Wednesday, December 7, 2016

AV Club untimed? (Ben) 


CS 5:50 (Ade) 


LAT 4:22 (Gareth) 


NYT 5:58 (Jenni) 


WSJ untimed (Jim) 


David Steinberg’s New York Times crossword—Jenni’s write-up


NYT 12/7 solution grid

Each theme phrase has something in common. I admit I didn’t figure out what until I got to the revealer.

  • 16a [*Expense independent of production] = FIXED COST.
  • 23a [*How Clayton Kershaw pitches] = LEFT HANDED.
  • 36a [*One of a dozen for a sweetheart] = CUT ROSE. This one’s not really in the language.
  • 47a [*Something to make up] = LOST GROUND.
  • And the revealer: 58a [Like either word in the answers to the five starred clues] = PAST TENSE. So now we know. This is not a particularly scintillating theme.

A few other things:

  • 13a [Question asked with an open mouth] = WHA. I liked this answer better than the theme.
  • 27d [Specifics, slangily] = DEETS. Also fun.
  • 20a [Does something naughty] = IS BAD. So is this clue/answer pair.

I can’t muster enough interest in this puzzle to write any more.

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that the MCLAREN was a sports car. 6956

Gary Cee’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Gut Feeling” — Jim’s review

Feeling uptight about today’s puzzle? Just GO WITH IT, as we’re told at 61a [“Follow your instincts,” and a literal hint to the starred answers]. Ergo, our theme entries are phrases that include GO and IT.

WSJ - Wed, 12.7.16 - "Gut Feeling" by Gary Cee

WSJ – Wed, 12.7.16 – “Gut Feeling” by Gary Cee

  • 17a [*Mexican deep-fried pockets] GORDITAS. The Taco Bell Cheesy Gordita Crunch has 490 calories, earning it a D+ on
  • 23a [*Penguin’s home] GOTHAM CITY. I haven’t started the new season of Gotham yet. No SPOILERs, please.
  • 36a [*Honest intentions] GOOD FAITH
  • 50a [*Popular search engine results] GOOGLE HITS. I know what you’re wondering. How many GOOGLE HITS does “GOOGLE HITS” get? The answer: 237k, which isn’t all that much actually.

I don’t see any reason why the answers have to necessarily start with GO, seeing as how IT is allowed to roam around as it pleases, but again, I’ll just GO WITH IT. Aside from that peculiarity, the theme works and is mildly interesting.

I found more to like in the corners (well, three of them). Each one has a vertical 7-stack with interesting fill like BOO-BOOS, “TRUST ME,” APOSTLE, and SPOILER. Plus there’s DOGLEGS, WHATSIT, and TIFFANI [Thiessen of “White Collar”] (and also of Saved By the Bell and 90210).

The NE corner was rather ugly though with uncommon CATSUP, and SAC crossing ASTERS. My dad insists on using CATSUP over ketchup, but then, that’s my dad. He also calls soy sauce CATSUP. So I looked up the connection and found this on the internets: “Ketchup comes from the Hokkien Chinese word, kê-tsiap, the name of a sauce derived from fermented fish. It is believed that traders brought fish sauce from Vietnam to southeastern China.”

But I don’t really mind CATSUP. I do mind SAC clued as [Tribe allied with the Fox] and then crossing that with ASTERS clued as [Twentieth anniversary tokens]. That seems unnecessarily difficult. Change ASTERS to ASTERN and CATSUP to DATSUN and you get SAD at 8d and ANN at 13d.

  • 51d [Italian ice choice] is GRAPE. I wouldn’t think GRAPE would be a choice at all for real Italian ice. The GRAPE flavor we have here in the states is not one you’d find outside of America. But then I found this picture.
  • 54d[Ed Norton’s workplace] is SEWER. Honeymooners trivia. Did not know this. I knew Ralph Kramden was a bus driver, but would never have known Norton’s job.
  • 22a [1970 American League MVP Powell] is BOOG. Whew. That’s digging pretty deep. Thank goodness for crosses.

Overall, a solid outing.

Aimee Lucido’s AVCX crossword, “Giving the Slip” — Ben’s Review

Giving the Slip

Giving the Slip

Today’s AV Club puzzle was a little late, but I didn’t expect it to be as messed up clue-wise as it was when it finally arrived. Luckily, that was all part of the plan for Aimee Lucido’s puzzle today (with a 3/5 difficulty rating):

  • 17A: Make a mistake, as the constructor did somewhere in this puzzle — DROP THE BALL
  • 26A: Make a mistake, as the constructor did somewhere in this puzzle — EFF UP
  • 36A: Make a mistake, as the constructor did somewhere in this puzzle — FALL SHORT
  • 51A: Make a mistake, as the constructor did somewhere in this puzzle — BE OFF
  • 59A: Make a mistake, as the constructor did somewhere in this puzzle — MISS THE MARK

The mistakes aren’t in the fill (at least as far as I could tell while I raced through it on my lunch break today), but the clues themselves. For instance, EFF UP refers to the clues at nearby 11D and 12D — “Corrected with a reffed pen” and “Green ort of 2016” have been EFFED UP and are actually “Corrected with a red pen” and “Green effort of 2016”, for PROOFED and RECOUNT. The eff from 12D has been moved up in the clues to 11D. The other errors work in similar ways. It’s a cute theme, but I’m still not sure I caught everything that was going on in the clues.

4/5 stars

Alan Arbesfeld’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post Crossword, “Last Licks” —Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 12.07.16: "Last Licks"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 12.07.16: “Last Licks”

Good day, everyone! Before talking about today’s grid, want to wish my older brother (and awesome roommate) a happy birthday! Today’s crossword, brought to us by Mr. Alan Arbesfeld, involves theme entries in which the final word in each of them is also a word used to describe someone or some team being victorious, and usually doing so emphatically.

  • POUNDING THE BEAT (17A: [On foot patrol, as a police officer])
  • MIRACLE WHIP (26A: [Mayonnaise alternative]) – Whether it’s mayonnaise or an alternative, I make sure not to have that ever contact my taste buds!
  • SPINNING TOP (47A: [Child’s mesmerizing plaything])
  • FATHER KNOWS BEST (57A: [Classic television show starring Robert Young])

Finally got to finish another puzzle below six minutes, as I was trying to push for that for the past couple of weeks. So thank you, Alan, for the grid that allowed me to do it! No matter how many times I see a clue for SOLTI, it seems that I always need the crossings to get it right (5A: [Longtime Chicago Symphony conductor Sir Georg]). I’m sure this has happened before, but I don’t think I’ve ever noticed both ALOU (14A: [Baseball family name]) and ALOE in the same grid, at least until today (53A: [Skin cream ingredient]). I guess Felipe Alou could have capitalized on a baseball-mad Montreal when he was manager of the Expos by selling Alou’s Aloe, or something that could incorporate some sort of word jingle. This grid also highlighted types of passes in sports, with both NO-LOOK (48D: [Like some dazzling basketball passes]) and SPIRALS, which I threw regularly in football practice when I was a quarterback in high school (5D: [Well-thrown football passes]). Sadly, those spirals weren’t so prevalent when it came time to do it in the actual games!!

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: AGASSI (12D: [Tennis star with eight Grand Slam singles titles]) – Here’s the breakdown of Andre AGASSI’s eight career Grand Slams: four Australian Open titles (1995, 2000, 2001, 2003), two U.S. Open titles (1994, 1999), one Wimbledon (1992) and one French Open title (1999). Agassi also won the Olympic gold medal in tennis in 1996.

Thank you for the time and I’ll see you all tomorrow!

Take care!


Matt Skoczen’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up


POPUPADS is interpreted today to be the trigram SDA occurring in the middle of four two-part themers running vertically. An elegant touch is that the S is not part of a plural except for in OBJETSDART, but that’s a fancy-schmancy French plural, so it’s actually fun! The rest are singer-turned-actress DORISDAY, CENSUSDATA and central MRSDASH.

Minus points for gratuitous EEO. There must be 50 ways to fill that corner…


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15 Responses to Wednesday, December 7, 2016

  1. Michael says:

    I thought it was a pretty nifty theme with half of the front halves also serving as past participles (which is where the constructor probably started looking first). The grid flow is nice and the long non-theme answers are colorful.

    Miscellaneous bits:
    I knew that a Canadian one-dollar coin was called a loonie, but today I finally learned why! Crosswords are indeed educational.
    Spent some time staring at 29D (“I don’t give a ____”) with a ???T in the grid and completely blanking on a breakfast-worthy answer.
    If the ROSE of CUT ROSE is taken as past tense of “rise,” then 51D is a minor duplication.

    • Paul Coulter says:

      Agreed – I think the NYT has a nifty theme, too. It’s unlike anything we’ve seen before, which is worth at least one extra star for me.

  2. arthur118 says:

    So, Jim, what are the correct WSJ answers in the Northeast corner, SAC, ASTERS, CATSUP and ASP as in your write-up or SAD, ASTERN, DATSUN and ANN as presented in the solved puzzle grid?

    Your comment in the review to change your answers to accommodate the posted solution only causes more confusion since the alternate answers don’t fit the clues.

    • Jim Peredo says:

      WSJ: Oops. Just realized I took my screenshot after I did my fiddling around. The NE corner should be SPARTA, ASTERS, and CATSUP in the Across direction leading to SAC and ASP at 8d and 13d respectively. Sorry about that. I will try to change the image later (but the site’s been rather ornery the past couple days).

  3. Huda says:

    NYT: I think CUT ROSE is recognizable thing (beyond the green paint level), but it’s usually in the plural. A more common expression is cut flowers, which has a wiki category.
    Before I got the theme, I had RED ROSE and I cross it with TRY ME building on that R… Of course didn’t last long thanks to RUBIO…

  4. Bruce N Morton says:

    What are deets?

  5. placematfan says:

    NYT: This is a well-crafted, consummate Tuesday puzzle.

  6. Seth says:

    AV Club clue “mistakes”:
    – DROP THE BALL at 25D: “ballad” becomes “ad”
    – EFF UP is as you say: “eff” moves up from 12D to 11D, from “effort” to “reffed”
    – FALL SHORT is stumping me. Pretty sure it’s at 40D, with “al” in the clue, but I can’t figure out what’s going on.
    – BE OFF at 19A: “begins” becomes “gins”
    – MISS THE MARK at 56A: “marker” becomes “er”

  7. Armagh says:

    RE: AVX puzzle @ 62D
    England is MPH, not KPH.

  8. David says:

    Does anyone have the explanation for FALL SHORT in the AV Club puzzle?

    • Brian says:

      I think the correct clue on 40d is “Longest of all”. Note that the last four letters are FALL.

      The incorrect clue ends with “…f al” or FAL, thus it is short of ending with FALL.

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