Friday, March 10, 2017

CHE untimed (pannonica) 


LAT 6:30 (Gareth) 


NYT 3:44 (Amy) 


Pawel Fludzinski’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 3 10 17, no 0310

Dang, I whizzed through this puzzle like it’s a Wednesday or something. Lots of juicy fill that’s right up my alley. SET OF PIPES, I don’t have ’em. COPERNICUS, one of the two most notable Poles in science (I suspect Pawel’s even more Polish than I am). Slangy DUMPSTER FIRE, an apt description of so, so much. VITRUVIAN MAN, a classical reference (not ancient Greek/Roman classical, but Renaissance—can we call the Renaissance classical?). Pretty ETHEREAL. Mathy GAME THEORY. Crashing SIDE-SWIPED. Decent CNN reporter, Jake TAPPER. PICNICS, because warmer weather is coming back soon enough. [Shia who’s not a Muslim], actor Shia LABEOUF (mnemonic for spelling his not-the-French-spelling surname: The vowels are in alpha order, just don’t try to fit an “I” in there). HABANERO pepper, because I had a painful encounter with a spicy bit from a fire-roasted salsa tonight and no milk was available so I tried Tums instead (I think it helped!).

Did not really know:

  • 53d. [Theorbos, e.g.], LUTES.
  • 47d. [Bit of computer programming executed repeatedly], DO LOOP. I’m sure that’s basic knowledge for my tech colleagues, but I’m an editor, Jim, not a coder.
  • 55a. [The house of Versace?], LA CASA. It’s the same in Italian as in Spanish?

Name I learned from crosswords of yore: 7d. [Covent Garden architect Jones], INIGO. You know I was pretty excited 20 years ago when a coworker named her baby Inigo! I hope her second kid was a girl named Yma.

4.2 stars from me.

Christopher Adams’ Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “The Mathematics of Baking” — pannonica’s write-up

CHE • 3/10/17 • “The Mathematics of Baking” • Adams • solution

An explicit, rather dull title for a surprising and interesting crossword. In honor of the upcoming geeky “Pi Day” the grid incorporates rebus squares that present PI across and a specific type of pastry pie in the downs. Rather than filling in a P or π in the grid I simply used a circle with no filling.

Is there an agreed-upon name for such crossword rebuses? Neither ‘two-way’ nor ‘bidirectional’ seems accurate, as crossword squares always work in those two directions. Something like ‘heterobidirectional’? ‘Polarized’? Perhaps ‘dichroic‘?

As you might expect, the combination of Pi Day and edible pies is not exactly a new idea. Baking, with its relative exactitude regarding weights and measures, is definitely on the geeky end of the spectrum. Not as extreme as molecular gastronomy, but not much is.

  • 16a. [Sitcom about a struggle for ratings] WKR{P I} IN CINCINNATI.
    4d. [Challenges the integrity of] IM{PEACH}ES. Took me a while to fill in this blank. Surprisingly. Peach pie.
  • 21a. [1979 World Series champs whose theme song was “We Are Family”] {PI}TTSBURGH [PI]RATES. Twofer!
    21d. [Titular red accessory in a Prince hit] {RASPBERRY} BERETRaspberry pie.
    15d. [River along which Tecumseh was defeated in 1811] TIP{PECAN}OE (“… and Tyler too!”). Pecan pie.
  • 55a. [Fallacy also called “begging the question”] PETITIO PRINCI{PI}I. I trust most of you realize that the common conception of “begging the question” is essentially incorrect.
    34d. [Lump in one’s throat] ADAM’S {APPLE}. Apple pie. Also, constructors surname is ADAMS.
  • 63a. [Urban railway system] MASS RA{PI}D TRANSIT.
    52d. [Outspoken “CNN Tonight” host … or outspoken “Hockey Night in Canada” host, whomever is more to your taste] DON {LEMON/CHERRY}. Lemon/Cherry pie. “Taste”, get it? (Thanks to editor B Wilber for reminding me that the hockey guy has a different surname—I was on autopilot there.)

In a minor flourish, the last down clue (and the final clue overall) is 68d [Salt meas. in a pie-crust recipe, often] TSP. And come to think of it, 1-across (first clue overall) has a non-explicit recipe connotation: MIX IT UP [Tussle].

Considering the elaborateness  of the theme, the crossword is fairly smooth. That said, 32a [Middle Eastern airline whose name is emblazoned on Manchester soccer jerseys] ETIHAD sticks out like a sore rhubarb. 7d [ESPN talk show since 2001, informally] PTI is also clunky (not to mention that it strongly echoes the PI theme). The German object pronoun IHN [Him, in Heidelberg] also strains (8d).

  • Clever clues: 70a [Result of putting numbers to paper?] SET LIST. 11d [Scotland yard?] METRE—I like this one.
  • More vocabulary! 9d [Score direction asking an instrument to imitate the human voice] CANTABILE.
  • 17d [Rosenberg prosecutor depicted in “Angels in America”] COHN. Also McCarthyite henchman, influential mentor of depravity to the current occupant of the Oval Office, and all-around despicable person.
  • 58d [Spacecraft chambers] PODS, but I was certain it would be BAYS.
  • 5d [How good debaters argue] TENABLY. Good, but weird.

Tasty crossword.

Jeffrey Wechsler’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary

LA Times

Today features another round of grid-spanning entries. Today’s is 4×15, and it’s definitions. At least they aren’t puffed out, and there is some variety. We have [As] (abbreviation) – SYMBOLOFARSENIC, [A’s] the letter as EXCELLENTGRADES and again as OAKLANDBALLCLUB, then [As] the thrilling word meaning TOTHESAMEDEGREE.

A few very good answers, surprisingly, given the grid constraints: PAPYRUS, SNORKEL, PODCAST, YESDEAR and SWEETDEAL. On the other hand OFONESIZE is not a real answer. It belongs in a Trip Payne grid on April 1.

There is a predictableness to the short fill – four 15’s means a lot of short entries, and a lot of constraints on them. LAS/EDA/NOM/TRE/GED is a run of five entries, not one of which is an English word. I do wish Ged would be clued re Ursula Le Guin, but that run was not the place for that! And then there was SENDA, and its clue…

2.25 Stars

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25 Responses to Friday, March 10, 2017

  1. Max Sherer says:

    Fastest every Friday for me. Man, the glue in this puzzle was so strong I can still sniff it… SESS, ECU and KIP in the same corner, LEHI over ACAN, COIT crossing TO TEN crossing EEE…. man. Jeff Chen even mentioned how much crosswordese there is over in Xwordinfo. Despite that, I did enjoy the puzzle, and some of the long answers were definitely snappy…but the cost seemed a little high for me.

    • Ethan Friedman says:

      I came down on the other side of the fence. Yeah the shorts were less than ideal. But the long answers (Amy enumerated all my favorites too) more than made up for it.

  2. Howard B says:

    That was the strangest clue for ELI I have ever seen. I got hung up a bit between that and LUTES. Otherwise a fun solve.

    • Glenn says:

      From the accounts of the Crucifixion in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark: “Eli, Eli, lama sabacthani” (Aramaic for “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”)

      • Jenni Levy says:

        I knew it from a Hebrew song “Eli, Eli” which has nothing to do with Jesus, except that the root of the language is Aramaic.

  3. Paul Coulter says:

    The CHE was delicious. I’m such a pie lover, my family always gives me a birthday pie instead of a cake. Pecan pie, cherry pie, most any kind of pie – YUM! Too bad this couldn’t have come four days later on 3/14. As we (ubergeek) Engineers used to chant on the MIT team bus, “Cosant, tangent, secant sine… 3.14159!”

    • Paul Coulter says:

      Oops, early morning typo above, I see. I meant cosine, tangent, secant, sine, of course. If I recall, the rest of that cheer went,
      E to the U du dx,
      E to the X dx.
      Cosine, secant, tangent, sine, 3.14159.
      Integral radical mu dv
      Slipstick, sliderule, MIT.
      Go Tech!
      I won’t get into the filthy ones we had about our big rival Harvard (in our minds, anyway, though they really couldn’t be bothered with that dinky technical school down Mass Ave.)

      • Paul Coulter says:

        Also, Pannonica’s right about Don Lemon, but the Don clue, as written, gives us the choice between him and Don Cherry, the hockey commentator. I’ll take a slice of both! (Just as I finish writing this, I see Brad’s beaten me to the (Pineappple Pie, anyone?) punch.

        • Brad says:

          Thanks for chiming in, Paul. Hopefully there is not a famous Don BLUEBERRY or DON RHUBARB out there beyond my ken feeling excluded.

    • chris says:

      Paul, thanks a lot for the comment! I’m glad you liked the puzzle–I sure had a blast making it. Many props, also, to Brad for his work editing the puzzle. Most of the good clues are his (in particular the ones for TSP and DON?–I didn’t know DON LEMON before making this puzzle).

      As for Pi Day–would’ve loved it to be the 14th, but I’ll have to settle for making some ADAMS APPLE PIE. (*rimshot*)

      • Paul Coulter says:

        Yeah, you and Brad sure hit the “sweet spot” with this one. He was greatly helpful to me also, when I first broke into constructing. Thank goodness for editors like Brad,Will, Peter, Rich, Mike, and Ben. I have a feeling a lot of us would have a lot of bad grids out there we would regret, if we’d been left to our own devices.

  4. Steve Price says:

    7d. [Covent Garden architect Jones], INIGO.

    “In I go” might be what an athlete says when taking the the field.

  5. Tom says:

    DOLOOP made me scowl. It’s arguably a thing, but almost invariably referred to as a do/while loop or a for loop:

    • Gareth says:

      Sounds perfectly fine to me. There are languages with both DO and DOWHILE loops, even though they can both be used to accomplish pretty much the same thing! For example, some VB has DO… LOOP (which will loop endlessly unless you include an EXIT DO), a DO WHILE {condition} and a DO UNTIL {condition}. You can use all three to accomplish the same thing, although I struggle to conceive of a reason to use one that isn’t just messy programming.

    • Martin says:

      “Do loop” is a reference to old FORTRAN, which had no WHILE clause. It became an idiom, meaning “performing iteratively.” It doesn’t imply futility as “infinite loop” does, but “in a do loop” does mean saddled with boring work.

      Old FORTRAN (meaning FORTRAN 77 and earlier) was pretty primitive by today’s standards. A period substituting for a comma in
      DO 10 I = 1.10
      cannot be diagnosed as a typo for
      DO 10 I =1,10
      and one such typo cost a missile test launch in the ’60s.

  6. Jenni Levy says:

    I don’t know either Don LEMON or Don CHERRY, so that answer eluded and irritated me while I was solving. Now I appreciate its brilliance. Such a fun puzzle! Definitely the most difficult one I did today. That is not a complaint.

    • chris says:

      Jenni, thanks for the comment! I must confess I didn’t know of DON LEMON before submitting, but I think it’s a nice touch. I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the puzzle, even if it was difficult. I like making puzzles difficult, but I also try to make them fun first, because at the end of the solve, that’s what matters.

  7. Karen says:

    LAT: Oops! The puzzle on this site is not the puzzle in L A Times print edition. Gareth’s feedback matches print edition.

  8. cyberdiva says:

    I enjoyed the CHE puzzle until I got to 52D. I was asked to choose between two people I’d never heard of, but that wasn’t what bothered me most. It was “whomever is more to your taste.” Me was outraged. Give I a break!

    • Brad says:

      I noticed that myself — argh — I corrected it to “whoever” in the original puzzle file and in the print version but somehow that pesky “m” still found its way into the online version(s). Mea culpa.

  9. Joan Macon says:

    Karen is right, the LAT grid is yesterday’s and the comments are for today. Sigh. Another mixup for the LAT, I feel like we are country cousins. Is it just because we are in California, four hours behind everyone else???

Comments are closed.