Sunday, October 2, 2016

CS tk (Ade) 


Hex/Quigley tk (pannonica) 


LAT 5:06 (Andy) 


NYT 9:40 (Amy) 


WaPo  14:10 (Jenni) 


Zhouqin Burnikel’s New York Times crossword, “Paper Jam”—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 10 2 16, "Paper Jam"

NY Times crossword solution, 10 2 16, “Paper Jam”

The latest from Zhouqin plays on the phrase paper jam by jamming common(ish) newspaper names into rebus squares:

  • 20a. [First Amendment guarantee], FREEDOM OF THE {PRESS} crossing 9d. [Weigh down], DE{PRESS}.
  • 60a. [Now and then], AT {TIMES} / 10d. [Like flip phones, now], BEHIND THE {TIMES}.
  • 87a. [Extends, in a way], RE{NEWS} / 1d. [Hit band heard on the soundtrack of “Back to the Future”], HUEY LEWIS AND THE {NEWS}.
  • 88a. [Black mark uncovered in a background check], PRISON {RECORD} / 37d. [“To be clear …”], “JUST FOR THE {RECORD}.” I tried ARREST record first.
  • 107a. [Like a simple-majority voting system], FIRST PAST THE {POST} / 86d. [Upright], GOAL{POST}. 
  • 113a. [“What are the chances of seeing you here?!”], “SMALL  {WORLD}!” / 67d. [Shocked cry], “WHAT IN THE {WORLD}?!”
  • 115a. [It’ll never reach its destination], DEAD {MAIL} / 38d. [Classic lie], “THE CHECK IS IN THE {MAIL}.” I know dead letter but dead mail is not ringing a bell.

Not sure why five of the seven long theme answers are oriented Down rather than Across. The rebus squares aren’t placed symmetrically, as each long and short themer has the rebus at the end and that precludes symmetry. Lots of crisp long phrases in the theme, which I like; I also like the variety pack of newspaper names being more interesting than a rebus theme where each rebus is the same, or is shorter.

Alrighty, what else is in this puzzle? A lot of great fill—ELI ROTH, HD RADIO, ICLOUD, PASTICHE, JANE DOE, SANTA HAT/SAINT NICK (though duplicative of one another, and of 89d SAN), SHONDA Rhimes, SWINDLE, DETECTO brand doctor’s office scales, ICED LATTE (though I noticed “ice” in the SORE clue), OLD SCORES, CANUCKS, PATOOTIE, and SWAN SONG. Also some blah fill, such as AES, LEND TO, ACTE, AIT, RIEL, CTN, APSES, SRAS

There were plenty of interesting clues. Those, along with other notes, follow:

  • NY Times crossword solution, 10 2 16, "Paper Jam"

    NY Times crossword solution, 10 2 16, “Paper Jam”

    46a. [How Chinese brides are often dressed], IN RED. Also a custom in India.

  • 72a. [Attach, as a seat belt], STRAP ON. The clue is not for the hyphenated term.
  • 75a. [Physicist who said “Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it”], BOHR. Neat quote.
  • 6d. [___-mouthed], POTTY. I started with MEALY. I myself am far more potty- than mealy-mouthed.
  • 52d. [Three before seven?], AREA CODE. As in 3 digits that precede 7 digits. Tough clue.
  • 64d. [Golf resort known for its Blue Monster course], DORAL. Never heard of the Blue Monster, but the Doral’s employment practices were just in the news.
  • 95d. [No longer in the closet], OUTED. Ugh. Most people who are no longer in the closet have chosen to come out, and I don’t think that’s ever called “outed.” People who are outed have their privacy violated and face the risks of being publicly identified as gay without having chosen to take those risks.
  • 102d. [Rowdy revelry], ORGY. “Rowdy,” ha. There are plenty of rowdy events with revelers that are far from being orgies.

4.1 stars from me.

Evan Birnholz’s Washington Post puzzle, “Country Club” – Jenni’s writeup

I caught on to the trick with the third answer I entered, or I thought I did. Turned out to be less complex than I imagined.

Each theme entry has UK  entered in a single square. Since the title of the puzzle is “Country Club,” I figured it would be all different countries. Nope. Just the UK.

  • screen-shot-2016-10-01-at-10-54-18-pm

    WP crossword 10/2, solution grid

    24a [Artistic performance that dates to the early 17th century] = KABUKI DANCE.

  • 26a [“This is a joke, right?”] = ARE YOU KIDDING ME.
  • 33d [SNL character who rides in a cart pulled by the donkeys Moishe, Herschel and Shlomo] = HANUKKAH HARRY.
  • 38d [Force-ful figure?] = LUKE SKYWALKER.
  • 46a [They received a famous Oscar in 1970] = MILWAUKEE BUCKS. This one confused me, as I’m sure it was intended to. They didn’t receive an Academy Award. They received Oscar Robertson from the Cleveland Cavaliers in a trade for Flynn Robinson and Charlie Paulk. (Yes, I looked it up. Who do you think I am, Ade?)
  • 90a [Krzyzewskiville locale] = DUKE UNIVERSITY. Krzyzewskiville is the tent city where undergrads camp out to get discounted basketball tickets.
  • 106a [Poet dubbed a “laureate of American lowlife” by Time magazine in 1986] = CHARLES BUKOWSKI. One of my brother’s favorite poets. Now you know which one of us is the cool one.
  • 113 [“Let me just say …”] = YOU KNOW WHAT.

There’s a revealer at 67a [Sketch show created by David Walliams and Matt Lucas … and a hint to eight squares in this puzzle] = LITTLE BRITAIN. I’ve never heard of “Little Britain.” It appears to have run in, well, Britain for three years, ending ten years ago. That seems obscure for a mainstream US crossword. No, that *is* obscure for a mainstream US crossword. I’m sure if it’s some well-known cult show, someone will tell me. I liked the theme entries and the rebus, and found the revealer anticlimactic and even annoying. Definitely a mixed bag.

It’s late, I’ve been cooking all day and have another marathon tomorrow, so I’ll leave this here. What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: well, that there was a British TV show called “Little Britain.”

Thomas Bianchi and Patti Varol’s Los Angeles Times crossword, “Beatles Mash-up”—Andy’s review

LAT Puzzle 10.2.16, "Beatles Mash-up," by Thomas Bianchi and Patti Varol

LAT Puzzle 10.2.16, “Beatles Mash-up,” by Thomas Bianchi and Patti Varol

As near as I can tell, this is Thomas Bianchi’s debut puzzle. Congratulations!

This one does exactly what it says on the tin. Two Beatles titles smushed together to create a new phrase:

Five themers that all span or nearly span the grid = plenty of theme content. With as wide an oeuvre to choose from as The Beatles’ discography, you’d expect there to be plenty of options for a theme like this. The five in this puzzle are all pretty good, I think. I particularly like HONEY DON’T DRIVE MY CAR and TELL ME WHY YOU WON’T SEE ME.

I liked seeing HARPER LEE, JANET RENO, and ANAIS NIN in the surrounding fill, but there was also a fair bit of ugliness for a 144-worder: SEL, DEI, ERST, NUYS, RCTS, AND I, ON AN, TEHERAN, I MET, VARIG, A SOU.

Overall, an okay puzzle. By the way, if you like Beatles mashups, give The Grey Album a listen. Until next time!

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

20 Responses to Sunday, October 2, 2016

  1. arthur118 says:

    Ugh. I gave a 4.5 to the LAT when I meant to award it to C.C.’s NYTimes puzzle. I also did then give a 4.5 to the NYT, so the only change would be to cancel the LAT rating. EVAD can you help?

  2. Britain, Britain, Britain!

    I wouldn’t call it my favorite British sketch show ever — some of the characters went stale after a while — but I thought the first season and even some of the Little Britain USA episodes were pretty funny. Here’s a sample.

    • spartacus says:

      I may be in the minority but I thought Little Britain was a gimme (and a clever revealer). Here in the USA I watched the original version on BBC America and Little Britain USA on HBO.

  3. Martin says:

    To come to Evan’s defense here over the show “Little Britain”. Even though it was an immensely popular show/phenomenon in the UK (and other countries) about a decade ago… there was a US edition of the show that was also produced (with the same comic duo), either at the time or shortly thereafter.

    I generally don’t watch a lot of TV, but there were many promo spots on some US TV channels at the time.I don’t remember much of the US edition, but, as I said, was very heavily promoed.

    “Little Britian” has also been prominently featured on several international “Comedy Relief” charity shows.

    Incidentally, I do not know this because I’m originally from the UK (years ago). It was just very prominent, especially in its internet “footprint”.


  4. Christopher Smith says:

    NYT was terrific. Great use of the rebus for variety. Also enabled names & phrases that are seldom seen due to their length. A pleasure to solve.

  5. Norm says:

    There appears to be an error in the AcrossLite solution set [or whatever it’s called] for the WaPo puzzle at 115A/D since it treats the UK rebus as wrong and simply wants a U. Minor nit. Fun puzzle, although I was looking for multiple countries also. NYT was very nice also.

    • spartacus says:

      Yeah, I noticed the rebus “error” as well. I’ve solved other crosswords in AcrossLite where all of the rebus answers were deemed incorrect.

  6. JohnH says:

    I don’t mind a lack of symmetry in placement of the rebus squares at all. Makes a nice touch that they all fall instead at the end of the phrase. I could quibble that PRESS is a term while most of the others are names (or parts of names), with some (like NEWS) possibly both, but no big deal.

    I’m often not attuned to Amy’s favorite fill, and this was one of those times. A corner with ELI ROTH and HD RADIO almost defeated me. So almost did RIEL crossing DORAL and SHONDA with TOSH, the last just a successful guess. SKEG and PATOOTIE also aren’t in my idiom, but I can’t claim to be the proper arbiter here.

  7. David L says:

    I mostly liked the NYT but didn’t care for a lot of the short fill. Didn’t we recently see “FMS” clue as a plural in another puzzle? Not a thing. You sure have a lot of FMS in this part of the country. Nope.

    It took me a long time to come up with RECORD for the central rebus. ‘Just for the record’ seems a whole lot less familiar to me than ‘For the record,’ and the clue doesn’t square with my understanding of the term. You’re asking not for clarity (i.e. explaining something that was vague or cryptic) but for confirmation that someone really said what they just said.

    As for LITTLEBRITAIN in the WaPo — contra Martin, the only reason I knew it was because I’m from the UK (also a long time ago) and read British newspapers online. I wasn’t aware that it had ever been aired in this country, and I’ve never seen an episode.

    • Gary R says:


      I’ve used the phrase “just for the record,” not as a request for clarity, but as a statement of clarification – “Just for the record, I opposed the war in Iraq from the start.” In that sense, I think it works as “To be clear …”

  8. Amy Reynaldo says:

    LITTLE BRITAIN is not remotely part of mainstream American pop culture knowledge. A revealer that’s the basis for a theme really needs to be more familiar than that.

    • spartacus says:

      I respectfully disagree. The show ran for years in the USA on HBO and BBC America.

      • dave glasser says:

        Count me as another for whom LITTLE BRITAIN was a gimme.

        On the other hand, I waited until the very end to fill in the Northeast because KABUKI DANCE didn’t seem like a phrase I’d heard of. And in fact the majority of references I find on Google for that particular phrase seem to be about a metaphor about posturing, not the actual art form.

        Still a fun puzzle overall!

    • oh really says:

      Second this. Respectfully..

      Plus I still don’t get the ‘Country Club’ cue, someone ‘splain?

      And roust Merl from the hereafter while you’re at it.

  9. Rock says:

    I don’t normally rate puzzles but I loved the LA times Beatles Mashup!! 5+ stars from me!!

    Thank you

Comments are closed.