Monday, August 31, 2015

NYT 3:39 (pannonica) 
LAT 3:33 (pannonica) 
CS 7:34 (Matt) 
BEQ 4:55 (Amy) 

Be sure to visit Kevin Der’s website to download his puzzle, “Homage.” It’s an homage to the great Merl Reagle—Sunday-sized, of course.

Michael Dewey’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

NYT • 8/31/15 • Mon • Dewey • no  0831 • solution

NYT • 8/31/15 • Mon • Dewey • no 0831 • solution

Enough small talk!

  • 17a. [Attack an endeavor vigorously] DIVE IN HEAD FIRST.
  • 37a. [Get hitched] TAKE THE PLUNGE.
  • 58a. [Lose one’s mind] GO OFF THE DEEP END.

Have I been too extreme in the terseness of the write-up? If so, HANG IN THERE (26d), the other three will take up the slack.

p.s. Good puzzle, nice Monday.

Janice Luttrell’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 8/31/15 • Mon • Luttrell • solution

LAT • 8/31/15 • Mon • Luttrell • solution

Monday-typical words-that-can-follow-word-X theme. A central revealer lets us know: 41-across [Caboose locale … and a hint to what the first word of the answers to starred clues can be] TAIL END.

  • 17a. [*Sentry] GATEKEEPER.
  • 64a. [*Crafty press agent] SPIN DOCTOR.
  • 11d. [*Wishful thinking] PIPE DREAM.
  • 34d. [*Music-maker activated by a breeze] WIND CHIME. Not really what I’d label music.

Tailgate, tailspin, tailpipe, tailwind. Very vehicular.

  • 20a [City with Heat and Hurricanes] MIAMI, 13d [20-Across’ former county] DADE – now called Miami-Dade County, 36d [St. Augustine’s state: Abbr.] FLA.
  • 23a [Gulf War journalist Peter] ARNETT. Not to be confused with New Yorker cartoonist Peter Arno.
  • 14a  [Indigo dye source] ANIL. In the upper left of a Monday puzzle? Yowtch. Not to mention 21a [Copter’s forerunner] GIRO.
  • 8d {Warm month in Chile] ENERO. Also known as ‘the only Spanish month that appears in crosswords’. Seriously, how refreshing would it be to at least see número cinco once in a while, rather than that unspeakable spread or that well-known clinic? Tres, cuatro, seis, y ocho aren’t so impossible either. So tedious when it’s one January after another.
  • 52d [Set free, as pigs] UNPEN. Since I briefly thought the answer was UNSTY, this now looks like excellent fill.
  • 44a [Staten or Manhattan] ISLAND. To people ever call it just “Staten”?
  • Favorite fill: 45d DEBACLE, though by no means would I characterize the crossword as such.


Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”

BEQ crossword solution, 8 31 15 "Themeless Monday"

BEQ crossword solution, 8 31 15 “Themeless Monday”

Really loved this one. Smooth, lots of zippy fill. Starting with the anchor ASHLEY MADISON in the center, we’ve got other terrific long answers criss-crossing in the middle—ANNA KARENINA, SORORITY RUSH, and OVER AND ABOVE. Among the shorter fill, I liked TECHNO, POINCARÉ, TROT OUT, GO-GETTER, BENT ON clued as a phrase rather than a proper name, NEWHART, MCING, and “OH, HELL NO.” If only crossword grids accepted italics.

Top clues:

  • 33a. [Website with cheat codes?], ASHLEY MADISON. Infidelity, not video game cheat codes.
  • 22a. [Duke’s overseer], DEAN. University, not nobility.
  • 36a. [Globe piece], STORY. The Globe newspaper. Presumably Boston, which is running Brendan’s Marching Bands puzzles and some of his Sunday puzzles in rotation with Hex and Hook.
  • 40d. [Quince, e.g.], NUMERO. Quince in Spanish is fifteen.
  • 48d. [Bird that lives on all seven continents], TERN. Kind of boring fill, but redeemed by this trivia clue.

Not wild about fill like SDI, B-STAR, and SLOE, but overall this puzzle’s quite smooth for a 66-worder.

Also! Brendan’s got a new Kickstarter project for his diagramless puzzles. I once test-solved a whole book of his diagramlesses, and you’re in for a treat if you sign up to subscribe to these diagramless BEQs via email.

Ian Livengood’s Crossynergy / Washington Post crossword — Matt’s review


Matt here, filling in for Ade, who is busy covering the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, Queens, New York City, New York, U.S.A., Earth. Tough life that guy has! He’s getting me Federer and Nadal’s autographs in exchange for taking today and tomorrow’s reviews. I hope?

Ian Livengood throws a real curveball with this theme — or, to stick with tennis, a well-masked drop shot. Here are the theme entries in the order I got them:

5-d [High-stakes game] = RUSSIAN ROULETTE. Stealing a line from “War Games,” the only way to win is not to play.

7-d [Stallone’s nickname] = the ITALIAN STALLION. Have you seen his recent shots on the web? Dude is still ripped at age 70.

10-d [Lip service?] = FRENCH KISS. More like [Slip of the tongue]! No one cares about your lips during a French kiss.

So then I’m looking at 27-d and assuming we’re going to get another nationality for [Cattle drive workers], but no — it’s RANCH HANDS. So the theme is salad dressings, not European demonyms. Sneaky.


***Had ??TEL for [Monopoly possession] at 45-a and confidently filled in the second letter, but not the first. I also had ?OUSA at 43-a and was about to enter SOUSA without looking at the clue, but then wondered: what if it’s GO USA? It was SOUSA after all, but if the clue had been [Patriotic sounds] then I would’ve needed the crossing word anyway.

***Lovely grid, wide-open with no crud. VIN DIESEL and ELLEN PAGE hang out symmetrically, then lots of K’s and X’s and such without ever seeming forced. Bravo.

***Three favorite clues: [Uber alternative] for TAXI, not LYFT; [Animal that can balance a beach ball on its nose] for SEAL; and [Collection affected by natural selection] for the excellent entry GENE POOL.

Above average Monday puzzle, with its excellent grid and easy, whimsical clues (like: [___ and tired of it all] for SICK). Some might ding this idea for the three nationalities and then RANCH as the odd one out, but I found it wry. 4.15 stars.

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6 Responses to Monday, August 31, 2015

  1. Jamie says:

    Ha! That’s as much space and effort as should be devoted to blogging the Monday NYT unless it’s extraordinarily good or bad.

  2. anon says:

    BEQ – 18A: “Like one in a mil.” = ENL. Does mil. = military and enl. = enlisted? Not sure I’m getting this one…

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Oh, I meant to ask that as well! Your guess is better than anything that came to my mind—”enlargement” was the only ENL I could think of. Not used to seeing mil. as an abbreviation for a noun rather than an adjective, and “a military” also feels awkward. So I’m not sure that’s it.

    • CoffeeLover says:

      Thanks for asking from me as well. My only confusion after solving. Now during solving, well that’s another story. Forgot about Oreo ice cream, so could only think of Stack.

  3. pannonica says:

    CS: “***Three favorite clues: … [Animal that can balance a beach ball on its nose] for SEAL …”

    ’cept those are actually sea lions.

Comments are closed.