Thursday, July 16, 2015

NYT 3:34 (Amy) 
LAT 6:27 (Gareth) 
CS 10:17 (Ade) 
BEQ 8:44 (Ben) 

Fireball’s a contest puzzle this week. Write-up to come Sunday night in the Monday post.

Paula Gamache’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 7 16 15, no 0716

NY Times crossword solution, 7 16 15, no 0716

WAX is the 59d. [Spa treatment hinted at by the ends of 17-, 27-, 44- and 55-Across], and those answers end with the words “hair today, gone tomorrow.” I learned a lot about salon waxing from Wanda Sykes (adult language warning).

  • 17a. [Entreaty to Rapunzel], LET DOWN YOUR HAIR.
  • 27a. [Magazine whose website has a “Find a Therapist” feature], PSYCHOLOGY TODAY. Indeed—my best friend is listed there. I bet those therapists would all like this entry better if the word CRAZIES weren’t parked on top of it. (And CRAZIES comes at the cost of UREY and –ZOA. Not worth it at all.)
  • 44a. [1970 B. B. King hit], THE THRILL IS GONE.
  • 55a. [Procrastinator’s promise], I’LL DO IT TOMORROW. Or maybe the next day. What’s the hurry?

Theme is okay.

Four more things:

  • 15a. [“Stoppeth it!”?], ENOW. Goofy.
  • 9d. [Worst possible, as a review], ZERO-STAR. Don’t tempt me!
  • 64a. [Kirk ___, first actor to play Superman on screen, 1948], ALYN / 40d. [Cardinal’s cap], BIRETTA / 47a. [___ Brigante (1993 Pacino role)], CARLITO. My pick for toughest crossing is a tie between the R and the A in BIRETTA with those Across answers.
  • 52d. [Setting for a panel of Bosch’s “The Garden of Earthly Delights”], EDEN. Hieronymus gives us so much to digest with our eyes.

3.9 stars from me.

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website crossword – “Ted 2” — Ben’s Review

ted2After spending last week in Vancouver for the National Puzzler’s League convention, it’s nice to know that you can’t completely out-puzzle yourself. I was just as excited to solve today’s BEQ as I always am, and this was a nice re-entry into straightforward crosswords after spending a weekend wracking my brain on some absolutely mind-bending cryptics.

This week’s puzzle is all about everyone’s favorite anthropomorphic teddy bear voiced by Seth McFarlane in a movie. Okay, I haven’t seen either movie (and have no plans to), but what was going on with the theme clues was obvious: add TED to a popular phrase.

  • 19A: Cited a Facebook post? — STATUS QUOTED
  • 25A: Buddy who everybody knows is gay but himself? — CLOSETED FRIEND
  • 31A: Led on a Biblical sufferer? — TEMPTED JOB
  • 47A: Caught actor Nathan in the act? — BUSTED LANE
  • 53A: Allocated enough money for a very small tattoo, say? — BUDGETED AN INCH
  • 62A: Marijuana used as the subject of a mural? — JOINT PAINTED

I kept trying to make 62A JOINT POINTED, even though that is not a thing at all, but the rest of these fell pretty easily, especially once I realized what was going on with the extra TEDs.  The mention of pysch rock and LSD at 13D reminded me that there’s a fantastic new Tame Impala album out this week that you should check out (especially if you were already digging the Unknown Mortal Orchestra album we got a few months ago, like I was)

I had a brief mindfart on 10D, as I grew up saying “King me” in checkers, not CROWN ME, but I liked seeing it show up in a puzzle, along with other favorites DRILL TEAM (2D), Popeye the SAILOR MAN (3D), IGUANAS (45D) and MINECRAFT (38D).  The across clues felt a little more by the books this week, with only a DO RE ME (18A) and LOOIE (52A, which I really struggled to make LIEUT in vain) to spice things up.  A nice puzzle to come back from break on, but I wouldn’t mind a little more challenge.

3.5/5 stars

Rick Papazian’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s review

LA Times 150716

LA Times

Today’s theme mechanism didn’t excite me that much, but the theme entries chosen are above average as a set. The theme is ROLEREVERSAL, which translate to ELOR spanning two of each theme answer’s words. So: NAV(ELOR)ANGES, QUICH(ELOR)RAINE (singing: “Quiche Lorraine let the party carry on!”), and TH(ELOR)DSPRAYER. Only 3 entries, because the revealer is a 12-letter word. A 12-letter revealer plus four more themers results in a lot of frustration during the filling process!

SauronLike yesterday, there are a lot of 7’s. Today’s set have more pizzazz for me: DRACULA (clued via the initially opaque Carpathian Mountains), ESKIMOS (happy to admit I don’t know the lyrics to that song well at all), HOUDINI, HOTLIPS (YMMV), EVILEYE (again), and MAEWEST.


  • The Dr. Richard Kimble who was pursued by a USMARSHAL. Apparently it’s an archaic US TV show… Before TV got to South Africa so predictably outside of my cultural background.
  • Byzantine emperor LEOVI. Not a pope! Not up on my Byzantine rulers either though, apparently he was wise.
  • [Comic strip boy with a giant squid pal], LIO. Not crossword-ese (yet). Presumably somewhat obscure, but interesting and crossings are 100% fair. Why complain? And the comic looks entertaining too!


  • [“Oh, I see”], AHSO. Everything about this entry has been said before. Nevertheless…
  • [Rio Grande city], LAREDO. Who else dropped ELPASO first and confirmed fatally with ORS? It also seems as good a reason as any to link to Allan Sherman
  • [Store display suffix], ORAMA is a hideous suffix.

3.5 Stars

Gail Grabowski’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Find Employment”—Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 07.16.15: "Find Employment"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 07.16.15: “Find Employment”

Good afternoon, people! Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Ms. Gail Grabowski, comes straight from the classifieds section of the newspaper. Each of the four theme answers ends with a noun that’s also associated with a job search, specifically, something you’d want to obtain if your job search is successful.

  • GRAND OPENING (20A: [Event for a new business])
  • YOGA POSITION (28A: [Downward-facing dog, e.g.])
  • LITERARY WORK (48: [Poem by Poe, e.g.])
  • BAD SITUATION (57A: [Dreadful set of circumstances])

Anyone else typed in ‘green’ instead of AMBER for the clue in the Southwest (69A: [Traffic light color]). Definitely did that, but when seeing the clue for SPA, it didn’t take long for ‘green’ to be expunged (61D: [Rejuvenation destination]). Our constructor tapped into her inner herpetologist, with both FANGS (1D: [Venom dispensers]) and MAMBA appearing in the grid (9A: [Venomous snake]). A few other animals littered the grid as well, with APE, with its interesting and somewhat confusing clue (33A: [Wild way to go]), MAKO (36A: [Powerful shark]) and the fictional Aunt ENA (52A: [“Bambi” doe]). Here’s hoping that you knew that ‘Seahawks’ being referenced in the clue to TDS was the Seattle Seahawks professional football team (24A: [Seahawks seek them (abbr.)]). I’m guessing that’s what the Seahawks were seeking when they called that asinine pass play at the end of the last Super Bowl when all they needed was a yard for a touchdown and had one of the game’s best running backs in the game.  I know it’s five months ago, but still…UGH! (I can hear you cackling now, New England Patriots fans! Stop it!) 

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: TONI (18A: [Grammy winner Braxton]) – Most people know TONI Braxton as the singer who blew up the airwaves with her 1996 No. 1 hit “Un-break My Heart.” But, back in the 1996-97 NBA season, Braxton was rumored to have been the reason the up-and-coming Dallas Mavericks never reached their potential. Why did those rumors surface, you ask? It was reported that Braxton, while in Atlanta, went out on a date with then-Mavericks player Jason Kidd (who won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award in 1995), but, that same night, ended up going home with Kidd’s teammate, fellow star player Jimmy Jackson (who now works for the Big Ten Network). Though they both have denied something like that ever happened, former teammates and reporters have alluded to that alleged tryst as part of the reason that a) Kidd and Jackson had a falling out as teammates, b) Kidd demanded a trade from Dallas (which was granted in Dec. 1996 when he was traded to Phoenix), and c) Dallas never reached their potential despite having great young talent. Don’t we all love celebrity drama?!

TGIF tomorrow! Have a great rest of your Thursday, everyone!

Take care!


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

18 Responses to Thursday, July 16, 2015

  1. huda says:

    NYT: I thought it was cute. May be some people wont think it tricky enough for Thursday, but I liked the girly theme. I had Divorce before ALIMONY.

    During our lab meeting today, one of the scientists reviewed the history of treatment of schizophrenic patients. Pretty amazing what people have done to each other, including inducing a coma with insulin and performing tens of thousands of lobotomies–and we’re talking mid 20th century! Even President Kennedy’s sister, Rosemary Kennedy was lobotomized because of her mood swings and was rendered mentally retarded.

  2. ArtLvr says:

    Agreed – NYT was cute! But I had LET YOUR HAIR DOWN before LET DOWN YOUR HAIR so I took longer than I might have… I did like CRAZIES crossed by UREY and ZOA, what’s wrong with those? Didn’t care for CARET clued as “Sticking point” — I suppose it means sticking in, as insertion. Major error in the puzzle was 34d: Guesses yes, YESSES, no way.
    Huda, do they still do electro-shock?

    • Huda says:

      Re Electroconvulsive therapy: Not usually for schizophrenia, not any longer. But it is still done for severe treatment-resistant depression and remains one of the most effective treatments in severe cases. The new version is much different in the way it’s adminstered, better titrated with fewer side effects, but it’s definitely not a walk in the park. We neuroscientists and psychiatrists still have a lot of work to do to help those afflicted with these disorders.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      -ZOA, a suffix? Yuck. I know UREY is notable, but I don’t know him from being prominent in my science textbooks all throughout school—I know him mainly from crosswords.

    • Michael says:

      Like Huda said, ECT is still very much a common, albeit last-resort, treatment modality for severe depression. Essentially, a tonic-clonic seizure is induced, every other day for several weeks, until the psychiatrist sees an improvement in depressive symptoms. This is very taxing to the body (and thus our patients), with most common side effects being confusion, high blood pressure and headaches.

      • Syntactic Milieu says:

        Seems like psychiatry has come a long way, which reminds me: I have a blood leeching at 7.

  3. CY Hollander says:

    Ugh, there were a number of things I disliked about the NYT puzzle today, from the lame pun theme to the crossing at square 64 (tough to decide between A and O if you didn’t know either entry; I liked A better for the down, but O better for the across and came down on the wrong side), but the worst by FAR was 15 Across (“Stoppeth it!”?)

    Granted, this is a pet peeve of mine, and it probably won’t bother most people as much as it bothers me, and granted it’s an inexplicably common mistake, but if you’re going to use archaic words, use them properly! -[e]th = -[e]s, simple as that. It’s not a very difficult rule, people, so stops bungling it! Will Shortz ought to be ashamed for letting this one by.

  4. JFC says:

    I come here for sanity and see treatment for the insane (not PC). What a revoltin’ development this is.

    Can’t remember the last time I ever saw a reviewer give a ZERO STAR rating. I don’t believe there is such a thing. It’s two words put together to fill and otherwise unfillable (a word I made up, say, like ZERO STAR) void.

    I did like Amy’s threat, however. Made sense in that context.

    I’m not sure where this puzzle belongs (Monday would be nice and Wednesday even nicer) but it doesn’t belong on Thursday which is reserved for comic relief, not hackneyed puns. Also, I can’t remember when 15-footers were so easy to make.

      • JFC says:

        That’s cute, Martin, but there are a few things a trifle quirky about that alleged support for the entry. First, it doesn’t say ZERO STAR. It says “Zero Stars” with quotes and plural and all, so that doesn’t count. Second, I have never seen any of those awful movies, which supports my original statement. Third, I note that each review has a single star.

        As a result, my cyber space friend (assuming you are the Martin I think you are), I must respectfully reject your defense of a bad entry. Better luck next time with your fact-checking.

        • ahimsa says:

          I think when used as an adjective the phrase ZERO STAR (often hyphenated) is valid for a review. I’ve seen that phrase used for both movies and restaurants in newspaper articles.

          Here’s one example:

          Amy, that link to the Wanda Sykes routine was funny. I’ve seen it before but had forgotten a lot of it.

        • Martin says:

          Dear John,

          A review with zero stars is a zero-star review. Even though Ebert was from Chicago, he knew that. Rather than besmirch his memory, I will end this conversation.

          PS to Amy,

          Accept my apologies for the collateral insult.

          • JFC says:

            Martin, if Ebert knew that it was BECAUSE he was from Chicago, which, as Amy will verify, has had the suckiest (another made-up word) of summers, making me especially lethargic and cranky, which, nonetheless, does not affect my judgment when it comes to forced fill. In fact, I would give ZERO STAR a ZERO STAR. I have one question. If Ebert were to give a move a half star rating, would that be a ZERO POINT FIVE STAR review?

            PS. I was never a fan of Ebert but I always enjoyed Siskel and Ebert at the Movies. It was always fun to see each trying to outbloviate (another made-up word) the other.

            ahimsa, your website moved me more than Martin’s. I am now willing to concede it is a term of zero proportion.

          • pannonica says:

            Is this the Zoroaster thread?

  5. Jamie says:

    BEQ – 20D (I’m squinting) – Clue: Prince George’s Nana. A: QEII. Sorry, the Nanas (odious word; does anyone use it?) are the late Diana and Carole Middleton. Qe2 is the great-nana.

    I can practically forgive this error because let’s face it, nobody’s raring for Charles to be king of a tiny kingdom. It’s easy to forget him.

Comments are closed.