Monday, April 10, 2017

BEQ untimed (Jenni) 


LAT untimed (pannonica) 


NYT untimed (pannonica)  


WSJ untimed (Jim)  


Lonnie Burton’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

NYT • 4/10/17 • Mon • Burton • № 0410 • solution

  • 7dR [What the answers to the starred clues share, in two ways] BOND, James Bond.
  • 17a. [*1962–67, 1971] SEAN CONNERY.
  • 27a. [*1987–89] TIMOTHY DALTON.
  • 35a/39a. [*1973–1985] ROGER | MOORE.
  • 48a. [*1995–2002] PIERCE BROSNAN.
  • 63a. [*2006–] DANIEL CRAIG.

These are demonstrably in the Broccoli/Eon franchise, so neither the 1967 Casino Royale nor the 1983 Never Say Never Again are factored in. How-ever …

<oblig>Not included: [1969] GEORGE LAZENBY </oblig>

Ooh, there’s a secret message. Well, it’s just a message, in the Note: “In the print version of this puzzle, the clue number 7 in both the grid and clues reads “007” instead. This does not affect solving.” That’s a little silly.

  • 54a [S.&.L offerings] IRAS. Strange that the NYT style guide apparently calls for periods in S&L.
  • 62a [Prominent shark feature] FIN. Presumably dorsal fin. You know which animal has an even more dramatic one? 14a [Killer whales] ORCAS, which more accurately are dolphins.
  • 24d [Less forgiving] STERNER.
  • 26d [Henry L. __, secretary of war during W.W.II] STIMSON. Who? Oh, Stimson, Henry L Stimson. Part of the price you pay for plugging in 5 James Bondses, apparently. Also, the same style guide seems to mandate periods for the two Ws here. Secretary of war isn’t capitalized because it’s the position not the title.
  • 46d [Tool for a carpenter or dentist] DRILL, 63d [Cavity filler’s deg.] DDS. Kind of interesting how 63d DDS and 64d CCS drop down from and repeat the initials of themer DANIEL CRAIG, and that the second words both end in -ER: DICER, CUTER. Nothing revelatory, mind you, just … kind of interesting. To me.
  • Not thrilled with similar fill-in-the-blank quote-clues for similar answers with 28d [“What was __ think?”] I TO and 58a [“What’s gotten __ you?”] INTO.
  • Cute clue (Monday caveat): 53a [It’s kept in a pen] INK.

Mission accomplished.

Dan Fisher’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Drink Up!” — Jim’s review

Theme answers and their clues are reversed today. Each clue as given is a homonym of a drinking vessel (hence the title). But the answers in the grid describe each word with an alternate meaning.

WSJ – Mon, 4.10.17 – “Drink Up!” by Dan Fisher (Mike Shenk)


I’m not sure why each clue is written in all caps. Perhaps it’s just to indicate that in a normal puzzle, these clues would be the answers and the answers in the grid would be the clues. Either that or our constructor was angry when he wrote the clues.

I’m not really a fan of these type of reversed themes. As a solver, I love uncovering colloquial, idiomatic phrases in a grid. PLAY TO THE CAMERA is a great example of this. But it’s much less fun uncovering answers like PART OF A PADLOCK or WRITER GERTRUDE. They feel bland and anti-climactic to me.

But aside from that there’s a glut of great fill in today’s grid: ROUGH RIDER, ON THE DOT, CURMUDGEON, SHERWOOD, DYNAMOS, AT PEACE, HARD TOP, and “SILLY ME!” I also like SALLOW, which is an interesting word you don’t come across every day.

PAIUTE on the other hand (25d, [Nevada tribe]), while interesting, is tough fill on a Monday. There would be no way I could spell that correctly without the crossings. Thank goodness they were all fair.

And the clue for LEES stumped me as well. (39a, [Wine barrel sediment]). Maybe since there is already a plural first name in the grid (EDNAS at 65a) this was given this odd clue. Still, I think [Some jeans] would be fair and adequate, especially on a Monday.

The rest of the grid is characteristically solid and clean. So-so theme but lovely fill.

Agnes Davidson & CC Burnikel’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 4/10/17 • Mon • Davidson, Burnikel • solution

Revealer at 57a: [Coffee break time … and a hint to an abbreviation aptly placed in each answer to a starred clue] MID-MORNING.

  • 17a. [*Niña and Pinta’s sister ship] SANTA MARIA.
  • 28a. [*Leader of the pack]  ALPHA MALE.
  • 44a. [*Yale, for five U.S. Presidents] ALMA MATER.
  • 11d. [*Renamed lemon-lime soft drink] SIERRA MIST. Apparently the rechristening happened last year. Quite likely then that the older name was current at the time of this crossword’s construction. It’s ‘Mist Twst’ now.
  • 27d. [*Spot for bargain hunters] FLEA MARKET.

So in each case we have the inclusion of the letters AM broken in the middle between two words. The apt placement specified in the revealer isn’t the location of the AM in the middles of the theme entries, but the location of the A and M so that the break separates them.

The fill and cluing are Monday-smooth, with the only significant lapses being the abbreviations 7d [ATM maker] NCR and 58d [Dockworker’s gp.] ILA. Favorite clue: 4d [Venomous letters] HATE MAIL.

 Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website crossword – “Themeless Monday #409” — Jenni’s review

Well, this one left me scratching my head. If I’d solved it on paper, I would not have know it was correct. As a result, we’re starting this post with “what I didn’t know before I did this puzzle.” 15d is [Big Buck] and the answer is ANTETOKOUNMPO. Google tells me that Giannis Antetokounmpo plays for the Milwaukee Bucks. His parents emigrated from Nigeria to Greece. He’s 6’11”, so the clue is certainly accurate. Hey, this was also an installment of “sports will make you smarter!”

The rest of the puzzle fell smoothly for me, and I was grateful for the crossings.

BEQ 4/10, solution grid

  • 1a [Jazz headliner?] gives us a minitheme; it’s NBA STAR.
  • 8a [Fast food sandwiches that came in pieces] are the late, unlamented MCDLTS.
  • Clues and answers that will never appear in the NYT: 39a [Shitty picture on the web?] which is, of course, the POOP EMOJI.
  • NERO was the [First Jewish-Roman War emperor] but he was dead by the time the Romans destroyed the Temple in 70 CE.
  • 46a [TCU won it in ’17: Abbr.] gives us a non-crossword and non-lice related clue for NIT.

I also enjoyed LOOFAHSTRUE DATJAM BAND, and the non-Shakespearean clue for OPHELIA at 40d: [2016 single by The Lumineers]. And I learned something about basektball. A good day at the puzzles.

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17 Responses to Monday, April 10, 2017

  1. janie says:

    there’s a great human interest story associated with this nyt debut puzzle of lonnie burton’s. hope you’ll read about it in deb amlen’s “wordplay” column or at jeff chen’s xword info.


  2. Qatsi says:

    To quote Lazenby’s Bond: “This never happened to the other fellow.”

  3. Lise says:

    NYT: I print the pdf, which did not have the 007. I am wondering why this version should be so different from the newspaper version, which does have the 007.

  4. Tracy B says:

    Re the WSJ, I don’t know that they adhere to a Monday through Saturday difficulty progression like the NYT and LAT do.

    • Dan F says:

      They definitely do – but it’s just from Monday through Thursday, and the “difficulty curve” is a bit less steep than in the NYT and LAT.
      Friday WSJ is the meta/contest, varying from medium to hard, and the Saturday 21×21 is at a mid-week level (like a Tue/Wed WSJ).

  5. Arthur Shapiro says:

    Don’t see an LA Times .puz file yet – is that yet another (much appreciated) Martin effort?

  6. Argyle says:

    LAT: “It’s ‘Mist Twist’ now.” Actually it’s ‘Mist Twst” now. Bottle

  7. e.a. says:

    LAT was good as heck. name a more iconic duo than davidson & burnikel i’ll wait

  8. Joan Macon says:

    I’m still waiting for the Sunday LAT.

    • anonymous says:

      Hi Joan!

      Oftentimes when I’m still itching for another great review here on Fiend, I check out the nice folks at the LA Times Crossword Corner and read their review! In addition to commentary on the puzzle in general, it’s got a full answer key including an individual explanation of each clue in the grid, which really is a laborious task but a very helpful tool too, especially for beginner solvers who are still learning the crossword ropes so to speak. You should check it out! Here’s a link to a review of this Sunday’s puzzle:

      • Joan Macon says:

        Dear Anonymous, thank you so much! I am not into computer crosswords, I do them on paper, so I don’t know many blogs. I am devotd to Amy’s so when there are problems I am generally stuck. I appreciate your advice so much!

Comments are closed.