Thursday, June 11, 2015

Fireball 6:06 (Amy) 
NYT 4:53 (Amy) 
LAT 5:05 (Gareth) 
CS 8:31 (Ade) 
BEQ 6:32 (Ben) 

Peter Gordon’s Fireball crossword, “Themeless 85”

Fireball crossword solution, 6 11 15 "Themeless 85"

Fireball crossword solution, 6 11 15 “Themeless 85”

Lots of interesting fill in this one:

  • 1a. [Person who might have a drum, but not drumsticks], PESCATARIAN.
  • 17a. [Changing your avatar to support a cause, say], SLACKTIVISM. Twitter or Facebook avatar, typically. See also: reposting junk to “raise awareness” on Facebook.
  • 65a. [Huffed drug], LAUGHING GAS. One of the few gases that can be huffed for medicinal purposes.
  • 67a. [One of two quotes from 1982 on the AFI list of top 100 movie quotes (the other is “They’re here!” from “Poltergeist”)], “E.T., PHONE HOME.”
  • 29d. [Line on a box], THIS SIDE UP.

Also liked BRANAGH, THREESOME, IRIDESCENT, PASHA (I love PASHA but cannot abide AG(H)A and variant spellings of EMIR), and RHODOPSIN.

Never heard of: 4d. [Object of ridicule], COCKSHY. Dictionary tells me the term is British and dated. Also didn’t know this NATE, 59a. [Guard McMillan whose #10 was retired by the SuperSonics].

Four clues:

  • 2d. [He was on the Swiss 10-franc note before Le Corbusier], EULER. How did I nail this one?
  • 11d. [“Finding Dory” character], NEMO. I suspect Nemo will be a very minor character, given his lack of mention in IMDb and lack of casting info here.
  • 35a. [Kilo tenth], HECTOGRAM. Do you know who uses the hectogram to report mass measurements? Me neither.
  • 55a. [Founders], SINKS. I was parsing the clue as a noun, people who establish things, rather than as a verb of haplessness.

Four stars from me.

Lewis Rothlein’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 6 11 15, no 0611

NY Times crossword solution, 6 11 15, no 0611

34d. [Well-kept secret … or a hint to the answer to each starred clue] clues HIDDEN GEM, and there’s a GEM in each of these entries:

  • 18a. [*Kind of bass], LARGEMOUTH.
  • 24a. [*Model of the Blues Brothers’ Bluesmobile], DODGE MONACO. Zero recollection that such a model ever existed.
  • 43a. [*Opportunity for revenge], GRUDGE MATCH.
  • 52a. [*Publicist, e.g.], IMAGE-MAKER. Didn’t really ring a bell as a familiar phrase, but there it is in at least one dictionary.
  • 1d. [*”If I may …”], INDULGE ME. I ignored the clue and the * and filled in IN DUE TIME at first. Hey, it fits …

I don’t really care too much about “it has to span a break between two words for consistency, but if I did, I would be compelled to mention that LARGEMOUTH is a single word.

Nice to see DARRIN from Bewitched. Yes, it’s ancient pop culture, but it’s mine. And unfortunately, there are not really any famous people by that name, so …

Wasn’t so keen on ASKER and A ROW, plural WAHS, TAE BO, OREM, ULT, NEAP!, D’OR, ERG, DEREG. And ACERB! We hardly ever use that word. Acerbic, yes.

3.5 stars from me.

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website crossword – “Film on Location” — Ben’s Review

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 12.21.28 AMIt’s been a while since I’ve done a quote-based crossword, and it feels like ages since I’ve seen on from BEQ.  I’m usually a little leery on those, since they never seem to be quite as funny as the constructor intends, but this quote (from the Pundamentalism Twitter account) did get a snicker or two out of me:

  • 20A/23A/36A/54A: Question to an employee in the movie section of a department store — WHERE DO YOU KEEP THE TERMINATOR DVDS?
  • 55A: Employee’s response — AISLE B, BACK

A few musical mentions in the puzzle: Nirvana and Rush get shoutouts in the clue for 9A‘s TRIOS, and any mention of HARPS (like 59D) is a great excuse to post some Active Child (who manages to mesh harp and choirboyesque vocals with modern beats in a way I really dig):

The rest of the fill in the puzzle isn’t too bad either.  I liked the use of EIGHT-BIT (2D), the shout out to The Princess Bride in 26A‘s clue for CASTLE and the KONAMI code in 41A, and learning that there’s a new web service called OCHO, apparently, thanks to 62A.  It’s like Vine, but you get 8 seconds instead of 6.  BIG difference.

Overall, I dug this one and thought it was a step back in the right direction after last week’s misstep.

3.75/5 stars

Lynn Lempel’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Best Friends Forever”—Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 06.11.15: "Best Friends Forever"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 06.11.15: “Best Friends Forever”

Hello everyone! Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Ms. Lynn Lempel, made me have Dionne Warwick’s “That’s What Friends Are For” in my mind. Each of the four theme answers are multiple-word entries in which the first word is also a word used to describe a good friendship.

  • FAST TRACK (17A: [Quick means of reaching one’s goal])
  • THICK SKINNED (28A: [Not easily offended]) – We’re all thick skinned people here, bloggers and readers alike, right?!
  • TIGHT FITTING (49A: [Like leotards and leggings])…and yoga pants.
  • CLOSE CALL (66A: [Narrow escape])

Not too many hangups, although I did put in ‘tidy’ instead of PILE, which slowed me down right at the end (70A: [Goodly sum]). Think I was thrown off by seeing “sum” and my mind just got lazy. Nice timing with TONYS as the Tony Awards just took place here last Sunday (64A: [Excellence in Theater” awards]). Honestly, outside of crossword puzzle entries, I don’t hear/see too many people refer to a boss as TOP BANANA, at least not anymore (11D: [Head honcho]). I hear head honcho, top dog, the boss, and a few other sobriquets to describe bosses. Maybe I’ll say top banana to one of my bosses soon and see how he reacts to it! Maybe he’ll (figuratively) spit at it, just like an ALPACA would (24A: [Woolly Andes grazer])

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: GALLO (55D: [Ernest and Julio’s winery]) – If you live in New York City and are a sports fan, then you’ll definitely be familiar with the work of Bill GALLO (1922-2011), longtime cartoonist for the New York Daily News. Probably his most famous sketch is the one he made after the passing of former Yankees catcher and captain Thurman Munson. But there were so many more sketches that were just genius, and I hope, if you’re a fan of sports, art and creativity, that you take a look at some of his work! Here’s a NYT article about Gallo after he had just passed away.

Have a great day, and I’ll see you tomorrow, when a certain crossword constructor makes his return back to the stage!

Take care!


Danny Reichert’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s review

LA Times 150611

LA Times

Well, this was a fun theme, albeit one that’s virtually infinite. ROBINSONCRUSOE, PETERPAN, MOBYDICK and TREASUREISLAND are clued with only the titles of their CHAPTERELEVEN. It’s initially quite cryptic, but you get a nice a-ha when you figure it out. Another layer, seemingly somewhat arbitrary, is that all four novels are set to a greater or lesser extent at sea…

Danny Reichert isn’t a name I know, and so I assume it’s a debut. This isn’t a beginner grid, though: 14/8/13/8/14. It’s mostly well-handled, though there is one section that needed reworking, in my opinion; it would probably mean reworking the entire puzzle unfortunately! I really do feel ABRI and PETR in the same small area is de trop in terms of difficult fill. {PURR/IMAM/MALI is one option that ditches PETR, but there’s still ABRI.}


  • [Tops], APEXES. I prefer APICES, myself, but both are given equal status it seems.
  • [Extended sentence], RUNON. This is nicely clued. If you’re on public groups on Facebook, you will encounter those people who write paragraph-length posts without thought to grammar or punctuation. It seems to me they think their time is so much more precious than those having to decipher their gibberish. That, or they cheated their way through fourth grade.
  • [Indian curry dish], VINDALOO and [__ chai: spiced tea], MASALA make a flavoursome pair.

3.25 Stars

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

15 Responses to Thursday, June 11, 2015

  1. steveo says:

    I enjoyed the challenge, and got a slow Thursday time as my reward.

    Least favorite fill: 1A, ITLL.

  2. Wreck says:

    Nice debut, Lewis! Congrats!!

  3. Matt says:

    Liked the FB, got very little on the first pass– but things fell into place and I finished in a typical Saturday time. Somehow knew RHODOPSIN, which opened up the center of the puzzle.

  4. Martin from C. says:

    LA Times,

    One cluing error: 60A [It hits the nail on the head]. On a ball-peen hammer, the PEEN is a rounded part opposite the flat part, called the face. Nails are hit with the face, unless you’re having an off day.

    Tricky and at times opaque cluing. I liked many of the answer words.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      The head of the nail, not the head of the hammer, no?

      • Martin from C. says:

        You’ve nailed it! The face and the peen are opposite ends of the hammer head. The head of the hammer (the face, we hope) meets the head of the nail (not a fingernail, we hope)

        Difficult crossword combo:
        [home construction tête-à-tête] : HAMMERINGANAIL (14 letters)

        [Hammering a nail in Nancy?] : TÊTE-À-TÊTE

        Bob Klahn-esque:
        Like Diabolical, but the question mark is removed and the accent marks are required.

    • Martin says:

      There are many kinds of peens. You wouldn’t use a ball peen on a nail, but one use for a straight peen (on a straight-peen hammer, also called a pin hammer) is for setting small nails. I thought about the clue and decided it’s a justifiable, if a bit oblique, way to clue PEEN. In other words, fine for a Thursday.

      • Gary R says:

        Don’t think you could use such a tool to set a nail – maybe to start it, as shown in your illustration. If justifiable, this clue is more than “a bit” oblique.

      • Martin from C. says:


        Thanks for taking the time to find and share a link showing a pin being hit with a pin hammer.

        The clue said [It hits the nail on the head], and peens hit much less than 0.01% of nails. Peens are used mainly for toughening and shaping metal.

        I dislike cluing that helps to create a false impression. This cluing does that. A young child or a recent immigrant working on this puzzle might easily believe, after finishing the puzzle, that the flat face of the hammer that hits the nail is called the “peen,” when that is almost always not the case.

        This was one clue that I disliked in a puzzle that had a theme I liked and many answers that I liked: OCCIPITAL, DOTE ON, PRO GOLFER, PELOTA, and PEEN.

  5. Peter K says:

    Hectogram is a very common weight measurement in metric countries used when buying things like cold cuts or meats at a counter. It was the first clue for me in this puzzle.

    • Jeffrey K says:

      Not in Canada. Only grams and kilograms are used.

    • Gareth says:

      Not in this metric country either. Only hecto- measure seen is hectolitres for water consumption…

      • Martin says:

        Surely you’ve seen markets like this, with prices per “100 g.” That’s per hectogram, even if nobody ever pronounces it.

        The other common unit is the hectoare, normally called the hectare. It’s 100 ares, where an are is 100 square meters. (“Where an are is” looks wrong, doesn’t it?) So a hectare is really a square hectometer.

        • Gareth says:

          Yeah the deli (cold meat & cheese) counter at supermarkets is sometimes in that, to make people freak out less. R10.50 per 100g sounds less insane than R105 per kilogram! Interesting about the hectare…

  6. PJ Ward says:

    Wow! Glutton For Pun wore me out. In a good way. Maybe I’ll look at the meta after lunch.

Comments are closed.