Thursday, November 10, 2016

BEQ untimed (Ben) 


CS 5:50 (Ade) 


LAT 6:20 (Gareth) 


NYT 5:47 (Amy) 


WSJ untimed (Jim) 


Fireball is a contest puzzle this week. Write-up after the deadline.

Jonathan Kaye and Jeff Chen’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 11 10 16, no 1110

NY Times crossword solution, 11 10 16, no 1110

I didn’t even notice the black squares till after I finished the puzzle and set up the blog template. Each chunk of blocks is quasi hook-shaped, to supplement the theme where the word HOOK in each long Across answer is replaced by a J (which is used just as the letter J in the Down crossings).

  • 18a. [Getting tons of calls], RINGING OFF THE {HOOK}.
    29a. [No matter how], BY {HOOK} OR BY CROOK.
    42a. [Wait anxiously], BE ON TENTER{HOOK}S.
    53a. [100%], {HOOK}, LINE AND SINKER.

Top fill: NBA TEAMS, MAGNETO, SLOW LEAK. Favorite clue: 61a. [Colorful corn balls], TRIX cereal.

I’m exhausted, and sad. Signing off with a rating of 4 stars. Good night, all.

Colin Gale’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Military Buildup” — Jim’s review

In honor of Veterans Day tomorrow, we have a military-themed puzzle today. 54d is the revealer: [Military honorees formed by the letters inserted into the theme answers], i.e. VETS.

I’m not much in a mood to be puzzling and blogging after yesterday’s shock, but I suppose this is a nice enough theme to get me out of this funk.  Technically I guess I’m a vet, but I only did 5 years whereas my wife just finished 20 years of active service, so I was more in the support role the whole time. Which suited me just fine.

As this is a “Military Buildup,” each theme entry gets one letter of the revealing word, converting a familiar phrase into something wacky but military-related.

WSJ - Thu, 11.10.16 - "Military Buildup" by Colin Gale (Mike Shenk)

WSJ – Thu, 11.10.16 – “Military Buildup” by Colin Gale (Mike Shenk)

  • 18a [Spokespersons for the military fleet?] NAVY SAYERS. Naysayers. Ouch. “Sayers” as a synonym for spokespersons?
  • 25a [Military dog, after the war is over?] PEACE SETTER. Pace setter.
  • 43a [Military base that serves as a good model?] FORT EXAMPLE. For example.
  • 55a [Supplier of hot water on a military base?] POST BOILER. Potboiler. New to me. Per Wikipedia, a potboiler is “a novel, play, opera, film, or other creative work of dubious literary or artistic merit, whose main purpose was to pay for the creator’s daily expenses.”

We get additional military-related fill throughout the grid: SCOUT CAR [Lightly armored military vehicle], COME HOME [Return from the war zone], and STOP LOSS [Policy for retaining soldiers beyond their enlistment period]. More interesting fill: EXCUSE ME? [Incredulous response to an insult], AVALON, IT’S A DEAL, and BREZHNEV.

A couple of unknowns to me: 40a TEAS [Gunpowder and the like] and 49d [“The fix ___!”] IS IN. Is this last one a phrase anyone recognizes from somewhere?

Okay. I’m out. See you next week.

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website crossword – “DJ Set” — Ben’s Review


DJ Set

How’s everyone holding up this week?  Getting better?  If not, we’ve at least got crosswords to help pass the time and process things.  That’s my view, anyways.  BEQ’s giving us a “DJ Set” this week.

There aren’t really any “theme” clues in this one, per say, but there are four SPINNING RECORDS in the sets of circled squares that dot the four corners of the grid – we’ve got THRILLER up left, REVOLVER to the right, and LEMONADE and TAPESTRY in the bottom left and right, respectively.  Here’s some notes on the rest of the grid:

  • 14A: Listing for what’s on the tube — TV LOG (this one doesn’t quite work for me – TV LOG feels closer to what you send Nielsen than a TV GUIDE)
  • 46A: Ginger — CARROT TOP (fun fact: RED-HEADED is the same length)
  • 3D: ___ Jam — PEARL (I think it says something about my age as a solver that my first instinct for this one was SPACE)
  • 29D: The Chainsmokers, e.g. — DUO (UGGGGGGGH.  These guys are the wooooorst and currently one of my least favorite things about the current Top 40)

3.75/5 stars today – mostly good fill with a fun (if straightforward) theme.

Matt Scoczen’s LA Times crossword — Gareth’s summary

LA Times 161110

LA Times

The theme is CAKEMIX with mix being a typical “anagram indicator”. CAKE doesn’t anagram to anything useful, so the four letters are found across two parts of the following theme answers: N(ECKA)NDNECK, TR(ACKE)VENT, GR(ACEK)ELLY and B(AKEC)OOKIES.


Jeffrey Harris’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post Crossword, “Look Out Below!” —Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 11.10.16: "Look Out Below!"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 11.10.16: “Look Out Below!”

Hey everyone! Sorry that I really haven’t been available on here lately, but I’m trying my best to change it, and it definitely will change once this weekend passes. Today’s crossword is by Mr. Jeffrey Harris, and it’s a clever one, with the last words of the first three theme entries also denoting certain types of FOOTNOTES used in text (60A: [What the ends of 17-, 28-, and 45-Across might direct you to look at]).

  • MOVIE STAR (17A: [Silver screen celeb])
  • CLOAK AND DAGGER (28A: [Secretive])
  • OPPOSITE NUMBER (41A: [Counterpart]) – The number of times I’ve used this term when I’ve done play-by-play is probably in the 100s.

Like Amy, calling it a night early and due to the same reasons (exhaustion and sadness). Definitely hoping to come with you with more vigor tomorrow. See you tomorrow, everyone! (Yes, I’ll be here tomorrow.)

Take care, be nice and shout down hate.


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11 Responses to Thursday, November 10, 2016

  1. PJ Ward says:

    WSJ – It’s a fine puzzle but I’m not in a military mood. Even the non-theme clues/entries had a military/confrontational bent to them. Guns, Aleppo, Barracks, AFB, Armageddon, and BREZHNEV. Especially BREZHNEV. Not who I want to think about right now.

    Also, I entered ISIN immediately at 49D so I guess I do recognize it from somewhere.

    • Jim Peredo says:

      I hear you. My 8-year-old suggested the military take over the country (she doesn’t know the phrase “military coup”), but only if my wife becomes the President.

      (Edit: BTW, my wife’s not much of a warfighter; she’s a pediatrician.)

  2. Joe Pancake says:

    NYT: I didn’t notice the black square hooks until I read Jeff’s XWordInfo notes. Not sure they are worth the effort (in said notes Jeff details how difficult it was to create a feasible grid). I think the J-Hook trick works fine on its own without a revealer or a specific grid shape to tie everything together.

    With that said, the grid isn’t compromised with terrible fill to accommodate the hooks, so kudos to the constructors for that. Solid puzzle overall.

  3. David L says:

    DNF today. Took a long time to see the trick in the NYT, and then I couldn’t finish the SE corner. I had everything but the X and Z, but I don’t know breakfast cereals, am not familiar with the XYZ affair, and couldn’t make head or tail of “covering the waterfront.” Whaaa?

    • Jenni Levy says:

      That fell last for me, too. “A to Z” means “everything”, and apparently so does “covering the waterfront,” although I’ve never heard it used idiomatically. Didn’t help that I filled in an S at the end of the “corn balls” answer. Phew.

    • Bruce N. Morton says:

      I was slow on the uptake too. My last quadrant was the SW. For some reason I remembered the XYZ Affair as a tense historical confrontation between the United States and France. The quote from Virginia Woolf was interesting. I certainly didn’t know it.

      I’m hoping that returning to puzzles, and posting here will help relieve some of the anger and frustration of the last couple days. I also had a most helpful email exchange with our doyenne. Thanks again, Amy.

  4. Happymac says:

    NYT good today except for the 48 down (gasp)! As a 30-year Navy gunner, a salvo and a gun salute are opposites – antonyms not synonyms. Gun salutes are fired one at a time – salvos in one burst.

    • Papa John says:

      Thanks for pointing that out. I completely concur.

      Although I was an aviation sailor, I did have the opportunity to witness the firing of a five inch gun. The sound is stupendous!

      • Lester says:

        I was often assigned to the helm during gunfire exercises, so I got to experience the sound of the five inch gun (mounted right in front of the bridge) fully. Probably why I have hearing loss today.

        NGFS = Naval Gun Fire Support / Never Gonna F’n Score (as in score a hit on our gunfire target)

  5. JohnV says:

    Ade: Peace, friend. You do great work!

Comments are closed.