Wednesday, August 5, 2015

NYT  6:00 (PuzzleGirl) 
AV Club  7:47 (Ben) 
LAT  3:43 (Gareth) 
CS  7:02 (Ade) 
Blindauer  9:01 (Matt) 

Patrick Berry’s New York Times crossword – PuzzleGirl’s write-up

NYT Wednesday 08.05.15Hey, everybody. I’m actually on the schedule this week for Thursday’s puzzle, but I’m going to the Nats game tomorrow night (four words: Jayson Werth Chia Pet) so I switched with Doug. When I opened up the puzzle and saw it was PB1 I was all “Yessss!” And Doug messaged me almost immediately with “Not fair!” Yeah, well nobody ever said life would be fair, Mr. Constructor Man.

So here we have prison puns. Prison puns! If you like prison and you like puns, this puzzle is for you! I’m guessing someone who has been or is currently in prison might not find these quite so amusing. Then again, lots of people who have never been to prison probably hate puns and are just as unamused. So there’s that.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: “I merely agreed to serve beer at some pubs, and now I’m BEHIND BARS!”
  • 25A: “I merely bought myself a McMansion, and now I’m IN THE BIG HOUSE!”
  • 34A: “I merely went skating at Rockefeller Center, and now I’m ON ICE!”
  • 42A: “I merely went to my yoga class, and now I’m DOING A STRETCH!”
  • 55A: “I merely paddled my canoe against a current, and now I’m UP THE RIVER!”

What else was awesome?

  • 5A: ELAND (Antelope with twisty horns). I’m going through the list of appropriately sized animals in my head: “elk, gnu, ibex, oryx, ELAND!”
  • 33A: Cannes confirmation (OUI). French!
  • 47A: The Charleses’ pet (ASTA). I’m totally digging the plural possessive form in this clue.
  • 54A: Pen knife? (SHIV). Bonus non-theme theme entry.
  • 5D: Linear punctuation mark (EM DASH). One of my favorite punctuation marks.
  • 6D: Film director Neil (LABUTE). If you say so.
  • 11D: Ineptly done (AMATEURISH). This word looks good in the grid.
  • 24D: Miracle Mets player Tommie (AGEE). My team just got swept by the Mets this past weekend so I’m not really happy about any Mets references.
  • 52D: Singer of “99 Luftballons” (NENA). Ugh. This song is on my list of Top Five Songs I Hate the Most Ever.

This puzzle was a smooth solve for me and it felt pretty much exactly like a Wednesday difficulty-wise. What did you all think?

Patrick Blindauer’s August website crossword, “Court Huddle” — Matt’s review


Drink up! Or down, really, as six alcoholic beverages cover the right and left edges of this grid: WINE, SCOTCH and GIN on the left (I’ll take wine, but not really the other two) and RUM, BRANDY and BEER on the right (I’ll take any of those three).

Each bev is clued as [See 37-Across] and then the reveal across the middle at 37A is [Court huddle … and a hint to this puzzle’s theme] for SIDEBAR. Get it? There’s a fully-stocked bar across the sides of the grid.



***And the sixes: AMOS OZ, BIG TEN, CREOLE, RED ANT. OO LA LA!

***Amusing clues: [Political alternative to Ben, Chris, Ted, Carly, Jim, Lindsey, Mike, Bobby, John, George, Rand, Rick, Marco, Rick, Donald, or Scott] for JEB; [Building with a lot of stories] for LIBRARY; [Part of a pickup line] for CAB.

***Many wrong turns explain my 9 minute-plus solving time: ENTANGLED (didn’t fit) for the correct ENTAILED clued as [Unavoidably involved]; PETTY instead of the correct CATTY for [Backbiting]; SAT NEAR instead of the correct SAT IN ON for [Observed from up close]; and the inexplicable GAMS for the correct GARB clued as [Worn threads]. Forgetting my 1920’s slang there.

4.20 stars. Time for a 55-Down.

Brendan Emmet Quigley’s AVCX crossword, “Deep Cuts” — Ben’s Review


I’m seeing double this week, with two BEQ puzzles to take a look at.  Today’s is hi latest for the AV Club, “Deep Cuts”.

Anyone who’s done one of BEQ’s puzzles (whether on his own site, the AV Club, or elsewhere) knows that a little music knowledge goes a long way.  This week, as 36A points out, it’s all about UNDERGROUND ROCK (“Some music for rarified tastes”). In this case, though, it’s about the “ORE” from a bunch of answers in the puzzles being buried as well:

  • 15A/58D: With 58-Down, cult metal band with the 2015 release “Sol Invictus” – FAITH NO M(ORE)
  • 13D/56D: With 56 Down, Jon Spencer punk band named after a Bond girl – PUSSY GAL(ORE)
  • 29D: Sonic Youth guitarist who brought Nirvana to Geffen – THURSTON MO(ORE)
  • 39D: Place with stereotypically snobby clerks – RECORD ST(ORE)
  • 45D: Black Flag punk subgenre – HARDC(ORE)

I dug this puzzle, but I have a hunch that those less musically-inclined than me are going to be far less kind.  39D feels like a nice entry point into figuring out what’s going on with the down clues, and 13D/56D do a nice job of giving enough information to solvers less familiar with punk bands to get you to the correct Bond girl, but the other clues may frustrate.  The upper lefthand corner managed to stymie me until the end of my solve – despite knowing from seeing it in many a crossword that UVA (1D) is in Charlottesville, I kept thinking it was a UNC branch until the very end.  A few other clues I loved from the puzzle:

  • 62A: “Boston got 110.6 inches of it in 2104-2015, and we’d better not get any more of it next year or I’m done” – SNOW.  (Me too, Brendan.  Me too.)
  • 11D: Part of a race that includes Sophocles, Guy Fieri, and Indira Ghandi – HUMAN (*inserts chorus from the Human League song of the same title here*)
  • 25D: “Lebanese dish made with bulghur” – TABOULI (My parents’ love of this salad while I was growing up finally pays off!)

If you get the gimmick and know your rock groups, you’re going to like this one; if you don’t, you aren’t.  This one gets a 3.5/5 from me since I dig what’s going on.

Doug Peterson’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Powder Kegs”—Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 08.05.15: "Powder Kegs"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 08.05.15: “Powder Kegs”

Hello everyone! In today’s crossword, brought to us by Mr. Southwest Airlines puzzle master, Doug Peterson, each of the first four theme answers have the letters “TALC” appear consecutively, but spanning two different words. Oh, and TALC, the fifth theme answer, appears as the reveal (69A: [Powder found in this puzzle’s four longest answers]).

  • RENTAL CARS (17A: [Bookings for business travelers])
  • DIGITAL COMIC (26A: [Batgirl issue read on an iPad, e.g.])
  • CRYSTAL CLEAR (46A: [Completely unambiguous])
  • MORTAL COIL (62A: [Turmoil of daily life, to Hamlet])

I can’t say that I had heard of SALADA tea before, though, when looking them up, the package definitely looks familiar (5D: [Brand of tea]). I should know my tea brands since I rely on them to make sure to maintain my broadcast voice anytime it starts to get scratchy. (Earl Grey tea, and those bergamot orange rinds used in it are a life saver!) How come I see ANITA and can’t help but think of one’s greatest hits for one, and a pie being thrown in the face of another (15A: [Singer Bryant or Baker])? Also, seeing CRANNY, and specifically its clue, made me think more about PDAs, and how I might need to buy another PDA soon (46D: [Nook’s partner]). My brother is all about KERI on the FX show The Americans, and almost any review I’ve come across about the show is almost always a glowing one (14A: [“The Americans” star Russell]). Oh, and thank you Doug for the earworm with the appearance of DURAN (38D: [When doubled, “The Reflex” band]). “The reflex…is a lonely child…”

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: ARLO (32A: [Guthrie at Woodstock]) – The Barclays (English) Premier League begins this Saturday, and many fans will once again hear the voice of ARLO White, soccer play-by-play commentator on the NBC Sports Network since NBC Universal acquired the rights to air the league’s games in America in 2013. Before that, the British commentator was the voice of Seattle Sounders FC of Major League Soccer starting in 2010. Oh, and, reportedly, he was named after the folk singer Arlo Guthrie! Now that’s tying in sports and crosswords together, especially given the clue for ARLO in the grid!

Thank you for your time, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

Take care!


Marti DuGuay-Carpenter’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s review

LA Times 150805

LA Times

Ms. DuGuay-Carpenter’s nom de blog is HeartRx. So today’s puzzle is especially apt. Also, one wonders if she is a Neil Young fan? Anyhow, the theme revealer is HEARTOFGOLD, and the four answers fit the pattern (?)????AU????(?). Au (Aurum) is thus central to the entries. Bonus style points for the revealer crossing all four theme answers. Theme answer list:

  • [Home of the Green Bay Packers], LAMBEAUFIELD. You won’t be surprised that I did not know this.
  • [Northanger Abbey” author], JANEAUSTEN.
  • [Bistro drink], CAFEAULAIT. Coffee with milk, but it sounds nobbier in French.
  • [Olympic action involving a bar], POLEVAULTING.

The down side of the intersecting revealer is the compromises made in the centre: BEASTAR is contrived and GENESET is only vaguely familiar. I studied genetics up to the 3rd year of my BSc. I >think< it’s more or less a synonym for genome? I.e. the set of all genes an organism has? ARG/UNC/RGS/NEA make for a lot of contractions for one area too. There is no free lunch.


  • [Cookie Monster eating sound], NOM. I only recently found out the “om nom nom” internet meme comes from cookie monster. The Muppets didn’t really feature in my childhood. They weren’t on TV. Even so, their subsidiary media (books etc.) were readily available. Odd really.
  • [Silent ape], MIME. Clue of the puzzle.
  • [Hippie happening], LOVEIN. More classic rock.

3.5 Stars

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18 Responses to Wednesday, August 5, 2015

  1. Bencoe says:

    Just hope Amy is still recovering well. Hope to hear from her soon.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Hello! Still wiped out but better each day. Hoping to meet all the others in our transplant chain at clinic Weds morn! Whose organ is in me, I don’t yet know. How weird is that??

  2. lemonade714 says:

    My best for your recovery and as long as the kidney is working it is yours. I have had a transplanted cornea for almost 47 years and I will never know the donor but I am very grateful to the person who took the time to become an organ donor. I understand a cornea is not a kidney but it did change my life. Heal well.

  3. sbmanion says:

    Great to hear from you, Amy.

    Puzzle Girl’s use of “prison” is correct. The legal distinction between “jail time” and “prison time” is that jail is for people who are not yet convicted, while prison is for people who have been convicted. When a person is arrested, he is almost always given a bond (or release without having to post a bond) which, upon posting, allows the person to get out of jail until his case is decided. If the person cannot post the bond or if he is non-bondable (which occurs if he violates the conditions of an existing bond), he languishes in jail until his case is determined by plea or trial or, in rare cases, dismissal. Upon conviction, he goes to prison.

    Fun puzzle.


    • Norm says:

      Overstatement and/or varies from state to state. In California, for example, those convicted of misdemeanors receive sentences in county jail, not state prison. Those placed on probation after conviction of a felony may be given a jail term as a condition of probation. And, under our still relatively new Realignment Act, many less serious felonies can now result in a commitment to county jail rather than state prison.

  4. Zulema says:

    AMY, So good to hear from you, and hope you’ll keep feeling stronger every day until you don’t have to think about it any more.

  5. Papa John says:

    Good-o, Amy! Keep it up?

    Will someone explain to me the “transplant chain”?

    • David L says:

      Glad to hear the good news, Amy!

      Kidney transplants have to be matched to a recipient (mainly for immunological reasons, I think). So person A needs a kidney, and person B wants to donate, but B’s kidney is the wrong match. But it turns out that person C needs a kidney’s of B’s type, and person D, who wanted to donate to C but didn’t match, happens to be a good match for A. So both donors are able to donate and both transplantees get the kidney the need.

      That’s the simplest example. With databanks and nationwide registries it’s been possible to establish chains with many more people involved. The benefit is in taking advantage of willing donors and helping more people get the kidneys they need.

    • Gary R says:

      From UCLA’s kidney transplant web site:

      “A kidney donor chain creates opportunities for endless recipient-donor pairings. It starts with an altruistic donor – someone who wants to donate a kidney out of the goodness of his or her heart. That kidney is transplanted into a recipient who had a donor willing to give a kidney, but was not a match. To keep the chain going, the incompatible donor gives a kidney to a patient unknown to him or her who has been identified as a match, essentially “paying it forward.” A specialized computer program matches donors and recipients across the country.”

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Altruistic donor launched the chain. He gave to a guy whose type O sister-in-law matched his blood type but was incompatible. That woman donated to me. My husband, type B, gave to a young woman with an incompatible B donor. (Her boyfriend thanked my husband and said, “Now we can have kids.”) Her willing donor gave to a man languishing on the waiting list for 5.5 years, who worried that he wouldn’t survive another year. His odds of health just skyrocketed.

      Google the recent Freakonomics podcast about economics Nobelist Al Roth, who devised the transplant paired exchange system as an economics model. Fascinating tale, and life-saving for hundreds a year already.

  6. Martin from C. says:

    Get well, Amy!

  7. Jeffrey K says:

    LAT: IDEA and NO IDEA an issue for anyone?

  8. Harry says:

    Loved today’s LAT!!!

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