Sunday, January 3, 2016

CS 22:02 (Ade) 


Hex/Hook tk (pannonica) 


LAT 4:54 (Andy) 


NYT 11:30 (Amy) 


David Woolf’s New York Times crossword, “Record of the Year”—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 1 3 16, "Record of the Year"

NY Times crossword solution, 1 3 16, “Record of the Year”

The grid is roughly split into 12 chunks, each of which contains a 3-letter rebus square with a month abbreviation, and the months appear in calendar order. The title suggests that there’s something more—”Record of the Year” is a Grammy/music thing, and there are world records and so on, but here there are no records, just months. A calendar is a printed record of the year? Eh. There’s no wordplay theme action to work through here, just “find the rebus squares and fill stuff in.”

  • 1a/4d. TROJANS/JANGLE.
  • 6a/8d. LIFEBLOOD/FEBRILE. This FEBrile is what tipped me off to the theme.
  • 22a/17d. MINIMART/IMARET. Ugh, crosswordese IMARET may have stymied some solvers here.
  • 35a/36d. CAPRIS/APRICOT.
  • 47a/53d. SOTOMAYOR/MAYHEM. Great clue for the Justice: [Supreme Court justice who once said “I am a New Yorker, and 7 a.m. is a civilized hour to finish the day, not to start it”].
  • 56a/43d. CARL JUNG/ADJUNCT.
  • 68a/71d. BANJUL/JULEPS. Thank you, geography quizzes, for putting Banjul into my memory banks so I could spot the JUL rebus in this section. Knew it wasn’t 4 letters.
  • 85a/74d. SLAUGHTER/CAUGHT. Good clue for CAUGHT: [No longer wanted]. As in, say, “Ethan Couch was removed from the Wanted By U.S. Marshals list after his arrest.”
  • 78a/79d. ASEPTIC/SEPHORA. I like seeing SEPHORA in the grid.
  • 125a/107d. DOCTRINE/DECOCT. Hiding in the bottom row with DECOCT, oof.
  • 119a/103d. CASANOVAS/WIN OVER.
  • 112a/114d. TAPE DECKS/DECEIT.

Fill I liked, besides {SEP}HORA: DAIKONS, PASHTO, BEER STEIN, GOTYE, REUNITED (because of Peaches and Herb, performing here on Midnight Special), VEERS OFF, and DIETITIAN. Lots of the Acrosses in the rebus theme were lively, too. Least favorite: EPODE, ONE-K, STRS, RESAW, ESTES. The fill felt a little reliant on tacked-on short words: TAKEN UP, HINT AT, ON RICE, WELCOMES IN, AS A SET, BAD AT. None is terrible by itself, but when I find myself noticing them, maybe there are too many?

Three more things:

  • 61d. [Besprinkle, say], WET. If you can prove you have ever previously used the word “besprinkle” in a natural fashion outside of a crossword, I’ll PayPal you $5.
  • 27d. [Something people do not want to see outside, for short], PDA. #NotAllPeople. Groping and making out is a bit much, but holding hands, hugging, and a quick kiss? Those are sweet and I don’t mind seeing them in public. Particularly affirming when the couple is the same sex.
  • 101a. [Pre-curve figure], RAW SCORE. As in academic test scores/grades.

3.75 stars from me.

C.C. Burnikel’s Los Angeles Times crossword, “Online Chat”—Andy’s review

LAT Puzzle 1.3.16, "Online Chat," by C.C. Burnikel

LAT Puzzle 1.3.16, “Online Chat,” by C.C. Burnikel

Welcome to 2016! Very simple theme this week. We’ve got some “I.M.” phrases:

  • 22a, INSPECTOR MORSE [Fictional detective whose first name is Endeavour].
  • 31a, IRON MAIDEN [“Somewhere in Time” band]. 
  • 55a, IDLE MOMENTS [Times for reflection]. 
  • 90a, IDINA MENZEL [Best Actress Tony winner in “Wicked”].
  • 111a, ICE MACHINE [Motel convenience].
  • 124a, INQUIRING MINDS [Knowledge seekers].
  • 15d, INNER MONGOLIA [Xanadu locale, now].
  • 59d, INDELIBLE MARK [Sharpie output].

I thought this was a really nice mixture of base phrases. Only half were proper nouns, and the only real person was a fresh one–Idina Menzel–rather than, say, someone out of the news like Iris Murdoch or Imelda Marcos (not that I would have balked at either of those names in this puzzle). Inspector Morse and Iron Maiden were nice as well, and I liked the phrases “indelible mark” and “inquiring minds.”

"Why wasn't I in this puzzle?"

“Why wasn’t I in this puzzle?”

Some really fun fill too, including JOIN NOW next to JANE DOE, SMOG ALERT, LOS ALAMOS, NEW MONEY, GONERIL, TRUE LIES, OUT THERE, E.L JAMES (!), RAW NERVE, “BE NICE,” KUDZU, and so on. Even though the theme was fairly easy, I still liked solving the puzzle because of all this good stuff.

Until next time!

Patrick Jordan’s Sunday Challenge CrosSynergy crossword —Ade’s write-up  

CrosSynergy Sunday Challenge crossword solution, 01.03.16

CrosSynergy Sunday Challenge crossword solution, 01.03.16

Hello everyone! I hope you’re doing well and having a relaxing first Sunday of 2016.

That first Challenge of 2016 comes from Mr. Patrick Jordan, and it’s a pretty jazzy challenge. Of course, having a jazzy grid is definitely helped by the presence of JAZZERCISE (33A: [Fitness program since 1969]). Those ZZ’s are fun to look at, and even better when another entry with consecutive Zs intersects it, and we actually have that today with JOY BUZZER, which, for some reason, came to me pretty quickly not too long after seeing the clue (4D: [Prankster’s gadget]). Now, all I have in my mind is The Joker possessing one of the buzzers in a Batman episode. Speaking of old episodes, who here was a fan of RAWHIDE, with Clint Eastwood playing Rowdy (9D: [Series whose theme song was sung by Frankie Laine])? Obviously, caught it in syndication, but watched that more than shows like Bonanza, just because of the presence of Eastwood and knowing him from the big screen early on. I’m sure that Mr. Matt Gaffney, if he did attempt to solve this puzzle today, would have loved seeing Boris SPASSKY, the oldest living former World Chess Champion (21D: [Loser to Fischer in 1972’s “Match of the Century”]). Again, lively yet fair grid, and a fun way to start 2016. I’m sure others are wanting to start 2016 by making sure to stick to some New Year’s resolutions and cut some FLAB from their bodies (52A: [“Muffin Top” cause]). I’m not a New Year’s resolution guy, but there’s definitely some flab on me that I still have to eliminate!!

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: RUIN (2D: [Lay waste to]) – I was in a pretty good mood, for the most part, and was going to stay that way as long as the Buffalo Bills, coached by former New York Jets’ coach Rex Ryan, didn’t RUIN the Jets’ hopes for a playoff spot today by beating Gang Green. Not only did the Bills spoil the Jets’ party, the Pittsburgh Steelers won today, vaulting the Steelers into the playoffs at the Jets’ expense. Pardon me while I drink myself into oblivion right now! The life of being a New York Jets fan, I tell you.

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

Take care!


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18 Responses to Sunday, January 3, 2016

  1. Christopher Smith says:

    NYT seemed a little sloppy. There’s an Apple motif (IMACS, IPAD) but then they throw in a Google (GCHAT). If you’re going to over-rely on single-letter techisms, at least be consistent. And including OCTANE as a non-theme answer also rankles, especially with DECOCT as a theme answer.

  2. Howard B says:

    If you see the NY Times design as a wall calendar with a spot for each month, it’s really quite aesthetically pleasing. I enjoyed finding the rebus squares this week.

    • Evad says:

      Like Amy, I expected to find the rebuses (or “rebi” as we liked to torment her with) in the top row of each “box” and for me, it would’ve been more aesthetically pleasing if they were centered in that row. OTOH, it made it a more difficult solve to not know in advance where they lay…

      Happy 2016 to all who haunt these hallowed halls.

  3. P. Ulrich says:

    I am surprised there is no reference here to the new Evan Birnholz 21×21 puzzles in the Washington Post Sunday Magazine, which are taking over for the Merl Reagle puzzles. This week’s was quite clever.

  4. Paul Coulter says:

    The NYT Sunday puzzle runs in my paper a week late, but I wanted to say how much I enjoyed CC and Don’s terrific puzzle “Binary Code.” It’s so nice to get a fresh theme, and I enjoyed it all the way through. Perhaps the only change I’d make is that there may have been one too many of the Twins, Couple, Double variety, and none that featured first letters. I would have loved to see something like “TT” – STARTSFROMTHETOP. Otherwise, a very fine execution and smooth fill. 4.5 Stars from me. Well done.

  5. Bruce N. Morton says:

    Re Andy’s write-up of the LAT — Who is the IM guy in the picture?

    I love, love the Inspector Morse series.

    • Thomas says:

      Inigo Montoya, as played by Mandy Patinkin, in The Princess Bride.

      • Bruce N. Morton says:


        • ArtLvr says:

          I love the Morse books by Colin Dexter also. The TV series based on his characters is very well done too… I’d further recommend the mysteries by the late S. T. Haymon. Her writing is strikingly poetic and characters fascinating — with a detective who plans to convert to Judaism so the Israeli love of his life will consent to marry him!

  6. Bob says:

    LAT: Clever defs, esp “Cream or Rush”: TRIO (my 2 fav groups) and “Bugs with horns”: VWS (HAHA). Did NOT like “Unconnected”: DISCRETE (I always try to be discrete but don’t have to hide away to be so) and way too many abbreviations/suffixes (a sign a puzzle maker was close to deadline and had to quickly dream up fillers)

  7. Carolyn McDonough says:

    I see there is no reference to Merl Reagle’s puzzle of 3 January. Are you dropping him? I notice that the date on it is 2016 with no reference to when it was first published. Has it been dropped from newspapers? I have never found the solutions anywhere but on your site.


    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      This weekend’s Reagle puzzle isn’t the one from five years ago, and I couldn’t find a previous write-up of the puzzle. I tried Googling the puzzle title and “crossword fiend,” and I tried Googling the first theme entry and “crossword fiend.” Nothing apt popped up.

      • Carolyn McDonough says:

        Thanks for looking. I usually wait until I am stuck before looking for the answers. Maybe they are still working out details. I hope someone will be working them.


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