Monday, August 29, 2016

BEQ 5:16 (Gareth) 


CS tk (Ade) 


LAT untimed (pannonica) 


NYT untimed (pannonica)  


WSJ untimed (Jim) 


David Steinberg’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

NYT • 8/29/16 • MOn • Steinberg • № 0829 • solution

NYT • 8/29/16 • MOn • Steinberg • № 0829 • solution

A celebration of Things Wyomingite.

  • 39aR {Squarest of the 50 states] WYOMING.
  • 17a. [Famous geyser in 39-Across] OLD FAITHFUL.
  • 60a. [Historic trading post in 39-Across] FORT LARAMIE.
  • 11d. [Noted rock formation in 39-Across] DEVIL’S TOWER.
  • 24d. [Skiing mecca in 39-Across] JACKSON HOLE.

Best I can tell, there’s no specific occasion for this theme. July is the key month for Wyoming, becoming an incorporated territory in 1868 and subsequently attaining statehood in 1890. Nor is there any prominent connection to the national park centenary, which was in any case acknowledged in the New York Times crossword two Sundays ago. So maybe it’s just an equalitarian thing.

Other states: 11a [Nevada/Arizona’s Hoover __ ] DAM, 22a [Style of music north of the Rio Grande] TEJANO, 28a [Preparer of fast food that’s “finger lickin’ good”] KFC, 40d [CBS spinoff set in SoCal] NCIS LA (wow! alphabet soup) .

  • Animalism: 30d [Animal with a hump] CAMEL, 69a [Evil animal in “The Lion King”] HYENA. These are both mammals, for what it’s worth. A very small slice of Animalia.
  • FAVORITE CLUE OF THE WHOLE DAMN PUZZLE: 15a [Sometimes-bad bacteria] E COLI.  I’ve long deplored the broad, negative characterization of the organism, both in popular imagination and in crossword cluing, so this is a major victory as far as I’m concerned. There are a good number of other subjects that suffer similar vilification, but I’ll embrace this as progress.
  • Can I go on after that?
  • No.

Good puzzle. Also, those folks in Wyoming should maybe relax a little.

Greg Johnson’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Who Is That Masked Man?” — Jim’s review

If you don’t recall, the puzzle’s title comes from the old TV series The Lone Ranger. It was ABC’s highest-rated show in the early ’50s, and is considered the network’s first true “hit show.”

WSJ - Mon, 8.29.16 - "Who Is That Masked Man?" by Greg Johnson

WSJ – Mon, 8.29.16 – “Who Is That Masked Man?” by Greg Johnson

As to the puzzle, our theme is “men” in masks. I say “men” only because the title does. Only one of them is a named male fictional character.

  • 18a […with a gun] BANK ROBBER
  • 24a […with a stick] HOCKEY GOALIE
  • 39a […with a sword] ZORRO
  • 52a […with a scalpel] HEART SURGEON
  • 62a […with a torch] SPOT WELDER

I like the consistency in the clues of each person holding a tool or weapon, but frankly the theme just didn’t do much for me. I know it’s Monday, but this felt just a little too basic.

The construction of the puzzle is good, though, with plenty of long, interesting fill. Unusually, we have some long Acrosses that dwarf one of the themers. (Of course, with a 5-letter themer (ZORRO), that’s not hard to do.) Thankfully, each themer is denoted with an ellipsis, so they’re easily identified.

But back to the fun fill. We get BAGUETTE, ROAD TEST, HICCUP, and KIMMEL in the Across direction and STINKBUGS, HURDLE, ROOSTERS, and BAGELS going Down.

There’s also AUTO GLASS, but the clue [Windshield material] seems weird to me.  Isn’t the material just glass? Obviously, specially treated and manufactured glass, but who would say AUTO GLASS as opposed to just glass? I don’t know if it’s any better, but Safelite AutoGlass is a nationwide company that repairs and replaces car windows. I’m sure you’ve heard their ads.

Oh, and then there’s YUTZ [Inept fool]. Not a word you see very often, but how else are you going to connect the Y in HOCKEY with the Z in ZORRO? YNEZ works, but YUTZ is funnier.

A fine puzzle for a Monday. The simple theme is made-up-for by the interesting non-theme fill.

Jerry Edelstein’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 8/29/16 • Mon • Edelstein • solution

LAT • 8/29/16 • Mon • Edelstein • solution

It’s a word-precedes theme.

  • 63aR [United stand … and what the first part of the answers to starred clues literally can have] COMMON FRONT.
  • 17a. [*Cost of shares on the exchange] MARKET PRICE.
  • 11d. [*Element in an executive compensation package] STOCK OPTION.
  • 27d. [*So long] GOOD DAY.
  • 25d. [*Drive to do the responsible thing] SENSE OF DUTY. See also the crossing 34a [Most rational] SANEST and my favorite clue in the puzzle 72a [Officials who have their faculties] DEANS.
  • 41a. [*U.S./USSR conflict] COLD WAR. See also 18d [Double agent] TRAITOR, 54d [Whac-__: arcade game] A MOLE. And 60a [“__ the mornin’!”] TOP O’.

eltopo_jodorowskyCommon market, common stock, common good, common sense, common cold.

I’m least excited by the two economic ones, but that’s probably just my proclivities.

  • 1d [Leo is its logo] MGM, 48a [Sound from Leo] ROAR.
  • 33a [Rita with an Oscar, Emmy, Tony and Grammy] MORENO. The acronym EGOT  depends on a different ordering.
  • The long non-theme answers are good. 10d [Longshoreman] STEVEDORE, 35d [Like Al Capone] SCARFACED.

A solid but—as mentioned just moments ago!—unexciting Monday offering.

THEMELESS MONDAY #378 by Brendan Emmett Quigley – Gareth’s write-up



The accompanying blog post touts this as a 60-worder. There is one big benefit to lowering word count – you get a higher proportion of long answers; the trade-off is more strain to make everything fit together. For most of us mortal constructors, the optimal point is between 68 and 72 words. Patrick Berry and Frank Longo have both shown you can go lower and still come out ahead. BEQ notes that the grid is compartmentalized, though I’ve seen far worse in higher-count puzzles. Anyhoo…

Best answers:
Music! SATRIANI, STEELWHEELS and GARYNUMAN. The last is clued as a […one-hit wonder]. Cue shock! I checked, “Are Friends Electric” didn’t chart in the U.S. Apparently none of his other 6 UK top 10 and further 15 UK 10-40 singles charted much in the US… Who knew??

The top-left has LESEMAJESTE, DAYSPAS and ARMADILLO clued precisely as a [Mammal…] see Pannonica above.

The bottom-left stack has more animals: pretty SEAFANS, cleverly clued [Swallow grub], BIRDFOOD – though I’d argue the phrase usually refers to pet birds’s food. It flows into the bottom-right with ROMAN EMPIRE clued via [Edward Gibbon…] (another mammal!), and my favourite answer in the puzzle: MRSMALAPROP. Both she and STEELWHEELS are the type of answer that is essential to a low-count attempt – vibrant though also providing common letters to build around!

Demerits: PRYERS, MAOS (“Did you mean: ‘maps’?” asks Google), and TANYAS feel pretty minor; we’ve become enured to them. The DIREST is definitely PSTS. There is only one time zone. It cannot be pluralised.

Others: [Unpopular pizza topping], ANCHOVY – perhaps more divisive? Someone must like it for it to be on all the menus! Never tried it myself, so can’t comment. The TNMT were infamous for bizarre combinations that frequently included ANCHOVY. Here’s a link to people trying TNMT pizzas – they were, not surprisingly, largely inedible and nauseating.
[Viking who was the first ruler of Normandy], ROLLO. Missed this in World Quiz Champs. Was very exasperating! BEQ gave pop music-phobes some respite here and didn’t clue it as [Armstrong of Faithless].
[Armor-covering garment], TABARD is also a mosquito repellent brand here…

Gareth out.

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6 Responses to Monday, August 29, 2016

  1. lemonade714 says:

    I think David needed to work into his theme J.C. Penney which was born in Wyoming in 1902.

    I wonder why Equalitarian was chosen over egalitarian, but it does fit as Wyoming has earned its reputation as the “equality state.” The state (then territory) was the first to allow women to vote in 1869. The 69-year-old Louisa Ann Swain became the first woman in the United States to vote in a general election in 1870, after the homemaker rose early to buy yeast and stopped to vote on the way.

    There are many other cool FACTS about this state.

    • Steve Manion says:

      My most significant Wyoming fact is that it was the first state to create a true Limited Liability Company Act.

      Fun puzzle.


  2. Gareth says:

    I’ll take a listword like the NYT if all the answers are colourful!

  3. PJ Ward says:

    LAT 56a – There’s a couple of better ways to clue ENOS SLAUGHTER. One is the Cardinal whose Mad Dash denied the Red Sox yet another World Series. Or he can be clued as a Cardinal racist.

    I’d be happy seeing ENOS remembered as Hazzard County’s Deputy Sheriff.

  4. Gary R says:

    Re: WSJ,

    AUTO GLASS is a pretty common term in these parts (Michigan). It’s what the manufacturers call it, and what most of the companies who will replace a car window call it.

  5. Frank Marra says:

    Re BEQ #378. “PANIN” is an incorrect answer for 28D (shoot a closeup). A “pan” in camera speak is a side to side movement only. One can only “Dolly” or “zoom” IN.

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