I’m not a pro like the rest of you guys, but it seems unusual to have a single number in a puzzle, unmatched anywhere else. In the completed grid you post here you use the number “2”, but I had to spell it out in Across Lite to show that I had a correct solution.

  2. Martin says:

    David said:

    ” … it seems unusual to have a single number in a puzzle, unmatched anywhere else.”

    It is, but this type of one-off mini-gimmick (for want of a better description) was more common (in my experience) in the so-called “New Wave” GAMES/4 Star Puzzler crosswords of the ’80s.


  3. Huda says:

    This puzzle was like the Painting it references. Interesting, unexpected and not to everyone’s taste. I liked it quite a bit although I definitely didn’t like some of the fill. Loved the number 2 !

  4. Byron says:

    Poor EBB. On the BESMIRCHED list with CRS and ASIM, while ORB gets off smirch-free. (Not that I have a problem with ORB, either.)

  5. Chris King says:

    “another of the collegiate hipster indie puzzlemakers.”

    One of us, one of us, one of us….

  6. Art Shapiro says:

    I thought the NYT was delightful, especially given it was only a Wednesday. I would have hoped that AcrossLite would accept the numeral “2” as a valid entry, but T or TWO was needed to get Mr. Stub.


  7. Martin says:

    Collegiate hipsters? I dunno about Chicago, but in BC pot usage is by no means restricted to the so-called college generation, let alone hipsters… or so I’m told ;)


  8. Avg Solvr says:

    Liked the design of the NYT.

  9. Gareth says:

    Enjoyed seeing TUPI, enjoyed the off-beat theme, even if it made for an unbalanced grid – restricted middle and open corners. I found the mostly themeless bottom left almost impossible to penetrate – it took as much time to solve as the entire rest of the puzzle! How did you all find your way in? AVANTGARDE/AVIAN/TVA then what? Very tough clues, especially for AIRPLANE (film whose sequel is The Sequel, okay then.) I toyed with CANOE, but it looked wrong.

    • Lois says:

      I completed it, but it took forever. Unlike you, I found the whole puzzle difficult. Regarding that corner, I guessed CANOE from the “OE.” Luckily I had a long subway ride, two ways, with a play in the middle, and I was able to figure out that corner on the way home. Finally got STARK. Didn’t really remember AIRPLANE based on this particular clue, but I got it finally. Had POT instead of PIE, but when I got RADIATOR I went through the alphabet for PI_ and was able to stop early with PIE. I had TEA green for a while instead of PEA green above that corner, but the unusual SEA-SCENTED showed me that the “T” was wrong, because “UNTE_” didn’t seem right.

    • Gary R says:

      For me, after AVANT GARDE and AVIAN, it was PCT, which gave me CANOE and then PLATE. That gave me AIRPLANE but, like Lois, I stuck with Pot for a while at 62-D before I spotted RADIATOR.

      I got the theme after my first two answers in the grid – ANO and OD’ED, and after that, everything along that NW-SE diagonal was pretty easy. The off corners both took some time.

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