Friday, April 8, 2016

CHE 3:35 (Amy) 


CS 6:55 (Ade) 


LAT 5:58 (Gareth) 


NYT 5:50 (Amy) 


Patrick Berry’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 4 8 16, no 0408

NY Times crossword solution, 4 8 16, no 0408

Okay! Long day (but not a BAD DAY), I’m tired, I’ve waited too long to start this post about Patrick’s latest 66-worder.

Likes: O’TOOLE (more for my BFF than for actor Peter), FUNHOUSE, DUNCAN HINES (no idea he was a restaurant critic!), TALKING HEAD (mainly because I enjoyed the Talking Heads song that was cranked way up at the Filipino restaurant I picked up carry-out from this evening), DOUGHNUT (though I dispute the clue: [Ring for dessert]? Who eats a meal and then has a donut? Donuts are breakfast, donuts are snacks), the SPANISH MAIN, FAITH NO MORE (whose music I don’t know at all), and DEADBEAT.

Five more things:

  • 14a. [Oriental blossom], TEA ROSE. Raise your hand if you’re Asian or if you otherwise shake your head at such uses of the word “Oriental.” If it’s after 1970, it’s time to move on from that old usage.
  • 3d. [Ring for dessert], DOUGHNUT. While I dispute that categorization, I would love to be able to ring for dessert and have someone bring me pastries on demand.
  • 23d. [Gave a leg up to?], KNEED. Does anyone ever get kneed somewhere other than the groin?
  • 45d. [Gather together for stitching], SHIRR. Shirring: It’s not just for breakfast anymore, it’s also for sewing.
  • 50d. [1977 horror film set in Newfoundland], ORCA. I actually saw this Jaws knockoff in the theater.

Super smooth fill, 4.25 stars.

Alan Arbesfeld’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Calendar Girls” —Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution. 04.08.16: "Calendar Girls"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution. 04.08.16: “Calendar Girls”

Hello there, everyone! Hope you all have a good weekend in store! Today’s grid, brought to us by Mr. Alan Arbesfeld, involves famous actresses whose first or last names are also names of months on the calendar.

  • ELAINE MAY (17A: [Mike Nichols’s comedy partner])
  • JANUARY JONES (29A: [Actress who portrayed Don Draper’s ex on “Mad Men”])
  • JUNE LOCKHART (45A: [Actress who played the mother in the TV series “Lassie” and “Lost in Space”])
  • JANE MARCH (62A: [Bruce Willis’s costar in “Color of Night”])

Once seeing what was going on with the grid, which didn’t take too long, this turned out to be one of my more fun solves this week. Always have to try and resist just going down to each theme entry and just filling it in once you get the first one, though that’s pretty much exactly what I did. Took a little longer to get June’s last name, though, so had to use its crossings to help me out there. Wasn’t the biggest of fan of seeing REECHO, but that was my only real gripe with the grid (31D: [Bounce around a canyon, say]). Though clued in a different way, seeing CREAM has now given me an earworm, as “White Room” is playing in my head as I’m typing this very sentence (44D: [Beat soundly]). With baseball season being back, we couldn’t go too long without seeing ALOU in a grid (35D: [Baseball family name]). Oh, and then there’s the cluing for BASE to really get you in the baseball spirit (57D: [It might be stolen on a diamond]). Then there’s AFRO, which might not elicit thoughts about baseball…unless you thought about former Major Leaguer Oscar Gamble, who rocked one of the all time great afros in sports (53D: [Bushy hairdo]).


“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: YALE (1A: [Ivy in New Haven]) – In the recently completed 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, one of the schools that had the one of the biggest headline-grabbing victories was YALE, as the Bulldogs won their first-ever NCAA Tournament game by upsetting Baylor University 79-75 in a first-round game in Providence. How do I know it happened? Because I was there! Here’s an interview with one of the players after the game, Brandon Sherrod. If you don’t know his story by now, Sherrod left the basketball team last season to travel and perform with the Yale Whiffenpoofs, the oldest collegiate a cappella group in the world. He returned to the basketball team this season, and was an integral part of the Elis winning the Ivy League title this season and making their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1962. He’s as interesting a person as you’ll ever talk with, and you’ll notice that a good part of the conversation isn’t spent on basketball.

Have a great weekend, everybody, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

Take care!


MaryEllen Uthlaut’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up

LA Times 160408

LA Times

Today phrase with the pattern “X for Y” change their meanings, either by changing the meaning of Y (#1) or X (#2, #3, #4) and creating wackily clued phrases! Fun! WORKFORPEANUTS, PASSFORTWINS, WATCHFORDEER (Is this a genuine US sign, or do they just use a silhouette, like we do for kudu?) and ROOMFORDISPUTE is the set.

Several excellent clues today:

  • [Modern reaction to a riot?], LOL. Laugh riot.
  • [Converse, e.g.], SNEAKER. The shoe. It looks like it wants to be SpEAK something…
  • [It may be skilfully created by one who’s all thumbs], TEXT – as a lot of people type on their phone using their thumbs.

Also: [“My vegetable love should grow / ___ than empires…”: Andrew Marvell.] Whut? I’m afraid to look this up.

4 Stars

Jim Holland’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Performing Arts”—Amy’s write-up

CHE crossword solution, 4 7 16 "Performing Arts"

CHE crossword solution, 4 7 16 “Performing Arts”

What sort of verbs are performed by various artists? These ones:

  • 17a. [Can the metal sculptor looking to network ___?], FORGE AN ALLIANCE.
  • 31a. [Can the woodworker in need of steady customers ___?], CARVE A NICHE.
  • 48a. [Can the textile expert making the magic carpet ___?], WEAVE A SPELL.
  • 64a. [Can the whiz with the sketchpad put two and two together and ___?], DRAW A CONCLUSION.

It’s good to see the Department of Studio Art get its due in the academic crossword. The theme doesn’t grab me too much, though.

Four more things:

  • 44a. [The Brady bunch, e.g.], OCTET. It’s a nonet if you include housekeeper Alice in the bunch.
  • 52a. [Seafood often smoked], EEL. Put that in your pipe and smoke it! It’s probably not good for your lungs.
  • 71a. [Periodical with clickbait, maybe], E-ZINE. No, no, no. The websites that are modern enough to have clickbait are not likely to call themselves “e-zines.” The corner could be purged of EZINE if editor Brad can tolerate a partial and a somewhat dated abbreviation: PUB/DRAW A CONCLUSION/A DRAG/SURGE crossing PDAS/URDU/BARR/WAG. This also gets rid of ADZE, which I’m never excited to encounter.
  • I’ll travel in STEERAGE so long as there’s plenty of COLESLAW. I like both entries.

3.4 stars from me.

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31 Responses to Friday, April 8, 2016

  1. Steve Manion says:

    Very hard for me in spite of FORT ERIE. The horse track there, which used to be Canada’s Saratoga until the horsemen in Toronto (home of Woodbine) thought it hurt purses and handle too much and only authorized a “B” meet, has one of if not the most beautiful infields anywhere. Also, in town there is a street with an array of some of the best Oriental, I mean Asian, restaurants anywhere.

    Only the SW was easy for me.

    I have never been terribly offended by the word Oriental, although I do not use it. Oriental rug seems to be still the most common carpet term. Take a guess as to which word: Asian, Oriental, Indian, Thai, Korean, Chinese, or Japanese gets the most Google hits in the expressions “_____ food” and “_______ restaurant.”

    I am periodically on the right wavelength for a Patrick Berry puzzle, but I had too many missteps and wtf’s today. I had NO EXIT (knee jerk reaction) instead of NAUSEA, had never heard the term LAP CAT or the band FAITH NO MORE and did not particularly like the clue for DEADBEAT because the deadbeat must have gotten credit in the first place in order to be one.

    It was an outstanding challenge in any event.


    • Martin says:

      Oriental person: possibly offensive. Oriental rug: not offensive. Oriental blossom: not offensive. Oriental design: not offensive. Hyacinthus orientalis: beautiful and not offensive.

      • e.a. says:

        if it’s not offensive to you (and i do hope i’m right to read “to me” into your comment; the alternative is most troubling), then do not raise your hand, sir

        • Martin says:

          From MW11:

          sometimes offensive : Asian; especially : one who is a native of east Asia or is of east Asian descent

          “Oriental” is a slur when referring to Asian people, not Asian things. The dictionary confirms that it’s not just me.

          • Amy Reynaldo says:

            And yet it still doesn’t sit right with me.

            Given that it would not be so %&$ing hard to clue TEAROSE without the word “Oriental,” there’s no reason to cling to the word, is there? The more you leave “Oriental” hanging out there to refer to East Asian things, the more obtuse people will continue to not realize it’s racist to use the word to refer to people.

          • Steve Manion says:

            As I have mentioned several times, my wife was born in Macau. I sometimes call my children Macaucasian in a lame attempt at humor.

            As to Oriental, my inclination is to treat at as something outdated rather than deliberately offensive. I never hear it anymore, but I knew a lot of people who referred to black people as “colored.” I thought that the term was used by them as an inoffensive alternative to the N word. Clearly, it was outdated at a minimum, but I never thought of it as deliberately offensive. Oriental is an even less offensive usage for me. although outdated and not really appropriate.


          • Martin says:


            I think reasonable people can disagree on this topic: banning words entirely that have an offensive sense. We have have the same disagreement about, not coincidentally, “chink in the armor.”

            I see doing so as letting the forces of racism “win” in destroying a perfectly fine word. We should be aware not to refer to people as “Oriental.” But to extend that beyond the offensive sense does not strike me as even more sensitive; it strikes me as punishing the language for the sins of some speakers. And that seems (again, to me) akin to book-burning.

            The official category is “Oriental rose” (see my Wikipedia link below). Expurgating the term, as by insisting henceforth it must be “Asian rose,” would be jarring to my sensibilities.

            But I will understand your honorable intention should you do so.

          • Martin says:


            I do think that “Oriental,” referring to people, is beyond outdated and is offensive. My wife Elaine would not respond well should I call her Oriental.

            But she uses the term “Oriental carpet” without thinking twice.

          • e.a. says:

            what the dictionary confirms is utterly irrelevant. when someone tells you that they’re hurt by something, don’t argue. have some empathy and listen.

            i understand your concern over the harm done to language by people, but concern for the reverse should always take precedence.

          • Keith says:

            I would hesitate to deem a dictionary to be irrelevant!

          • Amy Reynaldo says:

            Keith, a tremendous number of dictionary entries haven’t been updated in decades, and I’m guessing that 95%+ of the lexicographers who wrote the entries were white. There’s a lot of tone-deaf stuff that doesn’t reflect the way a lot of people feel about certain words, the way words are used and received today. Dictionaries aren’t objective things. They represent the perspectives of the people who assembled them. I mean, I’m looking at the Oxford American def of “Oriental.” It flags the noun as offensive, but is silent on whether describing a person as Oriental (adjective!) is offensive. (Hint: It kinda is.)

  2. Howard B says:

    Faith No More was a 1990’s one-hit wonder (Epic was their one and only large hit); I’d describe it, but better to YouTube it if you’re curious. (a bit of an alternative/rap/nu-metal mashup).
    And of that we will speak no more.

    • austin says:

      they had a surprisingly decent cover of Easy (Like Sunday Morning), too. not sure it would qualify as a “hit” but it was on the radio quite a bit in those late 90’s days.

      • Bencoe says:

        I mentioned them here on Wednesday, funnily enough, because the NYT had “What is it? ” repeated for the theme.
        I really liked them when I was in 8th grade. Used to listen to their album The Real Thing all the time. They kind of invented the whole rap/funk/metal thing. But my favorite band has always been TALKING HEADS.
        Congrats again, Howard!

  3. David L says:

    Nice puzzle that for me was 5 more or less separate puzzles with varying degrees of difficulty. NW was straightforward — although BADDAY has a glimmer of green paint about it — and NE was not too bad once I figured out whether it was LAPCAT or a LAPDOG.

    But there were hold-ups elsewhere. SMOCK for CLOAK. FAITHNOMORE is vaguely familiar as a name but I know nothing about their music. Didn’t know ASHMAN (musical theater is not my FORTERIE).

    I don’t understand SPEAK as “obedience school command.” Obedience school is for dogs, right? They teach dogs to stay, come, sit, and speak?

    “Oriental blossom” seems entirely inoffensive to me.

  4. Amy L says:

    I don’t understand why TEA ROSE was clued as Oriental Blossom. Because of Chinese tea? I don’t think of roses as being associated with the Far East.

    “Oriental” has had a changing meaning. The American Oriental Society, founded in 1842, covers the Near East to Asia. Europeans viewed the Near East as the Orient. Delacroix’s painting, “The Women of Algiers,” is considered an “Oriental” scene. Persia was the Orient, thus Oriental rugs. I’m surprised the Society hasn’t changed its name, but perhaps they realize that what goes around comes around.

    I just watched Faith No More’s Epic on YouTube–definitely not my cup of Oriental beverage.

    • Martin says:

      From Wikipedia:

      The original Tea-scented Chinas (Rosa × odorata) were Oriental cultivars thought to represent hybrids of R. chinensis with R. gigantea, a large Asian climbing rose with pale-yellow blossoms.

  5. ArtLvr says:

    In fine art, the term “Orientalist Painting” refers to the depiction of people or places in present-day Greece, Turkey, North Africa or the Middle East, by painters from the West. Although this form of Orientalism has its roots in Renaissance art, it gained widespread popularity both with art collectors and art critics in the early 19th century due to the mood of Romanticism then prevalent. The catalyst for this Orientalism was Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt in 1798, which stirred up considerable interest in the area and its culture. As a result a number of painters (mostly French) took to visiting North Africa, the Levant and the Middle East, where they produced a variety of genre painting and studies of everyday life – set against the backdrop of mosques, bazaars, souks and other public places. The movement was losing momentum by the 1890s, but not yet completely out of fashion. Charles Gifford Dyer, an ex-pat & great-uncle of mine, was still producing sumptuous oil paintings of Cairo and Athens for major collectors, but also doing smaller works of Venice with a more Impressionist style!

  6. huda says:

    I grew up in the Middle East and we were taught that we were “Oriental” as opposed to Western(ers). This may have been the aftermath of imperialism, but it was internalized and actually said with pride. I thought of it primarily in geographic terms, with cultural connotations but no more insulting than saying you’re from the Midwest, East or South of the US.
    I know that it is perceived differently by others and I respect that, and now certainly avoid it when talking about people but I do say oriental rug.
    Is saying the West, or the Western World considered inappropriate?

  7. golfballman says:

    Trust me Amy I don’t need Gareth’s review for the answers.

  8. Papa John says:

    I’m baffled by the offensiveness of Oriental, in reference to a person from East Asia. What makes it offensive? Is it because it has a Western European orientation?

    The word, itself, and other related terms, has a rich and varied history, going as far back as the Roman Empire. I believe the first Oriental rugs introduced to Europe were of Persian origin. At one time, all of Byzantium was considered the Orient. The geographic meaning of the word has varied considerably, from once extending as far west as Morocco, along the Northern Africa coast to its present extent into Malaysia and Japan. There is still plenty of usage with these older meanings that are useful and, certainly, not offensive. My wife has done considerable business with Oriental Trading Company. Oriental Airlines flies global routes. Martin has listed other benign usages and the list goes on. It seems only when it is used to express a culture or group of people, mostly East or Southeast Asians, that it takes on its derogatory meaning. I don’t get it.

  9. Papa John says:

    Wow! I should have hit Refresh before posting. I didn’t mean to be redundant. It’s good to know that others are baffled, too.

  10. Papa John says:

    In answer to Amy’s question about kneeing applied only to groin shots; some of those dreadful photos out of Abu Ghraib prison showed prisoners who had been repeatedly kneed on their thighs. The damage was extensive.

  11. Richard says:

    It’s funny how many people jumped on the “is “oriental’ offensive” question because it wasn’t asked. There’s a difference between “shaking your head” at an “old usage” and being offended. I swear, the only people touchier than those who get offended at everything are the people who get mad when other people get offended at everything.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      As in all the “People who insist on being P.C. are the worst” people. I’m pretty sure that condemning people who try to avoid giving offense to others is way worse than trying to avoid giving offense to others. When did manners and kindness become a bad thing??

  12. Don says:

    Oxford University has an entire Oriental Studies program.

  13. Zulema says:

    Back to the NYT puzzle. I promptly entered Hamilton instead of Fort Erie. I have been there quite often in the past and don’t remember Fort Erie. And I had LAPDOG way too long. Never heard of LAPCAT.

  14. rock says:

    ooooh, Frank Longo has a puzzle at USA today! Great stuff!!

  15. bob says:

    LAT: Silly, silly (yawn)

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