Monday, March 7, 2016

NYT untimed (pannonica) 


LAT untimed (pannonica) 


CS 10:15 (Ade) 


WSJ untimed (Jim) 


BEQ 3:59 (Amy) 


Damon Gulczynski’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

NYT • 3/7/16 • Mon • Gulczynski • no 0307 • solution

NYT • 3/7/16 • Mon • Gulczynski • no 0307 • solution

A curve ball for a Monday! I’m all for it, and doubt it’s too much of an obstacle for neophyte solvers to grasp the small twist in the revealing central entry: incorporating numerals. 39a [What the answers to the four starred clues are] ’90S FADS.

  • 18a. [*Hairstyle popularized by Jennifer Aniston’s character on “Friends”] THE RACHEL.
  • 60a. [*Boots brand big in grunge fashion] DR MARTENS.
  • 3d. [*Hand-held “pets” with digital faces] TAMAGOTCHIS. Wikipedia supplies the supposition that it’s a portmanteau of tamago (Japanese for egg, which might be familiar to some in a sushi context) and the English watch. The unnecessary pluralizing -s seems to be acceptable.
  • 27d. [*Dance associated with a #1 Los del Rio hit] THE MACARENA.

The answers intersecting the revealer maintain the numerals rather than use the first letter (as if it were a rebus) or equate a zero with an oh: 39d [2100, in civilian time] 9PM, 21d [TV’s “Hawaii __”] FIVE-0. For zero-oh particulars I’ll just go ahead and quote the Wikipedia page: Hawaii Five-O was named in honor of Hawaii’s being the 50th state. Although the show’s name has always ended with the numeral ‘0’, the soundtrack album, released in the late 1960s, used the letter ‘O’ instead of the numeral zero. The letter ‘O’ is sometimes used to differentiate the original series and the revival which premiered in 2010, and always uses the numeral zero.”

Sometimes a puzzle will be criticized for being populated with fill that seems entirely of an older era, but this one turns around, embraces that—as far as the theme goes—and is anything but stale.

  • As the theme entries are arranged windmill style, it’s natural that the longest non-theme answers have a likewise distribution. GENIALLY, METADATA, BUCKEYE, ISOLATE.
  • 13d [Fish that is long and thin] EEL, followed by 19d [Fish that are flat and wide] RAYS. One is basically elongate while the other is dorsoventrally flattened.
  • 20a [Omar who portrayed Dr. Zhivago] SHARIF; minor dupe with themer 60-across. 66a [Sharper than 90°] ACUTE; major dupe with revealer.
  • Baseball! 36a [A low one is good in baseball, in brief] ERA, 33a [The ___ Kid (Willie Mays)] SAY HEY, 7d [Baseball bat wood] ASH, 5d [Bagful on a pitcher’s mound] ROSIN.
  • 31d [Herb sometimes called “sweet anise”] FENNEL. Huh, never heard of that one, sweet anise.
  • 40d [Onetime big name in Japanese electronics] AIWA. The company became defunct soon after the ’90s. But, after passing through various corporate hands the brand name was relaunched a year ago, by a Chicago-based concern.

Fine, fun crossword.

David Poole’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 3/7/16 • Mon • Poole • solution

LAT • 3/7/16 • Mon • Poole • solution

Another same-initials theme, which is pretty much the meat-and-cotatoes of Monday crosswords. I wouldn’t be surprised if this one has been done before, more than once. But probably not blatantly in the same manner if you know what I mean.

The money clue here is 62-across, which tells us that an EMCEE is a [Toastmaster, and a homophonic hint to this puzzle’s five longest answers].

  • 17a. [C-E-G triad, e.g.] MAJOR CHORD. Wonder if that one was chosen for the e-g repetition.
  • 25a. [20th-century Greek-American soprano] MARIA CALLAS, who sang the title role in (the crossing) 12d [Puccini opera] TOSCA many times during her career.
  • 35a. [Asian language spoken by nearly a billion people] MANDARIN CHINESE.
  • 47a. [Aladdin’s transport] MAGIC CARPET.
  • 56a. [Rochester medical center] MAYO CLINIC.

As it turns out “MC” is a very popular combination in lettermark logos.

More comments:

  • 5d [Women-only residences] HAREMS. #eunuchlivesmatter
  • Duplication-via-implication between 21d [ __ Corps] PEACE and 37d [Univ. military org.] ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corps).
  • Too many abbrevs. for my liking. AC/DC, NRA (National Recovery Administration rather than National Rifle Association, for a change), SSNS, RNA, ANONADJ, LCD, CPAS, IND, KNT, ROTC, NBC, MERC, NCR, IED. Certainly not all of these are bad, but all together in a Monday they make an overwhelming impression.
  • Long downs are ADRIATIC and ITHACANS. Both are Mediterranean coordinates, though the latter is clued via midstate collegians in New York.


addendum: Distracted by trying to include a clever 1100 tie-in based on the Roman numeral value, I neglected to capitalize on an MC5 link. Didn’t even occur to me. If you feel personally slighted I hereby grant permission to go listen to ‘Kick Out the Jams’ or another appropriate song/album.

Zhouqin Burnikel & Don Gagliardo’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “First Edition” — Jim’s review

Cute Monday morning puzzle from Burnardo (© Jim Peredo, 2016). “Feel the Burnardo!” (© Jim Peredo, 2016).

55d reveals all: [What dodgers dodged, or what you might find in the starred answers] DRAFT.

Well, DRAFT is not exactly “in” those answers, but all the answers employ a different meaning of the word.

WSJ - 03.07.16 - "First Edition" by Zhouqin Burnikel & Don Gagliardo

WSJ – 03.07.16 – “First Edition” by Zhouqin Burnikel & Don Gagliardo

  • 18a [*Carrier of “Thursday Night Football”] NFL NETWORK. Player drafted into the NFL.
  • 23a [*Fall blast] OKTOBERFEST. Draft beer.
  • 53a [*Outlook organizing aid] EMAIL FOLDER. Unfinished (or draft) email. That’s Microsoft Outlook, by the way.
  • 61a [*Local check point?] BANK BRANCH. Bank draft.

I like the choices of NFL NETWORK and OKTOBERFEST in particular since nothing about the word DRAFT requires having anything more than, say, SPORTS or BEER. So those choices spiced up the grid nicely.

I could nit-pick and say that while an EMAIL FOLDER might contain a DRAFT, is a DRAFT “in” the NFL NETWORK? Or is a DRAFT “in” OKTOBERFEST? And it would be weird to say a DRAFT is “in” a BANK BRANCH. Maybe the cluing on the revealer needs a tiny tweak. But I’m really not too bothered by this.

Our long Downs are ADOPT-A-PET (great), FERRARI (good), and GLOMS ONTO (meh). While I think GLOM is a funny word, I’m not a fan of phrases ending in prepositions. Only the N is needed for the theme, so I should think something more interesting could’ve gone there. I do like TRAIPSE and BIO-TECH, though I think the latter’s clue might need a “for short”: 58a [Cloner’s field]. Favorite clue is 35a [Secret spot?] for ARMPIT.

There seemed like a higher than normal amount of sub-par fill: AMS, OF IT, MTNS, ASL, EYERS, ROUE, RMS, I’M A, TKOS, HTS.  The theme answers don’t seem especially difficult to work with, so I don’t know why this would be. Note that the first two themers and the last two themers are one row apart from each other. I would think moving the middle two themers one row towards the center (i.e. putting them in rows 6 and 10 would have helped the grid flow. That way each themer would have had at least 2 rows of separation.

Oh, I see now. The D in DRAFT is crossed with EMAIL FOLDER, thus pulling it down to the 11th row. Still, I think something else might’ve worked better, perhaps crossing the A in DRAFT with an A in BANK BRANCH? Dunno.

Anyhoo, that’s enough for today. It’s a bit too DRAFTy in here.

Martin Ashwood-Smith’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Take a Hike”—Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 03.07.16: "Take a Hike"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 03.07.16: “Take a Hike”

Good day, everyone! I hope you’re all well to start the week. Today’s grid, brought to us by Mr. Martin Ashwood-Smith, gets us on the move with the first word of each of the three theme entries.

  • MARCH OF DIMES (17A: [Charity founded by FDR in 1938])
  • WALK ON EGGSHELLS (33A: [Act cautiously])
  • STEP ON THE GAS (49A: [Floor it])

Chockfull of interesting fill, including hearing about OSTEND for the first time (32A: [Resort in Flanders]). Need to brush up on my Belgian geography! Probably my favorite fill for today was SCOTCH TAPE, something that my parents had in abundance – and I mean IN ABUNDANCE – when growing up at their place (25D: [Present wrapper’s aid]). Love the clue for SWATS (13D: [Hits a fly, or a homer]). Though I’m not wearing a SWISS-MADE watch, I’m definitely comfortable with my amazing Kenneth Cole Reaction watch that I’m looking down at as I’m typing this (15A: [Like some fine watches]). Have to head out, as I’m in Long Island covering another game, as it just happens that both schools’ predominant color is red. With that, I’m able to make a smooth enough transition…

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: BIG RED (42D: [Cinnamon gum brand])  –The athletic teams at Cornell University are nicknamed BIG RED, and probably the best athlete to ever come out of Ithaca is former running back (and future actor) Ed Marinaro, who finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1971. Later, Marinaro played the role of Officer Joe Coffey in Hill Street Blues.

Thank you for the time, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

Take care!


Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”

BEQ crossword solution, "Themeless Monday" 3 7 16

BEQ crossword solution, “Themeless Monday” 3 7 16

Quick one today—I rarely ever dip below 4 minutes on a freestyle BEQ.

Once again, Brendan gives zero hint in a clue for a British spelling, because his brain has been so anglicized by his British wife. 15a. [Pot holder?] is a great clue for a TEA COZY, but the entry is the English spelling TEA COSY.

Top fill: AFC EAST, the POOL CUE/BILLIARD PARLOR combo, the timely Great SANTINI (author Pat Conroy died just recently), SUPERDELEGATES, and SUNDANCE. I also like FOREMAST because I’m working my way through Moby Dick slowly, via the OMBY app. (It involves anagramming to little unscramble excerpts of the novel, so you engage with Melville’s writing on a word-by-word level. It’s neat. And it clears my head out at bedtime.)

Never, ever heard of 56a. [German novelist Theodor who wrote “Before the Storm”], FONTANE.

58a. [Composer Dvorák], ANTONIN? Yeah, that’s a solid choice for an ANTONIN.

Gotta ding the puzzle for having both IRONMEN and SEVEN IRON (crossing, no less).

3.6 stars.

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20 Responses to Monday, March 7, 2016

  1. huda says:

    NYT: Argh… Acrosslite– gives an error message with the 90… Actually I can’t figure out what does work…

    • pannonica says:

      (Use zero instead of oh.)

      • huda says:

        Nope, none of it worked… including, writing the numbers or spelling out NINE or ZERO…

        • pannonica says:

          Hum. I stated it so flatly because that was exactly my experience in Across Lite. In the past it’s accepted those two interchangeably, not to mention the first letter of the spelled out number as well as the number itself (e.g., N or 9), so I was surprised that I had to switch my O to a 0.

          Perhaps you’re in the same boat as John G and there’s an elusive mis-fill or typo elsewhere?

        • David L says:

          Same thing here. I originally finished the puzzle with numeral 9 and letter O, and it didn’t accept that. So I changed the O to 0, and it didn’t like that either. So I clicked on the ‘reveal’ button and it changed my 9 and 0 to, um, 9 and 0 (with the red flags in the corners of those squares).

          Nice puzzle, though, apart from technical issues.

    • Dgkelly says:

      Puzzazz was worse – would accept only numeral 9 and capital O.

      • Huda says:

        The technical issues are probably hurting the ratings of the puzzle. It’s unfair to the constructor, but the system needs to get some feedback re the frustration it can engender.

        • Dgkelly says:

          I gave it a good rating even though Puzzazz’s technical issues cost me about a minute (my self-serving estimate).

      • Roy Leban says:

        Puzzazz allowed you to enter NINE or 9, and you could enter a zero or the letter O. Allowing the letter O is important if you’re using TouchWrite (you have to use the Cell Options dialog to enter NINE or 9, regardless). If you enter NINE or the letter O, when the puzzle is complete, it will switch those two cells to show the canonical values of 9 and 0 (the number). I don’t know what made you think otherwise.

        We work hard to make sure that Puzzazz is the best way to solve the NYT crossword (and everything else). The Monday puzzle and last Thursday and Friday’s puzzles (the musical notes and a certain country’s flag in a clue, respectively) are great examples.

  2. John G says:

    AGH! I said ABASE instead of ABUSE and ruined my time looking for the problem (though urbandictionary says AGH is also a think)

  3. Joe Pancake says:

    If anybody is interested in extended constructor notes for the NYT puzzle, please visit my blog here.

    Keep on rockin’ in the free world.

  4. Evad says:

    Funny, I only know the shoes as “Doc Martens,” perhaps from this lyric from Rent.

    • pannonica says:

      That was my sense as well, but I checked the company website and some other sources, which all seem to indicate that the “Dr” version is official, no matter how we all say it. Comparative Google hits are roughly 20 million vs roughly 900 thousand.

  5. Richard says:

    I’ve always been surprised that more crosswords don’t toss in digits to bolster themes. So satisfying!

  6. Bruce N. Morton says:

    Are you kidding???? That’s a Monday?

    It’s hard to count the things I dislike about this puzzle, starting with both the weird word tamagotchis, and the concept of a hand-held pet with a digital face.You hold it, I don’t want to. I filled in a ‘d’ at square 60, only because it seemed to be the only letter than fit, though I’ve never heard of either Dr. Martens, or calling a fist bump a dap. I’ve never heard of The Rachel. As an Army brat, of course I know that 2100 hours is 9 PM, but I thought that suddenly throwing in a numeral in an otherwise well-behaved puzzle was unacceptable. Is metadata a real word?


    • Martin says:


      I won’t dispute your complaints, which, after all, are subjective. But I can assure you metadata is a word. Database designers and programmers use it daily.

      When you create a modern database you begin by designing its “schema,” the definition of the metadata that will describe the data in the database. If a database contains “name,” “rank” and “serial number” how those attributes are organized is the database’s metadata. The various names, ranks and serial numbers are the data.

      Laying out the “tables” and “columns” that comprise the schema involves a lot of math and is also an art. I own many books about the care and feeding of metadata.

      • Bruce N. Morton says:

        OK — That’s a good explanation, and I didn’t doubt that there was one.

      • dave glasser says:

        It’s additionally a word that’s been in the news much lately, as one of the NSA’s surveillance programs involves collecting “metadata” on phone calls (ie, how long the calls were, what the numbers on each end, etc) rather than data (the actual audio). (Turns out there’s a whole lot of data in the metadata…)

    • Lois says:

      Bruce, re NYT, I also found it to be a tough puzzle, as I either wasn’t familiar or very familiar with the theme answers or didn’t relate them particularly to the decade. The funny thing is that the constructor wanted it to be a Wednesday puzzle. See Joe Pancake, apparently the constructor, above, and the link in his comment.

  7. JohnV says:

    BEQ Easy or I’m getting his wavelength these days. Fun puz.

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