Friday, January 13, 2017

CHE untimed (pannonica) 


CS 6:58 (Ade) 


LAT 5:03 (Gareth) 


NYT 4:46 (Amy) 


Andrew Ries’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 1 13 17, no 0113

Fun Friday puzzle, and right in the usual Friday range of difficulty. Highlights include SKATE PARKS (which are for skateboarders), BUYER’S REMORSE, PARODY ACCOUNT (here’s a crosswordy parody Twitter account that might amuse you @FakeTimParker), Václav HAVEL, SKUNK, STOLEN BASES, “SEE YOU SOON,” BETH MARCH, POPEMOBILE, SPANX, and Lady Gaga’s BORN THIS WAY.

Let’s check out some clues:

  • 48a. [President who said “If you want to see your plays performed the way you wrote them, become president”], HAVEL. He was a dissident playwright before becoming president of Czechoslovakia and then the Czech Republic (now Czechia!). I’m guessing he had the sense to not actually give diktats to the theater folks.
  • 6d. [Title role in a 1993 film … which sounds like a prize the film won], OSKAR. The movie, of course, is Schindler’s List, which I’ve never seen.
  • 19d. [The first one was a modified Ford D-Series truck], POPEMOBILE. Trivia! Good to know.
  • 28d. [Aphrodisia], LUST. Not sure I’ve seen this one before. Checking … eww, yuck! The Merriam-Webster medical dictionary gives the meaning as “sexual desire especially when violent.” That’s alarming.
  • 36d. [George Dickel product], RYE WHISKY. I’m more Irish than Scottish, so I prefer the whiskey spelling. Also, I’ve never heard of George Dickel. Apparently it’s a Tennessee distillery.
  • 50d. [Author with a restaurant at the Eiffel Tower named for him], VERNE. More trivia! Also good to know.

4.2 stars from me.

Timothy Polin’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “A Prynne String” — pannonica’s write-up

CHE • 1/13/17 • “A Prynne String” • Polin • solution

Atypically, I looked at the title before solving, and figured it would have something to do with Hester Prynne, the protagonist of Nathaniel Hawthorn’e’s The Scarlet Letter. Would it be repeated As—a string? No, it’s a more descriptive four-letter sequence: RED A.

  • 20a. [Fictional locale often visited by Christopher Robin] HUNDRED ACRE WOOD.
    7d. [Checked out suggestively] LEERED AT.
  • 33a. [Radio comedian who called television “a triumph of equipment over people”] FRED ALLEN. Not to be confused with Henry “Red” Allen.
    23d. [Polynesian performance with dangerous props] FIRED ANCE.
  • 43a. [Annual British Commonwealth celebration that was renamed in 1958] EMPIRE DAY. The clue isn’t clear—for good reason, since it would involve duplication—that the new name is ‘Commonwealth Day’.
    31d. [Workplace for Quasimodo and Knute Rockne] NOTRE DAME.
  • 53a. [“Amen!”, to Yosemite Sam] YOU’RE DARN TOOTIN’. No, no you aren’t darn tooting. Them’s fighting words. Yer darn tootin’, my good sir. But of course that wouldn’t conform to theme requirements.
    49d. [1987 Schwarzenegger film] PREDATOR.

Stats: 4 RED/A, followed by 2 RE/DA, then 1 REDA. The two rebus squares flanking the equator happen to be symmetrical, but the other two are not.

The title appears to be a superficial pun on apron string(s). At 9d OFFERED the grid contains one instance of a three-quarter duplication of the rebus string. Not a real theme infringement, but it may have been worthwhile to eliminate it.

  • 5d [ __ mi tangere (artistic motif featuring Jesus and Mary Magdalene)\ NOLI. Some interesting echoes and interpretations in our culture.
  • The two longest non-theme entries are both digital tech related: 17a [Online installments] WEBISODES, 58a [Nefarious piece of coding] LOGIC BOMB.
  • 46a [’Fore] ERE, 35d [“__ the season to be jolly”] ’TIS.
  • 21d [Got loafers working better?] RESOLED. Clever clue, but it doesn’t work so well (ha) for me. Preferred the part-of-speech misdirection in 14a [Perfect prose?] EDIT.
  • Speaking of parts of speech, for some impulsive reason I really wanted the [First noun in the golden rule] to be OTTERS (25a). “Do unto otters as you would have done to you.” Uh-huh. Down this avenue we also get “To err is human, to forgive is lutrine.”
  • Your trenchant Mark Twain quote of the day: 57a [“One is APT TO overestimate beauty when it is rare.”] I daresay that isn’t true of all qualities when it comes to paucity. And honestly, is true of beauty? That’s just, like, his opinion. If he even wrote it.It’s from The Innocents Abroad. Chapter 51“We found here [Shunem] a grove of lemon trees—cool, shady, hung with fruit. One is apt to overestimate beauty when it is rare, but to me this grove seemed very beautiful. It was beautiful. I do not overestimate it.”

This crossword was purty dern good, in my estimation.

Bart Beisner’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up

LA Times

I’ve never made much secret of the fact that I find these, in their basic form, among the least inspired theme types. Take a common word, today [Port], and rewrite four dictionary definitions to fit appropriate lengths. At least today, the theme phrases are not tortured to fit those lengths, and felt quite natural as definitions – I find it extremely annoying to work crossers to figure out exactly how someone arbitrarily chose to define a particular word… So, a [Port] is CITYWITHAHARBOR, an AFTERDINNERWINE, the LEFTSIDEOFASHIP, and a CONNECTIONPOINT.

I dispute the clue [Taxi alternative] for UBER. Uber is a taxi, even if it is marketed as a taxi alternative…

The clue mentions 11 Disney PRINCESSes, can you name them?
2.5 Stars

Gail Grabowski’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post Crossword, “Beside the Point” —Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 01.13.17: “Beside the Point”

Good day, everybody! Hope nothing eerie happens to you on Friday the 13th! Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Ms. Gail Grabowski, features theme entries in which the first word in each of the two-word theme answers can also, when standing alone, precede the word “point.”

  • WEST BERLIN (18A: [One side of a defunct wall]) – In the future, when a puzzle has the same exact clue, will “United States” or “Mexico” be the answer?
  • FINE JEWELRY (26A: [Items made of precious metals and natural gemstones])
  • BULLET TRAIN (48A: [Rapid rail transport])
  • HIGH SCHOOL (60A: [Institution featured in “The Breakfast Club])

Man, if it wasn’t for crosswords, how many people outside of OCALA would know about Ocala, Florida (31D: [City south of Gainesville])? I hope someone reading this blog is doing so from Ocala and can talk about his/her little hometown. Probably my favorite fill of the day was TRIPWIRE, as that’s definitely the first time I’ve come across that word in a grid (55A: [Trigger on a trap]). More than in any part of the grid, I got tangled up in the Northwest, where I put in “club” instead of IRON to start, and then had to hop around the grid when I didn’t remove that entry immediately (14A: [Golfer’s selection]). Actually just finished reading about the DOJ‘s findings about the questionable (err, terrible?) tactics of law enforcement in Chicago during a number of incidents there and it’s absolutely shocking…and not shocking at the same time (21D: [Fed. division responsible for law enforcement]). Fortunately, this sheds a much-needed light on the importance of improving police tactics and decision-making, not just in Chicago but in other cities. Unfortunately, enough people will look at this news and divert it into talking about “what does this have to do with black-on-black crime there that goes on there” nonsense that’s deployed to take us away from concentrating from shoddy police work from a select number of officers. Being born and raised in a neighborhood where incidents like that were somewhat commonplace, it definitely hits close to my heart. Citizens, let’s do better and be accountable. Police officers, let’s do better and be accountable. That shouldn’t be a divisive thing to say..

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: GLANCE (24D: [Cursory look]) – One of the most engaging personalities I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting in the sports world is longtime women’s basketball coach Stephanie Glance, currently the executive director of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. For many years, Glance was the top assistant to Yow when she coached North Carolina State University and, up until the end of the 2015 season, was the women’s basketball head coach at Columbia University.

Have a great rest of your weekend, everyone! See you tomorrow!

Take care!


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11 Responses to Friday, January 13, 2017

  1. Martin says:

    US distilleries agree with Amy, almost invariably, and use the spelling “whiskey.” George Dickel is the exception, and my hat’s off to the clue department for coming up with it. Someone knows their whisk[e]y.

    Canadian whisky is usually rye, and spelled that way (spelt that way?), but normally labeled just “Whisky” or “Canadian Whisky.” There seem to be rare Canadian bottlings that say “Rye Whisky,” but I’ve never seen one.

    • Lise says:

      Okay, @FakeTimParker was priceless. Wonderful.

      I’m still a little confused about the whisky/whiskey spelling. Is it just the US (minus George Dickel) that uses “whiskey”? What about Irish and Scotch whisk(e)y?

      Once I got a toehold into the NYT, it went quickly. Very nice Friday, and a terrific review, too. Thanks!

      • Martin says:

        In Scotland, it’s whisky. In Ireland, it’s whiskey. In Canada and Japan, it’s whisky. In the US it’s whiskey, except for Dickel.

        • aries says:

          Maker’s Mark is another notable American distiller that eschews the E.

          • Martin says:

            Yes, and Old Forester as well. I admittedly simplified things a bit. But of the three, only Dickel makes a rye. Coincidentally, Maker’s Mark is one of the few bourbons that include no rye in the mash. Old Forester uses more rye than most. But only Dickel markets a Rye Whisky.

            The founders of all three consciously decided to pay homage to the Scots, either as distillers or as anscestors.

          • pannonica says:

            A few years ago, it was difficult to find more than a handful of ryes. Rittenhouse, Jim Beam, a few others. But, along with much of the bourbon scene (craft distillers, repackagers, single-barrels, limited editions, etc.), there’s been an explosion of rye offerings.

          • Martin says:

            Amen to the rye renaissance. I’m addicted to Whistle Pig.

  2. Thomas says:

    Honestly considered for a moment that the [Title role in a 1993 film] might be Glory of MAD DOG AND GLORY, but upon further reflection that one didn’t get much awards buzz.

  3. Steve Manion says:

    I really enjoyed this puzzle. My children and I tried to guess what animal was being referred to by the group name. Here is a list:

    Here are three you might be able to intuit:


    When I was a teenager in Niagara Falls, one of the most ordered drinks was 7 and 7. Seagram’s spelled some of its whiskeys/whiskys with the e and some without. I am not sure if it had an American brewery or not. The legendary aspect of drinking in that area was the pronounced preference for Canadian beers, which in general, were smoother and had higher alcohol contents than their American counterparts. Supposedly, the quality of Canadian beers was occasioned by great American brewers moving to Canada in the wake of prohibition. I remember really liking Brador at the time, most likely because it had 6% alcohol content.


    • Linda says:

      When I was a teenager not too far from Niagara Falls (North Buffalo), 7 and 7 was popular there, too. A lot of us had our first legal drink at a bar on Elmwood Avenue that is still open! Now that I am at the end of my teaching career, it is amusing that I finish it at SUNYBuffalo State College, right down the street from that same bar. Whiskey was big as the base then, also, as was Scotch and soda for those so inclined.

  4. Martin says:

    Delightfully smooth puzzle. I think this is a good example of center stacking, but getting away from the parade of 15’s that so many of us have seen before. Even though there are plenty of good “untapped” 15s out there (most waiting to be discovered), there is a rich vein in colourful 12/13/14 letter fill that is always welcome to see. Nice Job :)

    As for the WHISKEY/WHISKY spellings, I’ve never remembered which is which. Both are legit, and as Martin H. points out, they are specific Scottish, American and Canadian spellings (in common usage).


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