Monday, August 24, 2015

NYT 3:30ish (pannonica) 
LAT 3:03 (pannonica) 
CS 10:47 (Ade) 
Reagle (BEQ) reviewed yesterday by Sam 

Lynn Lempel’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

NYT • 8/24/15 • Mon • Lempel • no 0824 • solution

NYT • 8/24/15 • Mon • Lempel • no 0824 • solution

Okay, this is a Monday puzzle and I fear that I don’t completely get the theme. Obviously the circled letters—running vertically—are the same: U·S·T·I. And just as obviously 28-down is a revealer, stating that [“I’ll defer on this one” … or a hint for what’s found in 3-, 9-, 21- and 24-Down?] IT’S UP TO YOU and is meaningful. But how to fully parse this? Reading from bottom to top, the quadgrams spell ITS U, so does that work out as IT’S moving upward to U? If that’s the case, I’m not happy. MAY as well be a tattered two-piece suit. (26a)

The containing entries are:

  • 3d. [Leaving no stone unturned] EXHAUSTIVE.
  • 9d. [John Roberts, for one] CHIEF JUSTICE.
  • 21a. [Actor with Oscars for “Spartacus” and “Topkapi”] PETER USTINOV.
  • 24d. [Acid, as criticism] CAUSTIC. Or, acid, as acid. Why evoke metaphor?

Two and two allotment of single words and two-word phrases. So that’s nice.

A pair of long across entries with SKIN DIVING and ROMANESQUE, both spiffy.

  • 26d [Preceder of”Brown” and “Robinson” in 1960s #1 hits] MRS. Tricky, somewhat misleading, as one of them isn’t a complete title (“Mrs Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter”, by Herman’s Hermits). It’s deceit by omission, surprisingly subtle for a Monday. Factette: It was never released as a single in the UK because it was so kitschily British that noone imagined that it could be a hit there.
  • 42a [Stretched tight] TAUT. Tight and taut have discrete etymologies. 56d [King __ tomb] TUT’S, in the news.
  • Favorite clue: 50d [Purchase for a king or a queen] SHEET. Favorite fill: unpartialled SHAR-PEI (20a).
  • 63a [Samsung or LG product, briefly] LED TV. Less commonly seen (so far) than LCD TVs or even PLASMAs, at least in crosswords.
  • Nifty sequence: 11d [“__ soup yet?”] IS IT, 12d [Sufficiently cooked] DONE.

And done.

Gail Grabowski and Bruce Venzke’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 8/24/15 • Mon • Grabowski, Venzke • solution

LAT • 8/24/15 • Mon • Grabowski, Venzke • solution

Let’s get it together and see how worthy we are.

  • 60a. [In tidy condition, and a hint to the first words of the answers to starred clues] SHIPSHAPE.
  • 17a. [*Historic Chicago landmark co-founded by Jane Addams] HULL HOUSE. There’s something about a “devil baby” associated with its lore.
  • 24a. [*Anxiety caused by confinement] CABIN FEVER. Brig it on! Kind of see also 67a [Inner turmoil] ANGST.
  • 30a. [Porthole view] OCEAN. Oh wait, that isn’t a theme answer. Belay that item.
  • 38a. [*Dress fancily] DECK OUT.
  • 53a. [*Old phone feature for multiple calls] HOLD BUTTON. Kind of see also 45d [Secret supply] STASH; stow, stash, close enough.

The accompanying caption reads “This map depicts the nationalities of each household in the neighborhood surrounding Hull House on Chicago’s Near West Side.” but it the area shown extends east from Hull House, which is located just west of South Halsted Street and does not appear on this section of the map. (Couldn’t find an image of the other plate(s), which surely exist, judging by the numbered sections.) Still, interesting and pretty to look at.

  • 58d [Baltic, for one] SEA, 62d [Land in la mer] ÎLE, 13d [ __ lime pie] KEY.
  • 8d [Iron-poor blood condition] ANEMIA. Not to be confused with scurvy, which is a deficiency of vitamin C. This takes us to the British Navy and lime rations, and the origin of “limey” via ‘key lime’, above. See also 37d [Rascal] SCALAWAG; I wonder if they have a shared linguistic root – more specifically, whether SCALAWAG (origin unknown · First Known Use: circa 1848, also scallywag) is derived in part from RASCAL (Middle English rascaile foot soldiers, commoners, worthless person, from Anglo-French rascaille, from Old French dialect (Norman & Picard) *rasquer to scrape, clean off, from Vulgar Latin *rasicare · First Known Use: 15th century) – {etymologies from}
  • 51d [Spy on] PEEP AT. Really?
  • Interesting clue: 32a [Either of the first two consonants in “coccyx,” but not the third] HARD C.
  • 57a [Braying beasts] ASSES crossing 52d [Balance sheet heading] ASSETS down in the lower right is apparently where the scuttled junk of the fill lies derelict. Yeesh.

Well-constructed crossword. It floats. Pretty sure I’ve shared this here before, but it’s difficult to resist (especially in case I’m mistaken):

Donna S. Levin’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “So Stuck Up”—Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 08.24.15: "So Stuck Up"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 08.24.15: “So Stuck Up”

Good morning, everyone, and I hope you all are having a good start to the week! Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Ms. Donna S. Levin, is all about fun with ACUPUNCTURISTS (20A: [Medical practitioners who might, after office hours, give the advice at 25-, 48-, and 57-Across]). Who doesn’t love to have fun with acupuncturists?!? It’s a joke that I don’t think I have heard before, but it’s pretty funny nonetheless.

  • TAKE TWO THUMB TACKS AND CALL ME IN THE MORNING (25A, 48A & 57A: [Advice from 20-Across (Part 1), Advice from 20-Across (Part 2), Advice from 20-Across (Part 3)]).”

How about the Northwest, and the big presence of plant life to start, with both LILAC (1D: [Redolent purple flower]) and the tricky ARECA in the area (2D: [Betel palm]). If it wasn’t for the obvious reveal of “acupuncturists,” areca would have not been easy for me to get…and then accept as correct afterward. We have answers stacked on top of each other that are anagrams of each other, with EON (33A: [It may seem like an eternity]) and NEO (39A: [Protagonist of “The Matrix”]). Unlike yesterday, I came across a clue referencing another European river and hesitated to put in an answer and not get tangled up. I kind of knew that RHONE would be the answer initially, but Rhine was in my mind as well (22D: [Avignon’s river]). I don’t know if Ms. Levin is a sports fan, but a couple of intersecting answers in the grid couldn’t have made a better segue for our “sports…smarter” moment, and those answers are…

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: OILER (40D: [Edmonton pro]) & ISLES (46A: [Man and Wight]) – The Edmonton OILER franchise, founded in 1972 and a member of the National Hockey League since 1979, played in its first two Stanley Cup Final series in 1983 and 1984, both against the New York Islanders, or ISLES for short. In the 1983 series, the Isles swept Edmonton in four straight games, winning their fourth consecutive Stanley Cup in the process. The Oilers got their revenge the following year, defeating the Isles in five games in the Cup final. Not only did they end New York’s dynasty, the Oilers immediately became NHL’s next dynasty, as the ’84 Stanley Cup was the first of their five Stanley Cup triumphs, with all of them coming within a seven-year period (1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990).

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

Take care!


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18 Responses to Monday, August 24, 2015

  1. Dave says:

    I thought the theme was very original and more than a little clever.

  2. Gary R says:

    Found the NYT to be a very quick solve, even for a Monday. But it was all pretty good fill – not much junk.

    Re: CAUSTIC – chemically, I usually associate “caustic” with a base (e.g., caustic soda), rather than acid. So I thought the qualifier “as criticism” made the answer a better fit.

  3. huda says:

    NYT: pannonica– I think you parsed the them correctly. Why aren’t you happy with it? I thought it was very cute and unusual for a Monday. It would be interesting to hear your pov.

    And thanks for all the images you posted yesterday! Very cool. It livened an otherwise sad day.

    The stiiching ones were very interesting to me…I had a recent surgery on my hand and I sat there and watched them do the suturing, so it was weird to see your illustration. What’s odd is that the same procedures are using for clothes and I learned them all as a kid, with specific instructions on which one to use under which condition.

  4. David L says:

    Good Monday puzzle, as we have come to expect from Lynn Lempel. Like Huda, I don’t see anything to complain about in the USTI trick.

    Etymology notes: (1) “Caustic,” MW tells me, derives from Greek “to burn,” and for unexplained reasons seems to have become particularly associated with the idea of chemically burning biological tissues. Hence the connection (in scientific if not general usage) with alkalinity rather than acidity. (2) Limey indeed derives from lime, but I’m not aware of any particular connection with key limes.

    • pannonica says:

      Poor phrasing on my part; didn’t mean to indicate that key limes in particular were used by the British Navy. Was simply looking for ways to link up clues, answers, and notions. Don’t inspect the rigging too closely!

  5. Aaron says:

    Stupid question, but can someone direct me to where to get or sign-up for the CS puzzles? I didn’t see a link to them on the “Crossword Links” tab, and I’m trying to get my hands on as many new puzzles a day as I can.

  6. john farmer says:

    I’m a big fan of Lynn Lempel’s — always good things to find in her puzzles, today’s included. Reaction here seems to be very positive. The theme, otoh, had me thinking I may have missed something, which had me wondering if I was completely losing it (always a possibility) or if this is indeed Monday. The …TO YOU to “U” connection seemed to need something more. I’m with pannonica on this one.

  7. Alan D. says:

    Matt Gaffney has written a nice article about Merl here. But I don’t get it – the article says “Homophone Hijinks” was Merl’s last puzzle but surely, even if he did work up to the deadline, there had to have been another for yesterday? Wouldn’t they have had to have it a few days ago in order to publish it in the papers????

  8. ArtLvr says:

    From “suture self” to “take two thumb tacks”, I get a kick out of such medical wackiness.

  9. pannonica says:

    CS: Is there a phonetic, punning significance to “two thumb tacks” that I’m missing, or is it simply a substitution for the estimable aspirin pair?

  10. Jamie says:

    Regarding Merl, I apologize if this has been mentioned elsewhere, but his website, announced that, starting next Sunday and every week afterwards, they will post a “Best of Merl” puzzle online.

Comments are closed.