Friday, July 14, 2017

LAT 7:21 (Gareth) 


NYT 4:19 (Amy) 


The CHE puzzle is hiking the Appalachian Trail this week.

Patrick Berry’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 7 14 17, no 0714

This 64-worder is, as you’d expect from Patrick, smooth. Lower-word-count puzzles don’t tend to have much in the way of showy marquee answers, but SILVER LININGS straight down the middle is nice, and I rather like TURTURRO, TEN-GALLON HATS, GOOD TO GO, and a film critics’ SCREENER DVD. Can you drive a stick-shift? I cannot, but I have a vague idea of what CLUTCHES do.

On the down side, there are two UPs: DUG UP and FOLD UP.

Top clues:

  • 6d. [Martial arts film hit], CHOP. Not “hit film,” but “film hit,” meaning a hit that’s in a martial arts movie.
  • 50a. [Playwright who wrote “Hell is full of musical amateurs”], SHAW. Wait. Does this mean I’m going to hell? Or does not even trying save me from Shavian damnation?
  • 51a. [Grammys competitor], ARTIST. I was trying to think of a 6-letter music award. The VMAs, the CMAs, the Billboard Music Awards … none of those are 6s.

Not entirely convinced that people who listen to vinyl records call that audio appliance a PHONO. Turntable seems most common, along with record player and phonograph. I don’t remember people calling ’em PHONOs back in the ’70s, for that matter.

4 stars from me.

Ed Sessa’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up

LA Times

What a bizarre and flimsy theme! While I find the “wild animals shouldn’t be in captivity” mantra simplistic – since all domestic animals were, at some point, wild until they were domesticated, the use of CIRCUSELEPHANTS is certainly controversial. The association between elephants and PEANUTS (WORKSFORPEANUTS) is mostly a pop cult trope, with little grounding in reality: . Then AUTOMOBILETRUNK, where a TRUNK is a part of an elephant… So one animal, one thing it is believed to be fond of, and one body part.

Friday bits: Tough geography – LAC clued as [Senegeal’s pink water ___ Rose]; though it was certainly inferrable. Some tough tech jargon in BACKLINK. On looking him up, I recognize DONADAMS, though I had no idea he had a name. Nice to see DINESEN and not ISAK for a change – “Out of Africa” author.

Not sure what to make of this…

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28 Responses to Friday, July 14, 2017

  1. Me: “Hmm, 11D is CAST????S.”

    Also me: “Oh, it’s CASTRATOS! …… Wait, it’s not???”

    One of my wrongest wrongs that ever wronged. (And yes I know the plural is castrati. Still, though.)

  2. Martin Ashwood-Smith says:

    Re: Bernard Shaw and hell, I think we can be pretty certain he was being very facetious. He was a renowned skeptic when it came to religion.

    One of my favourite stories about Shaw, involved him standing up during a theater intermission, taking out his watch, and saying:

    “I now give God two minutes to strike me dead!”

    Many in the audience made a hasty retreat, fearing the worst.

    And after those two minutes were up, Shaw declared to the remaining people:

    “They all believe in God, but they don’t trust his aim.”


  3. Steve Manion. says:

    Clever puzzle. There were several clues that had me thinking in the wrong direction. I thought that the ribs in pasta with ribs referred to something like baby back ribs rather than the shape of the pasta. Blue arm totally baffled me as did much of the NE, which was the last to fall.
    My wife just bought a new standard transmission Jeep. We have had other standard transmission cars and it is true that once you know how to drive one, it is like riding a bike, although fortunately, I have not had to start the car on a hillside yet.


  4. John says:

    Can anyone clue me in on 30A? I have never heard anyone use those words as synonyms. Is it a regional thing?

    • Amy says:

      I have the exact same question…why is PET SNIT?

      • Joe Pancake says:

        “In a pet” means the same thing as “in a snit.” They both mean somebody is annoyed/angry.

        The former is a phrase I only know from doing crossword puzzles, and it doesn’t Google particularly well. (An example hit of “in a pet” in Google: “Monologue in a Pet Shop – The New Yorker”.) It would best be retired from xwords, in my opinion.

      • Bruce N Morton says:

        There’s an expression “in a pet” (i.e. snit.)

  5. Ethan Friedman says:

    in the NYT what the heck are DOANS? (“Backache remedy”) Had to get from crossings

  6. Bruce N Morton says:

    I have always driven stick shifts, and was delighted to find one when I bought my most recent car, a late model Subaru. (Theyre getting harder and harder to find, to my dismay.)I think a clutch gives you much better control. In an automatic I’m always afraid of lurching forward or back and hitting something (e.g. in a garage.) You also have much better control in snow and ice. I find automatics scary whenever I need precise and immediate control.

    • Lise says:

      Right back atcha. My VW is 17 years old and I know it will soon need to be replaced. I hope manuals are still an option…

      • Michael says:

        The other nice thing about manuals is that dealerships will offer a discount on them more readily since they are much harder to sell. But that’s only if you can find a place that offers them to begin with. The best time to buy a manual is at the beginning of the year.

  7. Bruce N Morton says:

    I think the clue and answer to 30d {star system} rises to the level of a mistake. Alpha Centauri is not a star system; it is a star. It is interpreted as the brightest star (the alpha star) of the constellation Centaurus. “Centauri” is the genitive (i.e, of Centaurus.

    • ahimsa says:

      Hmm, I’ve usually seen Alpha Centauri described as a star system. And not just on popular science websites but also on NASA websites.

      Here’s a quote from the astronomy picture of the day website: “Alpha Centauri: The Closest Star System” –

    • Papa John says:

      After reading the NASA link, I think the correct terminology is Alpha Centauri for the name for the star system and the stars are called Alpha Centauri A or B.

      • PJ Ward says:

        There’s also Alpha Centauri C, or Proxima Centauri. It’s very dim and is the nearest known star.

  8. Gareth says:

    Manuals are the standard here. Only luxury models like BMWs you’ll find an automatic. Very brave to get an automatic only license (foolish in fact!)

  9. Lorraine says:

    Am I the only one unable to access the LAT in acrosslite via If I’m the only one maybe I have to do a better job of clearing my caches or something since I haven’t been able to get the AL version for there this whole week.

    Thank you!

  10. ajuli says:

    Is there any update on the across lite version of the LAT crosswords?

  11. Jan O says:

    I also came here looking for information on the LAT puzzle, which seems to be AWOL from the archive on Cruciverb since last Sunday. Anybody on the Team Fiend know anything about this?

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