Friday, April 28, 2017

LAT 5:24 (Gareth) 


NYT 3:33 (Amy) 


CHE 3:19 (joon—paper) 


David Steinberg’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 4 28 17, no 0428

Either this puzzle is really easy, I’ve gotten to know David’s style really well after working with him for a few years, or the clue and fills just managed to be particularly accessible to me. I rarely dip below 4 minutes on a Friday.

In the “fill with zing” category, we have “WHAT A DUMP,” GO DEEP, “SEXY AND I KNOW IT,” SON-IN-LAW, ESPN ZONE, and THE POLLS. I like BOUNCES OUT, AMARYLLIS, and LEMON-LIME, too. CRACKER, CRANNY.

Boo-hiss: 32a. [Intermission starter?], ENTR’, the beginning of entr’acte. This 70-worder also has ALCAN, ICC, and XERO-. Meh.

Five more things:

  • 9a. [Stack (or snack) on a table], CHIPS. Why choose, when you can have both? (Disclaimer: I don’t actually like Pringles. But my Google image search showed me all sorts of geometric structures you can build with Pringles!)
  • [Prefix with -graphic] clues both 51d XERO and 52a DEMO.
  • I lied. I’m falling asleep and I’m not feeling called to talk about anything else in the puzzle.
  • So I bid you
  • A good night.

Four stars from me.

Emory Ediger’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Stealth Drones” — joon’s write-up

i didn’t recognize this constructor’s name, but upon glancing through the archives i found two previous puzzles, both also in the chronicle. i also noticed, curiously, that the surname EDIGER is a beheading of the surname of another crossword constructor we’ve seen in the CHE, will NEDIGER.

anyway, the puzzle: i’m going to confess that i’m not sure i understand what’s going on here. i’m normally quite adept at sussing out themes, but this one either has elements i didn’t pick up on, or there is very little going on. all i found was that there are silent B’s contained in each of the four long answers:

  • {Upper limit set —— and suspended —— by Congress} DEBT CEILING.
  • {Search diligently} COMB THROUGH.
  • {Gift for promoting growth} GREEN THUMB.
  • {Manhattan tourist attraction resulting from an 1890 design competition} GRANT’S TOMB. you know who’s buried there, don’t you?

silent B’s are hinted at by the title (silent bees), so that might well be all that’s going on, but i can’t shake the feeling that it’s a very thin basis for a crossword theme if there’s really nothing more to it. those are the only four B’s in the grid. the crossing answers are, respectively, LIMB, AMBUSH, NO BALL, and TUBES; LIMB also has the silent B but the others don’t.

a few other nods to bees and/or droning in the clues:

  • {It may give you a buzz} PAGER. this buzz is from the 1980’s.
  • {Things you saw while dreaming?} LOGS.
  • {Tori with the album “The Beekeeper”} AMOS. is it about ULEE?
  • {Sundance Film Festival locale} UTAH. i’m genuinely surprised this clue did not include a reference to the beehive state.

i enjoyed a few other clever and original clues: {A case of pins and needles?} is one i haven’t seen for old standby ETUI, and {Iron clothes?} was fun for ARMOR—it looks like a verb phrase, but it’s just adjective + noun. the grid is quite clean, but a little low on zippiness.

not sure i can give this a proper rating since i’m still half-convinced i’m missing something, but if i’m not missing anything, this was a disappointment. 2.8 stars.

Alan DeLoriea’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up

LA Times

It’s your standard “alter familiar phrases and make wacky ones” theme, with today’s alteration being +H. There is a revealer, HBOMB, which is surprisingly morbid…

When you make wacky phrases you walk a tightrope between too much and too little change. It’s fair to say there’s a lot of personal variation in how well each answer “works”… I wasn’t wild on (H)IPADDRESS, due to the change in pronunciation; (H)AHAMOMENT on the other hand, felt like it changed too little; (H)IROBOT was my personal favourite; (H)ALLFORONE and (H)ILLATEASE felt like filler for me.

[Warthog weapon], TUSK. Have stitched up a dog gored by its relative the bushpig, but never a warthog injury.
[Younger Simpson sister], ASHLEE. Pop music, not TV! MAGGIE has enough letters, and crosswords do love The Simpsons, but not this time.

3.25 Stars

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9 Responses to Friday, April 28, 2017

  1. MattF says:

    Off-Topic: About Pringles: The machine that cooks Pringles was developed by Gene Wolfe, the well-known fantasy/sci-fi author. He refers to Pringles as the only snack food with negative curvature.

  2. Paul says:

    Chips on a poker table.

  3. Noamb D. Elkies says:

    Silent B’s is all I C for the CHE. Yes, nice that there are no other B’s, not so nice that the B is “stealthy” in only one of the crossing words (should have been all or none, and “all” is surely too hard). Particularly confusing because 6D’s B is silent in an -MB, like the three other theme entries, whereas this B is silent in its theme entry because of the rarer -BT pattern. (Could we have had DEBT and DOUBT and then two -MB theme entries?) That 6D:LIMB could have been amputated, though the resulting fill might have been a bit less clean.


  4. placematfan says:

    Can anyone shed some light on what’s going on in the CHE?

  5. Zulema says:

    WHAT A DUMP I have heard in modern times used only ironically, quoting Bette Davis admiring the mansion in “Beyond the Forest” and then parodied by Elizabeth Taylor in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.”

  6. Mark McClain says:

    CHE thanks for actually figuring out the theme which I was completely unable to do. Constructor’s theme with only four B’s in the puzzle and all silent (stealth) – totally lost on me. Redeeming quality was excellent fill and entertaining clues, so the solve for me was like a fairly easy but enjoyable themeless puzzle.

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