Monday, September 19, 2016

BEQ 9:09(Gareth) 


CS 10:00 (Ade) 


LAT untimed (pannonica) 


NYT untimed (pannonica)  


WSJ untimed (Jim)  


Zhouqin Burnikel’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

NYT • 9/19/16 • Mon • Burnikel • № 0916 • solution

NYT • 9/19/16 • Mon • Burnikel • № 0916 • solution

Some meta-irony evident in today’s offering. We have a long central revealer at 41-across, [Classic TV game show … or what 18-, 25-, 55- and 66-Across are, in a way] HOLLYWOOD SQUARES.

And what we get are the titles of American-made films, each containing the square of one of the first four integers 12=1, 22=4, 32=9, and 42=16. They don’t appear in order, alas.

  • 18a. [1995 Hugh Grant/Julianne Moore romantic comedy] NINE MONTHS. Remake of the French Neuf mois (1994).
  • 25a. [1981 Alan Alda/Carol Burnett comedy] THE FOUR SEASONS.
  • 55a. [1984 Molly Ringwald coming-of-age comedy] SIXTEEN CANDLES.
  • 66a. [1996 Michelle Pfeiffer/George Clooney romantic comedy] ONE FINE DAY.

It’s fitting that they’re all comedies, as the game show is, more than anything else, an opportunity for celebrity-types to engage in comedic banter. This was certainly an intentional choice on the part of the constructor.

The irony? That the crossword’s grid deviates from the norm by not being a 15×15 square. Blame the revealer, which is 16 letters long. Small consolation that 16 is (as per 55a) a mathematical square.

tulip table

An EERO Saarinen-inspired (read: not genuine) tulip table with a (nonstandard) square top.

Clear evidence of constructing struggle, with some non-Monday type fill—whether uncommon or merely clunky—loitering about. For instance: RUPP, EERO, OENO-, ALOU, -ERN, À MOI, BAHA, AKELA, EXE and MPEG, plus the kind-of-fun I RULE [“Go me!”]. (15a, 39d, 27d, 29d, 1d, 34a, 30d, 46a, 67d, 19d, 56d)

Long non-theme entries: 3d [Bite-size Krispy Kreme offering] DONUT HOLE, 11d [Football helmet attachment] CHIN STRAP, 35d [Uncomfortable] ILL-AT-EASE, 38d [In one’s Sunday best] DRESSED UP.

51a [They can bring tears to chefs’ eyes] ONIONS. “The sharper the knife, the fewer the tears.”

Fun puzzle, despite the 16×15 grid and the lesser-known films (some of them, anyway).

Steven E. Atwood’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Talk Like a Pirate Day” — Jim’s review

Yarr, mateys! Ye know what day it be?

WSJ - Mon, 9.19.16 - "Talk Like a Pirate Day" by Steven E. Atwood

WSJ – Mon, 9.19.16 – “Talk Like a Pirate Day” by Steven E. Atwood

  • 17a [Pirate’s favorite reveling cry?] PARTY HEARTY. Parrrty hearrrty!
  • 27a [Pirate’s preferred method of payment?] CHARGE CARD. Charrrge carrrd!
  • 33a [Pirate’s favorite animals for ship’s mascots?] AARDVARKS. Aarrrdvarrrks!
  • 43a [Pirate’s prisoner watcher?] ARMED GUARD. Arrrmed guarrrd!
  • 55a [Pirate’s training for combat?] MARTIAL ARTS. Marrrtial arrrts!

A fun double-“AR” theme in which it’s hard not to employ your best piratey accent.

I like the choices, but MARTIAL ARTS is a bit of an outlier compared to the others. Three of those others are only two syllables each, and the last one, PARTY HEARTY, is balanced in its rhyming pattern. Only MARTIAL ARTS has an odd syllable out.

From “The Legend of Zelda: OCARINA of Time”

But still, it does the job, and with the others, I was mostly entertained by the theme and the rest of the fill.

A CREEPER from “Minecraft”

With only a 9-letter central entry, our constructor gives us four wide-open corners. And for the most part, they are outstanding. The NW gives us DAPPLED, THRONGS, and OCARINA (though it misses out on a The Legend of Zelda clue). In the NE I like ALSO-RAN and LEONARD. In the SW, EMBARGO and CREEPER (though it misses out on a Minecraft clue). And in the SE, SAMURAI, OVERTIP, and the apathetic “I GUESS.” Oh, and don’t forget the LATVIAN in the center.

There is a price for all that goodness: ENGR at 26a, ACHS at 5d, and ACR at 34d. Three sub-par entries is not bad compared to all the really great fill, but I think these are worse than your normal crosswordese. Still, they’re outweighed by the good stuff and the fun theme.

Ye disagree with me, ye flea-ridden scallywag?! Yarr! Off with ye, then, afore ye feel me peg leg up yer crusty backside!

Learn how to talk like a pirate here…with pictures! And don’t forget that ye get free doughnuts at Krispy Kreme today! Yarr!

Grant Boroughs’ Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 9/19/16 • Mon • Boroughs • solution

LAT • 9/19/16 • Mon • Boroughs • solution

This puzzle suffers unfairly from being on-time. Today, the Nineteenth of September, is “International Talk Like a Pirate Day” but it was scooped by this past Friday’s weekly CHE crossword, which I was also tasked with writing about. And I solved today’s WSJ prior to this. Suffering from pirate-related fatigue here.

In this iteration entries containing an ‘AR’ syllable (with an /ä/ vowel sound) are extended to ‘ARR’ (spelling may be altered). Some of these things have to do with sailing on the bounding main. Others are made to. Still others are linked merely by invocation of ‘TLAP Day’.

  • 17a. [Ship-fouling organisms, on Talk Like a Pirate Day?] BARRNACLES. Fouling? That’s a bit harsh.
  • 32a. [What kids ask on a long trip, on TLAP Day?] ARR WE THERE YET?
  • 38a. [Ship’s right-front section, on TLAPDay?] STARRBOARD BOW.
  • 57a. [Cold northern region, on TLAP Day?] THE ARRCTIC.
  • 3d. [Food storage area,  on TLAP Day?] LARRDER.
  • 40d. [Bill for drinks, on TLAP Day?] BARR TAB.

Note that 44d [Rio Grande city] LAREDO has a(n arguably) different pronunciation (not to mention a syllabification that separates the A and R) and receives an exemption. Even less controversial is the other AR sequence in 38a, as it’s part of [B]OAR[D]; see also 49d OAR. In 25d [Balloon filler] AIR and 54a [Two of a kind] PAIR both the spelling and distinctly different pronunciation avoid controversy.

But I count three troublesome entries. 13a [Actor Sharif] OMAR, 6d [5-Down of __: French heroine] ARC {5d is [ __ of 6-Down: French heroine] JOAN}, and 51a [Tax agcy.] IRS. Perhaps that last gets a pass because it isn’t spelled with ‘AR’ but I feel the aye-ar-ess pronunciation begs for inclusion in this little rogue’s gallery; besides, one of the theme entries established that spelling isn’t critical.

As I said, some of the theme entries seem to have something to do with maritime subjects, others just give lip service to ‘TLAP Day’. Further muddying the waters, many of the clues and entries in the ballast fill deliberately evoke the nautical:

  • 1a [Dangerous wind for small boats] GALE.
  • 5a [You’re gonna need a bigger boat” movie] JAWS.
  • 21a [Spyglass component] LENS.
  • 55a [The color of tropical seas] TEAL.
  • 4d [Swashbuckler Flynn] ERROL.
  • 8d [Like a smooth-sailing clipper ship] SLEEK.
  • 11d [Sitting at the dock of the bay] IN PORT. (See also 66a [Online auction site] EBAY.)
  • 38d [Shove off] SET SAIL.
  • 49d [Rowboat propeller] OAR.

Whereas there were plenty more opportunities to infuse other entries similarly. I’m thinking most particularly of GOB, WATCH, LEE, SOS. (1d, 33d, 56d, 48a)

In sum—and despite my admitted PRF—it felt as if there was too much flotsam, jetsam, and lagan associated with this crossword. A stronger editorial hand on the tiller could have gotten things ship-shape, perhaps. I’m pooped.

THEMELESS MONDAY #381 – Gareth’s summary



BEQ builds a 72-worder with four corners – two triple 10’s and two double 9’s – conservative by his standards.

The top-left answer is often a seed. I have never heard of the phrase WHOAIFTUE myself, as I do not use Twitter. In fact, I tried to parse the first word has WHO, in vain:

Its partner is 4DCHESS… Actually FOURDCHESS, which gets 7 Google hits, because it’s not spelt out… ever.

I also didn’t know the currently-on (I checked) TV show MRROBOT. I probably should?

[“Dracula” heroine], MINA. (Harker)

[Total clusterfark], MESS. Unusual restraint from Mr. Quigley!

[Entertainer Lola], FALANA. I had Montez, which is not >wholly< inapt.

[Letters after Ann McLane Kuster’s name], DNH. So that’s another 100, 3-letter combos for you… 150 if you want say INH too…


Randall J. Hartman’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post Crossword, “Time of the Sofa” —Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 09.19.16: "Time on the Sofa"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 09.19.16: “Time on the Sofa”

Good day, everybody! I hope you’re all doing well to begin the week! Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Mr. Randall J. Hartman, was tough for me to figure out the theme for a while. But figure it out I did: each of the three theme answers have an “S of A” pattern. Now knowing that, I’m surprised there wasn’t a reference to the popular show Sons of Anarchy.

  • STATE OF AFFAIRS (20A: [Katherine Heigl TV drama])
  • STORM OF APPLAUSE (36A: [Big hand])
  • SEAL OF APPROVAL (47A: [Green light])

This grid was definitely art, especially when you figure that there were multiple artists in the grid: DALI (1A: [Catalan surrealist]) to start off the grid and GOYA also nearby (18A: [“The Clothed Maja” artist]). Can’t say that I heard of the book that’s referred to in REPOSE, but I’m going to look it up once I’m done with this blog (25A: [“Angle of _____” (Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Wallace Stegner]). How about two references to a Rube Goldberg machine?!?!? Well, we have that with both LEVER (38A: [Part of a Rube Goldberg machine]) and PULLEY (43A: [Part of a Rube Goldberg machine]). Now I can’t stop thinking about crazy contraptions!! Anyone ever been a part of building something like that?! If so, would love to know how it was put together and what the end goal/purpose was.

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: DEAF (8D: [Like The Who’s Tommy]) – There have been a number of athletes who have strived despite not having full hearing. Some of the notable DEAF athletes that come to mind are former Atlanta Brave and Detriot Tiger outfielder Curtis Pride, best-selling author and former University of Utah and Weber State University basketball player Lance Allred, and two WNBA All-Stars: future basketball Hall of Famer Tamika Catchings and 2015 WNBA All-Star Emma Meesseman. I interviewed Meesseman after a playoff game last year, and did not have an idea about her impairment until a few days after I did the interview. Great person, great player and, just a few days ago, was the main subject of a feature story in the Wall Street Journal in which her three-point shooting is compared to the best shooter in the NBA, Stephen Curry. Here’s the interview I did with her, by the way…

Thank you for the time, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

Take care!


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

11 Responses to Monday, September 19, 2016

  1. RSP says:

    Could some explain to me why it matters whether the puzzle is 15 x 15 or 16 x 15? I would never have noticed if it wasn’t in the write up and it certainly didn’t make any difference to my enjoyment of this puzzle (which I thought was a nice Monday puzzle).

    • Jim Peredo says:

      It’s not a bad thing, it’s just an unusual thing, especially in a print publication (like the NYT) where page real estate is limited. I think pannonica was simply decrying the fact that a puzzle about squares was itself not square.

      It means that, as a whole, the collection of clues has to take up less page space, thereby meaning shorter, simpler clues which, on a Monday, is not necessarily a bad thing.

      For Will Shortz, I think the puzzle has to be really good to accommodate the unusual size. I think this puzzle is really good.

  2. While Krispy Kreme does have vastly superior doughnuts to Dunkin’ Donuts, I have to object to the clue for 3D because KK explicitly spells their product name using the doughnut spelling, not donut. (Source: google it)

  3. hmj says:

    Reference the LAT : No self-respecting pirate would ever say “Arr”. There has to be a guttural “G” sound in there somewhere. Either “Aarg”, or “Argh” or something like that!

  4. ArtLvr says:

    LAT — re “Fouling”: definitely no joke. Biological fouling is the accumulation of microorganisms, plants, algae, or animals … Calcareous (hard) fouling organisms include barnacles, encrusting bryozoans, mollusks, polychaete and other tube worms, and zebra mussels. Not only are lakes and rivers spoiled by such invasions, but boat propellers can be so encrusted that they are nearly useless.

    • pannonica says:

      I must have forgotten that term at some point, because it’s a phenomenon I’m aware of, and would definitely have been covered in my studies. Thanks for the mini-lesson!

Comments are closed.