Thursday, November 24, 2016

BEQ 8:54 (Ben) 


CS 7:54 (Ade) 


LAT 6:35 (Gareth) 


NYT 4:32 (Amy) 


Happy Thanksgiving! May you all get your fill of your favorite side dishes and holiday desserts, and ponder things that you’re grateful for.

Please note: There is no WSJ puzzle today due to the holiday.

Brian J. MacDonald’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 11 24 16, no 1124

NY Times crossword solution, 11 24 16, no 1124

The theme is STATE / POSTAL CODES, and there are three theme answers that play on those 2-letter state abbreviations:

  • 17a. [*Place where kids aren’t found now], MONTANA NEST. Montana’s code is MT, which you can sound out like “em-tee,” which sounds like “empty.”
  • 27a. [*Whenever], NEBRASKA TIME. NE time, any time.
  • 44a. [*Air passenger’s request, maybe], ILLINOIS SEAT. IL seat, aisle seat. This one feels a bit different to me, as eye-ell is not at all how I pronounce “aisle.”

There are 50 of these state codes out there. How many others can be sounded out like words? There’s OK, “okay,” but that’s often just spelled as “OK” so that would be inelegant.

Three more things, all literary:

  • 16a. [“My Orcha’d in Linden ___” (classic poem)], LEA. So classic, it doesn’t ring a bell at all! The poet is one William Barnes (never heard of him), who apparently wrote a lot in the Dorset dialect, which I am unfamiliar with. Here’s the poem, in which oak is “woak,” over is “auver,” and sunshine is “zunsheen.” “I be free to goo abrode, / Or teake agean my hwomeward road.” Well! Look at all these words that could be in crosswords if only the editors would accept Dorset dialect.
  • 48a. [Spanish dramatist ___ de Vega], LOPE. Nice alternative to the walking-related verb. Cervantes called him “the Phoenix of Wits” and “Prodigy of Nature” because he wrote a huge amount.
  • 8d. [Film for which Gregory Peck had the highest-paid performance of his career, with “The”], OMEN. I read the paperback novelization with stills from the movie when I was about 11.

Not loving the fill overall, but it’s not much different from your standard Monday through Thursday NYT puzzles, ALL SMILES, GO TO TOWN, and the SMELL TEST are particularly nice, though.

3.75 stars.

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website crossword – “Black Friday” — Ben’s Review

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-8-44-17-pmHappy Thanksgiving!  I wrote this the night before, so I’m probably elbow-deep stuffing a turkey by the time this goes live (my folks eat Thanksgiving at 2pm so that there’s plenty of time to eat, nap, and pick at the leftovers), but BEQ is looking even far ahead into the future with this Thurday’s “Black Friday”

As is so often the case with these things, the name of the game is in the title:

  • 18A:With 19A, holier-than-thou —
  • 29A: With 31A, easy existence — LIFEO/fri/LEY
  • 36A: With 38A, Southern delicacy — CHICKEN/fri/EDSTEAK
  • 45A: With 47A, green — ECO/fri/ENDLY
  • 58A: With 60A, people on the edge? — LUNATIC/fri/NGE

As the title suggested, treat the black squares between the connected entries like the letters FRI and all of the phrases make sense.  Other nice fill: BALSAMS, RIT as in ritardando rather than Rochester Inst. of Tech. (puzzlewriters: stick an RHIT in the puzzle!), IKE Barinholtz of the Mindy project, EGO SURFED, PRILOSEC, BIKEPATH, KATYDIDS

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  Enjoy good food and don’t fight with that one uncle too much.


3.75/5 stars

Nora Pearlstone’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up

LA Times 161124

LA Times

The theme is a bunch of verb phrases beginning with “Giving”, the “giving” part being given. I preempted THANKS at 1A, but that’s actually at 71A.


With theme everywhere, there’s isn’t much room for grace notes. CENACLE was unusual, and unknown, extra-Biblical Christian terminology! WINGSPAN along with its clue evoked Super Trumps, whether deliberately, or not.


Donna S. Levin’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post Crossword, “Table Talk” —Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 11.24.16: "Table Talk"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 11.24.16: “Table Talk”

Hey there, everyone Hope all are having a good Turkey Day. Today’s crossword is very appropriate give today, with the grid presented to us by Ms. Donna S. Levin. Each of the last words in the theme entries is a word closely associated with Turkey Day servings! Eat up!

  • STERILE DRESSING (17A: [Wound care application])
  • ANKARA, TURKEY (26A: [Capital that is home to the Museums of Anatolian Civilizations])
  • I YAM WHAT I YAM (42A: [Catchphrase of Popeye the Sailor Man])
  • MISS AMERICAN PIE (55A: [Symbolic figure in a 1971 Don McLean rock anthem])

If anything, the inclusion of PRESS KITS, something that I get almost every single time I cover any sort of sports event, made solving this grid a fun experience (3D: [Publicist’s handouts]). And not too far from that entry was EDITORS, and it made this editor a very proud crossword solver (5D: [Marty Baron in “Spotlight” and Perry White in “Superman”]). Can’t really stay any longer, as I’m at my mother’s place and the turkey is done. Dinner time!

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: STONES (25A: [The Rolling ______]) – Current England international soccer player John STONES plays as a defender for English Premier League club Manchester City FC.

TGIF tomorrow! See you then!

Take care!


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14 Responses to Thursday, November 24, 2016

  1. Paul Coulter says:

    Some other sounded out postal codes, Amy: ME – Emmy, NV – envy. And some partials – CA, as in “See a ghost,” and OR, as in “Oh, are you OK?” By the way, I agree with you about IL – it’s not particularly close to how I pronounce aisle.

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

    • Lynne Warshaw says:

      Well, it’s a stretch, but if you use Illinois’ 3-letter old postal code it could be pronounced “I’ll,” but that’s pushing it.

      Have a great Thanksgiving!

  2. Nene says:

    Satisfying consistency where all three theme answers ended in one four letter word and state abbreviations all formed a single word.

  3. arthur118 says:

    Aisle– says the pronunciation is “ahyl”; Merriam-Webster says it is “I (as in eye)-el”.

    The organization “Sticklers for proper pronunciation”, headquartered in Boston says, “Go with M-W”.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Actually, M-W has a parenthetical schwa before the L, not the short E sound of “ell.”

      • arthur118 says:

        Actually, the Sticklers for Proper Pronunciation did not say “Go with M-W”, (that was my own wrinkle), they only stressed that proper Boston English called for “(eye)l” as in “aisle” for the proper pronunciation.

        Like Rumpole’s Hilda, in this part of the country, “They must be obeyed”.

        Happy Thanksgiving!

        • David L says:

          I’m trying to decide whether I pronounce “aisle” the same way I pronounce “I’ll”. And how much either one sounds like ‘eye-ell.’

          My conclusion is: I am totally not sure.

          Enjoy the feasting!

  4. Jim Peredo says:


    I ran through the list of states and that’s the only other viable entry I could find. GREEN WITH NEVADA would be a grid-spanning 15, but doesn’t follow the same format as the others.

    Ah, I guess MAINE AWARDS would also work.

    The revealer is clunky and takes up a lot of real estate. In an ideal world, skip the revealer, give the puzzle a title, and add another theme entry or two.

  5. Papa John says:

    The NYT had a well-developed theme, but the fill had way too many crossword familiars (not necessarily crosswordese): OTOES, APNEA, SRA, RUNES OPS, CEOS,TAXI, OATS, SKEE, AMASS, EWER, ABEL, SASSY, ORZO, SSRS and ATOP. Those are from just the down fills.

    I thought the LAT theme was pretty cool. It was a sneaky way to include a Thanksgiving message — not as obvious as the overdone dinner menus. The rest of the puzzle was good, yet it had a lot of those same-o, same-o crossword words, albeit not as many as the NYT. I wonder if it’s possible to make a daily puzzle without the inclusion of these recurring words and abbreviations. The approach seems to be use these words and try to come up with an original clue, or just give up and go with 26D “___ -Ball”. It must be a winning strategy because I, like so many others, keep coming back for more.

    In the venue of puzzles discussed on this blog there are no bad puzzles, only better. I’m thankful for the lot of them and the pleasure they give me.

    Happy T-Day, folks.

  6. David L says:

    Popular school-lunch sandwich: PBNEWJERSEY

  7. Thomas says:

    This poem appears in An Almanac of Words at Play, by Willard Espy (1975):

    When baby gurgles GUAM and GEORGIA,
    Then how I NEVADA baby’s PENNSYLVANIA,
    ARIZONA slapping NEBRASKA with loud huzzah
    He sings INDIANA KENTUCKY OREGON cries, “Hurrah!

    He loudly shouts, “Where ARKANSAS you MASSACHUSETTS?
    Our ALASKA is ILLINOIS OHIO pish OHIO bah!
    The MARYLAND’s off at baccarat!
    And fetch him to MAINE, near OREGON fah!”
    Then I don’t NEVADA PENNSYLVANIA at a’.

  8. Norm says:

    Thought the BEQ was delightful — EXCEPT for that ugly NW corner. Sheesh!

    • PJ Ward says:

      My thoughts exactly. I was able to grind out LEVERHANG. But at 14A/3D I felt very lucky when I dropped a T hoping for STEVE and Mr. Happy Pencil appeared.

  9. CoffeeLover says:

    Cry from the high chair: I want Missouri (MO)

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