Tuesday, June 16, 2015

NYT 3:28 (Amy) 
Jonesin' 4:30 (Derek) 
LAT 3:53 (Derek) 
CS 8:35 (Ade) 
Xword Nation untimed (Janie) 

Peter Collins’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 6 16 15, no 0615

NY Times crossword solution, 6 16 15, no 0615

Cute theme—four food items are topped with things they can be topped with. There’s HOT FUDGE on ICE CREAM, CHEESE on a BURGER, ONIONS (gross) on a HOT DOG, and MARINARA on a fairly arbitrary noodle choice, RIGATONI.

There are some tough crossings in here, particularly for a Tuesday. 8a. [Cousin of a mallard], SCAUP crossing 9d. [Michael of “Juno”], CERA (I know him well, but I’m not sure he’s a household name) and 10d. [Protection], AEGIS? Spanish crossing Spanish, 27a MAS/28d ANO43d. [Sayings of Jesus], LOGIA (tough vocab) and 48d. [Hindu meditative rituals], TANTRA crossing tortured word formation REGALER? About 15 proper nouns throughout? I could see this puzzle giving people AGITA (51d. [Unease] and/or fits).


3.6 stars from me.

Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle (Week 211), “Hey, JUDE!”—Janie’s review

Crossword Nation 6/16 (No. 211)

Crossword Nation 6/16 (No. 211)

Double digrams! Each of today’s four two-word themers has a first word beginning “JU-” and a second word beginning “DE-.” While this is a not unusual type of crossword wordplay, it is a step up from the more typical repeat letter-pair (i.e., one letter for the first word, another for the second). More critically, the quality of today’s themers goes a looooong way towards making this one lively, lovely solve. It’s top-notch fill all—surprisingly so, given the particular letters in combination. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT and JUVENILE DELINQUENT spring to mind easily enuf, but both exceed the grid’s 15-letter limit. And they’re kinda on the dry side to boot. Not so:

  • 17A. JUNK DEALER [Person who talks trash]. Twisty clue, too. I’ll take it! (And while I’m not wild for this particular plural…) down the road apiece, that junk dealer may have some interaction with someone who trades in [Metal wastes] SLAGS. Back to that clue, though, the other kind of “person who talks trash” is also probably someone who will SAVOR [Relish] the
  • 26A. JUICY DETAILS [Titillating tidbits from a gossip]. Gorgeous fill. Ditto
  • 43A. JUST DESSERTS [“TOP CHEF” spinoff for pastry chefs]. The show title is more than one kind of play on words. Although correct usage seems to be breaking down changing, here’s the skinny on “just deserts” v. “just desserts.”
  • 58A. JULIE DELPY [Ethan Hawke’s co-star in “Before Midnight”]. And Before Sunrise and -Sunset as well. An award-winning, multi-faceted artist worth knowing.

And all that’s just for starters. There are two more tens and two eights that also up the ante for this puzzle’s worth. Take a bow JON STEWART and HALL PASSES + your clues. Mr. Stewart comes to us by way of a quote: [Satirist who said: “I have complete faith in the continued absurdity of whatever’s going on”]; those hall passes with a nice pun [Slips out of class?], in which “slips” functions as a noun and not as a verb. Take a bow, too, the shifty ON THE SLY [In secret] and gracious “I’D LOVE TO” [“Join me for a drink?” response].

There isn’t a lot of six-letter fill, but I definitely like seeing MUESLI beside ITALIC. And I really love the way (punny on more than one level…) the latter is clued: [Type that’s inclined to stand out?]. Terrific. While ENDING isn’t the most exciting word, I enjoyed the fact that this [Finish] is tidily crossed by NEO-, a [New beginning?].

Clue/fill pair that raised a flag? [Simple rhyme scheme] AABA. Why did this get my attention? Because yes, this may be a “simple” rhyme scheme with only two sounds, but good luck finding an example of it in simple verse. Where rhyme schemes are concerned, AABA is seen most commonly (and I use the term broadly) as the four final lines of the villanelle—which is not a commonly used form in poetry. Five ABA stanzas plus one AABA… Here’s a little about the villanelle and “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night.” Better, imho, to clue AABA in connection with song form. It’s the backbone of the American Songbook writers, broadway and pop song writers. Read all about it. (With a nod to my colleague Ade, the arts will make you smarter, too!)

[Edited later to say…:  a lotta pedantry for nuthin’.  Mostly.  The correct rhyme scheme/grid answer is ABAA—so apologies for misstating this above—and then inverting the internal letters throughout! The AABA song-form lesson does not apply.  The issue of ABAA remains.  It’s had plenty of play in puzzles, so clearly I’m the minority voice!  ;-)  ]

Did not know about the Canadian MELBA apple; or about SEDER at the White House.

u tubeThis is a U TUBE [Letter-shaped lab vessel]:

This is YouTube:

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 11.24.00 PMMatt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “F Plus Plus”

Not too complicated a theme, and the solve was fairly smooth.  Does that mean the puzzle is easier, or that I’m in a good mood since my hometown Blackhawks won another Stanley Cup? ;-)

The theme answers are, as the title implies, full of Fs:

  • 17A & 20A [With 20-Across, 1840s slogan in the Oregon border dispute] FIFTY-FOUR FORTY OR FIGHT
  • 40A [Sold extremely quickly] FLEW OFF THE SHELF
  • 57A [Sports figure in a 2015 sports scandal] FIFA OFFICIAL
  • 62A [Repetitive Beach Boys hit] FUN FUN FUN

I liked this fine.  Some may quibble that there are different numbers of Fs in the theme answers, but that’s no big deal to me.  The entries chosen were nice and lively, and the reference to a FIFA OFFICIAL was timely, in light of all the scandalous news in recent weeks. Just a few notes:

  • 9A [Office-inappropriate, in web shorthand] NSFW – Great entry.  Not Safe For Work, I believe is what this stands for.
  • 22A [Business priority] JOB ONE – Very nice
  • 4D [Get the best of] OUTFOX – Nice as well.  I don’t know if I remember seeing this in a while.
  • 9D [Words after an insult] NO OFFENSE – Words you HOPE you hear, if you’re the offended one!
  • 11D [Kills an enemy, in gaming slang] FRAGS – If you’re not a gamer, you may not know this term.  I wonder if it comes from FRAGmenting your opponent…
  • 24D [“Seinfeld” surname] BENES – Elaine Benes, that is.  How popular is this show, still?? It’s supposed to be entirely on Hulu+ any day now; I want to watch the “Say Vandalay!!” episode when that happens!
  • 29D [Woofers’ output] ARFS – Nicely done.  Fooled me, but only for a second.
  • 30D [“___ Frutti” (Little Richard hit)] TUTTI – Got this immediately.  Showing my age…
  • 34D [They can be bear markets] TOY STORES – Excellent clue.  I wish I could write clues as well as this.
  • 54D [“The Hunger Games” chaperone] EFFIE – A nice reminder that I am behind on this series of movies….

This one was fun.  3.5 stars!

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 8.25.16 PMC. C. Burnikel’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up

Nice hidden word theme:

  • 17A [Wet blanket] PARTY POOPER
  • 24A [Poverty symbol] EMPTY POCKETS
  • 47A [Power line holders] UTILITY POLES
  • 58A [Smartphone texting feature, which usually detects and fixes the thing hidden in 17-, 24-, and 47-Across] AUTOCORRECT

…or what usually changes what you intended to write into some gibberish.  The keyboards I use never correct when I type “yiu.”  When I need it to work!

A few notes:

  • 14A [Disney mermaid] ARIEL – Yuck…
  • 33A [Periodic pork sandwich at the Golden Arches] MCRIB – Contrary to most people, I actually like McRib sandwiches.  I just do NOT like how messy they are!
  • 51A [Fertilizer compound] NITER – Only entry I hate.
  • 66A [Annual sports awards] ESPYS – I imagined crossword constructors leaping for joy when these first debuted in 1993.
  • 6D [Cold-morning pumpkin coating] FROST – Why coating a pumpkin?  Doesn’t frost cover EVERYTHING?? And why are we discussing cold weather traumas in the middle of June??
  • 11D [Area where evidence is gathered] CRIME SCENE – Splendid.
  • 30D [Succeeds and then some] MAKES IT BIG – Also splendid.

Nice effort.  3 stars.


Todd McClary’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Bloomsday”—Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 06.16.15: "Bloomsday"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 06.16.15: “Bloomsday”

Good morning, everyone! If you caught yourself not being able to smell the roses this morning, no worries! Today’s crossword puzzle, constructed by Mr. Todd McClary, includes three theme answers that are common names to flowering plants, with those names starting with a word that also happens to be a time of the day. There are a good number of people in the crossword community who are avid gardeners, so any words/information about these flowers, especially if you plant these specific ones, would be greatly appreciated!

**Addendum: So on the radio today, I hear about today being “Bloomsday,” and I’m like, “Was I missing something when doing the puzzle today?” My deepest apologies for not realizing that Bloomsday was a thing, and that it’s a worldwide celebration of sorts. The only work I’ve read of James Joyce is Finnegans Wake, and wasn’t aware of Ulysses, until now. But there’s a chance that some of you are celebrating Bloomsday in your own way today! Sláinte!**

  • MORNING GLORY (20A: [Flowering plant (start of day)]) – Before finding this out today, if you asked me what ‘morning glory’ was, I probably would have humorously guessed that it was a euphemism for intercourse occurring before noon.
  • EVENING PRIMROSE (39A: [Flowering plant (near end of day)])
  • NIGHT JASMINE (57A: [Flowering plant (end of day)])
  • GARDEN (19A: [Locale for this puzzle’s three longest answers])

This past Saturday, I attended a friend’s birthday celebration, with the evening ending at a karaoke bar, where one person in the bar sang to PEARL JAM‘s “Jeremy” (9D: [“Even Flow” grunge band]). I actually said this to one of my friends standing next to me, and I’m not kidding: “‘Jeremy'” is an OK song, but, for karaoke, “Even Flow” is 10 times better.” So, because of Saturday night, and because of solving this puzzle, I’ll have a Pearl Jam earworm all day long. This puzzle was a a fun solve, as the groupings of six-letter across answers in the Northeast and Southwest were fun, not including the one that was tied to the theme. Got to learn something new with the clue to JUDO (58D: [Sport that means “gentle way” in Japanese]). I admit to being a fan of old-school wrestling growing up in the 1980s, and my young self was always confused every time I saw advertisements for Billy GRAHAM‘s television sermons, as I had thought back then that Billy Graham was a wrestler (38D: [Evangelist Billy]). Eventually, I found out that they were two different people, but, to this day, anytime I see/hear the words Billy Graham, I think of “Superstar” Billy Graham of the WWF (World Wrestling Federation, not the World Wildlife Fund). Now just imagine if this person was on your television set talking about Jesus and the Resurrection…


“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: IDITAROD (41D: [Annual race in Alaska]) – Billed as the “Last Great Race on Earth,” the IDITAROD is an annual sled dog race that began in 1973. What I just knew about it recently was that the start of the race, which takes place in Anchorage, is only a ceremonial start. After that, the race restarts in Willow, Alaska. As most of you know from crosswords of the past, the end of the race, which usually takes just more than a week to complete, ends in the crossword-friendly city of Nome.

See you all on the top of the hump on Hump Day tomorrow!

Take care!


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25 Responses to Tuesday, June 16, 2015

  1. huda says:

    NYT: I like the combination of low brow food and high brow vocab! Nicely done.

  2. Stephen Edward Anderson says:

    Ahem. The NYT 27-Across clue (“No __!”) turns out to be Spanish, in spite of the Spanish 101 rule that an exclamation must start with an inverted exclamation point. Nice puzzle, though.

  3. PJ Ward says:

    LAT – 6D “When the Frost is on the Punkin” – a poem by James Whitcomb Riley. http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/174222

    • janie says:

      and the phrase was also used by richard fariña in “hard lovin’ loser” (a song i first encountered by way of the judy collins cover):

      But when the
      Frost’s on the pumpkin
      And the litle girls are jumping
      He’s a hard loving son of a gun…
      He’s got em waiting downstairs
      Just to sample his affairs
      And they call him
      A spoonful of fun.


    • ArtLvr says:

      PJ – many thanks for the link!

      • Argyle says:

        The frost is on the pumpkin
        The squash is off the vine
        And winter warnings race across the sky

        “When Fall comes to New England”
        Cheryl Wheeler

  4. Gary R says:

    Mostly what Amy said – except I like onions on my hotdogs.

    CERA/SCAUP crossing got me – have never heard of either one, and it seems like there are quite a few letters that would be plausible.

    • Bencoe says:

      Yes. I kind of wonder if it’s the onions or hot dogs in general that gross Amy out. If the latter, I totally understand. But North Carolina-style chili-and-onion dogs are the way to go even with a tofu pup.
      I think CERA is pretty well known, but then I loved arrested development.

      • Gareth says:

        Fried tomato with the onion with a teaspoon of sugar is a big improvement on plain onions.

        • huda says:

          Do you think Amy’s objecting to the onions or the hot dog?

          Gareth, do you guys have green tomatoes? Inquiring minds…

          • Gareth says:

            Green tomatoes are just unripe tomatoes? I read it as onions being gross, and I’m sure our leer-less feeder has mentioned this aversion previously.

  5. Tracy B says:

    XWord Nation: It’s so nice seeing JULIE DELPY all spelled out and occupying a big hunk of grid space. (-:

    • jj says:

      I liked the puzzle, but Julie Delpy was a total unknown for me and I got it only from the crosses. Maybe I’m missing something?

      • Lois says:

        There’s been a controversy on this page and elsewhere over just how famous and crossword-worthy Julie Delpy is. It seems that Will Shortz recently nixed the name as an entry for the Times puzzle. I’m a big fan of hers and wrote in over there to complain about the name not being used, and there’s been plenty written here in support of Delpy. She’s been in many films, has directed and written and co-written some, and also writes songs.

  6. Alex Vratsanos says:

    “The quality of today’s themers goes a looooong way towards making this one lively, lovely solve.”

    I nod, nod nod my head in agreement… great puzzle… hey, Liz! (Sing it.)

  7. BARBARA K WOOD says:

    Loved Liz’s puzzle!!! Will be singing Hey Jude all day

  8. Gareth says:

    Fail to understand how you can actively hate NITER. It’s a major industrial chemical. You may not encounter it personally with any regularity in sheltered everyday existence. That does not mean it must be a bad crossword entry.

    I found the AUTOCORRECT revealer a bit of a reach, but hiding a single four-letter string naturally in all the theme answers was quite impressive.

  9. Huda says:


    Yes, green tomatoes are unripe tomatoes, so of course they exist anywhere where there are tomatoes. But I never knew they were good to eat until I came to the US (southern food originally). They are tart and fresh tasting and hold firm if you fry them, and I could see them being a counterpoint to onions and hot dogs.

  10. JohnV says:

    I totally do not understand what is going on in LAT. One more time, please?

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Hidden TYPO in the middle of the first few theme entries, AUTOCORRECT gets rids of typos.

  11. pannonica says:

    Ade – “The only work I’ve read of James Joyce is Finnegans Wake

    Wow. Way to dive in at the deep end. I love Ulysses, but remain intimidated as all get-out by Finnegans Wake.

    [A lone a last a loved a long the] riverrun …

    • You don’t know the half of it, pannonica! I definitely read it, but I never said that I understood it. I still don’t!! Had to read it in a literature class taught by someone who was from Ireland. (I think she was from Cork.) I honestly thought I was being punished all semester, and the punishment was no longer mastering the English language…

  12. JohnV says:

    Thanks, Amy. I was just not seeing it.

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