NYT untimed (Doug)
LAT 4:56 (Gareth)
CS 13:17, while on a subway car (Ade)
BEQ 6:13 (Ben)
Gary Cee’s New York Times crossword
Howdy, crossword fans. Doug here, filling in for PuzzleGirl, who took the night off so she could get a Jayson Werth Chia Pet. #priorities
Anyway, this is going to be a quickie, because I’m leaving early Thursday morning for New York and Lollapuzzoola! The best crossword tournament in NYC on a Saturday in August. I hope to see many of you there. I’ve test-solved the puzzles, and they’re delicious.
It took me a while to pick up on the theme because I didn’t realize it was in the Downs. There are no Down answers longer than 8 letters, so it wasn’t obvious. I finally noticed a lot of cross-referencing and got with the program.
- 3d, [With 14-Down, literally, grueling initiation] / 14d [See 3-Down] , BAPTISM by FIRE. See what he did there?
- 22d, [With 27-Down, literally, a Sixth Amendment right] / 27d [See 22-Down] , TRIAL by JURY.
- 35d, [With 36-Down, literally, beyond rational expectation] / 36d [See 35-Down] , AS IF by MAGIC. That one’s my favorite.
- 52d, [With 42-Down, literally, control completely] / 42d [See 52-Down] , LEAD by THE NOSE.
That’s a pretty fun theme for a Thursday, though the side-by-side theme entries made the fill rough in places, especially the lower right. Nobody likes DSCS (unless they’re receiving them, I guess) and EFT crossing TAEL is an old-school crosswordese mash-up. OK, EFT is clued as [Direct-deposit payment, for short], but it still looks suspiciously like a young newt. Probably time to retire both of those entries for good. There were some nice entries too. My favorites included:
- 59d, [“Batman” fight scene word], POW. You had me at “Batman.”
- 25d, [Humdinger], DOOZIE. Great word. And only one letter away from a word that makes my skin crawl: KOOZIE. That’s the foam sleeve you put on your beer can to keep it cold. I say “you” because I wouldn’t be caught dead with a Koozie on my can. Wikipedia tells me that another word for Koozie is “coldy-holdy” and now I want to punch my computer screen.
- 37d, [“How about that?!”], GO FIGURE. Nice!
- 26a, [The Night Tripper of music], DR. JOHN. Gary Cee knows a lot about music, so this was a cool insider entry. Also see 38a for a Rolling Stones reference.
Amy met her organ donor today, so maybe she’ll give us an update in the comments. The “kidney chain” is still blowing my mind. So much awesome. OK, I gotta pack a suitcase. Enjoy the rest of your week. Peterson out.
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website crossword – “Focus Group” — Ben’s Review
I knew something had to be up with this week’s BEQ Thursday puzzle when only a PDF was available. That hunch wasn’t wrong, so you’ll have to pardon my handwriting in the screenshot this week.
Since there’s not much of a Song of the Summer for 2015, BEQ’s bringing us all the way back to 2013 for a puzzle that managed to remind me of both Robin Thicke AND the classic “Boys and Girls”. As suggested by 36A (“Hit song that shares more than a passing resemblance to Marvin Gaye’s ‘Got to Give It Up’…and a hint for four areas of this puzzle”), we’ve got some BLURRED LINES in each corner of the grid, where treating the appropriate lines of the grid as the word BLUR helps make the down entries make sense. One example:
- 9D: Financial institution that sponsors the home of the Celtics and Bruins —
- 10D: Job done every 3000 miles — OIL CHANGE
- 11D: Classy folks? — EDUCATORS
- 12D: Put into piles — SORT
It was a good week for the “random knowledge” portion of my brain. Despite having never seen Frozen, I know the reindeer’s name is SVEN (48A); similarly, I’ve never heard any of their work, but I remember the time a SEBADOH (52A) album came through the campus radio station, so I was all set when a clue mentioned Lou Barlow. Overall, I really dug this puzzle – a break from figuring out 3 or 4 specific theme entries made for a refreshing solve that was a lot of fun.
Lollapuzzoola is this Saturday in NYC. I’m keeping my expectations low for my own performance (I’ll likely be somewhere in the middle, based on how my times have been lately), but I’m looking forward to seeing a bunch of awesome people and solving some fun puzzles. Say hi if you’re there!
Lynn Lempel’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Lo and Behold!”—Ade’s write-up
Good morning, everyone! We’re just two days away from Lollapuzzoola commencing on a Saturday in August in New York City. (It’s the greatest crossword tournament held in New York City, you know!) I hope some of you will be able to make it to the Upper East Side, and, if you are doing so, definitely stop by and say hello! More than likely, I’ll walk around to everyone there to say hello, so you won’t have to come over my way. Either way, it would be amazing to get to see all of you who will be coming through.
Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Ms. Lynn Lempel, is made up of puns in which common phrases are altered by adding the letters “LO” in the entry.
- SOLO CALLED (17A: [“Someone in the “Star Wars” Rebel Alliance left a phone message”?]) – From “so called.”
- SATURATED FLOAT (27A: [Parade display caught in a downpour?]) – From “saturated fat.”
- LOSING THE BLUES (46A: [Purpose of an antidepressant?]) – Or, make you “sing the blues” even better!
- IT’S NO LOUSE (61A: [Entomologist’s welcome remark at a head check?]) – From “it’s no use.”
I always think that solving a puzzle while riding a New York City subway train is always a good idea, but then I get a crowded train and that thinking becomes pear-shaped. Anyways, still had a lot of fun solving, and I really liked the long down answers of ACCESS ROAD (28D: [Street allowing entry to local businesses]) and I OWE YOU ONE, something I’ve had to say a few times when I’ve eaten our or drank with friends (11D: [“Thanks!” The next favor is on me!”]). Oh, and who doesn’t love the fill of SCOFFLAW (10D: [Flouter of government dictates])? I’ll leave you with a little earworm, courtesy of SOB STORY (39D: [Tale told to elicit tears]). Though the spelling is slightly different, that was the title of an early 1990s hip-hop song from Leaders of the New School, a group that featured Busta Rhymes before he went on to his widely successful solo career. (He sings the first verse…and yes, that was his haircut back then! Oh, the early 1990s and its wardrobe!)
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: NELL (7D: [“Little” Dickens heroine]) – Former women’s basketball coach NELL Fortner was the head coach of the United States women’s basketball team that won the gold medal in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She also was Big Ten Coach of the Year in 1997 while at Purdue and the 2008 SEC Coach of the Year while at Auburn.
TGIF tomorrow! Have a good rest of your Thursday!
Loren Muse Smith & Mary Lou Guizzo’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s review
The puzzle is built around a cute revealer: SURROUNDSOUND. This is to be interpreted as “peripheral answers can satisfy ‘SOUND ___’. So soundCREW, soundTEST, soundWAVES, soundSYSTEM, soundSTAGE, soundBITE, soundHOLE (Eh? What’s that? Apparently, that’s what the middle of a guitar is called. Didn’t know that!), soundTRACK, soundEFFECT, and soundCHECK. Impressive construction, though as always with this theme type, the words themselves are pretty functional.
The corners of such puzzles, with two theme answers, always take strain. It’s surprising that they’re as “big” as they are today. Nevertheless, although there are clunkers in each of the corners (EPIS, ELTORO, CTS) and sporadically elsewhere it’s most well-managed throughout. CATSMEOW, interesting plurals FULCRA and NARCISSI, EATSDIRT and EDITMENU add some spice lacking because of the short theme answers.
Most mystifying clue: [Soft drink that sounds like a bit of footwear], NEHI. Huh? NÊ HEE. Nope. Don’t know any footwear that sounds like that. Admittedly it’s a bit of an OLAF clue (tm. J. Krasnick) in that all you really needed was [Soft drink…] Moving on. Second most mystifying was [No. after a period] for CTS. I figured that one out: cents. Americans use a full stop aka a period to separate their currency. We use a comma. I’m also not used to CTS being abbreviated thusly, but it seems like something an economist might do.
See Wednesday comments for news on the transplant chain.
Yeah, I read it this morning — fascinating. Thanks for the lowdown. Who coordinates all this?
Best wishes to Amy for a speedy recovery. Would never have finished nearly as high up as I once did-which was respectable if not prizewinning- at the ACPT, if it weren’t for a careful daily reading of this blog. I also have fond memories of when even the WSJ Saturday puzzles were being blogged and the happy few of us would solve some of the trickier Hex variety cryptics.
Got hung up on the EFT TAEL cross today as well. See you at Lollapuzzocho, Doug!
NYT: regarding “Koozie” et al.: If pressed, I’d opt for the more generic, venerable, and infinitely cooler zarf.
I ordered some custom can holders from Etsy, bright knit/crocheted stripes. Infinitely cuter than koozies.
I use zarf for the cardboard cup holders from coffee places.
I’ve never seen the need for KOOZIES. But that’s probably because I’ve never let an open can of beer go warm.
Great to hear from Amy.
Okay, now I wonder if a *$ barista has ever handed over a coffee and been asked, “Excuse me, may I get a zarf?”
Would be a good name to use when ordering, even if they misspell it.
HH! Hi. I have dislodged you as Cruciverbal Acute Patient.
Also want to thank Ade for the Leaders of the New School clip, one of my favorites from my favorite era of hip hop. Young Busta!
I have to agree that the crossing of EFT/TAEL comes very close to being unfair. I can’t quite call it that because I did manage to either vaguely remember or guess at Electronic Funds Transfer, but I’d bet that crossing tripped up a lot of people.
Thank you pannonica and all the other erudite commenters here for teaching me “zarf” (which, as delightfully sci-fi/comic-book as it sounds, apparently comes from the Arabs, whose versions of these things are metal and ornamental, unlike the utilitarian cardboard version that Amy mentions).
Glad you’re doing well, Amy. Best wishes!
Gareth: the soft drink NEHI is pronounced like ‘knee-high’.
So much for the propaganda that American spellings reflect pronunciation… You’d think it would rhyme with semi. What’s a knee-high then? Some sort of boot I’d guess?
I don’t think “a knee-high”, as a noun, is really a thing. Using it as an adjective, of course, you could talk about knee-high boots or knee-high stockings (for instance).
Wikipedia says this: “In the early 20th century, the advertising logo of Nehi was a picture of a seated woman’s legs, in which the skirt was high enough to show the stockings up to the knee, suggesting the phrase “knee-high,” to illustrate the correct pronunciation of the company name.”
If the referent is clear from context, “knee-high” can be a noun. dictionary citation
Loved today’s LAT!! Much better than the usual starred or numbered clues. And Amy, I’m hoping the best for you!
Disagree. LAT was OK up to SW corner – there a jumbled mess. And “humbled = eatDIRT?” – a real stretch. There’s a great difference between humbling and humiliating. Look it up in a dictionary of aphorisms.