Monday, May 18, 2015

NYT 3:23 (pannonica) 
LAT 3:26 (pannonica) 
CS 8:38 (Ade) 
BEQ 8:01 (Amy) 

Gene Newman’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

NYT • 5/18/15 • Mon • Newman • no 0518 • solution

NYT • 5/18/15 • Mon • Newman • no 0518 • solution

As I tackled this directly after waking from a nap, it’s sort of doubly apt to say that I solved the puzzle refreshingly. For indeed, even though I was a bit logy, its inherent élan was palpable.

‘Only’ four theme answers, arranged pinwheel fashion, with a very long step formation—the bulk of it consisting of five-letter words—from upper left to lower right.

And the theme? Oh, just some very good Tom Swifties, which I do have a fondness—some might say a weakness—for.

  • 18a. [“You forgot to water the plants,” Tom said ___”] WITHERINGLY.
  • 28d. [“Being a bit lazy, I prefer automatic,” Tom said ___”] SHIFTLESSLY.
  • 61a. [“Oh, I just fed the alligator,” Tom said ___”] OFFHANDEDLY. Bit gratuitously gory, this one. At least it seems so to me.
  • 3d. [“As much as I’d like, you’re not getting any of my estate,” Tom said ___”] UNWILLINGLY.

Little bit of that double-Swifty action going on. Not sure they all work consistently on the same level, though. Hey, as bracingly refreshing as it might be, the puzzle didn’t pull my cognitive pants up all the way (as witnessed by that awkward attempt)!

More aspects in the crossword’s favor:

  • Very little junky, clunky, plunky fill. What, a couple of affixes (-OLA, TRI-), a few abbrevs. (YTD, plurals STS, TDS), couple bits of classic crosswordese (EWER, LEA), one partial (A FEW)? Hardly objectionable.
  • More freshness with the ripped-from-the-headlines clue for NEPAL, 25d [2015 earthquake locale]. See also, 9d [Earth-shaking] SEISMIC.
  • Fortuitous juxtapositions in STEREOS above DISCO (55a, 60a), and PLAIT above TUXES (68a, 71a)—the former in this context evokes shirtfronts and cummerbunds.

Really, a tidy little crossword to start the week.

Tom Uttormark and C.C. Burnikel’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 5/18/15 • Mon • Uttormark, Burnikel • solution

LAT • 5/18/15 • Mon • Uttormark, Burnikel • solution

A minor twist on the two-words-precede-another-word theme. Compound names of two sorts of things from one category to create a phrase describing a new thing.

  • 17a. [Whole-grain food … or two universities] BROWN RICE.
  • 40a. [Soviet military force … or two ants] RED ARMY.
  • 64a. [Bridal bouquet flower … or two waters] WHITE ROSE.
  • 11d. [Immigrant’s document … or two rooms] GREEN CARD.
  • 35d. [Aristocrat … or two moons] BLUE BLOOD.

If it weren’t for the fact that the first word in each theme answer is a color, 22d [Doomed one, in slang] DEAD MEAT could have been clued similarly as [Doomed one … or two balls]. Even with that distinction, the compound nature of the entry and its length conspire to glaringly—at least to me—impede on the theme. Good luck contriving a workable clue in this format for 25d TIME LAGS (what about 30a MALL COP?). Incidentally, by presenting the dyads so minimally the clues more or less evade the “type of cucumber = SEA” problem discussed in the comments this past Thursday.

Feels like brunch in here! 33d [Sidewalk eatery] CAFÉ, 54d [Coffee lure] AROMA, 1a [Prepare, as water for tea] BOIL (not to mention WHITE ROSE), 12d [Broiling spot] OVEN, 3d [Waffle cookers] IRONS, 9a [Toaster waffles] EGGOS (ntm 49a [Toasty] WARM, maybe even 35d [Swiss cheese] GRUYÉRE, plus 32d [Desserts with crusts] PIES and 1d [Spongy sweet cake] BABKA. Whew!

  • 36a [GPS display] MAP, 42a [GPS suggestion] RTE – meh.
  • 26a [Dispatches, as a dragon] DOES IN crossing 47d [Delight at the comedy club] SLAY – better.
  • 50d [Baseball Hall of Famer Sandburg] RYNE. Seems a stretch in a Monday, no? Some might say that the OORT Cloud (34d) is too obscure as well, but I’ve always liked the odd name and have trouble being objective about it. Other potential snag spots for newer solvers are AGRA, DALY, EMER, A OR B.
  • 69a [Delivery co. with a white arrow outlined within its logo] FEDEX. Two things: it’s more properly called negative space, and the clue unnecessarily dupes the white of the nearby WHITE ROSE.

Good Monday.

Tony Orbach’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Mind the Gap”—Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 05.18.15: "Mind the Gap"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 05.18.15: “Mind the Gap”

Hello there, and welcome to another week of crosswords! I’m about to take the New York City subway, so today’s crossword, brought to us today by Mr. Tony Orbach, is very apropos. In it, the six theme answers are two-word entries that have the word “GAP” spanning across the two words. I guess being in England and taking the train would be more apropos, given the title.

  • TOGA PARTY (17A: [“Animal House” event]) – Toga! Toga! Toga!
  • YOGA POSITION (24A: [Downward dog, for one]) – Yoga! Yoga! Yoga! (OK, that might not have the exact same ring to it.)
  • GOING APE (33A: [Losing it])
  • BIG APPLE (46A: [New York City nickname, with “the”])
  • GROWING APART (53A: [Having less and less in common])
  • MEGA PRIZE (65A: [Huge lottery payoff, perhaps])

Now who saw the PINA COLADA entry and not have that Rupert Holmes song in your head afterward (30D: [Cream of coconut concoction])? I know that’s in my mind as we speak. This is now the second time I can think of that I had -LA filled in in a grid and thought Alabama (ALA) instead of Florida (FLA) as the abbreviation needed (5D: [Neighbor of Ga.]). Unlike that last time though, the crossing entry, FOOD, along with its clue, made it much more obvious to make the change necessary and not get stuck (5A: [Vittles]). I never had a chance to come across MOME since I only have read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and not the sequel in which that Jabberwocky poem resides (29D: [“Jabberwocky” word]). Not that I would probably be smart enough to understand what that poem is trying to convey with words like “mome” strewn all around. The only Jabberwocky I really know are the Jabbawockeez, the dance troupe. Here’s them in action, and, if you notice, the opening narration plays off the opening verse of the actual words of the Jabberwocky poem. Nonsense poetry and hip-hop unite!!

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: BASS (1A: [Paul McCartney’s instrument]) – This is somewhat timely because of recent news in the world of sports. Garo Yepremian, former kicker of the Miami Dolphins and one of the first soccer-style kickers in the NFL, passed away this past Friday. Alone being one of the best kickers in the 1970s, he was most known for his ill-fated pass attempt after his field goal was blocked in Super Bowl VII against Washington. The ball slipped out of his hands while throwing it and was picked up by cornerback Mike BASS (pronounced like the fish), who returned it 49 yards for the only touchdown Washington would score in the game. Though it wasn’t ruled an interception, Bass had 30 career interceptions, along with four career touchdowns – three on interception returns.

Have a good rest of your Monday, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

Take care!


Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”

BEQ crossword solution, 5 18 15 "Themeless Monday"

BEQ crossword solution, 5 18 15 “Themeless Monday”

Couldn’t hit my stride in this one—too many clues that didn’t deliver me to the answers as quickly as I’d like, some oddball word forms, and a band I’d never heard of.

Trouble spots:

  • 1a. [Dropping off aid], ADVIL PM. A hyphen in “dropping-off” would have helped me here. (The OSCAR-WORTHY clue also could have used a hyphen in “year end lists.”)
  • 20a. [One who often works with big numbers], EXAGGERATOR. “Works” suggested something more occupational than personality-based, and “exaggerator” is not a commonly used noun, is it?
  • 24a. [Nutritionist Elkaim], YURI. Who??
  • 55a. [Crappy?], EXCREMENTAL. Use that adjective in a sentence, if you please. I never have.
  • 59a. [Unable to escape], IN A TRAP. Phrase feels contrived, but I’m sure it’s been in numerous other crosswords.
  • 11d. [Indie rock band with the 2015 album “Ivy Tripp”], WAXAHATCHEE. The band I don’t know.
  • 14d. [Grand Prix distances], METRES. Hmph. For a race that involves going about 300 km, I’m pretty sure the distances would be measured in km and not m.

Trick I fell for: 44d THEIRS is clued [They handle returns], and it’s not a possessive pronoun, it’s the phrase THE I.R.S.

ABSCONDS is a great word, isn’t it? I’m not sure it has any cognates, or that there are other common English words that share the same Latin -cond portion.

3.33 stars from me.

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20 Responses to Monday, May 18, 2015

  1. huda says:

    pannonica– that nap seemed to put you in great spirits. I loved the “junky, clunky, plunky” bit.
    I need to ponder the “cognitive pants”…What happens when they are only partially pulled up? A whole new concept in neurobiology.

    Fun puzzle!!

  2. PJ Ward says:

    Sunday NYT – Easier. I had most of the theme answers filled in without any crossings. Then it was finishing it out. But finishing it out was fun. Monday – My time was longish for a Monday. I overthought 3d and entered UNHEIRINGLY. Cost me a little time but I enjoyed the puzzle. One easier than NYT norm and one harder than NYT norm but I really liked both. I guess for me the NYT norm isn’t a big deal.

  3. Martin from Charlottesville says:

    In the NY Times Monday puzzle, MAORI is the answer for 2d [Native New Zealander].

    Here is a ceremonial Maori war dance, called a “haka.” The New Zealand national rugby team, the All Blacks, performs a haka before each rugby match.

  4. MM says:

    Regarding 20A in LAT: Only one Kenyan, male or female, has ever won the marathon at the Olympics. (Now, if we’re talking Boston, NY, or Chicago, that’s another matter!)

    • lemonade714 says:

      I am puzzled, as the clue has no reference to the Olympics, only to marathons….

      I enjoyed the puzzles today immensely

      • MM says:

        Indeed. I didn’t mean to cry foul or critique the clue – I just thought I’d share an interesting bit of trivia.

  5. Eliza says:

    NYT: This was a fun, great NYT Monday puzzle. Exactly what it’s meant to be: easy, for beginners, but no “junky, yada yada” fill. Unlike pannonica, I grinned at 61A, and my smile lasted right through YTD.

  6. Martin says:

    Today’s BEQ has a clue for ESTA that will be legendary, or at least should be.

  7. David L says:

    I knew WAXAHATCHEE in the BEQ only because there happened to be a recent feature in the New Yorker about it. Or her. I had the impression that Waxahatchee isn’t so much a band as the name Katie Crutchfield adopts in performance. The wikipedia entry describes Waxahatchee as an “indie music project,” which artfully evades the issue.

    The name also stuck in my mind because of my long-ago connection with Waxahachie, the town in Texas where the Superconducting Supercollider was going to be built, except that all they have now for their efforts is a hole in the ground. But Waxahatchee is the name of a creek in Alabama, sez wiki.

    I have a couple of grammatical quibbles about the puzzle. As I understand it, BRAVURA is a noun meaning brilliance. So in a “brilliant performance” it’s the manner of performing it that’s BRAVURA, not the performance as such.

    And then STEALTH is a noun but ‘under the radar’ is adjectival, nicht wahr?

    • Gary R says:

      Maybe an adjectival “stealth” as in stealth bomber? Still seems a bit off, and there are certainly more straightforward ways to clue it.

      • David L says:

        But that’s not really adjectival. You can say:

        This is an undetectable bomber or This bomber is undetectable.

        On the other hand, although you can say This is a stealth bomber you can’t say This bomber is stealth. English allows you to juxtapose nouns, as in stealth bomber, but the noun doesn’t become an adjective in the process.

        • Gary R says:

          Well, I could say “She was the proverbial ugly duckling” but I wouldn’t say “She was the ugly duckling that was proverbial.” I’m not sure that’s the test to apply.

          I’m no language expert, but American Heritage and Merriam-Webster both list adjective definitions of “stealth.” AH focuses on the military usage, but M-W also offer as examples, “stealth campaign” (political) and “stealth raid” (in a police context).

        • Martin from Charlottesville says:

 has a standalone noun entry for “stealth bomber,” and an entry for “stealth” as an adjective.
          Their definition (as an adjective):
          surreptitious; secret; not openly acknowledged:
          Their corresponding example:
          a stealth hiring of the competitor’s CEO; the stealth issue of the presidential race.

    • pannonica says:

      Agreed on BRAVURA, as in “bravura performance.” Noticed it during my solve but didn’t want to go crazy with comments. Glad someone else mentioned it.

      As for STEALTH, it can be used colloquially to approximate the sense of the clue, as in “I’m going stealth.”

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