Monday, April 24, 2017

BEQ 9:18 (Jenni) 


LAT untimed (pannonica) 


NYT untimed (pannonica)  


WSJ untimed (Jim)  


Gary Cee’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

NYT • 4/24/17 • Mon • Cee • № 0424 • solution

Foodstuffs in idioms.

  • 17a. [Gobbledygook] WORD SALAD. 25d [It might capture an embarrassing comment] HOT MIC.
  • 30a. [Big fat zero] NOTHING BURGER.
  • 47a. [Habitual tube watchers] COUCH POTATOES. Plural for length™
  • 63a. [What a shamed person has to “eat”] HUMBLE PIE. Easily the oldest of these expressions. It’s an alteration of umble, which refers to organ meat from deer. Continuing forward in time, my guess for the order would be word salad, couch potato[es], nothing burger.

It’s a tidy theme, and easily grasped—perfect for a Monday.

Not part of the theme: 5a [One wearing an apron and a puffy white hat] CHEF; we all know the hat is called a toque. 

39a [Flower that’s also a girl’s name] PANSY. Technically true, but I wonder how many people in the past 100 years have been named that.

2d [Time in Manhattan when it’s midnight in Montana] TWO AM. Alliteration, mm.

31d [Modern and cool] HIP, 49d [Out-of-date] OLD HAT. 14a [Has debts] OWES, 60a [Promise-to-pay note] IOU. 8d [On the decline] FADING, 59d [Recedes] EBBS.

Again, a solid Monday offering, though I wouldn’t be surprised if this theme has been done more than once before, perhaps with some of the same entries.

Harold Jones’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Course Requirements” — Jim’s review

As simple and straightforward as they come, our theme today is golf club types.

WSJ – Mon, 4.24.17 – “Course Requirements” by Harold Jones (Mike Shenk)

  • 18a [Cold War barrier] IRON CURTAIN
  • 26a [Do this and that] PUTTER AROUND
  • 40a [Bedding for animal pens] WOOD SHAVINGS
  • 50a [Divisive political topics] WEDGE ISSUES

I’m not much of a golfer so I didn’t find the theme very thrilling, but all the entries are solid, and on a Monday, straight and to-the-point are key assets.

I must admit I don’t think I’ve heard the phrase WEDGE ISSUES before. But it’s legit and means just what you’d think it means: an issue that drives a wedge between two sides. Typically, it’s an issue one party uses to separate opposing factions in the other party.

Beautifully clean grid with stand-out entries SHUTOUTS, BOOT HILL, RAIN DATES, TV HOSTS, WING IT, and fully-spelled-out O-NEGATIVE (instead of the crosswordese O-NEG).

I’ll admit again to not realizing that BOOT HILL, clued as [Final destination for a gunslinger], was a term for cemeteries, particularly those dating back to the Old West. I always thought it meant one specific place.

ARLENE Dahl and Rock Hudson in “Bengal Brigade”

And I have no problem admitting I have no idea who ARLENE is (i.e. [Dahl of “Bengal Brigade”]). That film dates back to 1954. Wow, Ms. Dahl had a total of six husbands and one of her children is Lorenzo Lamas, who himself had a total of five wives. That’s a lot of Christmas cards, assuming they’re all still on speaking terms.

Not much else to say other than to reiterate how clean the grid is. ARG and AS TO are as rough as it gets, and that’s really impressive given that wide swath of fours and fives from the NE to the SW.

A simple, straight, and clean Monday outing.

Gail Grabowski & Bruce Venzke’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 4/24/17 • Mon • Grabowski, Venzke • solution

Monday-approved words-that-follow theme. Revealer at 50d [Running by itself, and where the first words of 17-, 35-, 42- and 64-Across can be placed] ON AUTO.

  • 17a. [Sheet for plotting in math class] GRAPH PAPER (autograph).
  • 35a. [Gridiron pass-defense scheme] ZONE COVERAGE (AutoZone). Commercial retailer.
  • 42a. [TV series starter] PILOT EPISODE (autopilot). 9d [Dish Network competitor] DIRECTV.
  • 64a. [Market research target] FOCUS GROUP (autofocus).

Consistency! They’re all single words. Quibble: the revealer’s use of “on” suggests that the initial concept might have been for the theme answers to be down entries.

7d [Miami Sound Machine sound machines] AMPS, 44d [“Coming Out of the Dark” singer Gloria] ESTEFAN.

Roughest fill for a Monday: 13d [Militant ’60s campus org.] SDS (Students for a Democratic Society).

Longish non-theme answers: INSPECTS, BENEDICT, HORSEMAN, PLAYBOYS.

Smooth fill, solid cluing. A very rapid solve.

 Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website crossword – “Themeless Monday #411” — Jenni’s review

Not sure why this one took me so long. I ate breakfast and drank my coffee, and looking back at the grid, it doesn’t look unusually difficult.  1A was the last one I filled in, which is either ironic or sad, because my eyes are HAZEL.

We have a triple stack in the middle of this puzzle with TAKE THAT FOR DATAELECTED OFFICIAL, and AS LOOSE AS A GOOSE. I don’t follow NBA basketball closely, so I had never heard of Memphis Grizzlies coach David Fizdale (who has a crossword-worth name!) nor of his “mic drop catchphrase.” On further review, it appears this catchphrase was first used a week ago at the post-game press conference. BEQ gives us fresh fill, that’s for sure.

BEQ 4/24 puzzle, solution grid

A few other things:

  • 18a [Dogpile rival] is ASK JEEVES. Reaching back to the ’90s for that. I was a Alta Vista gal myself. Dogpile still exists; ASK JEEVES  has morphed into
  • 23d [Curad product] is the non-trademarked term ADHESIVE PAD.
  • 48a [Checked back at the office] is PHONED IN, not to be confused with PHONED IT IN.
  • 50d [Tough-to-please star] is a DIVA  because men are just easy as pie to work with.
  • 54a [Jazz selection] is not music; it’s basketball again. The answer is DRAFT PICK.

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: aside from the whole Fizdale rant, I did not know that RIGOLETTO was based on a Victor Hugo play.



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12 Responses to Monday, April 24, 2017

  1. Philip Jones says:

    Go to, enter Pansy and you’ll find that it peaked in the early 1900s. This is a great site for seeing naming trends.

  2. Amy Reynaldo says:

    PANSY as a girl’s name pretty much disappeared after the 1940s. There may be some women in their 70s and and beyond with the name, but its peak popularity was in the 1890s (when there were still more than 300 more popular baby girl names).

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Durrr, I blew right past Philip’s comment because I was busy looking up Pansy on the same site.

  3. PJ Ward says:

    WSJ – Maybe I’m missing something… Catfish don’t have scales. At least none I’ve seen. And shutouts aren’t necessarily lopsided.

  4. Scott says:

    Why is Hot Mic listed as a food? Am I being dense?

    • Jim Peredo says:

      I don’t think pannonica meant to imply that it was a food. I suspect she put it with WORD SALAD because both phrases were closely associated with a certain presidential candidate last year.

  5. SGH says:

    Very disappointed to see “Hindu melody” as the clue for Raga in the LAT today.
    Raga is a form of Indian classical music. In actual fact, much of the musical tradition that Raga refers to (specifically, the khayal and dhrupad forms) originated in Mughal times in the 14th century. Today, raga music represents a beautifully secular tradition revered by both Hindus and Muslims.

  6. Norm says:

    I always love the BEQ Monday themeless, but I have to pick a nit with AS LOOSE AS A GOOSE, which is grammatically correct, but NO ONE EVER SAYS IT THAT WAY. It’s “loose as a goose”; that’s it. End of rant. Fun puzzle.

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