Thursday, October 20, 2016

BEQ 8:13 (Ben) 


CS 5:15 (Ade) 


Fireball 7:02 (Jenni) 


LAT 4:54 (Gareth) 


NYT 5:20 (Amy) 


WSJ untimed (Jim) 


Alan Arbesfeld’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 10 20 16, no 1020

NY Times crossword solution, 10 20 16, no 1020

The theme is palindromes that are not (I don’t think) recycled from the usual sources of familiar palindromes. The best ones have been published before, so what’s left when you make up your own is … not particularly clever palindromes.

  • 17a. [“Supposedly, some Australian birds can participate in the America’s Cup,” palindromically], EMUS SAIL, I ASSUME.
  • 27a. [Peter the Great, Mother Teresa and Bob Marley, palindromically], A TSAR, A NUN, A RASTA.
  • 47a. [“My concealment of that footwear was so unfortunate,” palindromically], TOO BAD I HID A BOOT.
  • 61a. [That tropical entry could not have captured first place in the fruit competition, palindromically], NO WAY A PAPAYA WON.


Rough fill includes ERODENT (can we get a [Cyber rat?] here?), plural IBMS and UMS, and the heretofore-unknown-to-me 30d. [Jesse who lost the governor’s race to Ronald Reagan in 1970], UNRUH. And while RAWHIDE isn’t a dupe of the HID in one of the palindromes, there are other ways to clue TANNER besides 47d. [Worker with hides].

I do like CAUCUSED, JUBILANT, RAWHIDE, “IT’S A DATE,” and BROADWAY as entries, though.

We had ARCO as the regional gas station chain the other day. Here, it’s 1a. [Music direction meaning “with the bow”]. It bores me either way.

Cutest clue: 12d. [Second cousin?] for MOMENT. Cousin of “second,” as in “just a second/moment.”

Three stars from me. Did you work through the palindromes easily enough?

Paul Coulter’s Fireball crossword, “Circular Reasoning”  – Jenni’s write-up

We now return to our usual programming after last week’s contest. Today’s offering is not particularly difficult; it’s fun and original and I liked it a lot.

The clues for the theme entries look a little peculiar. So do the answers. 17a [Dominant judicial figure until 2005 in the United King] made me think there was a word-processing error. Nope. The next one is 27a [Song about a not-very-needy per] – that’s clearly on purpose. I kept filling in other answers and worked my way down to 46a [Medical complex where specialized diagnoses are for] and finally had enough crossings to see that the answer was TERTIARY CARE CEN. That should be TERTIARY CARE CENTER. Oh! The letters that missing on the end are right there at the beginning – it’s circular. And the clue follows the same pattern – add the MED from the beginning to the end and you get …where specialized diagnoses are formed. Very nice. The other theme answers:

  • screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-10-18-44-pm

    FB 10/20 puzzle, solution grid

    17a [Dominant judicial figure until 2005 in the United King]dom = LORD HIGH CHANCELlor.

  • 27a [Song about a not-very-needy per]sonTHE AIR THAT I BREAthe. That one took me a while to parse until I heard the song in my head.
  • 61a [Ten times, perhaps, or at least quite of]ten ON SEVERAL OCCASIons. 

All the theme answers are solid. The clues are necessarily a bit contrived, and I don’t care. I really like this theme. It didn’t make my head explode, which was just what I needed tonight.

A few other things:

  • 2d [Race created in the 19th century] is a clever way to clue our old favorites the ELOI.
  • Hat tip to Ade! Today’s sports will make you smarter is about tennis: Arthur ASHE, Andre AGASSI, and SARA Errani all show up in the grid, with Kenny MAYNE there to document their achievements.
  • I stared at 13d [Hollow] for a long time, because DELL didn’t make any sense. Then I remember that ol’ farmer, and the valley he lived in. Oh. Right.

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that the office of the LORD HIGH CHANCELLOR is now the Lord Chancellor. Somehow, I feel as if the world has lost something.

Bonus WIDKBIDTP: that [Ride shanks’ mare] means one is WALKing. Obscure and yet delightful.

Nancy Cole Stuart’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “E-Books” — Jim’s review

Blogging while I’m watching the debate so this might be a bit second amendment, er, I mean, disjointed. Fairly simple theme for a Thursday as Es are added into various walls, er, book titles.

WSJ - Thu, 10.20.16 - "E-Books" by Nancy Cole Stuart

WSJ – Thu, 10.20.16 – “E-Books” by Nancy Cole Stuart (Mike Shenk)

  • 17a [Dr. Seuss book about a Vatican piggyback ride?] HOP ON POPE. Sounds like fun!
  • 30a [Sylvia Plath book about a Southern lass’s mayo?] THE BELLE JAR. Why mayo?
  • 44a [Sinclair Lewis book about Down East driving?] MAINE STREET. I don’t really get this one.
  • 61a [Yann Martel book about a professional baker?] LIFE OF PIE. Disaster, er, I mean, good one!

A fine theme. I only knew the first one right off the bat (that shows you my level of education). I don’t know the Lewis book at all.


Clues of note:

  • 20a [What a haruspex finds omens in] is ENTRAILS. A haruspex is a person from Ancient Rome trained to practice a form of divination called Aleppo, er, haruspicy.
  • 67a [Center performance] is SNAP. Think football.
  • 11d [Uncrustables ingredient] is GRAPE JELLY. Uncrustables are apparently some sort of “food” item.

All right. I won’t keep you in suspense anymore; I accept the results of this puzzle. Make sure you go out and vote for the sanest person.

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website crossword – “Blue Pictures” — Ben’s Review

BEQ 10/20

BEQ 10/20

Hey everyone!  This Thursday’s BEQ puzzle feels very relevant to recent events, for reasons that get explained within the puzzle:

  • 16A: Move onto a different subject — CHANGE THE TOPIC
  • 22A: With 49A, stop swearing — WASH ONE’S/MOUTH OUT
  • 37A: Demonstrate great affection — SHOWER WITH LOVE
  • 58A: Theme of this puzzle?  LOCKER ROOM TALK

Yes, this puzzle is all about actual locker room talk.  I thought this was a cute, clever theme that pulled well from recent events – hopefully you did too.

Other puzzle notes:

  • 1A: “He’s picking on me again!” — MOM (I’m so glad my sister and I are past this point)
  • 24A: Blue blood — ROYAL (tried to make this ELITE for quite a while)
  • 45A: Aerosol spray chemical — CFC (my brain pulled this little factoid out of seemingly nowhere)
  • 10D: Purina dog food brand — PUPPY CHOW (this could also have been clued “Ben’s favorite kindergarten snack” No, not the actual dog food, what some people apparently call “muddy buddies”)
  • 27D: Very careful and precise — METICULOUS (as the kids are saying these days, it me)

4/5 stars today – cute, timely theme with pretty good overall fill.

Doug Peterson’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post Crossword, “Chill Factor” —Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 10.20.16: "Chill Factor"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 10.20.16: “Chill Factor”

Hello everybody! Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Mr. Doug Peterson, is a reminder of things to come in the next few days and weeks. In it, the first three theme entries are multiple-word answers in which the first two letters of it are “CO” and the final two letters are “LD.” The fourth theme entry, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE, acts as the reveal (53A: [“Close the window!,” and an explanation of this puzzle’s theme]).

  • COLONEL MUSTARD (20A: [Board game suspect represented by a yellow token])
  • COORS FIELD (35A: [Home of the Rockies]) – Rockies = Colorado Rockies baseball team.
  • CENTERFOLD (41A: [Marilyn Monroe in 1953, e.g.])

I actually was in a rush to get the puzzle done before having to head out for some early dinner plans, but didn’t know I’d be this fast with the puzzle. Yes, “fast” is relatively speaking, but always happy when I can solve under six minutes. Seeing the clue for BEAUT made me think of the great crossword tournament that we have to wait another 10 months until to comes back around again, Lollapuzzoola (31D: [Lollapalooza]). Never heard of LORI on the show that’s mentioned in its clue, but I guess this is the right time to mentioned that Mark Cuban and I have been good friends since 2001, when I met him while I was a contestant on a game show and he was a celebrity guest (60A: [Greiner of “Shark Tank”]). Shoot, that reminds me that I should reach out to Mark once again. Maybe I should invite him to be a guest to my podcast. You think he’d say yes to that? I sure hope so! OK, I’m out.

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: LSD (60D: [Psychedelic initials]) – Not sure if I mentioned this before in this space, but, if so, it still is worth another mention. On June 12, 1970, former Major League pitcher Dock Ellis pitched a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres while high on LSD, according to him and many others. Rather than let you in on the details here, click on this link for an A.V. Club story from last year detailing Ellis as well as the man he was while playing in the Major Leagues. It’s fascinating. One detail about the no-no day that I will share here: Though the game was in San Diego, Ellis started his day further north, in Los Angeles, as one of his friends showed him the newspaper in which it listed Ellis as the game’s projected starter against the Padres.

TGIF tomorrow! See you then!

Take care!


Jacob Stulberg’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up

LA Times 161020

LA Times

A very basic theme idea, presumably running for the unusualness of the V’s. The theme entries all start with V@L, with the vowels used in sequence, being pronounced in each case with a short sound.


  • [Personal guide], VALUESYSTEM
  • [Shoe fastener], VELCROSTRIP
  • [Historic Manhattan jazz club], VILLAGEVANGUARD. (Not in my personal knowledge base, understandably.)
  • [Cloud above a peak], VOLCANICASH. Top clue!
  • [Source of the Romance languages], VULGARLATIN

A five-part ordered theme is fairly unwieldy to design around, though we do get GOMORRAH and LOUISCK for colour. The latter was really confusing as far as letter pattern the first couple of times I encountered him in a grid. I am now enured, however.

JCTS is avoidable nonsense. The other J word is JOSH so I don’t understand the rationale. SCAR/AARE is the quick fix, though I’m sure there are cleaner ones.

3.25 Stars

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

13 Responses to Thursday, October 20, 2016

  1. Mark McClain says:

    NYT – I thoroughly enjoyed the palindrome theme (you can’t be serious when you think new palindromes are supposed to be serious). Most hilariously, A TSAR A NUN A RASTA harks back to the old standby A MAN A PLAN A CANAL PANAMA (which doesn’t fit in a 15x grid). Also enjoyed a Thursday that was fairly easy by Thursday standards (I had a rough night). And UNRUH – not sure why that was familiar to me but it was . . .

  2. Paul Coulter says:

    Thanks for the very kind Fireball write-up, Jenni. I’m glad I was able to provide some fun, after last night’s head-exploder. It’s also interesting to see how the solve unfolded for you. That was exactly my intention – the theme clues were meant to look like misprints at first, sort of like Printer’s Devilry cryptics. My seed entry was TERTIARYCARECEN – back in the 80s and 90s, I worked at one in Boston, then one in Philly before going into education. My original grid had less solid partners – things like PERSIANHORNEDVI and AGEATFIRSTMARRI. As usual, Peter was instrumental in making this puzzle so much better.

  3. pannonica says:

    WSJ: “30a [Sylvia Plath book about a Southern lass’s mayo?] THE BELLE JAR. Why mayo?”

    Possibly jelly jar would have been more evocative, but 11d obviates that. Next best might be moonshine, but maybe that’s too pejorative? Pickles, maybe? Pickles could work. Anyway, cute deportation dissertation, Chris Jim.

  4. ArtLvr says:

    WSJ – It’s an oddity to non-New Englanders, but those who live in Maine say they are “down east’ from elsewhere…. I liked the puzzle, but thought the BEEF = CARP was off: carp is a verb but beef is mostly a noun: have a beef about, or carp at something.

  5. Armagh says:

    BEQ – Appears as though the resident BEQ hater is back, rating the puzzle one star before it was even posted. Some one needs to get a life.

  6. Harry says:

    I didn’t mind the NYT puzzle, though there were a few things I could do without. I thought it would have been better without spoon-feeding the trick by awkwardly sticking “palindromically” in each theme clue. Easy enough to figure out once you get the first one.

  7. sparto says:

    LAT: I like to use Across Lite but I always get a “not found” error message when trying to download LAT puzzles from the Today’s Puzzles page. Anyone else? Solution?

  8. Steve Manion says:

    I believe Jesse Unruh was a big Bobby Kennedy supporter and was there at the assassination of Kennedy by Sirhan Sirhan. I remembered the name immediately from that incident, but did not realize he lost for governor against Ronald Reagan. I think he accepted the results of that election.

    Fun puzzle.


    • Norm says:

      Jesse was a major player in California politics, who should be remembered more for the Unruh Civil Rights Act (which preceded the federal legislation by some years and provided and still does greater protections) than for the stupidity of the California electorate in voting for Ronald Reagan.

    • arthur118 says:

      Jesse will always be remembered for his quip that, “Money is the Mother’s milk of politics”.

  9. pannonica says:

    BEQ: 39d [Considerable size] HEFT. >bzzzt!< HEFT denotes mass or weight, and by metaphorical extension gravity and significance.

    Anyone else irked by the clue?

Comments are closed.