Thursday, April 9, 2015

NYT 7:46 (Amy) 
LAT 3:43 (Gareth) 
CS 9:24 (Ade) 
BEQ 8:36 (Ben) 

This week’s Fireball comes out on Friday.

Jacob Stulberg’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 4 9 15, no 0409

NY Times crossword solution, 4 9 15, no 0409

This 16×15 puzzle has a “Who’s on First” theme with two-way rebus squares:

  • 23a. [One of Aesop’s fables], THE BOY {WHO} CRIED WOLF. The {WHO} square is a {FIRST} base square in the crossing, 5d. [How most babies come out], HEAD {FIRST}. Now, I knew this had to be a rebus puzzle of some sort, because 5d had to be VAGINALLY.
  • 38a. [Lead-in to some surprising news], “GUESS {WHAT}?” crosses 22d. [Tiny adjustment to an atomic clock], LEAP {SECOND}.
  • 46a. [“Well, obviously”], “TELL ME SOMETHING {I DON’T KNOW}” crosses 52d. [Subway power source], {THIRD} RAIL. And getting to third base brings us full circle back to VAGINALLY. Nobody’s getting to home in this puzzle.
  • 63a. [Contents of three squares in this puzzle, per an old comedy routine], BASES.

It took me a while to get started on this puzzle because the clues were, if you ask me, way harder than they needed to be for a Thursday puzzle. Three question-marked clues and the extremely oblique [In] and the nonspecific, blah [Citation abbr.] were all packed into the northwest corner in a most unwelcoming way. The fill was difficult overall, too. Beyond Thursday-level material. If the fill is tough, the clues should be a little easier, especially when the sneak attack of a two-way rebus is involved. I like the theme, but it was ill-served by being packed into quicksand like this.

Five more things:

  • 34a. [Edit], BLUE-PENCIL. I like the entry. I wonder if proofreaders are still using blue pencils on printed proofs. Note the duplication with 13d. [Dict. versions], EDS, or editions.
  • 44a. [Prefix with science], OMNI. Tricky one because the “science” portion changes pronunciation dramatically when that prefix is tacked on.
  • 65a. [For whom David played the harp], SAUL. No idea what sort of bible story this refers to; doesn’t ring a bell. But it does remind me that I’m behind on watching Better Call Saul.
  • 7d. [White House chief of staff after Rahm Emanuel], PETE ROUSE. Blanked on the name entirely. Could only think of White House photog Pete Souza. Also, I voted against Rahm to no avail.
  • 15d. [Frank ___, two-time Best Director Oscar winner], LLOYD. Who?? Never heard of him.
  • 45d. [General transportation?], STEED. Wait, are today’s generals riding horses? What? See what I mean about the clues in this puzzle? They are just coming out of left field.
  • 49d. [Clacton-on-Sea’s county], ESSEX. You know what? Don’t even try to make counties-in-foreign-countries clues more challenging by dropping in an obscure town name. You will just irk the solver. French departments, Brazilian states, Russian oblasts—just … no.
  • 35d. [Roman soldier], LEGIONARY. At least the clue is straightforward—it’s just the answer that’s difficult.

And honestly, I like tough puzzles. Give me a Saturday NYT that’s harder than this, and I’ll wrestle that sucker to the ground. But that level of toughness is out of place in a Thursday puzzle.

3.25 stars from me. Neat theme, poorly served by its surroundings.

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website crossword – “A-Holes” — Ben’s Review

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 12.24.23 AM

It’s a good week for BEQ puzzles, you guys.  Besides his still ongoing Kickstarter Campaign (which you can still back for a year’s worth of Marching Band puzzles) AND his great meta puzzle for the AV Club this week (which I’m only halfway through), it’s almost too much to get a fantastic Thursday puzzle in addition.

Seeing that this week’s puzzle was titled “A-Holes” immediately made me snicker, so I was already in the right mood to deal with the theme, four common phrases where the “A” sound has been replaced with some O’s to humorous results:

  • 18A: Brew some Chinese tea quickly? – HURRY OOLONG
  • 24A: Promoter of all things Istanbul?  – TURKEY BOOSTER
  • 40A: “Quit fooling around with Moe!”? – GET OFF THE STOOGE
  • 52A: Folks who meet up and drink Belgian-style witbiers?  – BLUE MOON GROUP
  • 62A: Dogs who are in heaven? – HOLY WOOFERS

There weren’t too many frustrating pieces of fill this go-around.  Sure, I tend to not like things like “Letter run”, but sometimes you need a non-obscure name way to clue STU.  I also don’t pay enough attention to sports to know who SUH Ndamukong is, but little annoyances like that didn’t bring a puzzle like this down.  Elsewhere in the puzzle, it seemed like my local bar’s trivia night followed me home – showing up throughout were entries like PICAMEDEAUMA Thurman (who’s currently appearing in an adaptation of The Slap), SUMO, and YSL.  Somehow, having all those at the forefront of my brain didn’t lead to a faster solve time, but did lead to a great solving experience.

4/5 stars

Alan Arbesfeld’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Sneakers Worn Inside”—Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 04.09.15: "Sneakers Worn Inside"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 04.09.15: “Sneakers Worn Inside”

Happy Thursday, everyone! I hope everything is going well with you. I think it’s finally safe to say that we can officially put away the winter boots across the country, though it’s not that time for flip-flops just yet. Sneakers is more likely the shoe of choice right now, and, in today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Mr. Alan Arbesfeld, each of the four theme answers have brands of sneakers spanning multiple words in the theme answers.

  • FREE BOK CHOY (17A: [Chinese cabbage at no cost?]) – Shoe hidden: Reebok.
  • BACON VERSES (29A: [Some poetry by actor Kevin?]) – Shoe hidden: Converse.
  • BASIC SKILLS (43A: [Fundamental abilities]) – Shoe hidden: Asics
  • FLUNKED SHOP (57A: [Got an F in woodworking, say]) – Shoe hidden: Keds.

Here’s all I’m going to be saying for the next few minutes: OOOLA, Ooola, Ooola (62A: [Alley Oop’s girlfriend]). When coming across this at the very end, I only had —LA, and, when seeing the crossings, initially said, “Nah, this entry can’t start with three Os, can it?” My unfamiliarity with ALSOP didn’t help in taking away the confusion down there as well (49D: [Former political columnist Joseph]). Really liked some of the long, non-themed fill, especially IN BAD SHAPE (11D: [Suffering]). I know seeing ALER (or NLER) has been a sticking point for many a crossword solver, and, from the sports fan’s perspective, definitely have to agree that the fewer appearances of ALER/NLER going forward, the better (3D: [Royal or Angel]). I don’t think I’ve ever said AL’er for American Leaguer or NL’er for National Leaguer. As a matter-of-fact, don’t think I’ve ever used those terms in general to reference a person since the days when there were still American League umpires and National League umpires, before the umpires merged.

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: ACT ON (15A: Follow, as advice]) – Former National Hockey League player Keith ACTON (using the entry as one word) played 15 seasons in the NHL with six different teams. Acton was a member of the Edmonton Oilers 1988 Stanley Cup winning team, and currently is an assistant head coach with the Oilers. Acton finished his playing career with 584 points (226 goals, 358 assists) and over 1,000 penalty minutes (1,172) in 1,023 games in the NHL.

TGIF tomorrow! To be honest, with all of the traveling, I lost track of the day for a while. But tomorrow is Friday, and I know that!  Have a good rest of your Thursday!

Take care!


Marti DuGuay-Carpenter’s Los Angeles Times crossword – Gareth’s summary

LA Times  150409

LA Times

A very easy Thursday. I think I’ve seen a puzzle with this revealer, INSIDEDOPE, before, but there’s nothing in the database. This puzzle could easily be concealing THC, which has a lot of potential, instead it’s more basic and just has DOPE spanning two words. The entries themselves form quite a nice varied set: GRANDOPERA, COLDOPENING, FIELDOPERATIVES, and WALDOPEPPER. Re FIELDOPERATIVES, According to QI, Mr. Bond is neither a secret agent or a field operative, but an “information officer”.

The puzzle really has a Monday vibe going for it – short answers, mostly fairly straightforward, not a lot of banana skins really, in the clues or the answers.

Other remarks:

    • Miniature Space[“The Salt-N-__ Show”], PEPA. The rap trio – yes, they’re a trio!
    • [Savanna heavyweight], RHINO. Could’ve been linked to DROWSE, if the D were a B. Only black rhinos browse though, the whites graze.
    • [Movers’ challenge], PIANO. I presume someone hired these movers from Acme Slapstick Mooks Inc.
    • [__ bass], FUZZ
    • [Eddie __, detective involved in the actual “French Connection”], EGAN. Wish I knew how the name popped into my head, except it appeared as EGON who is from “Ghost Busters”
    • [Golden, in Guadalajara], DEORO. About the only answer I’d call ugly here.

3.5 Stars
A very nice early week puzzle for a Thursday!

This entry was posted in Daily Puzzles and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Thursday, April 9, 2015

  1. Jim Q says:

    Definitely tough, but really well done with lots of AHA clues! Loved this one! Solved casually while watching “House of Cards” which is almost always how I do a Thursday (I mean, the background show changes of course…)-

    Speaking of cards… I don’t get why “Hearts” wasn’t capitalized in the clue [Darts and hearts]… isn’t “Hearts” the name of a card game? Everywhere I checked as a game it was capitalized (everywhere meaning I checked two sites…) I was going to put GAMES in right away, but didn’t because of that lowercase letter… anyone else?

  2. Martin says:

    My father once told me that his great aunt Nance lived in Clacton-on-Sea. A place famous for its neap tides, or so I’m told.

    What more do you need to know?

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Save the clams!

      • Papa John says:

        Absolutely! Throw them in that stew pot, over there, and, as soon as the fire’s hot, we’ll cook em!

        Martin, you up for a clam bake? Amy’s got the clams. I’ll provide the lobster. Yummy!

    • Phil says:

      I want to know how neap tides can generate fame. Per your previous neap tide posts, they’re profoundly ordinary in terms of frequency of occurrence. Also, by the physics involved, they’re persistently average in magnitude. Does Clacton-on-Sea have the most regular, average neap tides in all the world?

      That’s the more I need to know.

  3. Avg Solvr says:

    Really liked the NYT gimmick but it may be obscure to some and cause difficulty.

    “Now, I knew this had to be a rebus puzzle of some sort, because 5d had to be VAGINALLY.” Funny.

  4. Martin says:

    Oh yeah, aside from tales of my Father’s great aunt Nance*, this was a pretty cool puzzle… even with the raised difficulty-level.

    (*she was a real person, BTW)


  5. OSXpert says:

    I turned 30 this week, so maybe I’m old now, but “Who’s on First?” is very well known to me. Here’s Jimmy Fallon/Billy Crystal/Jerry Seinfeld take on it a few years ago.

  6. sbmanion says:

    I thought it was a great puzzle. I loved Abbott and Costello when I was very young. I later learned that Costello was a good athlete, which endeared him to me even more.


  7. Evad says:

    One thing I learned today was that NEET is now VEET. If you read this, we circle back to the vagina again.

  8. dbardolph says:

    Cool theme, but a lot harder than your average Thursday. Jim Q, I was in the same place with hearts/Hearts – wanted GAMES, but didn’t until the crossings made it obvious.

    And for the David/Saul reference – I Samuel 16:23

  9. Howard B says:


  10. Boston Bob says:

    I didn’t get Frank LLOYD right.

  11. Gary R says:

    I’d like to add compass directions between African cities to Amy’s list of don’ts in her comment on 49d.

    • Evan says:

      I’ve never been a huge fan of the dreaded three-letter compass octet either, but at the very least there are only eight of them, and the middle letter has only two possibilities.

  12. Papa John says:

    Not only the lower case Heart, but I was also put off by 47D “Surge protector”. Doesn’t a LEVEE protect what’s on the opposite side from the surge? Why would the surge need protection?

    Otherwise, I thought it was pretty darn good puzzle. I don’t think degrees of difficulty are assigned to Thursdays. It’s anything-goes Thursday, no?

    • David L says:

      But ‘surge protector’ in the usual sense is a powerstrip that protects your computer etc from electrical surges, and rust protection is about protecting your car or patio furniture from rust. These phrases may not be quite logical, but then language isn’t logical.

  13. janie says:

    from jacob’s comments on xword info:

    A draft with [I DON’T KNOW] HOW TO LOVE HIM crossing THE [THIRD] MAN was rejected as too obscure…


    we gotta find *some* way to bridge the cultchah gap!!


  14. Martin from Charlottesville Va says:

    re: Ade’s write-up of the Alan Arbesfeld puzzle and his “sports will make you smarter” bio of hockey player Keith Acton (for ACT ON (15A: Follow, as advice])) —

    There was also a Lord Acton, who gave us this gem: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” ( ).
    So politics might also make you smarter … but, Acton would say, more twisted as well!

    Martin from Charlottesville Va.

  15. Aaron says:

    Easier than normal Thursday solve (I can crack about 60% of Thursdays on average). Tough clues, but good clues, no BS except for Laing.

  16. Aaron says:

    Ps, I would’ve loved the Jesus Christ superstar reference!

Comments are closed.