Friday, July 24, 2015

NYT 5:19 (Amy) 
LAT 5:25 (Gareth) 
CS 6:53 (Ade) 
CHE tk (pannonica) 
WSJ (Friday) 11:47 (pannonica) 

Patrick Berry’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 7 24 15, no 0724

NY Times crossword solution, 7 24 15, no 0724

68 words, pretty much a perfect grid. It’s Berry. This is what we expect. Lots of crisp longer fill—INSIDE MAN, NEW MEXICO, and HIT OR MISS crossing “I’M SO SORRY” up top. FALSE TEETH and ILLITERATE. SKELETONS, an ANTINOVEL, and SWEET ‘N LOW crossing GHOST TOWN. ONE AND ONLY crossing DARYL HALL. Eight more things:

  • 22a. [“The Cryptogram” playwright David], MAMET. Never heard of the play, figured it was new. Nope, 1994! Wikipedia mentions nothing of cryptogram puzzles in the plot summary.
  • 38a. [___ mouth], POTTY. If you have a potty mouth, you will enjoy the Strong Language group blog. Here’s today’s post by Iva Cheung on “emphatic affirmatives,” such as “damn straight” and “fuckin’ A.”
  • 34a. [Deity with 99 names], ALLAH. Islamic trivia I didn’t know.
  • 36a. [Member of a pop duo whose debut album was titled “Whole Oats”], DARYL HALL. Did not know that album title! It’s so goofy for a Hall & Oates album.
  • 52a. [Literary term popularized by Sartre], ANTINOVEL. I once took a college course on plays and antiplays. Do anticrosswords exist? Discuss.
  • 8d. [Excellent, slangily], ACES. This puzzle is aces.
  • 12d. [Wood choppers of old], FALSE TEETH. Cute clue.
  • 26d. [What plangonologists collect], DOLLS. Last weekend, I think it was, we had another of these weird collector words that I didn’t know. Obscure word.

Subpar stuff: None. 4.5 stars from me.

Nancy Cole Stuart’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Three Squares” — pannonica’s write-up

WSJ • 7/24/15 • "Three Boxes" • Fri • Stuart, Shenk • solution

WSJ • 7/24/15 • “Three Boxes” • Fri • Stuart, Shenk • solution

Pressed for time this ayem, so this will be an unfairly brief write-up. Wee little bitty revealer located above the longest acrosses in the lower right corner: 111a [Square that can follow each of the three words in each starred answer] BOX. Those referenced theme answers are plausible phrases conglomerated from … well, just as the revealer describes.

  • 22a. [*Sport where you might offer tips for bowlers?] HAT CHECK WINDOW (hat box, check box, window box).
  • 33a. [*Cleated sneakers, a soccer ball, etc.] PENALTY KICK GEAR (you’re clever, you can supply the extended originals here).
  • 50a. [*Sound often followed by oohs and ahs?] FIRE CRACKER BOOM.
  • 68a. [*Product of a smoker’s hobby?] CIGAR BAND COLLECTION.
  • 85a. [*Oatmeal served with a silver spoon?] LUXURY HOT CEREAL.
  • 102a. [*Item that might consist of bits cut out of magazines?] BLACK MAIL LETTER.
  • 115a. [*Person sitting next to a heckler, e.g.?] CAT CALL WITNESS.

Weakest phrases: LUXURY HOT CEREAL and CAT CALL WITNESS. Collocations that are commonly compound words: catcall, firecracker, blackmail.

  • 8d [Tibetan transport] YAK, 103d [Andean transport] LLAMA, 104d [Andean people] INCA. 124a [Scopes out] EYEBALLS, 87d [Scope out] OGLE.
  • Toughest crossing for me: 80d [Capture] SEIZE, 101a [1980s Pakistani president] ZIA. Considered SEIGE and SEIVE [sic et sic] before seeing the correct answer. Not entirely sure why.
  • 62a [Snack for a flicker] ANT; “flicker”? Like some animal with a flicking tongue? 20d [“Return of the Jedi” critter] EWOK; since they’re highly sentient, with sophisticated language, I don’t feel “critter” is an apt appellation. 40a [“We Got the Beat” group] GO-GOS; I called this out in another crossword recently – clue needs a “with-the” qualifier.
  • Favorite clue: 49d [Music for the masses] HYMN, runner-up: 15d [Place that has lots to offer]  MOVIE STUDIO.

Solid theme, solid construction (including some good long non-theme entries), laudable cluing: enjoyable crossword.

Mike Buckley’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s review

lat150724First off ta muchly to Ade for helping a man out and eloquently blogging my puzzle yesterday!

We get a second dose of wacky homophone action with today’s puzzle by Mike Buckley. This collection consists of two-part phrases where each part is separately replaced by a homophone. The doubly-changed phrases are clued wacky-style. A very imaginative theme indeed! Also impressive is the use of intersecting downs to space out the five answers better. We have:

  • [Composer Dvorak in hiding?], CACHEDCZECHS. Cashed cheques.
  • [Demands for quiet from the downstairs tenant?], CEILINGWHACKS. Sealing wax.
  • [Wildebeests slowing down?], BRAKINGGNUS. Breaking news. The second part is not a homophone in South African English. GNUS = NOOZ. NEWS = NYOOZ. FWIW.
  • [Walked by a campsite?], PASSEDTENTS. PAST TENSE.
  • [Poor jousters?], WEAKKNIGHTS. Week nights.

Fill is very clean. As alluded to, the theme arrangement facilitates this to some extent, but that does not diminish the accomplishment. I’m not sure I buy ASEASYAS as a “lexical chunk”, though. Top fill answer was the mythical [Lover of Slue-Foot Sue], PECOSBILL. Never encountered Sue before, even in clues for SLUE!


  • [More than square], CUBE was a very opaque, and clever, clue.
  • I wonder if [Fuzzy Endor native], EWOK is acceptable to Pannonica?
  • [One who keeps it in the family], NEPOTIST. I think there’s something wrong with me as I thought of incest first… Ew.
  • [“The Kids Are ___”: 1979 The Who documentary], ALRIGHT. Also one of their biggest hits, but as it’s Friday…
  • [Subject for Italian anatomist Fallopius], OVARY. For whom the oft-tied tubes are named…

Robust puzzle. 4.25 Stars

Randall J. Hartman’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Casual Friday”—Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 07.24.15: "Casual Friday"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 07.24.15: “Casual Friday”

Good day, everyone! It’s Friday, and Mr. Randall J. Hartman definitely wants to let us know what time of the week it is with today’s crossword puzzle and title. In his grid, each of the four theme answers is a multiple-word entry in which the first word could also come after the word “casual.”

  • EVENING STAR (17A: [Venus])
  • ATTITUDE CHANGE (27A: [Rosier outlook, say])
  • ENCOUNTER GROUP (47A: [Sensitivity training venue])
  • LIVING LARGE (63A: [Enjoying an extravagant lifestyle])

I am sure many of you have had some amazing CORDON BLEU dishes, but, because I’m not a ham eater, I am not one of them (11D: [Chicken dish with ham and cheese]). It’s a shame since I really do almost like every dish that includes chicken. There’s been a few clues recently in the past few days on here that have referenced IBERIA, with the actual name of the area being featured as an entry today (5A: [Spain and Portugal]). Even though NO JIVE is definitely a dated term, I still love its presence in the grid (48D: [“Honest, man!”]). Someone please tell me that you’re thinking what I’m thinking right now after mentioning “no jive.” Barbara Billingsley in the scene from Airplane!  Of course!

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: ICE UP (44A: [Freeze over]) – How in the world can I take this entry and give it a sports spin?  Let’s just hand it over to then-Carolina Panthers wide receiver – and trash talker extraordinaire – Steve Smith, Jr., who had a few poignant words towards then-New England Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib after a Monday night football game in 2013. “ICE UP, son! Ice up!” (Video is definitely worth watching if you’re a sports fan!)

Enjoy your Friday, and I’ll see you tomorrow!!

Take care!


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10 Responses to Friday, July 24, 2015

  1. Avg Solvr says:

    Berry puts color into black and white. The clue for SWAT was great. LAT was tougher and a good puzzle. Wasn’t crazy bout the WSJ theme. Waiting for CHE.

  2. Evan says:

    Patrick Berry always does great work, and I enjoyed his puzzle today, but why did ILLITERATE get clued as a noun? It feels needlessly pejorative.

    • john farmer says:

      Dictionaries don’t label the term offensive, as they do words like cripple and mute. That said, using the noun form of an adjective to identify a person can sound somewhat grating. Adjectives describe, nouns tend to define, and since being ILLITERATE carries a stigma using the word as an adjective can soften the edge a bit.

      • Evan says:

        Dictionaries may not label the noun form offensive, but I struggle to find a context in which a person would call someone an illiterate and not be disparaging about it.

        • Amy Reynaldo says:

          I do agree with you, Evan. Dehumanizing language gives off a nasty vibe, and nobody’s looking for a crossword puzzle to make them feel sad. See also: ILLEGAL clued as a noun (in defiance of NY Times style, I believe). WINO, SOT, DIPSO, and HOBO also bum me out.

    • CY Hollander says:

      Good thing illiterates don’t read the New York Times!

  3. Howard Flax says:

    Felt like the WSJ write-up today was spot on! No one calls The Go-Go’s GOGOS?! Overall though fun puzzle and nice addendum to the NYT.

  4. mike the wino says:

    Re the WSJ @ 62a, a flicker is a bird, and I’ve watched them eat ants…

  5. Norm says:

    NYT was a mixed bag for me. NE down to SW was pretty easy. NW was hard for a while, since INSIDE MAN is not familiar to me — as opposed to INSIDE JOB. I would expect the latter to get oodles more hits although the movie would inflate the former’s scores. SE was a bear, since GET IT was my take for Capiche (did not like PB’s spelling). Thank God for FELIPE.

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