Friday, August 21, 2015

NYT 7:49 (Derek) 
LAT 6:07 (Gareth) 
CS 9:22 (Ade) 
WSJ (Friday) tk (pannonica)  

David Steinberg’s New York Times crossword – Derek’s write-up

imageThis was an impressive grid.  66 words by my count, and lots of wide-open real estate. Always a challenge to squeeze in Qs, Js, and Xs; I think this grid is an F and a Z away from being pangrammatic. And great, lively fill to boot.  Only a couple of clues that I don’t quite get; will explain them in the list. Hence, the list of interesting entries:

  • 5A [Armstrong contemporary] ALDRIN – You were thinking Louie Armstrong, too! Just admit it!!
  • 16A [Letters that delight angels] SRO – I know this is Standing Room Only. What do the angels denote? Is this a Broadway/theater thing?
  • 25A [New England stock] CLAM BROTH – I love this clue. Is this what one uses to make clam chowder? I would assume so. Never cooked it myself…
  • 34A [English monarch after whom a brickwork building style is named] QUEEN ANNE – I did not know this. From the images in Google, these are the houses that have a cylindrical element in the front corner or corners. Very nice, although long, clue.
  • 38A [“Take a chill pill!”] JUST RELAX – Favorite clue/entry of the puzzle.
  • 50A [Cell] MOBILE PHONE – Great vague clue.
  • 29D [Show of disrespect] BRONX CHEER – This is definitely a “New York thing!”
  • 45D [Deli item that’s 14-Across backward] NOVA – This is a new one on me. Evidently it’s also a New York thing? I’ve never seen nova in Indiana!

Again, a great puzzle, especially coming from someone so young. 4.2 stars. Can’t wait for the hard weekend puzzles! See you then!

Todd McClary’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Gone Girl”—Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 08.21.15: "Gone Girl"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 08.21.15: “Gone Girl”

It’s Friday, people!!  I hope you all are doing great, and have some nice plans for the weekend! Hopefully, if you’re a guy, some of those plans will involve a lady friend, which is the opposite of what was going on in today’s grid, brought to us by Mr. Todd McClary. In it, each of the four theme answers is either a common phrase or proper noun that has been altered so that the letters “HER” are excised from the original term. Fun with puns on a Friday!

  • LIFE WITH FAT (17A: [Shortening manufacturer’s memoir?]) – From “Life with Father.”
  • BIRDS OF A FEAT (27A: [Magic trick’s doves, for example?]) – From “birds of a feather.”
  • THE HOUSE OF US (48A: [Weekly celebrity magazine’s publishing headquarters?]) – From “The House of Usher.” Here’s a little Edgar Allan Poe (almost) for us today!
  • WOULD YOU RAT (64A: [Game in which players decide if they will become informants?]) – From “would you rather.” By far, my favorite theme answer of the bunch.

This has been the best week in terms of African geography and information in crosswords, and it continues today with NIGER (40A: [Major river of Western Africa]) and ABUJA, the capital of the country of my heritage (20A: [Capital of Nigeria]). I originally thought I had put in something incorrect in the Northwest when I saw NO–N emerge, but, after being able to decipher it, seeing NO FUN was actually…pretty fun (3D: [Far from pleasant]). Also, I put in “ally” instead of ARMY initially, and that definitely tripped me up right at the end (31D: [Fighting force]). Outside of the missing lady in the grid, it also seemed like we were in a courtroom also, with both ALIBI (2D: [Suspect’s excuse]) and OATH residing in this puzzle (34D: [Witness stand statement]). I doubt I can make a good SEGUE to the “sports…smarter” clue, so I might as well just go to it right now (29D: [Smooth transition])

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: THE WHO (5A: [“Tommy” rock band]) – I think a lot of you are familiar with the GMC commercial currently running which features THE WHO song “Eminence Front.” Did you know that the commercial takes place at AT&T Park in San Francisco, home of the San Francisco Giants, or that the pitcher featured in the commercial is actually current Giants left-handed pitcher – and three-time World Series champion – Jeremy Affeldt? Here’s the spot…

Enjoy the weekend, everyone! See you tomorrow!

Take care!


Mark McClain’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up

LA Times 150821

LA Times

Mark McLain presents us with a familiar Friday letter addition shtick. Today’s letters are GA, and this is hinted at by GEORGIAONMYMIND. Plus points for an interesting, 15 letter revealer, but the connection between GEORGIAONMYMIND and “add GA” is not as tight as would be ideal. So many great covers of this song, but here’s Willie! Only three theme phrases today, though they’re all 15’s. [Red army unit?], BLUSHINGBRIGADE and [Druid baker’s recipe?], PAGANCAKEBATTER were both very clever. [Missed the bird’s nest under the eaves?], FLEWINTOAGARAGE felt too stretched and convoluted for my liking.

Today’s grid design had few longer answers outside of the theme. On the other hand, there was some excellent clues: [Likely to elicit a nod?], BORING and [Like alpha, but not bravo], GREEK were both homeruns! [Two of Rory McIlroy’s major wins, familiarly], PGAS was not a usage I was aware of. The PGA Championship is the final of golf’s four majors. The 2015 edition was last week, and was won by Jason Day, finally breaking his duck after many near misses! If only he spelt his name unusually, he might get in crosswords! Another mystery clue was [Stamp purchase], COIL. Didn’t know that was a thing, but apparently it’s just a roll of stamps.

3.75 Stars
Gareth, leaving you with the song we all thought of on seeing DADDYO

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18 Responses to Friday, August 21, 2015

  1. huda says:

    NYT: Very nice puzzle! Some of the cluing was a little tricky, but I found it very doable for a Friday.
    There are girls, playboys and many menaces, not to mention Jeering and a Bronx Cheer.. Thank goodness for that nice BALLADE to improve the atmosphere.
    Favorite entry: Personal Shopper! I want one!

    Derek, here’s my take on your questions: Angels: I thought of people who invest in start up companies based on liking the idea or the individuals involved, in spite of risk… and figured it might also apply to those who take a chance and invest in a show production. I think if you search angel investors, you’ll see that meaning.

    And NOVA is Lox salmon…

    So, yes, pretty New York Centric… Also.. Isn’t there an EDY vs. Dreyer’s East Cost- West Coast distinction?

  2. Art Shapiro says:

    CS: ABUJA???? Am I the only misguided soul who hadn’t learned that Lagos had been usurped?


    • Alan D. says:

      I agree! I had to wiki it to learn that this was a planned city built mostly during the 1980s. It’s a big up-and-coming area in Nigeria.

  3. Evad says:

    Funny how [Square, in a way] can be both ADDRESS and REDRESS. I chose the former and ran the alphabet on Y courses that were C?A, wondering if perhaps one could now learn to be a CPA at one!

    • CY Hollander says:

      Cute, but I don’t think it would be quite kosher as a clue for ADDRESS. Doesn’t an address generally have to include a number?

      • Evad says:

        Yes, I agree it’s stretchy, but you could tell someone familiar with the area that you live “on the square” and in a way you are telling them your address.

  4. Dook says:

    Angels refers specifically to people who invest in shows. Nova lox is smoked salmon done in the Nova Scotia style, which is particularly salty. The Scottish style is more in vogue now and its very smooth and not salty at all. Us old school New Yorkers usually prefer Nova or its even saltier version – belly lox. Russ and Daughters on Houston (how-stun, NOT Hew ston) If we could only find a good bagel in New York to go with it… This puzzle was fun but went too fast for a Friday.

    • CY Hollander says:

      Nova lox is smoked salmon done in the Nova Scotia style, which is particularly salty.

      I’d never known what the “Nova” meant. Thanks!

    • huda says:

      Dook, I’ve been involved in biotech startups and the term “Angel” is also used for very early investors before venture capitalists come in. It may have been stolen from the entertainment industry.

  5. CY Hollander says:

    NYT: Fill was very nice and fresh, cluing felt too easy. This was about a Wednesday-level for me.

    Does anyone else really dislike clues that say “Anagram of [this]” or “[That] spelled backwards”? For one thing, they’re usually gimmes. For another, they’re often paired with a totally separate clue for the same word, which is inelegant, IMV.

    I’d call giving away an entry’s letters a legitimate device of last resort for a constructor worried that a proper noun may be unknown and unguessable to many solvers, but that sort of problem can usually be addressed in better ways. For example, in today’s puzzle, the “Deli item” could have been “Canadian-style deli item” (per Dook’s comment above), giving the solver grounds to make an educated guess at NOVA once he got close enough. In any case, the entry is not crossed by any proper nouns, so the problem was not urgent.

    • Steve J says:

      Nope, you’re not alone in disliking that type of cluing. I find it particularly lazy, and it never leads to a nice aha! moment.

      Thankfully, there was more than enough excellent cluing in this one to forgive that and one or two others that were a bit clangy. The DIANA ROSS clue alone was worth today’s price of admission.

  6. CY Hollander says:

    5A [Armstrong contemporary] ALDRIN – You were thinking Louie Armstrong, too! Just admit it!!

    The first name that comes to my mind when I hear “Armstrong” is always Neil, though Louis and Lance are also famous, of course.

    • sbmanion says:

      I thought of all of the above, but my first thought was HENRY ARMSTRONG, one of the greatest boxers of all time. He held three weight class titles (lightweight, featherweight welterweight) at a time when there were only 8 weightclasses.

      Ring magazine listed Armstrong as the second greatest boxer of all time, Ali third and Joe Louis fourth. Can you guess who was first. He is a legend.

      Fun puzzle. I agree that words spelled backwards is not a great clue for a Friday puzzle especially, but otherwise though it was solid.


  7. Avg Solvr says:

    Another fine Steinberg puzzle. Enjoyed the LAT as well.

  8. Mark McClain says:

    LAT – The name’s McClain, with two C’s please. Glad you sorta liked it. Tough to get a lot of long words in the incidental fill with 60 theme letters (at least for a rookie like me).

    NYT – Maybe David and/or Will are trying to teach us a new definition of NOVA (I didn’t know it either, but now I do). It was a breezy fill for me, ink with no missteps. Fun puzzle, as David’s always are.

    • Gareth says:

      Fixed. With an arrangement of four 15’s, additional long answers aren’t really practical (or advised).

  9. Patricia L. Williams says:

    Where’s the WSJ write-up?

Comments are closed.