Thursday, April 2, 2015

NYT 4:46 (Amy) 
Fireball 8:07 (Amy) 
LAT n/a (Gareth) 
CS 12:14 (Ade) 
BEQ 6:56 (Ben) 

Joe Krozel and Timothy Polin’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 4 2 15, no 0402

NY Times crossword solution, 4 2 15, no 0402

I didn’t pay attention to the theme so I had one incorrect square where a crossing could go two ways. 25a. [Favorable situation for sluggers], MEN ON? I had MAN ON. Neither one feels like a crosswordy phrase. Isn’t it customary to precede MEN ON with a number?

The black squares form misshapen letters in a mishmash of sizes, T, H, U, and S. Four anagrams of those letters serve as hidden clues:

  • 1a. [One arrangement of the letters in the grid], CABANAS. Huts.
  • 21a. [Another arrangement of the letters in the grid], SEAL. Shut.
  • 8d. [Another arrangement of the letters in the grid], REAR. Tush.
  • 26d. [Another arrangement of the letters in the grid], ERGO. Thus.

Neat concept, though the T that’s a quarter the size of the S is an odd look. The grid itself looks bonkers as well—a wall of 15s on the right, a 15/14/12 chunk in the middle, lots of half-boxed-off rooms.

Favorite fill: BLEEP OUT, SPINAL TAP, Letterman’s STUPID PET TRICKS, REESE’S PIECES (just remembered I have another package of those on my desk! They’re camouflaged by the Walgreens bag and I forgot I put them there before ACPT), and NATIONAL PASTIME. Not sure about SEASONED TO TASTE (without the -ED, I would love it).

Crosswordese I’ve not seen in ages: 4d. [Tropical palm], ARECA. Partial I don’t think I’ve ever seen, in crosswords or in life: 48a. [___ chief (mag. V.I.P.)], ED IN. We always used EIC when shortening editor in chief. Then there’s PAUPERED, 27d. [Brought to financial ruin]. Not familiar with that as a verb, so I checked all the dictionaries on “Sorry, no dictionaries indexed in the selected category contain the word paupered.” That is not a good sign at all. Also not keen on dull OSSA and ALEE, partials I ME and I TELL (two I’s!) and A TO, plural COCAS, hissy cat’s SSS, and OSSA.

3.75 stars from me. The Scowl-o-Meter went off a few too many times for the showy stuff to rate a 4+.

Trip Payne’s Fireball crossword, “Cuckoo Crossword”

Fireball crossword solution, 4 2 15 "Cuckoo Crossword" by Trip Payne

Fireball crossword solution, 4 2 15 “Cuckoo Crossword” by Trip Payne

I was so busy today, I didn’t even look at Peter’s Fireball email till tonight. Oh! April Fools Day at Fireball headquarters means a “Something Different” puzzle from Trip, a “Wacky Weekend Warrior.” I love these! Wide-open grid with mostly goofball fill that is not remotely legit.

Starting with the clues for long answers is a fool’s errand. You find a short, straightforward clue and there’s your foothold. I got the IPOD at 16a and that D, of course, gave me RAMADA-ISH for 1d. [Sort of like a particular hotel chain].

Here are the bits I enjoyed most in this fun 52-worder:

  • 45a. [Best-selling song about the personal appeal of Betty and Vanna], WHITE CHARISMAS. Nice play on “White Christmas”!
  • 36a. [Start of a subject line about a boxer], RE: ALI.
  • 3d. [Melodramatic way of expressing weariness], I TIRE. Some of us joked for years after some crossword clued I GO as if it were a stand-alone thing people say when it’s their turn in a game. I’m adding I TIRE to my lexicon.
  • 6d. [“Kukla’s friend is sooooo lame,” for example], OLLIE JAB. You can’t go wrong with a Kukla reference, people.
  • 22d. [Tax pro who shares workspace with a mechanic], GARAGE CPA. This is analogous to Bob Odenkirk’s character on Better Call Saul, a NAIL SALON CRIMINAL LAWYER.
  • 25d. [Eastern European republic whose capital is Zagreb and others], CROATIAS. You can never have too many.
  • 26d. [Without a big fuss], ADO-LESS. ADO is in so damn many crosswords. I wish more were ADO-less.
  • 35d. [“What I’m about to say doesn’t follow logically at all …”], UN-ERGO. Can we make this a thing?
  • 44d. [“There’s no sequel indicator so convenient ___”], AS II. Less convenient but more flavorful is ELECTRIC BOOGALOO.

Five stars. I wish April Fools Day came every month.

Gareth Bain’s LA Times crossword – Gareth Bain’s summary

LA Times 150402

LA Times

Sorry, I couldn’t find anyone willing to blog this for me, so here I am.

A puzzle conceived spending time looking for interesting sets of anagrams. Yes, these six letters are all 1-pointers, but I thought a theme of five 6-letter anagrams is quite interesting. The phrases themselves are rather vanilla though, except the central THEPOTATOEATERS. I knew the entry HAPPYEASTER would also pique Rich Norris’ interest as a timely answer.

Theme answers:

    • [Holy woman sculpted by Bernini], SAINTTERESA
    • [It may call for lateral thinking], BRAINTEASER
    • [Van Gogh painting depicting peasants], THEPOTATOEATERS
    • [Many a sofa], THREESEATER
    • [Words spoken often this time of year, one of which is anagrammed four times in this puzzle], HAPPYEASTER

The puzzle shows the typical signs of heavy “theme-age”. There is probably little outside the theme that was particularly exciting. The corners are 3×6, but even so. There are also some ugly spots, but hopefully spread widely enough not to cause too much anguish.

Here’s some Nick Cave to listen to.


Sarah Keller’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Where the h…?”—Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 04.02.15: "Where the h...?"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 04.02.15: “Where the h…?”

Good morning, everyone! Hope you all made out ok after April Fool’s Day, and that you weren’t on the receiving end of some devious pranks. If so, then I guess you had it coming, huh?!?

Today’s crossword is brought to us by Ms. Sarah Keller, and in it, each of the four theme answers are puns created by removing the beginning “h” from the beginning of one of the words in those original terms. Interestingly enough, a couple of the terms from which the puns are derived from aren’t all too common at all, in terms of its usage…well, unless you regularly frequent beauty parlors or shady restaurants.

  • FROSTED AIR (17A: [Low windchill factor?]) – From “frosted hair.”
  • EATING PLANT (30A: [Venus flytrap?]) – From “heating plant.”
  • STACKED EELS (48A: [Sushi bar pile?]) – From “stacked heels.”
  • ASH SLINGER (65A: [Careless smoker?]) – From “hash slinger.”

For some reason, ANAT didn’t come to my mind at all when reading the clue, though, now thinking about it, it should have been pretty obvious (7D: [Art school subj.]). That was pretty important because I was not too sure of the second part of frosted hair.  Had the frosted part down, but then was like, “frosted what?” But hair frosting popped in my head, and all I had to do was invert what I had I’m my mind to get the second part of that theme. Are there any other famous people with the first name spelling of AIMEE outside of Anouk and Mann (38A: [“A Man and a Woman” star Anouk])? I think this is the first time I have seen/heard the term ITUNE, without the ‘s’ at the end (31D: [Downloaded ditty]). Underneath “iTune,” there’s the “missing S,” and it starts the word SHAD – albeit there’s a black square separating them (59D: [A source of roe]). Now that’s what I call a broken connection while trying to download a music file!

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: ELIE (11D: [“Night” author Wiesel]) – Here’s a story of perseverance and triumph. Former NBA player and current assistant coach Mario ELIE is a three-time NBA champion whose career didn’t start so glamorously. After being picked 160th out of 162 players in the 1986 NBA Draft, Elie played professionally in Ireland, Portugal and Argentina, as well as lower leagues in the US before finally making his NBA debut in 1990. Elie became a key role player and sharpshooter on the Houston Rockets’ back-to-back title teams of 1994 and 1995, as well as the San Antonio Spurs’ championship team in 1999.

TGIF is tomorrow! Have a great day, everyone!

Take care!


Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website crossword – “He is Risen” — Ben’s Review

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 12.29.36 AM

How has it already almost been a week since the ACPT?  Besides having my best tournament, competitively, it was nice to connect with people I only get to see a few times a year for puzzle things.

Have you signed up for BEQ’s Marching Bands Kickstarter?  You should sign up for BEQ’s Marching Bands Kickstarter.  He’s a good dude and his Marching Bands are routinely one of my favorite variety puzzles to solve.  He’s already hit his goal, but if we make the stretch goal, even more puzzles can be on their way to your inbox.

Speaking of BEQ puzzles, let’s get to talking about this week’s Thursday puzzle, “He is Risen”.  I liked this one a lot, and not only because I had the trick to this one figured out from the title.  The theme entries in this puzzle all have a “HE” that’s risen from the appropriate phrase and been added to the entry that appears above it

  • 20A: Tabby perched atop an IRS return? – C[HE]AT ON ONE’S TAXES
  • 35A: Cassette emporium?  – PLANET OF T[HE]APES
  • 51A: Paranoid Labour opponent? – CONSPIRACY T[HE]ORY

Lots of fresh-feeling fill in this puzzle – my time felt pretty fast (which I’m counting entirely as a post-ACPT related thing) ben though I wasn’t feeling like I was dealing with the standard crosswordese.  AERIESPIE PAN, ARIANA (Grande, although I’ve subbed the Hozier cover of “Problem” below), and SEXTON were particular favorites on the crosses, while the downs had PITA CHIP, ALOHA OE, and LYE SOAPS (which I initially tried to make BLEACHES).

The only parts of the puzzle that managed to slip me up this week were from my own brain – overall, this was a pretty clean solve.  Well done, Brendan!

4/5 stars

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17 Responses to Thursday, April 2, 2015

  1. EB says:

    I like NPR as much as the next guy, but that RONAS/OSSA crossing is pretty tricky.

  2. Avg Solvr says:

    Liked the creative design and theme of the NYT but wasn’t crazy about the fill.

  3. bananarchy says:

    I could not unsee this BEQ grid when I saw the NYT:

  4. Howard B says:

    NY Times was a fun concept, and the fill probably minimized the scowling as best as possible. Found it fun to work through, despite the blemishes already noted by our illustrious blogger-in-chief.

    MEN ON does work on its own in a baseball context; used in shorthand color commentary: (“He’s batting only .234 with the bases empty, but over .300 with MEN ON”).
    The ambiguity of the clue re: MEN/MAN made things tougher there.

  5. Ethan Friedman says:

    Huh, PAUPERED felt totally natural to me. As did MEN ON, which is used all the time in baseball broadcasts.

    With you 100% however on “ED IN chief” which is ugly and something I’ve never seen, after having worked at numerous places with editors-in-chief.

  6. Gary R says:

    I share Amy’s reaction to PAUPERED. I couldn’t find pauper as a verb in any of the dictionaries I looked at, either. AHD and Merriam-Webster however, both listed “pauperize,” and AHD had “pauperization.” I particularly like that last one – the nouning of the verbing of a noun. Any votes for pauperizationing?

    • pannonica says:

      Depauperate is an adjective that’s commonplace in discussing geographical populations and the like. At least in my experience.

  7. Martin says:

    Haha on the BEQ: that layout occurred to me too. But if ya snooze ya lose. And I snoozed ;(


  8. Pete Muller says:

    Ditto on the Wacky Weekend Warrior…
    Always a blast to solve – thanks Trip & Peter!

    • Howard B says:

      Ditto the ditto, Trip / Peter!
      1-Across is even insane compared to others of this type. Loved it!

  9. lemonade714 says:

    Gareth’s puzzle was very entertaining and the 6 anagrams are all real words with one that coincides with the holiday week : perfect. As mentioned elsewhere, the ARARAT RATATAT combination was way cool, VENEER and VOTE NO also fun

    • Avg Solvr says:

      Liked it as well.

    • Margaret says:

      I enjoyed the LAT, especially the fact that the anagrams were real words (as @lemonade714 points out.) I put in THE WEB before THE NET but that was easily fixed. My only real issue was the sweet Spanish wine: I’ve never heard of it, so I couldn’t be positive it was MALAGA rather than HALAGA. I considered that high pts. could be HTS rather than MTS, then decided heights was too close kin to high.

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