Thursday, August 18, 2016

BEQ 12:42 (Ben) 


CS 10:24 (Ade) 


LAT 5:26 (Gareth) 


NYT 4:31 (Amy) 


WSJ untimed (Jim) 


Parker Lewis and Jeff Chen’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 8 18 16, no 0818

NY Times crossword solution, 8 18 16, no 0818

I like this theme! Three 15-letter words get broken into shorter chunks and clued as if they’re phrases made of those chunks:

  • 17a. [Not the main food allotment for one on an intel mission?], RECON SIDE RATION. What’s your favorite side dish? I’m gonna have to go with sweet potato fries. Sprinkle a little curry powder on the fries or in your condiment, and BOOM.
  • 36a. [Noodle count in one of Arizona’s largest cities?], TEMPE RAMEN TALLY. Tempe’s the 8th largest city in its state. Heck, it’s only the 7th biggest in Maricopa County! I suspect Maricopa County is crowded.
  • 53a. [Sarge’s “Sell my city bonds!” telegram?], NON-COM MUNI CABLE.

Note that none of the chunks are etymologically part of the 15-letter word. No suffixes or prefixes or word roots getting reused here. The 8-, 10-, and 11-letter Down answers connecting the theme answers add some more zip (SPRAY TAN!) to the grid.

Five more things:

  • 37d. [Rock-paper-scissors, by another name], ROSHAMBO. New to me!
  • 4d. [“There’s this thing called Google …”], “LOOK IT UP.” Yes. Far too many people will use an Internet connection to complain that something is wrong, or mystifying, rather than looking it up. With Google. Which is on the Internet. Do you all know the “let me Google that for you” tool? You enter the search term and LMGTFY generates a link you can give someone that demonstrates how to Google that search term. I love it.
  • 23d. [Drinks with plenty of vermouth], WET MARTINIS. Eww, that’s a gross-sounding term. I really only hear about dry martinis. Do vermouth fans order wet martinis by name?
  • IDRIS Elba, the NAACP, ELLA Fitzgerald, the SELMA march, Minnie Riperton (Maya Rudolph’s mother) in the “LOVIN’ You” clue—nice to see this sort of black-oriented set in a single puzzle.
  • 29d. [Gay who wrote “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold”], TALESE. It’s a classic of the magazine profile art form. Talese’s latest book is … not a classic of anything other than maybe “oops, I should have checked that, and my publisher should have done more fact-checking.”

4.25 stars from me.

Julian Thorne’s (Mike Shenk’s) Wall Street Journal crossword, “Twin Cities” — Jim’s review

World cities are paired up in which one city’s last three letters are the start of another city.

WSJ - Thu, 8.18.16 - "Twin Cities" by Julian Thorne (Mike Shenk)

WSJ – Thu, 8.18.16 – “Twin Cities” by Julian Thorne (Mike Shenk)

  • 17a [North America/Europe twin cities] MONTERREYKJAVIK. This was the last entry for me to get but I like it best. It just looks crazy. Note that that’s Mexico’s MONTERREY, not California’s Monterey.
  • 24a [Europe/Middle East twin cities] AMSTERDAMASCUS
  • 42a [South America/Africa twin cities] CARACASABLANCA. Count ’em…six As(!)
  • 55a [North America/Europe twin cities] INDIANAPOLISBON

I like that each city is from a different continent and only one American city is used, though where’s Asia? How about KENOSHANGHAI? I guess the elegant touch in the puzzle is that the three-letter string is pronounced the same way in both cities’ names (that’s where my example fails).

Does sharing three letters make these cities twins? I’m finding that to be a stretch, unless you’re talking conjoined twins. But I don’t think we want to go there.

Best fill is ARTISTES and TECTONIC (with a good clue [Like some big plates]), and the rest of the puzzle is really clean if not so exciting. (Entries like SEES RED, TAKES PART, and TRADES UP are functional but not thrilling.) Worst fill is GOER, but that’s it.


Cluing felt fresh and challenging today. Despite the fact that I DOS crosses HAIR-DOS (at the I, not at the DOS), they had two of my favorite clues. HAIR-DOS was fiendishly misdirecting with [Bob and others]. But I DOS is my winner with [Answers after two rings]. I also like PEN which gets [One chained to a desk] and HIKE which gets [Snap indicator]. I had to ponder this one even after I filled it in (think football). Oh, and I should’ve gotten 7d‘s ALE more quickly, but [Bass output] only had me thinking fish and guitars.

One other clue of note: 24d [Oz in the bookstore] is AMOS. AMOS Oz is regarded as “Israel’s most famous living author.”

A fine puzzle. The theme was just okay for me, and the same with the fill, but I enjoyed the fresh and chewy clues most.

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website crossword – “Hoo Bye” — Ben’s Review

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 10.10.18 AM

Hoo Bye

It’s a 2 BEQ puzzle week for me, thanks to yesterday’s AVCX puzzle – how awesome is that?

It shouldn’t have taken me quite as long as it did to get the full theme on this one (especially having read the title), but I was stuck on swaths of the northeast and southwest corners for a really long time this morning:

  • 17A: Cheat celebrities? — STING STARS
  • 11D: Laser shot from Drake? — HIP HOP RAY
  • 33D: Publishing genre for youthful readers that’s NOT funny? — YA SERIOUS
  • 55A:  Dancing alongside at the Jellicle Ball? — IN CATS WITH

Again, as the title suggests, all of these phrases have a HOO that’s gone bye and is missing.  STING STARS becomes SHOOTING STARS, and HIP HOP HOORAY, YAHOO SERIOUS (remember him? and how we as a viewing public politely said “No” after Young Einstein?), and my favorite of the bunch, IN CAHOOTS WITH.

Other fill notes:

  • I totally ran through the opening of Dee-Lite’s “Groove is in the Heart” trying to remember if Bootsy Collins played BASS or another instrument for 1A.
  • 36A: Easter egg coloring brand — PAAS (it’s weird seeing PAAS in a non-Easter adjacent puzzle.  On the other hand, they do have the monopoly on the egg-dying racket)
  • 42A: X Gamers pop them — WHEELIES (Liked this clue.)
  • 59A: King Harald’s land — NORGE (Norway, for those of us in the US)
  • 3D: “Shiny Happy People” singer (and I’ll bet he regrets recording it almost daily) — STIPE (Okay, I kind of love “Shiny Happy People”, even if the band has stated on many occasions they dislike it.  It’s an REM song featuring Kate Pierson of the B-52s on harmonies with a dorky video.  What’s not to love?)

4/5 stars.

Don Gagliardo and C.C. Burnikel’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up

LA Times 160818

LA Times

We get a rare(ish) down theme today from Hard G and CC! Each of four long down answers ends in a word that can be completed by “DIRTY ___” with a revealer that’s DOWNANDDIRTY. The theme answers are a lively set: WORKLIKEADOG (DIRTY DOG – I think here meaning scoundrel, so a sort of dupe of DIRTY RAT); LONGBOMB (DIRTY BOMB) – didn’t know this one, but it’s a fun answer! MALLRAT (DIRTY RAT); ANNERICE (DIRTY RICE). Maybe SWIMMINGPOOL could’ve replaced WORKLIKEADOG for more variety, though the actual entry is rather humdrum.


  • [Silver and gold], COLORS. Timely! South Africa is doing the whole silver thing this Olympics (except for our Wayde!), though on the whole, 7 medals is excellent for us! Haven’t seen much because it’s always on at like 2am here!
  • [Lacking energy], ANEMIC. Not wrong, though it feels like clues always reference energy rather than the more precise [Lacking blood].
  • [Cosmic payback], BADKARMA. Awesome entry this!
  • [Long-plumed fisher], EGRET. Our species don’t have such spectacular plumes!
  • [Photobucket alternative], PICASA. Feels slightly dated, but that may be more down to my not doing the whole photo thing…
  • [Ice cream brand introduced in 1866], BREYERS. Wait so you guys have brands called BREYERS and DREYERS. Not confusing at all!
  • [Fast-food pork sandwich], MCRIB. I spend little time in McDonalds, though I don’t think I’ve ever seen it on our menus. Doesn’t mean it can’t be ordered; out of strange curiosity I tried a not-on-the-menu filet-o-fish. Pretty bland and tasteless, like most non-confectionary items at McDonalds…

Squeaky clean puzzle with interesting theme entries…
4 Stars

Donna S. Levin’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post Crossword, “Putting Two and Two Together” —Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 08.18.16: "Oonward, Crossword Soldiers"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 08.18.16: “Oonward, Crossword Soldiers”

Hello, everyone! How’s everything? Today’s crossword puzzle was written by Ms. Donna S. Levin, and I have to apologize to her because it seems like I’m always caught up with something at work and am almost always late in blogging her puzzles. Definitely not my intention. Anyways, let’s talk grid. In it, the theme entries are phrases altered, with the use of puns and its clues, by adding “oon” to the end of each of the entries.

  • FAIR BALLOON (20A: [Midway souvenir?]) – Fair ball.
  • APPLE CARTOON (27A: [Animated short promoting the new iPhone?]) – Apple cart.
  • MOVIE BUFFOON (49A: [Either of the two lead characters in “Dumb and Dumber”?]) – Movie buff.
  • JEW’S HARPOON (58A: [Projectile tossed on Temple Beth Shalom’s annual whale hunt?]) – Jew’s harp.

Maybe I’ll be late in my blogs more often if I have to come across intersections like SLUB (60D: [Fuzzy fabric lump]) and GUMM more often, which was what I had to wrestle with before finish the puzzle (69A: [Judy Garland’s surname, at birth]). Whew! That was rough. What also is rough is my GOLF game, which makes me agree with Twain more and more with every time I come across that quote (1D: [“A good walk spoiled,” per Mark Twain]). Usually, there’s at least one reference to the military in a clue or an entry in an puzzle of Donna’s, and there is one with US ARMY (52D: [Mil. branch that wanted you to “be all you can be”]). I can tell you from experience that one of the great days I’ve ever had in covering sports was covering a game at West Point and Michie Stadium. The atmosphere was amazing and the scenery (looking out into the Hudson River) was nothing I’ve experienced before or since. Time to head up to a game this year fall, right?!

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: TROUT (13D: [Rainbow fish]) – Not counting the 2011 season in which he played in only 40 games, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim outfielder Mike TROUT has appeared in five All-Star Games, won AL Rookie of the Year in 2012 and has finished first or second in the AL MVP voting in each of his first four full seasons, winning the MVP in 2014. He’s pretty good.

TGIF tomorrow! Have a great rest of your Thursday!

Take care!


This entry was posted in Daily Puzzles and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Thursday, August 18, 2016

  1. animalheart says:

    Amy, I share your enthusiasm for the NYT theme. After grokking the gimmick at 17A, I found myself smiling in anticipation when I came to the next two. Just wish there had been more of them! Maybe piled up in Ashwood-Smithian stacks of three! (What? I ask too much?) I also thought the clue for LOOKITUP was excellent. I don’t usually have this much fun on a Thursday. 5 stars from me.

  2. pannonica says:

    NYT: 37d. [Rock-paper-scissors, by another name], ROSHAMBO. New to me!

    I picture a competition among a bandit, a woodcutter, a samurai, and the wife of the samurai. Possibly in northern Ireland.

    This just speaks to my cultural and linguistic ignorance, as I just learned the game has its origins in China and Japan.

  3. huda says:

    NYT: It got a couple of chuckles out of me… creatively silly.
    Never heard of WET MARTINIS, but I guess they make sense given the dry variety. I always thought the appellation of “Dry” for drinks, such as wine, was odd. I’m sure I could Google how it arose. It would still feel odd.
    My husband is an OKIE by birth (though he grew up in New Orleans) and we’ve taken Route 66 to explore this part of the country. Thinking of Oklahoma, I’ve always had dust bowl images in my mind, so I’m surprised to see how lush and lovely the area around Tulsa is. I liked Tahlaquah especially, with its big Cherokee Nation influence. We bought the grand kids tee shirts with Cherokee writing– it looks beautiful. It’s actually a syllabary that Sequoyah invented to transcribe the language, and it’s on road signs and college buildings, including a Baptist Seminary.

    • pannonica says:

      It’s really dry vs sweet. And if you use a combination of sweet and dry vermouths in a cocktail, the descriptor is (unfortunately) perfect.

      • Gary R says:

        Doesn’t the “dry” in a dry martini refer to the gin, as opposed to the vermouth?

        • pannonica says:

          No. The less vermouth, the “drier” the martini. People can get all reductio ad absurdum on this matter.

          However, among gins there are two significant types: London (dry) and the fuller Dutch genever style. I’m not current—though I realize genevers are experiencing a resurgence in popularity—but as far as I know most martinis are made with the “London Dry” style. So your confusion is perfectly reasonable.

          *Technically, most ‘martinis’ are made with vodka, but as far as I’m concerned that’s heresy and illegitimate.

        • Amy Reynaldo says:

          It bears noting that no matter how dry a martini or a wine, if you spill it on yourself, you’ll still get wet.

    • Zulema says:

      Thank you for that very interesting and informative aside about Oklahoma. I have been to Tulsa, but really just passing through from Arkansas driving West. Stopped for coffee at a cafe that seemed transplanted from Berkeley or the Village.

  4. Gary R says:


    I agree that MONTERREYKJAVIK is the best of the WSJ themers. Not only does it look crazy, but it flows in a way that the other three don’t – you can actually pronounce it and both city names sound right. The overlapping REY is pronounced the same way in both names, it’s a full syllable in both, and it’s an accented syllable in both.

    To my ear, the overlapping letters aren’t pronounced the same in any of the other three. In AMSTERDAMASCUS, the A changes from a short-a to a schwa (and the DAM isn’t a syllable in Damascus). In CARACASABLANCA, the A changes from a schwa to a short-a (comes closer with a more Portuguese-sounding pronunciation of Casablanca). And in INDIANAPOLISBON, the S changes from an s-sound to a z-sound.

    Like you, I appreciated the entertaining cluing on some of the more mundane entries. Overall, a fun puzzle.

  5. Ethan says:

    “Note that none of the chunks are etymologically part of the 15-letter word.”

    I don’t know… looking up “municipal” in the Online Etymology Dictionary, I see that it comes from Old Latin ‘moenus’ “service, duty, burden”. And it looks like there is some disagreement about what Proto-Indo-European root that word comes from. It looks like it *could* be from the same root for ‘bind’ that gives us communis, and hence communicable. Ambiguous enough to give the constructors the benefit of the doubt, anyway.

  6. Margaret says:

    Has anyone done the BEQ Diagramless “Once is Enough” from Monday? I can’t figure out the theme to save my life. Hoping putting this out into the universe will be the trigger that helps it pop into my head.

    PS I love REM’s Shiny Happy People so much. I don’t care if they hate it.

    • Dan F says:

      I believe the theme was supposed to be “supervocalic” phrases (only one of each vowel), except that one of the phrases … isn’t. BEQ did not return my emailed query.

      • Margaret says:

        THANK YOU!!! I kept trying various versions of there only being one of something, but couldn’t get there. And I see your point about the answer to swimsuit model. Will be interested to hear if BEQ just decided it didn’t matter since there were an amazing six theme answers.

  7. declan macmanus says:

    Wow, the WSJ interface is pitiful. Do they connect to the internet through AOL as well?

  8. Zulema says:

    Genever is usually drunk straight, like a liqueur or single malt. And the aged ones are the best.

Comments are closed.