Friday, April 21, 2017

CHE untimed (pannonica) 


LAT 5:21 (Gareth) 


NYT 5:29 (Amy) 


Damon Gulczynski’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 4 21 17, no 0421

The puzzle began with a deep sense of foreboding, with dull APSES up top at 1-Across. Then there was the sort of unfathomable 16a. [The Jazz, on sports tickers], UTA, short for Utah. Can someone show me photographic evidence of a sports ticker showing that abbreviation?

The long fill was better. Your PIE CHARTS and SMEAR TACTIC, “GREAT SCOTT!” and “OMIGOSH!” with the same clue, HELLO KITTY, GRAMMAR NAZI, and GO-GO BOOTS were all pretty zippy.

Six more things:

  • 14a. [Thin layer of foam at the top of an espresso], CREMA. I don’t know anything about that (this site sure does) and was picturing cappuccino art.
  • 26a. [Brand that’s a shortened description of its flavor], NILLA. I love Nilla Wafers. Simple little cookies that you can eat five of and still be way under a single serving size. Tasty with pecans!
  • 35a. [Savage of “Savage Love”], DAN. Dan Savage writes for The Stranger, a Seattle alternative paper. The Stranger’s top story this week (“The Heart of Whiteness: Ijeoma Oluo Interviews Rachel Dolezal, the White Woman Who Identifies as Black”) is by my Facebook friend Ijeoma Oluo. She interviewed Rachel Dolezal, that white woman who lays claim to blackness. Really good article. Ijeoma interrogates the roots of Dolezal’s fixation and “identity” from a perspective (that of a black woman) which other Dolezal profiles have generally lacked. Highly recommended read.
  • 64a. [Pres. whose given birth name was David], DDE. Yes! I did not know this trivia, I don’t think. David Dwight Eisenhower’s mom switched his first and middle names soon after birth to avoid the confusion of having two Davids in the house (the other being his dad). Um, did the parents not realize that would happen before they named him David?
  • 4d. [Producer of a deep drumming call], EMU. Emu trivia! Who knew? Here’s a video. This is very … not chirpy.
  • 29d. [A batter receives four for a grand slam], TOTAL BASES. I have never heard of this particular baseball datum.

Four stars from me.

Ed Sessa’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “That Boxed-In Feeling” — pannonica’s write-up

CHE • 4/21/17 • “That Boxed-In Feeling” • Sessa • solution

This is a tight little puzzle. Revealer in the center, a rebus, two letters per square: 24d [Anxiety source suggested by this puzzle’s title] CLAUSTROPHOBIA.

Loosely speaking, that entry is boxed in by the four theme entries—two acrosses and two downs. All have the same clue, [Possible 24 Down trigger]. 17a MRI MACHINE, 11d SUBMARINE, 58a PHONE BOOTH (obsolescent), and 33d BANK VAULT.

The verticals are reinforced by two further layers of stacked 9s: 31d [Show tune with the lyric “I can’t get warm without your hand to hold] STEAM HEAT, 32d [Contemplative subject for Rembrandt] ARISTOTLE, 12d [Poor diplomat, say] ALIENATOR, 13d [Something juries hear] TESTIMONY.

Back to the revealer. The rebus boxes work for the crossing entries as well. 23a [Signal that may allay anxiety] ALL {CL}EAR, 29a [Broadcast component] {AU}DIO, 34a [Forever __ ] {ST}AMP, 37a [Climactic scene in “Carrie”] P{RO}M, 40a [Spherical bacterium, informally] STA{PH}, 45a [Tree that yields ersatz chocolate] CAR{OB}, 48a [Sea traversed by those splitting Split?] ADR{IA}TIC.

Desultory notes:

  • Eschewing the black bird or singer DiFranco angle, 27a AN I takes the Wheel of Fortune approach but frames it as [“Gimme __!” (start of a Hoosier cheer)]. Similarly, 35a ITO bypasses jurist Lance and skater Midori and reaches back to [ __ Hirobumi (first prime minister of Japan)].
  • 53a [Emulate Pyushkin in Gogol’s “Dead Souls”] HOARD. Another good example from 19th century literature: George Eliot’s Silas Marner. These are all prime crossword entries, by the way: GOGOL, SILAS, ELIOT.
  • Least common entry, I’m guessing, would be 40d [Fish related to the pompano and the amberjack] SCAD. Other contenders: crosswordese ÉTUI, 56d [Former U.S. poet laureate Van Duyn] MONA.
  • 43d [Garden pest with netlike patterns on its body and wings] LACE BUG.

Appropriate use of rebus technology, an enjoyable crossword.

Paul Coulter’s LA Times Crossword – Gareth’s summary

LA Times

Today features an interesting and offbeat gimmick, a welcome change of pace from typical “wacky” Fridays… Each entry is a two word phrase where the last three letters of the first and the first three of the second are the same, and are only written once in the grid. So: CO(VER)SION, W(ORD)ER, COMPU(TER)MINAL, COUN(TER)RORISM, M(EAT)ER, and STOM(ACH)ES. All solid examples, though the interest lies primarily in the gimmick.

The focus is certainly on the dense theme, though the rest of the grid was cleanly done. BAFTA and UMAMI are less common answers that are worth noting if you weren’t familiar…

4 Stars


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16 Responses to Friday, April 21, 2017

  1. I only did some cursory searching, but here’s a screenshot of Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals (a.k.a. the “Flu Game”). The ticker has UTA.

    However, just about every other game I looked up used UTAH instead. In fact, the UTA abbreviation might be more common in video games than in real life. Here’s a short video from NBA 2K17 with UTA.

    All of this is to say: The clue isn’t wrong, but it’s not really common, either. I’m on Team UTA Hagen for this one.

  2. janie says:

    >Can someone show me photographic evidence of a sports ticker showing that abbreviation?

    not sayin’ i love it, but would something like this suffice?


    (edited to say: oops. evan — you beat me to it! ;-) )

  3. dook says:

    One does not stretch out a yoga mat. It unrolls, but does not stretch. Not incredibly happy with lids either.

  4. Joe Pancake says:

    For the record, when I submitted today’s NYT puzzle the clue for UTA referenced crossword star UTA Hagen. However, being a frequent watcher of sports I don’t mind the clue as is. I’m in favor of using sports crawl abbreviations as fill, if it’s done sparingly. Some of them could be very useful to constructors, e.g., LAL, ORL, OKC.

    For anybody interested in more notes on today’s puzzle and clue writing in general, visit my blog.


    • Jenni Levy says:

      Thanks! I always enjoy seeing what goes on behind the curtain. I figured someone would get upset about GRAMMAR NAZI and I continue to wonder about the logic that rejects NAZI and is perfectly fine with IDI AMIN.

      (I loved GRAMMAR NAZI and your clue, btw)

      • Joe Pancake says:

        Thanks, and yes it’s always interesting to hear what people consider off-limits or in bad taste for crossword puzzle fill. Personally, I think it’s all fine (swear words, dictators, non-breakfast-test words, etc.), with the exception of outright slurs.

        However, since I mostly submit to NYT, I follow their standards. (Pro tip: BARF probably isn’t going to be received very well.)

        • Jenni Levy says:

          That’s OK with me. That’s about my least favorite word, and it’s all about me, of course.

  5. Ethan Friedman says:

    What a lovely smooth NYT. while I agree APSES at 1A was dull, I loved how it shared the A with 1D ACT OF GOD, which (ahem) redeemed it in my eyes. Also liked the conjunction of TIAS and TE AMO.

    PAPER CHASE was a new phrase to me but gettable from crossings and very evocative

  6. artlvr says:

    I wish the TV series “Paper Chase” (1978-1986) would be brought back! It was an American drama television series based on a 1970 novel by John Jay Osborn, Jr., as well as a 1973 film based on the novel. John Houseman starred as the law professor in the gripping series. One of my all-time favorites!

  7. Jenni Levy says:

    The EMU clue was different in the dead tree edition of the Times. I can’t figure out how to post a photo here, but I have one and can send it on.

  8. Jon Delfin says:

    I solved two LATimes puzzles this week, and each included a clue which contained a significant grid word (CSA today, ALI earlier). Does Rich need a new proofreader, or is this just not a thing for him?

  9. Mark says:

    FWIW, and a couple days late, the Clippers vs Jazz game is showing LAC & UTA

Comments are closed.