Monday, March 14, 2016

NYT 3:37 (Amy) 


LAT 3:11 (Amy) 


CS tk (Ade) 


WSJ untimed (Jim) 


BEQ 5:46 (Amy) 


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

NY Times crossword solution, 3 14 16, no 0314

NY Times crossword solution, 3 14 16, no 0314

The theme entries take compound words and reinterpret them as a commanding verb and a famous person’s surname:

  • 18a. [“Wilbur, get in the game!”], PLAY, WRIGHT.
  • 20a. [“Elijah, press your clothes!”], IRON, WOOD. I didn’t know ironwood was a word. Term for trees with particularly hard wood.
  • 33a. [“Eric, give some to us!”], SHARE, HOLDER.
  • 42a. [“Sally, keep up the fight!”], BATTLE, FIELD.
  • 56a. [“Larry, shoot!”], FIRE, BIRD.
  • 60a. [“Emma, do that sexy dance!”], GRIND, STONE.

I’m actually surprised this ran on a Monday, as the lack of additional context for each famous person (there are other famous Emmas and Erics, after all) makes the theme a bit harder, and some of the fill (TBAR, AVEO, YAW, ILIA, DEBS) felt supra-Monday to me.


3.9 stars from me.

Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”—Amy’s write-up

BEQ crossword solution, "Themeless Monday" 3 14 16

BEQ crossword solution, “Themeless Monday” 3 14 16

I love the central Down 15: 8d. [Waiter’s compliment], “EXCELLENT CHOICE.” They never suck their teeth and say, “Ooooh, I … don’t think you want to order that.” You know they wish they could.

Seven things:

  • 24a. [When you might be turnt or rekt?], IN SLANG. Feels like this would be more of a “where” than a “when,” no?
  • I never like EELY (30a. [Hard to pin down]), but here it crosses Cam NEELY, and I’m wishing he were called Eely Neely.
  • 31a. [Tilted, near the Thames], LEANT. Hey! Cue for a Briticism.
  • 33a. [Bless, old-style], ANELE. Oh, good lord. Been so long since I saw this crosswordese in a puzzle, I actually needed all the crossings. The tricky clue for NORTH (34d. [Straight up?]) slowed me down.
  • 39d. [FaceTime necessities], WEBCAMS. On a phone or tablet, is the camera still called a webcam? I’d wager than most FaceTime users are on mobile.
  • Toughest crossing: 45d. [Celebrity chef Garcia], LORENA, meets 43a. [One in basic training: Abbr.], ENL, at the L. Is that actually a common military abbreviation for those in basic training, ENL for enlistee or enlisted??
  • 12d. [Pro Football Hall of Famer who served on Minnesota’s Supreme Court], ALAN PAGE. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of him.


3.6 stars from me.

Dan Fisher’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “B&BS” — Jim’s review

Based on the title, I was hoping some BS would be involved in the puzzle, but that’s not the case.

Instead our theme is AND phrases where the other two words start with B. That’s it. I know, I know. It’s Monday.

WSJ - Mon, 03.14.16 - "B&BS" by Dan Fisher

WSJ – Mon, 03.14.16 – “B&BS” by Dan Fisher

  • 20a [Popular soup choice] BEEF AND BARLEY
  • 25a [Song from 1948’s “The Paleface” that earned an Oscar] BUTTONS AND BOWS
  • 41a [Fundamental source of livelihood] BREAD AND BUTTER
  • 47a [Fox News Channel business show] BULLS AND BEARS

In other news:

  • I liked PEABRAIN, PITTANCE, and WANNA BET, but ASSENT TO seems like a waste of an 8-letter Down.
  • 40d RUMBLES, clued as [Gang fights], seems ridiculously outdated.
  • 10d EPA LAB? ([Govt. water-testing facility]) *grumble*
  • Other less-than-stellar entries are IAMB, UTILE, and RIAA. So…yeah.

Ed Sessa’s Los Angeles Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

LA Times crossword solution, 3 14 16

LA Times crossword solution, 3 14 16

The theme is 56a. [“Applause, applause!” … or what one might do in front of the last words of 20-, 29- and 46-Across], or GIVE ‘EM A HAND. Add the last word of each theme answer to HAND and you get a compound word:

  • 20a. [Kid’s sidewalk business], LEMONADE STAND. Handstand.
  • 29a. [Nestlé bottled water brand], POLAND SPRING. Handspring. A gymnastics sub-theme!
  • 46a. [Soda fountain order], VANILLA SHAKE. “Soda fountain,” ha. How many “soda fountains” remain today as places you can get a shake? Ice cream parlors/stores, diners, or fast-food joints are more likely. Handshake … and the gymnastics sub-theme dies. I wish the STAND or SPRING had been BAG, RAIL, or SET to avoid the “two of one, one of another”-ness here.

Surprised to see AMAT, STET, and ADANO in a Monday grid.

NANNY GOAT, HEAD FIRST, and KNAVES are nice fill.

I just groused about seeing FOTO in an NYT puzzle, and here it is again as 67a. [Pic, in ads]. I challenge you to find a current ad running in the U.S. that uses this spelling for the noun.

10d. [Whiskers spot], CHIN? Not so much if you’re a cat.

3.25 stars from me.

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6 Responses to Monday, March 14, 2016

  1. Dave S says:

    Oddly, I’m unable to rate today’s CS puzzle because the site indicates that I have already rated it, even though I’ve not done so.

  2. David L says:

    I liked the NYT, although I agree it was Monday-and-a-half in difficulty.

    DNF the BEQ, not because of LORENA/ENL (I think she used to be in ad for Taco Bell or something) but because of NEELY/ANELE — don’t know either of those and A, E and I all seem equally plausible.

    A famouser Lorena for me is Lorena Ochoa.

  3. Martin says:


    I think “eely” is a great word. The difference here might be experience with live eels. If you’ve ever caught one fishing and tried to get it off the hook you’d appreciate the special slippery, unmanageable mess that merits its own word. An eel turns your line into a slimy, twisted, knotted mess with a thrashing, slippery, writhing core that is nearly impossible to grab. If you manage to separate fish from hook without impaling your hand you’ve done quite well.

    I realize it’s very unlikely that you’ll have this experience anytime soon, but I assure you it would give you instant appreciation of the word.

    Eely eels are the only fish that need to be pinned to the cutting board when being cleaned, for the chef’s safety. There is a special place in slippery-world for eels.

  4. Bruce N. Morton says:

    Excellent BEQ and hands down the easiest, certainly of those he rated ‘hard’. Totally on my wave length. Only thing I didn’t know was the wrestler, and was easily gettable from the crossings.

    Alan Page was a great defensive end for the Minnesota Vikings during the ‘Purple People Eater’ era of several decades ago. He went to law school, did creditably well, as I understand it, and obtained a seat on the Minnesota Supreme Court on the merits. He was athletic and lightning quick rather than huge. He probably wouldn’t have played end today, but he would have been a superb linebacker.

    I confess that any puzzle, especially a BEQ which doesn’t focus obsessively on rock songs, in favor of Styron, Nureyev, and the piano keyboard gets a big upgrade from me. I also confess that when a waiter says to me “Excellent choice,” there’s an evil twin inside me who wants to say “Who asked you?”

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