Thursday, August 20, 2015

NYT  untimed (PuzzleGirl) 
LAT  5:00 (Gareth) 
CS  7:16 (Ade) 
BEQ  6:55 (Ben) 

Jules P. Markey’s New York Times crossword – PuzzleGirl’s write-up

NYT 08.20.15This is going to be quick. I’m not feeling great and want to get to bed so I’m just going to throw this up here and you all can talk about it in the comments. I had a really hard time getting a foothold here. I think/hope it’s because I’m not as sharp as I usually am. But maybe it’s just hard. I don’t know! I kept reading through across clues until I got to 34A: ___ Tome (which I almost always read as “___ Torme” and want to enter MEL, but it’s always SAO). But that at least got me started.

Theme Answers:

  • 13A: Intoxicated, say [IMPAIRED]
  • 17A: Great Plains tunneler [PRAIRIE DOG]
  • 27A: They rarely cover more than two feet in one day [PAIR OF SOCKS]
  • 50A: Visionary [CLAIRVOYANT]
  • 55A: What sailors breathe [SEA AIR]
  • 65A: Do-it-yourselfer’s activity [HOME REPAIR]
  • 71A: Retreats [LAIRS]
  • 73A: Sibling duo in “Lady, Be Good!,” 1924 [ASTAIRES]
  • 3D: 1943 Pulitzer-winning novelist for “Dragon’s Teeth” [UPTON SINCLAIR]
  • 4D: Wee ‘uns in Scotland [BAIRNS]
  • 8D: Easy ___ [CHAIR]
  • 14D: 1970s TV series set at 165 Eaton Place [UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS]
  • 39D: Common allergen [PET HAIR]
  • 61D: 1997 Nicolas Cage film [CON AIR]
  • 29D: Gas station supply … or what can be found eight times in this puzzle? [COMPRESSED AIR]

Wrong first guesses for me included SMELL for SCENT [60A: Bouquet] and NO RUSH for NOT NOW [16A: “It can wait”], which caused me to enter LES for LEO [5D: “Seinfeld” uncle], which I knew was wrong but I just wanted to keep moving. Figured it out eventually.

Sorry to blog and run but that’s all I got for tonight. What did you all think?

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website crossword – “If I Say So Myself” — Ben’s Review


So, how about that NYT mini puzzle response to the Slate article?  I had more of a reaction to the Slate author’s solving time in her response (46 seconds?  really?) than to the puzzle content itself, but I thought it was a nice wink to the article.  That’s not what we’re here for, though (Right?  I assume we’re not here for puzzle-vs-puzzle snark, but let me know if I’m wrong and I’ll switch my beat).  BEQ’s puzzle this week had a refreshing “aha” moment mid-solve that made the theme entries fall into place – they’re “IFY”, not iffy:

  • 1A: Make money while apprising? — NOTIFY FOR PROFIT
  • 26A: Streaming royalty, perhaps? — SPOTIFY CHECK
  • 44A: Canonize Coleridge and Cummings? — BEATIFY POETS
  • 59A: Appease Homer’s neighbor Ned? — MOLLIFY FLANDERS

Lots of eclectic music shout-outs this week, from Madonna’s “INTO the Groove” (63A) to NWA‘s (61D) “Straight Outta Compton” (and its accompanying film currently in theaters).  We also got some LITE FM (48A), which I thought was just a station back in MN and not the name of an actual nationwide format, and some MASTODON (40D), which I knew because I read a loooot of Pitchfork reviews.  I also managed to learn a little more about constant crossword filler OMOO (7D) this week – the book’s title means “rover”, apparently.  Hopefully that’ll come in handy at an upcoming trivia night.  Other entries I liked this week: YOLO (18D), MYST (25D), and TERRY Gilliam (27D), whose non-Python work I tend to like in theory more than actuality, although I love Adventures of Baron Munchausen full stop.

Another solid Thursday from BEQ.  Keep it up, Brendan! 4/5 stars

Alan DerKazarian’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up

LA Times 150820

LA Times 150820

Today’s central answer explains that the theme is CROSSINGGUARDS. Four pairs of answers are roughly synonyms for guard. They are clued as far as possible in other ways (sometimes not all that far, but I appreciate the effort.) So: ESCORT/WATCH, SENTINEL/CUSTODIAN, SHEPHERD/KEEPER, WARDEN/DEFENDER. It is worth noting the puzzle is 16×15, to accommodate a central 14.

What else?

I didn’t know [Condense], CAPSULIZE was a word, though it was inferrable. Google turns up a whole lot of pseudoscientific guff from crunchy placentophages about making placenta into tablets. Eek! I also didn’t know ISAACHULL, though he seems historically notable, and it’s always good to work a full name into a puzzle. I did know ROSCOE Tanner, though many may have forgotten him. He has an Australian Open to his name – the 1977 edition. I also didn’t know 1a, [“___ go into…”], OFFWE. The clue doesn’t give a lot of context, so I infer this is meant to be very familiar. It seems to be a patriotic song of some description, if Google is anything to go by. DIECI is not an Italian number we see as frequently in puzzles as say UNO… BPS is odd as clued. I’d buy it a lot easier as [Some filling stations] but I don’t know if BP filling stations are a thing in America.

3.5 Stars

Oh and ESL caused this to appear into my mind. Haven’t watched in ages. It’s about foreigners at an English Night School. It is certainly walking a tight-rope of offensiveness; I’m not sure which side it falls!

Lynn Lempel’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Court Action”—Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 08.19.15: "Oo-ee, Baby!"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 08.19.15: “Oo-ee, Baby!”

Good day, crossword fans. Today’s grid, brought to us by Ms. Lynn Lempel, was made for all the hoops fans out there, including myself. Each of the four theme answers is a multiple-word* entry in which the first word is also a verb (or noun) pertaining to the sport of basketball.

  • DRIBBLE GLASS (20A: [Gag given a drinker])
  • PASSWORDS (37A: [Online entry requirements, often])
  • SHOOT POOL (42A: [Take a cue, in a way])
  • BLOCKBUSTERS (56A: [Megahits]) – I said each of the entries was a multiple-word entry, but blockbuster(s) is definitely just one word…unless there’s someone out there who spells it with two words!

I believe that earlier in the week, we had an entry of “Real McCoy,” and today’ we get just the MCCOY (50D: [Real guy]). Also believe that we had JESSE as well earlier this week, and also in relation to one of the greatest athletes in American sports history (33D: [Owens at the 1936 Olympics]). The summer weather is not showing any signs of cooling off in New York, so there’s no need to break out the PARKA anytime soon (64A: [Heavy jacket]). Ok, maybe if you’re in San Francisco and watching a Giants game at night, you might need to have it handy. I didn’t mind the three-word entries using articles intersecting each other, IN A STEW (9D: [All worked up]) and GET AN A, something I definitely wouldn’t achieve if I had to take a French exam right now, even with my time spending an entire week in Montréal just completed (31A: [Make the grade and then some]). No real hangups here, as I pretty much could STRUT through this grid once I got into a groove (40A: [Walk like a peacock])

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: KOBE (57D: [Lakers star Bryant]) – Do you know which NBA team drafted KOBE Bryant, the future basketball Hall of Famer who has played all of his 1,500 professional games (regular season and postseason combined) as a Los Angeles Laker? Well, if you said the Los Angeles Lakers, then you’d be absolutely…incorrect!  In the 1996 NBA Draft, the 17-year-old Bryant, who entered the NBA Draft straight out of high school while bypassing college basketball altogether, was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets. One month later, Bryant was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for Vlade Divac.

It’s TGIF tomorrow! Have yourself a great rest of your Thursday!

Take care!


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27 Responses to Thursday, August 20, 2015

  1. ArtLvr says:

    Off on the right foot this time with UPTON SINCL(air) crossing CL(air)VOYANT: lucky!
    Thrown in UPST(air)S DOWNST(air)S and wow– COMPRESSED(air)! Super fun.

  2. ray says:

    How do you enter multiple letters in the NYT online app?

  3. David L says:

    NYT was a nice old-fashioned Thursday rebus — BAIRNS clued me in and then it was pretty straightforward.

    PETHAIR, contrary to popular belief, is not generally an allergen. Usually what sets people off is dander, which is basically all the detritus shed from the skin — dead cells, scales, whatever.

    I have to assume BEQ is not a gardener, or he would not suggest that LOAM is a clay-like soil. The virtue of loam is that it’s easy to dig and turn over, and drains well — the *two* main virtues of loam…. Anyway, those qualities are exactly the opposite of clay soils.

  4. Zulema says:

    One of the more enjoyable (for me) NYT Thursdays. PRAIRIE Dogs, and I have seen them, was the immediate toehold with the Gas Station clue. I admit that being a driver helps. Thank you for a nice Rebus, and good fill.

    • huda says:

      I too felt that it was a very enjoyable rebus. I wandered off at first and got HOME REPAIR and it fell easily from there…

  5. Gareth says:

    Figured out the rebus at PRAIRIEDOG – guessed right that it would be AIR! Then got to COMPRESSEDAIR and dropped the entire thing in without crossers. Felt omnipotent! Appreciated the theme density, although now I feel gassy…

  6. LARRY WALKER says:

    In the NYT puzzle, the clue at 29D said the use of the word “air” would be found 8 times in the puzzle. I only count 7. What am I missing?

    • Noam D. Elkies says:

      Count again. There are 8, including the last letter of 29D itself.

    • Gary R says:

      I count 8 rebus squares – did you forget to count the one in 29D?

    • lemonade714 says:

      When a puzzle includes a rebus with intersecting across and down fill, the number will always be even (8) rather than odd (7). It is what makes rebus a rebus

      • john farmer says:

        Sorry, but that’s not true. You can have an even or odd number of rebus squares in a puzzle — 1, 2, 7, 8 … you name it.

        Likewise, the number of answers using a rebus can be even or odd. Today’s puzzle has 15 rebus answers, because one answer has two rebus squares (UPST[AIR]S DOWNST[AIR]S) and all the other rebus answers have one rebus square.

  7. Noam D. Elkies says:

    Nothing about the duplicate use of TEN in the NYTimes grid (22A) and clue (for 11D:NEON, whose clue didn’t have to use the atomic number)?

    • Gary R says:

      Maybe “10” is not “TEN”?

      • Noam D. Elkies says:

        True, TEN could have been clued as an abbreviation for “tenor” or “tenuto” or “The Enterprise Network” and then it wouldn’t clash with the NEON clue. But here the clue is X and I can’t make any other sense of it than the Roman numeral 10.

  8. PuzzleGirl says:

    lemonade714: The number of entries affected by the rebus will always be even but there can be an odd number of rebus squares.

    • john farmer says:

      Not quite so. Today there’s 15, per above.

      • Norm says:

        May I try to please everyone?
        The number of rebuses will always be even (assuming you count the across and the down as separate rebuses), unless there is one sitting out there all by itself without a cross (the poor cousin of a “cheater” square? an isthmus?).
        The number of rebus squares (counting each across and down as one) can be odd or even.
        The number of entries affected by a rebus will generally be even, but can be odd if there is a double rebus in one entry (as here). Of course, it can be even again if there is a double rebus in two entries.

  9. PuzzleGirl says:

    Out smarty-pantsed again! (Thanks, John. Of course you’re right.)

  10. Evan says:

    Small correction re: today’s BEQ write-up:

    There’s a mistake in the answer grid. It should be PACKS/PTI rather than JACKS/JTI.

    • Bencoe says:

      Yes. “Pardon the Interruption” is the name of the show. I see it all the time in bars, and it’s not bad.

  11. Chris Wooding says:

    I hope Gareth wasn’t being sarcastic, and will welcome the info that the (U.S.) Air Force Hymn starts ” Off we go into the wild blue yonder…”

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