Andrew Kingsley’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
My apologies to the constructor, but your name makes me think of the other Andrew *****ley, from Wham! (Ridgeley), and of Wham! songs like this.
This puzzle seemed a bit harder than the typical Friday NYT, and I even know heraldic crosswordese like ORLE. At least two solvers on Twitter got hung up at that ORLE/LAVABO crossing, and you have to admit that probably 99% of college graduates do not know both of these words.
Highlights in the file: EDITOR’S NOTE (presumably in a manuscript), SATELLITE TV, SPANDEX with its anagram-of-expands clue, “HERE’S HOPING” (which can certainly stand alone as a spoken phrase), and GAME FACE.
Along with 1a/6d, my “prefer not to see” list includes ASE (which I saw in the wild today and tweeted a picture of! but as neither the enzyme suffix nor the Peer Gynt mother), AGA, TITI, OSSA, plural CIAOS and MARIAS, partial A TEN, ZEE, ONT, and HI HO. As for that last one, what “refrain” is meant in the clue, 52d. [Syllables in a children’s refrain]? From Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, from the nursery rhyme “The Farmer in the Dell,” or what?
37a. [Phaëthon’s father, in myth], HELIOS. Phaethon begged his dad to be allowed to drive the car (the sun chariot) for a day, and he basically totaled the car (in that Zeus struck it down with a thunderbolt because that maniac kid was going to crash the sun into the earth). So sure, I can see why Volkswagen named its luxury sedan the Phaeton.
3.3 stars from me.
Jake Scheele’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Emir Bagatelle” — pannonica’s write-up
It took me an embarrassingly long time to understand the title. I suppose I wasn’t expecting it to work just like the theme entries. I thought it was more of a title, or commentary on the theme.
The theme itself is Middle Eastern honorifics punned into familiar phrases.
- 17a. [Urging from a factotum in the Ottoman Empire?] CALIPH, YOU NEED ME (call if …).
- 51a. [New hires getting luggage ready for a Turkish dignitary’s travels?] GREEN BEY PACKERS (… Bay …).
- 10d. [Brusque advice to an insulted royal at an OPEC meeting?] SHEIK IT OFF (shake …).
- 28d. [Rap act from Oman?] SULTAN PEPA (Salt-N-…).
Oh, and that title? A mere bagatelle.
Turns out I have a bunch of obligations and this will be another abbreviated write-up.
- 16a [Circle of virtue] is a clever-ish clue for HALO. Not to be confused with a virtuous circle.
- 42a, unusual definition mined for DEFILE: [Narrow mountain pass]. It has a distinct etymology from the more common transitive verb (though there is an intransitive verb form of this sense).
- 43a [Biblical liar painted by Raphael] ANANIAS. Did not know this. Looks like Ananas.
- 29a [Tropical raccoon cousin] COATI. I sometimes imagine that they live in New Hampshire too.
- 9d [Players] DON JUANS. Not thrilled with the term ‘players’.
- 12d [Bull on many bottles] ELMER. Oh, I was trying to figure out how this was going to incorporate Egri Bikavér. Wow. Anyway, it turns out there’s a relationship between Elmer the Bull and Elsie the Cow – Borden Inc. owned both, originally.
- A one-two of NFL names: 32d [Pro Football Hall of Famer Matson] OLLIE, 33d [Pro Football Hall of Famer Greasy] NEALE. Don’t know either, but I do know of Pro Football Hall of Famer Bob Griese.
- 58a [Digs in the snow?] IGLOO. Fun clue.
- 43d [ __ score] (neonate evaluation)] APGAR. An eponym and a backronym!
- 46d [Titular destination in a 1978 “Bad News Bears” sequel] JAPAN. As you might imagine, the forgettable sequel went over like A LEAD balloon (45d).
- 50d [Soviet WWII counterintelligence] NKGB. I confidently plopped in NKVD and those two letters turned out to be that last I needed to find and correct. (Note the inconsistency of the urls for the two Wikipedia articles.)
- 31a [Gemstone popular in Art Nouveau jewelry] MOONSTONE. I guess I would have expected the CHE to reference Wilkie Collins’ landmark novel here.
Okay, my time’s up. Good crossword.
Pete Koetter’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
The puzzle has one of those [literally] shticks going. Here three word phrases x >OVER< y are represented as x/y with the over implied by the relevant positions of the entries. STYLEoverSUBSTANCE, SIXFLAGSoverTEXAS, TURNSoverANEWLEAF and FALLSHEADoverHEELS.
Puzzle seems marred by a lack of interest in clean short fill. DCCV is just some letters, it’s not even in a busy area, but hey a J is totally worth JDS/OCT/DCCV, right? Not even sure why UWAIT/PHILS/ILE happened but it did. Its opposite area, also quiet and blocked off, has ATH/VOA.
NYT: I liked HERE’S HOPING, enjoyed the two movie genres, and I had not processed SPANDEX before, so it was great to uncover it. I knew LAVABO because it’s French for Washbasin, but it was a long time coming.
But (as clued) DANA, DANO, ARLO, RIO… I dunno…
VW didn’t invent the name. A phaeton was originally an 18th-century carriage that was the “sports car” of the horse-drawn era. It was open, light and fast. It was named, in a day when most people knew their mythology, because it was fast and dangerous. So yes, the homage to the guy who almost set the world on fire was intentional.
An American variant with even less substantial construction was called the “spider phaeton” and was the namesake of the Fiat and Alfa Spider and Porsche Spyder sports cars that also sacrificed creature comforts for light weight and speed.
NYT: ORLE/LAVABO — at least I’m in the 1% of something!
I actually found this a little easier than the average Friday. I loved the clue for ‘see’; I would have preferred “Two Years Before the Mast” novelist for Dana. As Huda points out “lavabo” is borrowed from the French where it is just an ordinary wash basin, not at all ceremonial. I enjoyed the puzzle and tore through it, by my standards. I guess “foundations” means foundation make-up . . . Is that right?
Isn’t the basin used in Catholic mass called a LAVABO?
LAVABO was an immediate gimme for me. I can’t remember anything current, but I still remember all the prayers from the Latin mass. Two altar boys assist the priest in washing and drying his hands just after the Offertory. One pours water over the priest’s hands into a bowl called a lavabo. When we studied to be altar boys, we had to learn all the prayer responses, of course, but also all the apparel and functional terms: CASSOCK, SURPLUS and LAVABO were three.
I had no difficulty until the SW. I put in TOM instead of BEN and that crushed me.
The wash basin in the Paris apartment where I stayed years ago was not fixed in place with a drain hole but was on a pivot, so that you tipped the whole bowl backwards to empty it! The building was on the Rue de Rivoli, just across from the Musee.
Palais du Louvre Museum
Started off quickly in the SW but then got slower and slower until I crawled to a finish with LAVABO/VITALS/ORLE. I knew LAVABO from French also, but don’t know anything about the ceremonial context.
I take EDITORSNOTE to refer to the short ‘from the editor’ pieces that appear at the front of some magazines.
Quick (and perhaps dumb) question re: NYT puzzle. Why am I not understanding 22 across answer of “STL” meaning “Card initials”??
St Louis Cardinals, aka Cards. Although I don’t know that one player on that team would be described as a Card, unless he is also a Wag.
Thank you, David L!!
I don’t care how many good answers you’ve crammed in there, LAVABO/ORLE is not a publishable cross; I say that knowing both answers, though ORLE only from other crosswords…
I love my old friend ORLE and I wish people would not be so mean to him. He still likes to be a part of things. Be kind to us old folk.
NYT Challenging but fair, though the “O” ORLE cross was unfortunate
LAT Loved the gimmick
CHE Humorous, fun theme
Great Friday for puzzles!! Thanks constructors!!
Would you have preferred LAVAGE/ERLE instead?
As a former medical editor, I’d take LAVAGE over LAVABO. And ERLE is more accessible (!) than ORLE. I hate to see ERLE, but ORLE’s worse.
The ‘e’ is at least inferrable…
Tried as I might but could not figure out WSJ’s Chain Letters… & what was up with the numbers in parentheses? If not home where oh where is the heart?
You’ll have to wait until the contest closes to get answers to your questions here. Keep on trying!
The title of the CHE puzzle is wonderful.