Friday, January 1, 2016

CS 9:34 (Ade) 


LAT tk (Gareth) 


NYT 3:34 (Amy) 


Happy New Year! Wishing you all a healthy, happy 2016.

David Steinberg’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 1 1 16, no 0101

NY Times crossword solution, 1 1 16, no 0101

Whoa, I wasn’t expecting the puzzle to tumble as fast as a Tuesday puzzle. Unusual grid pattern, with the stair-stepped 9s stacked in the middle and flanked by 15s.


Did not know: 11d. [2009 million-selling Justin Bieber release], MY WORLD. Apparently this was his debut EP. Wait, he’s only been a recording artist for 6 years? And he’s still not gone yet?

Five more things:

  • I filled in ERIS instead of IRIS for 24a. [Goddess who caused the Trojan women to riot in the “Aeneid”]. Riots, goddess of discord, ERIS seemed solid. IRIS can be clued as a flower, an eye part, a camera term, a song, a name … seldom gets the myth treatment.
  • Not keen on the AMEBA spelling (26d. [Slide presentation?]), but it is the former name of a cool dance troupe in Chicago, now known as Aerial Dance Chicago. They do such cool work, and amoebae really don’t take flight, so the new name fits better.
  • Now, some women take POLE DANCE classes for fitness, as the pursuit provides a tough workout for muscles of the core, arms, and legs. The clue here is all gross with the male gaze, though: 38a. [Provocative performance]. At least the BRA clue assumes a female “you”: 35a. [Something you may need to get off your chest]. Underwires, am I right?
  • Blah fill: ETAS, ENS, ELOI, ENIAC, ETE, OTOE.
  • Fifth, I ran out of steam.

3.9 stars.

Pam Amick Klawitter’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up

LA Times 160101

LA Times

This puzzle, by Pam “Identity Crisis” Amick Klawitter, features a somewhat muddled theme. To accurately pin said theme, we must resort to the vague “answers’ final parts are a container, and the whole is reimagined in some way.” With JUSTINCASE, the case is not a container, but is reimagined to be one: [Where to keep the newest merchandise?]. A MITERBOX is sort of a container so the first part is changed: [Where to keep papal headgear?]. [Where to keep bustiers and halters?], TOPDRAWER is an idiom based on a container, but the top part is changed. A DITTYBAG is a type of container, though one I’ve never heard of! The clue [Where to keep tunes?] takes the first part literally. With [Where to keep clock components?], HANDBASKET, a HANDBASKET is presumably a container, though it survives mostly in idiom form.

The LA Times has a two partial rule (see here), which this puzzle circumvents, sort of. [End of a host’s query], ORTEA and [Reveling, after “on”], ATOOT are pretending they’re not partials. [“__ Family”: 1979 R&B hit], WEARE on the other hand, is clued straightforwardly.

[MLB best-of-seven series] ALCS was a total mystery while solving. I assume that’s AL + championships or something similar.

2.5 Stars

Randall J. Hartman’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “What a Yoke!”—Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 01.01.16: "

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 01.01.16: “What a Yoke!”

Happy New Year! I hope you’re doing great and had a great time ringing in the New Year! Oh, and if you pretty much stayed inside and slept immediately after the clock struck midnight, then you’re in good company, as that’s just what I did.

Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Mr. Randall J. Hartman, creates puns from phrases by changing the first word, which starts with a J and has that accompanying sound with a similar-sounding word that begins with a Y.

  • YALE BREAK (17A: [Spring hiatus for Elis?]) – From “jail break.” If a Thin Lizzy tour stopped in New Haven, that entry is what they would sing.
  • YAK IN THE PULPIT (28A: [Preach?]) – From “jack-in-the-pulpit.”
  • YANNI ON THE SPOT (49A: [Greek singer under pressure?]) – From “Johnny-on-the-spot.” Probably my favorite theme of the four, even with the Thin Lizzy earworm taking serious effect right now!
  • YULE THIEF (66A: [Grinch?]) – From “jewel thief.”

All of the theme entries were pretty strong, so that makes the solving experience even better. Not too much else to talk about, though that’s not an indictment on the grid’s fill at all. Actually liked the clue to TEN, and, for those that are not fans of the conference, you can say that the league can’t count (65D: [Big ___ (NCAA conference with 14 teams)]). Honestly, let’s just let the clue to BATH take us home with a laugh to start 2016 (54D: [“I knew I was an unwanted baby when I saw that my ____ toys were a toaster and a radio (Joan Rivers)]).

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: NINTENDO (40D: [Super Mario Bros. developer]) – Although known for being a video game giant, did you know that if it wasn’t for NINTENDO, the Seattle Mariners baseball franchise would probably be in Florida right now? In 1992, the late Hiroshi Yamauchi, then owner of Nintendo of Japan, became the first non-North American majority owner in Major League Baseball, when Nintendo bought the Seattle Mariners in 1992. Before that, there were strong indications that the team was getting ready to move to Miami. The team is currently owned by Nintendo of America, which is based in Redmond, WA.

Thank you so much for your time, and, once again, Happy New Year to you all!

Take care!


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18 Responses to Friday, January 1, 2016

  1. pannonica says:

    I wonder if AMEBA were nominally inspired by the venerable PILOBOLUS dance company.

  2. aries says:

    I don’t remember much of 10th-grade biology, but I remember clear as day when the teacher was discussing amoebas, who specifically stated that it can also be spelled “AMEBA.” I was just getting into serious solving then and I remember seeing AMEBA in a puzzle around that time.

    I had another of those moments in college when a prof, unprompted, spelled out both spellings of “czar” and “TSAR.”

    • pannonica says:

      Don’t neglect the hybrid tzar, which hardly ever (never?) gets play in crosswords! The remaining permutation, ‘csar’, has no currency even though it’s orthographically closest to the original caesar.

  3. Art Shapiro says:

    Is anyone else having trouble accessing the NYT crossword page? I’m just getting a blank page from multiple browsers on multiple computers. I was able to get Friday’s from the link here on the “Today’s Puzzles” page, but never had to do it that way before.


  4. Bruce N. Morton says:

    David is morphing quickly from a wunderkind to a self assured master constructor. I thought the puzzle was smooth and elegant. I hate to jinx myself by using the word easy — but it was amazingly easy. Perhaps taking pity on those who over celebrated — (not me).

    For some reason, the bass clef is referred to as the F Clef much less frequently than the treble clef is referred to as the G Clef.

    • Evad says:

      I think I was channeling Byron Walden when I confidently slapped down F-HOLE in that spot.

      Had a DNF at the confluence of SPELL, LIE and LCD, but otherwise I found the puzzle smooth sailing.

  5. ArtLvr says:

    re NYT – I’d have highlighted the POETIC, ORISON, HALOED, ST DENIS, DENALI, SWERVE and SWARD, SPELL and FAREWELLS…. but that’s my PERSONAL OPINION!

  6. Dook says:

    Loved todays’ NYT. I don’t really see why “provocative performance” is somehow offensive. A pole dance is supposed to be provocative and can be so to any gender.
    My only complaint is to clue Nora Charles as a gumshoe. She was not. Her husband, Nick, was the gumshoe and in each film, he tries to keep her out of the investigation. She always ends up involved in one way or another. But the answer to the clue is a trick and it’s wrong.

    • huda says:

      agreed re NORA Charles…

    • pannonica says:

      They do the detecting and solve the mysteries together, hence she is also a detective and, more loosely, a gumshoe. (This is a Friday crossword.) Would you quibble that Nick Charles isn’t a gumshoe because he’s a retired detective?

      It seems also as if you’re complaining too much on the other topic as well. Together it smacks of what sometimes gets policed as ‘mansplaining’ in these pages and elsewhere.

      An auspicious and happy new year to everyone. Plus ça change.

    • Bruce N. Morton says:

      I’m not thrilled by the way Nora was portrayed as continually swilling martinis, but then so was Nick. But the crossword world owes undying gratitude to the film for having given us Asta. And the reference is especially timely (as I recall). Didn’t the film take place between Christmas and New Year, with the grand denouement coming on New Year’s Day?

      • Jim Hale says:

        God Bless Asta. Thanks to crossword puzzles, his name will wear farther into the future then the Charles couple anyway. We can only hope that one day, he and Mr Ed will make the puzzle together

    • Lois says:

      “Provocative performance” for POLE DANCE is a must. “Tough workout for muscles of the core, arms, and legs” would be far-fetched and too tough.

      As far as the NORA controversy goes, each side has its good argument, but the trick was fun. Watched and taped some of the series last night. It was on TCM.

  7. linda murray says:

    Re Randall J Hartman”s puzzle: Yanni is a singer? I have never heard him sing; I only know of him as an instrumentalist.

  8. Chris Wooding says:

    LAT: Aha! Just found a reference to ” going to hell in a castiron handbasket” – this explains why the handbasket speeds the trip downhill.
    I knew dittybag, probably because I’ve done some seagoing and it is associated with sailors and fishermen. They need to keep small items in a container so they don’t roll around the ship (and for ease in moving between ship and shore).

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