Monday, December 5, 2016

BEQ tk (Gareth) 


CS tk (Ade) 


LAT tk (pannonica) 


NYT 2:37 (Amy)  


WSJ untimed (Jim)  


Ned White’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 12 05 16, no 1205

NY Times crossword solution, 12 05 16, no 1205

The theme answers are {body part}-{verb-er} phrases of varying solidity:

  • 17a. [Something scary], HAIR-RAISER. Scary things are hair-raising, but HAIR-RAISER sounds off.
  • 27a. [It grabs one’s attention], NECK-SNAPPER. What? No. Head-turner, that works here but is one letter too short. If it snaps your neck, you might be too dead to pay attention. (Dictionary note: Not a single dictionary at lists this term, but the incredibly unreliable, crowd-sourced does.)
  • 38a. [Boastful sort], CHEST-BEATER. This, too, doesn’t ring a bell as an established form of the “beating one’s chest” concept.
  • 51a. [Really good joke], KNEE-SLAPPER. That works. Thigh-slapper might too.
  • 61a. [Rug rat], ANKLE-BITER. That works.

All righty, so 40% to 60% of this theme doesn’t work for me. That’s really far too high a percentage for a Monday theme.

Overall, the puzzle played at an easy Monday level for me, but there were a handful of answers that I wouldn’t expect to see in an easy crossword. Your [1940s British guns], STENS, for one. SABRAS, the unusual UPTILTS (which duplicatively crosses TEE UP), AGA. Listen, people. Word to the wise: Be careful not to UPTILT too vigorously, lest you end up in a NECK-SNAPPER situation.

TORCH BEARER is a terrific entry (26d. [Muhammad Ali, for the 1996 Olympics]).

42d. [One-named R&B singer who won a Grammy for his 2014 album “Black Messiah”], D’ANGELO. I don’t know his music, but I do know that this album was long-awaited and greeted with hosannas—his previous albums had come out in 1995 and 2000. Here’s “Really Love,” from the newest album.

2.5 stars from me.

Aaron L. Peterson’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Brrrr!” — Jim’s review

Ugh. Some really painful cold-inspired puns today.

WSJ - Mon, 12.5.16 - "Brrrr!" by Aaron L. Peterson (Mike Shenk)

WSJ – Mon, 12.5.16 – “Brrrr!” by Aaron L. Peterson (Mike Shenk)

  • 17a [One shoveling out the driveway?] COLD DIGGER. Gold digger. Meh.
  • 27a [Two features of changing a tire in winter?] JACK AND CHILL. Jack and Jill. The “jack” change-up makes this the most interesting of the lot.
  • 42a [Advice to one just finished fishing on a frozen lake?] CLOSE YOUR ICE. Close your eyes. Ouch. This one almost physically hurts. Not only is the pun painfully bad, but the entry has no surface sense. Does an ice fisherman really “close his ice”? Or would it be more accurate to say, “Close your icehole”?
  • 55a [Explanation of a sled’s purpose?] IT’S SNOW USE. “It’s no use.” I’m not even sure how to make sense of this phrase. Plus, the pun is vaudeville-old.

I don’t mind puns, but only if they make sense. These last two were so forced as to bring down the whole puzzle.

I like KIWI FRUIT (didn’t know it was also a [Chinese gooseberry]) and CRONKITE. ALL-ACCESS and SCRUTINY are good too, but I’m giving SHINNY a sidelong glance. I always thought to [Climb (up)] was to shimmy up, but it looks like I’m wrong.

Can’t say I enjoyed the theme on this one, but the fill is good.

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11 Responses to Monday, December 5, 2016

  1. Davis Doherty says:

    Another fake E- word with ECASH. Most of the references I find in Google for “e-cash” refer to a very specific system that was devised a while back but that never took off. People don’t seem to refer to Bitcoin as “e-cash” with any meaningful regularity (with good reason–most e-words sound ridiculous).

    • Bruce N Morton says:

      Amen. I dislike this modern nonsense that you can make any word sound modern and trendy, just by sticking”e-” in front of it.

  2. pauer says:

    If you’re tired of -OTIC/STENS/AGA/ECASH/ROI/etc. in your “easy” puzzles, come over to patrickspuzzles dot com slash cake to join “Piece of Cake Crosswords,” my weekly subscription-based xword. Puz #6, “Out on a Limb,” was sent to 420 subscribers just a few minutes ago.

  3. Steve Manion says:

    NECK SNAPPER strikes me as odd. A very attractive person might be a JAW DROPPER or as Amy notes, a HEAD TURNER. An accident that has everyone gawking would most likely not cause you to snap your neck.

    When I think of something or someone that is NECK SNAPPING, I think of Lawrence Taylor or Ronnie Lott landing a devastating hit in football,

    I did like the puzzle a lot.


  4. Jim Peredo says:

    NYT: I’ve got a ton of these because I was working on a similar theme at one point.

    I think the constructor was going for a progression from head to toe (or hair to ankle more specifically), which is not something I had thought of.


  5. Joan Macon says:

    Alas, where is the LAT? I’d love to know what Pannonica thinks of this puzzle!

Comments are closed.