Sunday, January 1, 2017

CS untimed (Ade) 


Hex/Quigley tk (pannonica) 


LAT 4:18 (Andy) 


NYT 12:55 (Jenni) 


WaPo 10:25, including meta (Jenni) 


You can’t download the Washington Post Sunday puzzle from the usual link this weekend. The puzzle will be at Evan’s site.

Matthew Sewell’s New York Times crossword, “Rolling in the Aisles”—Jenni’s write-up

Sorry for the delay – the puzzle didn’t show up for me at 5:00 PM EST.

There are six theme answer pairs. One is a two-word noun describing something with an aisle; there’s a extra square between the two words representing the aisle. The crossing answer puts HA in the extra square…”rolling in the aisles.” I can’t say I laughed out loud when I figured it out, but I did smile.

  • NYT 1/1 puzzle, solution grid

    3d [Place for bows and strings] = ORCHESTRA HALL, crossing RE(HA)BORCHESTRA HALL is not in the language, and there are a lot more interesting ways to clue REHAB than [Post-op program].

  • 24a [Marquee locale] = MOVIE THEATER crossing ED (HA)RRIS, clued for his role as the late John Glenn in “The Right Stuff.”
  • 54a [Capitol group] = US SENATE, crossing MA(HA)LO.
  • 72a [Passenger jet] = AIR LINER, crossing (HA)NKIE, nicely clued as [Something to tear into, informally?].
  • 50d [Hitching post?] = WEDDING CHAPEL, crossing PIRAN(HA), clued as [What might cost you an arm and a leg?]. Amusing and terrifying at the same time.
  • 102a [Farmer’s market alternative] = GROCERY STORE, crossing ORG C(HA)RT, clued as [It lays out the lines of authority]. There’s no suggestion of the abbreviation in the clue.

ORCHESTRA HALL is not only not in the language but it has HA right after the rebus, which is confusing. Aside from that, I liked the theme.

We’ve had our New Year’s Eve dinner and there’s dessert and more champagne downstairs. Much as I love you all, that’s it for me tonight.

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that there was such a thing as an ALTOSTRATUS cloud. I know the choral singer clue is overused, but this seems a tad obscure.

Evan Birnholz’s Washington Post crossword, “2017”  – Jenni’s writeup

For the first puzzle of the new year, Evan gives us a very do-able meta. I don’t know how it will go if you’re trying to solve it with a hangover, though.

The Notepad says “The starts of 20 answers will spell out my message to you.” I solved the puzzle quickly and scratched my head because I didn’t see a theme. I remembered one of the first things I learned from the Cru at the old NYT Forum: if you don’t see a theme in the answers, check the clues. Yup. There it was.

  • WP 1/1 puzzle, solution grid

    1a [Member of Group 17 on the periodic table] = HALOGEN.

  • 24a [Word on 17 Monopoly spaces] = AVENUE.
  • 26a [He scored his first World Cup goal at age 17] = PELE, which I assume is the answer to any obscure soccer clue if I need four letters.
  • 29a [Team that set an NHL record with a 17-game winning streak in 1993] = PENGUINS. Google tells me there are 82 games in a hockey season. That’s impressive.
  • 33a [Bulletin of ___ University (series of 17 annual publications)] = YALE. The numerical theme spares us mention of bulldogs, New Haven, or Elihu.
  • 37a [Grp. operating Boeing C-17 aircraft as part of its Strategic Airlift Capability Program] = NATO.
  • 47a [Book 17 of the Old Testament] = ESTHER. I don’t know much about the Christian organization of the Hebrew bible; I presume there’s some variation about what number goes with which book.
  • 50a [“Stalag 17” director] = WILDER. Billy, to be exact.
  • 56a [Neil ranked No. 17 on Rolling Stone’s list of greatest guitarists] = YOUNG.
  • 64a [“17 Again” actor Zac] = EFRON.
  • 74a [Rated NC-17, say] = ADULT.
  • 85a [Moss who set an NFL rookie record with 17 touchdown receptions] = RANDY.
  • 88a [“Twilight” character who turned into a vampire at age 17] = EDWARD. I’ve neither read the books nor seen the movies and I still know all the names.
  • 90a [Singer who died in a plane crash at age 17] = VALENS.
  • 96a [Award for which “American Horror Story” was nominated 17 times in its first season] = EMMY.
  • 104a [Russo born on Feb. 17, 1954] = RENE.
  • 109a [City approximately 17 miles south of Tokyo] = YOKOHAMA.
  • 114a [Four Seasons song “___ 17 (Don’t You Worry ‘Bout Me)”] = OPUS.
  • 117a [Nation that celebrates Constitution Day on May 17] = NORWAY.
  • 126a [Time zone that covers the entirety of 17 U.S. states] = EASTERN.

20 mentioning 17 = 2017, hence the title. And the message, as you can see, is HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE. Happy New Year back atcha, Evan.

There’s a lot of theme material, and the theme answers had to be gettable from crossings because the clues were obscure, so it’s not a particularly difficult puzzle. It’s also not all that interesting aside from the theme. Maybe it’s a good one to do with a hangover, after all. I admit that 17 is my lucky number so I enjoyed hunting for 17s.

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: much of the 17-related trivia in the theme clues. I also didn’t know that Bruce Lee played KATO on TV.

I leave you with Ritchie Valens. Seventeen is too young.

Patrick Jordan’s Sunday Challenge CrosSynergy crossword —Ade’s write-up  

CrosSynergy Sunday Challenge crossword solution, 01.01.17

Happy New Year, everybody! I’m not into New Year’s resolutions, but let’s see if I can be present to blog this puzzle for 365 days straight. A big ask, yes, but let’s see how far I can go into it!

We have Mr. Patrick Jordan proving us with our first puzzle and our first Challenge for 2017, and it provided a couple of long entries with the peculiar ending of the letter “I.” One was not so hard, LEON JAWORSKI (47A: [Watergate special prosecutor]) while the other, MIKE WAZOWSKI, was making me pull my hair out in trying to assemble it (27A: [James “Sully” Sullivan’s pal in “Monsters, Inc.”]). Hadn’t seen the movie and don’t know any of the characters, so I just had to hope that that made sense. Getting that entry also didn’t help when I had put in “dent” instead of DING, too (24D: [Hail damage evidence]). Definitely can’t say that I was ERROR FREE solving the grid, but fought through the mishaps to have relatively easy time of this (34D: [Devoid of typos]). Hope you all know that the DRE referenced is Dr. Dre and that Cube refers to Ice Cube, both former members of the rap group N.W.A. (41A: [Cube contemporary]). Maybe someone might have put in “die” and thought it was referencing the shape of an actual cube. Alright, time to head out and enjoy the first day of 2017 in the mild weather of New York City. .

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: CYCLE (9A: [Spin or rinse]) – Did you know that, in baseball, hitting for the CYCLE – an individual hitting single, double, triple and home run in the same game – is just as rare of an occurrence in baseball than throwing a no-hitter? Furthermore, current Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre is only one of four men to hit for the cycle at least three times in a career, and the only man to do that since 1934. (Old-time baseball players John Reilly, Bob Meusel, Babe Herman are the three others to hit for the cycle thrice.)

Happy New Year!

Take care!


Don Gagliardo & C.C. Burnikel’s Los Angeles Times crossword, “What Happened Then”—Andy’s review

LAT Puzzle 1.1.17, “What Happened Then,” by Don Gagliardo and C.C. Burnikel

Happy New Year, dear readers!

Today, we get a trivia puzzle all about things that happened 100 years ago, in in 1917:

  • 22a, GIRL SCOUT COOKIES [Fundraising items first sold in 1917]. I’m guessing they weren’t selling Samoas and Thin Mints back then.
  • 28a, MOONPIES [Treats inspired by a coal miner in 1917]. From the MoonPie website:
    “It all began in 1917 when a KY coal miner asked our traveling salesman for a snack “as big as the moon.” Earl Mitchell reported back and the bakery obliged with a tasty treat aptly named MoonPie. It was filling, fit in the lunch pail and the coal miners loved it. The rest, as they say, is history.”
  • 42a, CHICAGO WHITE SOX [World Series winner in 1917]. I don’t know if “winner” or “winners” is more grammatically appropriate here.
  • 67a, PUERTO RICAN [American citizenship grantee in 1917]. 
  • 91a, US VIRGIN ISLANDS [America bought it from Denmark in 1917]. Again, not sure if “it” or “them” is better here.
  • 108a, BOYS TOWN [Orphanage founded in 1917].
  • 116a, SELECTIVE SERVICE [Subject of an act passed in 1917].

Probably a wide variety of things to choose from, but these seven are solid. Not my favorite theme type, but the surrounding fill makes up for it: VANILLA CHAI, RURAL LIFE, CANDIED YAMS, CON ARTIST, “NOW I SEE,” SOLE HEIR, EHOW (one of the better e- entries in my opinion), Sidney CROSBY, OLIGARCH, “LET’S EAT!”, WEBMD, STAY PUT, RYE BEERS. A few unfortunate partials/phrases/bits of crosswordese (ALL YE, OUT AT, ORT, etc.) but they pale in comparison to the fun fill.

Happy 2017! Until next time!

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s CRooked Crossword, “Now Look Here”—solution grid

CRooked Crossword solution, 1 1 17, “Now Look Here”

Here’s the answer grid.

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21 Responses to Sunday, January 1, 2017

  1. xepia says:

    WP: Happy that this was my first crossword in 2017. I didn’t mind the not-so-sparkling Down answers so much, maybe because here as in general I like Evan’s cluing tone a lot.

    Just don’t quite agree that ARIDEST necessarily means “most in *need* of moisture” (which I feel has been the point of view in several clues recently, and which always strikes me as rather anthropocentric). Deserts hold their own unique biome; this one just might not include humans.

  2. JohnH says:

    I kept thinking, “That’s it?” Something about the theme. Maybe it was my difficulty making connection to the entries exempt from using the crossing, on the ground that they have aisles. ORCHESTRA HALL didn’t work for me at all. I kept thinking it would work out to PITS, although I had trouble justifying the plural. Maybe it’s just me, too, but I don’t often think of a grocery store and farmer’s market as direct competitors.

    I found the fill trivial at first, but the SE half of the puzzle harder. Also never could guess the crossing of MAHALO and LANDO. I guessed an I.

    • Christopher Smith says:

      Yes there were two not altogether well known Star Wars answers just in that section, which seems indulgent.

      • Lois says:

        I agree. I liked the puzzle, though I had to come here to understand about the aisles in the hall, store, airplane etc. I just saw the “ha” in something that looked like an aisle, without thinking enough about it, but now I find the theme even more satisfying than before, of course. But I couldn’t manage the one patch Christopher refers to, and it’s prominently positioned. A sad end to a pleasant puzzle, which otherwise was smooth for me.

      • Lois says:

        I agree. I liked the puzzle, though I had to come here to understand about the aisles in the hall, store, airplane etc. I just saw the “ha” in something that looked like an aisle, without thinking enough about it, but now I find the theme even more satisfying than before, of course. But I couldn’t manage the one patch Christopher refers to, and it’s prominently positioned. A sad end to a pleasant puzzle, which otherwise was smooth for me. Yes, I feel that I should have known CREON, which I didn’t at all remember, but no, I don’t want to have to know actors from Star Wars. A tough crossing with MAHALO, which I have never encountered.

        I ran overtime editing this comment. Could I request a delete of the first version of it?

  3. Norm says:

    ORCHESTRA HALL is where the symphony plays (and many, many other performers) appears in both Chicago and Minneapolis, so it my be regional, but it’s definitely in the language. The repeated HA was confusing until I saw that the rebus was ignored for the “aisle” as needed.

    • Bruce N Morton says:

      Also Orchestra Hall, Boston, where the BSO plays.

      The theme didn’t do much for me though I guess I didn’t fully understand it. To me, it was just ‘ha’ in one direction, and a blank in the other. I saw the reference in the title to “aisles” but I didn’t perceive the theme squares as aisles.

      • arthur118 says:

        Bruce- To be precise, the official name for the Boston structure is Symphony Hall.

        It is often called a “concert hall”, (even “a shoebox-shaped concert hall”), but it is not often, if ever, called an “orchestra hall”.

  4. Jenni says:

    If someone could explain BEQ’s Crooked Crossword, I’d appreciate it. I have it right, apparently, and I don’t understand it at all.

  5. Christopher Smith says:

    I guess Crossing of a French Number With Other Foreign Word will now be a standard feature for the Sunday NYT. “It is what it is,” as Mariah Carey would say.

  6. slubduck says:

    Not sure where to post this, but I’m having difficulty with archived pages while looking up puzzles from an old puzzle book I’m doing. I see this:
    Sunday, March 17, 2013
    Posted on March 16, 2013 by Amy Reynaldo

    Warning: mysqli_connect(): php_network_getaddresses: getaddrinfo failed: Name or service not known in /home/amyrey3/ on line 100

    Warning: mysqli_connect(): (HY000/2002): php_network_getaddresses: getaddrinfo failed: Name or service not known in /home/amyrey3/ on line 100
    Error: Unable to connect to MySQL. Debugging errno: 2002 Debugging error: php_network_getaddresses: getaddrinfo failed: Name or service not known

    Thanks if Dave or anyone can help. Or also if anyone can let me know where better to post this sort of issue.

  7. marcie says:

    LAT: No problem with the repeat of 47a & 64d (IP(ale)A and Pale) or the crossing of 85A and 85D Dual and Duo? Is there something I’m missing about those? I was surprised to see them in the same puzzle nevermind the dual/duo crossing.

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