Friday, September 9, 2016

CHE untimed (pannonica) 


CS tk (Ade) 


LAT 8:04 (Gareth) 


NYT 6:08 (Amy) 


Attention #1, New Yorkers: New puzzle event! Next Thursday morning, at the Bryant Park Reading Room, a crossword tournament with three puzzles constructed by Mike Shenk. Click through for details on the Bryant Park Coffee & Crosswords Tournament, 10 a.m. on September 15.

Attention #2, New Yorkers! Crossword constructor and bon vivant Tony Orbach will be performing with the NYC Ska Orchestra on Sunday, September 25 at the Brooklyn Bowl. You can get a taste of what’s in store with a video of their recent performance of “Mood Indigo” (with a ska arrangement of the jazz standard).

Kristian House’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 9 9 16, no 0909

NY Times crossword solution, 9 9 16, no 0909

Hang on, two Fridays in a row that play like Saturday puzzles? Now I’m expecting tomorrow’s puzzle to be easy.

Fave fill: GAZILLION (this is my preferred hyperbolic fake number), SUPERFLY, JUMPS SHIP (but not the fact that the word “ship” appears in the clue for the crossing word, UNRIGS), YOSEMITE, BIG WHOOP (I do say this, too), ART HOUSE movie theater, and STINK-EYE (I use this term as well). ZITCOM is fairly fresh, but it’s really an unattractive word.

Not keen on the fill I’ve rarely encountered outside of crossword puzzles … and have not seen much of in this decade’s crosswords, either. To wit, ERGOT, REE (though this time it’s clued by way of the Jennifer Lawrence movie Winter’s Bone, which was an art-house favorite), INO, PITON, and OUIDA. Also not loving SIP ON (who says that?) and its partner, TUGS ON.

Five more things:

  • 40a. [Fur-lined cloak], PELISSE. Old, old word. The dictionary labels it “historical” and one of the definitions mentions “a hussar’s uniform.”
  • 58a. [Liver by the Loire?], FOIE. Dagnabbit, I figured this was one of those clues like the ones where “flower” means “thing that flows,” but no. It’s just actual liver, the organ. Not sure what the question mark is doing in that clue, then. It’s misleading.
  • 36d. [“Well, la-di-frickin’-da!”], “BIG WHOOP.” I believe the clue quotes Chris Farley’s character in Tommy Boy, a classic non-ART HOUSE film.
  • 52d. [Like the Atlantic Ocean, slightly, from year to year], WIDER. Yes. Did you see the recent Times article on the coastal flooding related to the rising level of the Atlantic Ocean?
  • 50d. [Valve with a disc at the end of a vertically set stem], POPPET. Huh?? I only know the British usage of the word, referring to a sweet child. Maybe from British literature or movies? The engineering term was entirely unknown to me.

3.85 stars from me.

Patti Varol’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up

LA Times 160909

LA Times 160909

Happy 70th birthday, mom!

It’s beer o’clock today with Patti Varol’s beer pun puzzle. As it happens, I started my journey to Johannesburg today, and Johannesburg is in the puzzle! Timely! The puns involve a variety of changes – one adds consonants, one takes them away, two change vowel sounds. They all feature types of beer.


  • stout[Beer made in Johannesburg?], STOUTOFAFRICA. See image.
  • [One who aspires to be the king of beers?], PORTERPRINCE. Port-au-Prince.
  • [Sounds from a brewery?], LAGERRHYTHMS. Logarithms. This one changes the beer part and the rest of the word too…
  • [Toast said while hoisting presidential beer?], ALETOTHECHIEF.

I had one error today: ArI/ErY. Didn’t recall the TV actor, or know the huge metropolis of 4,000 souls. I wanted it to be something like ORO or ORE to be at least guessable. Maybe it’s known for its PEYOTE?


  • [Hot dogs and hams], MEATS. The double fake! You were meant to think – “Friday! Must be using those words as verbs!”
  • [Wizard revealer], TOTO. Fun clue! You were meant to think – TADA or such, but this is an Oz reference.
  • [One on a cartoon desert island], TREE. A la Hagar the Horrible and the other guy he is always shipwrecked with… Lucky Eddie?
  • [Players riding the pine], BTEAM. Mysterious US sports ref of the puzzle!

3.5 Stars. Some clunking in the shorter fill… AGS/MSEC cross I’m looking at you.

Martin Ashwood-Smith’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “The Church Collection” — pannonica’s write-up

CHE • 9/9/16 • "The Church Collection" • Ashwood-Smith • solution

CHE • 9/9/16 • “The Church Collection” • Ashwood-Smith • solution

Puns today, featuring features in a church, of the architectural kind.

  • 17a. [What an enthusiastic usher might say to the reverend when volunteering?] AISLE DO ANYTHING (I’ll …).
  • 25a. [Niche market for congregants?] APSE STORE (app store).
  • 36a. [Mistake seen in 17, 25, 49, and 58 Across?] CLERICAL ERROR. So I guess we’re classifying these as spelling gaffes? Or malapropisms?
  • 49a. [Swelled heads tying the knot in front of the minister?] ALTAR EGOS (alter …).
  • 58a. [Ecclesiastical section devoted to St. Valentine?] THE NAVE OF HEARTS (knave).

It’s a solid theme and the the grid has good flow. Yes I’m giving this a very brief wrap-up. So only a few notes:

  • Quite a lot of classical type music material. Mahler’s Symphony No, 6 in A MINOR, ASSAI, the Puccini aria “Laggiù NEL Soledad”, Berlioz’s ORATORIO “L’Enfance du Christ” (11d, 44a, 4d, 39d)
  • That last also tangents the theme, as do entries such as 63a SINNED, 23a PADRE, and even more tenuously in some of the clues.
  • 53a [Car starter i Bond films?] ASTON{-Martin}, 9d [Hatch back?] -ERY.
  • Yucky fill somewhat mitigated by an interesting factette: 57a [Fort __ (California Army post where Jerry Garcia and Jimi Hendrix received basic training] ORD.
  • 28a [Tryster with Tristan, in Camelot] ISEULT.


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

16 Responses to Friday, September 9, 2016

  1. John says:

    I would love to go to a crossword tournament in Bryant Park, but 10am on a Thursday means I’ll have to sit this one out.

  2. pannonica says:

    NYT: [Like the Atlantic Ocean, slightly, from year to year], WIDER. Yes. Did you see the recent Times article on the coastal flooding related to the rising level of the Atlantic Ocean?

    Even so, the clue is almost certainly referencing the tectonic activity of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge

  3. Jenni Levy says:

    DOUP crossing PELISSE? Oh, come *on.*

  4. David L says:

    Definitely a struggle. The SE took forever. I don’t think of PROFUSE as meaning ‘seemingly everywhere.’ A garden plant might be recommended because of its profuse flowers, for example. Saying that USPOSTAGE fell is poor wording also — the rate fell, is what I guess it is referring to. Didn’t know SEAHAG and thought ESSA was ELLA.

    SARDI/DOUP/PELISSE was tough — a name likely known only to NYers, an odd compound, and an archaic word.

    Winter’s Bone is a very good movie. JLaw’s big break, I think, and she was terrific.

  5. Steve Manion says:

    I was surprised to see Winter’s Bone described in the way it was. I saw it on a big Harkins Theatre screen. On the other hand, total box office was just under $7,000,000, so it did not have wide distribution. It was excellent.

    I found this one to be of average difficulty and easier than either of last week’s. I did not know PELISSE, but Bud SELIG was a gimme and the rest of the letters were gettable; although I did have to do an alphabet run for DOU_.



  6. Papa John says:

    I’m with Steve on this one. It was relatively easy for a Friday. The direction in which I solved helped me get over the hurdles others mentioned by filling them in with the crossings before I got to the toughies. That do happen, from time to time…

  7. dr. fancypants says:

    Looks like there was a “ship” dupe: in addition to JUMPS SHIP, “ship” appears in the clue for 49d.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Yes, I flagged that one in paragraph two. Egregious!

      • dr. fancypants says:

        Oops, so you did!

        That’s one of this things I love about this place–I can always count on the Fiend team to get annoyed about the same things I do. :)

  8. Billie Truitt says:

    Re: LA Times – Gareth, “riding the pine” refers to the pine bench that the subs (B-team) sit on.

  9. Martin says:

    Thanks for the review Pannonica. This is my first CHE puzzle. Hopefully there will be a few more in the future :)

    Also belated thank you Ade, for your shout-out re my first USA Today puzzle in my Washington Post review.

    FYI: Fred Piscop is the official new crossword editor at the USA Today. I never contributed, nor wanted anything to do with the previous editor… for some reason ;)


  10. Mac says:

    I didn’t know the term “poppet valve”, but given that they are a key part of every modern car engine and that I recognized them immediately when I looked at the photo on wikipedia . . . I have to think it is acceptable.

  11. Tony Orbach says:

    Hey Amy – thanks for the plug! NYC crossworders – please do come and hang out with me at Brooklyn Bowl September 25th! We will figure out a way to work SKA into a crossword some day … on that note, RIP “Prince Buster,” the undisputed founder of the xword friendly genre:

    Thanks again,
    Tony O.

  12. Zulema says:

    I had trouble with this NYT puzzle, in the SE, because of SHIP, where I was stuck on bailing as emptying water out of a boat, therefore the very unidiomatic (P)UMPS SHIP. ERGOT was the culprit in a mystery I read some years ago, but don’t remember the author and certainly not the title.

    I really enjoyed the CHE and look forward to their appearing every week now.

Comments are closed.