Friday, July 21, 2017

CHE untimed (pannonica) 


LAT 7:15 (Gareth) 


NYT 4:19 (Amy) 


Paolo Pasco’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 7 21 17, no 0721

Same solving time as last Friday’s puzzle, to the second! Why, that saves me a few blogging keystrokes.

I enjoyed the pop culture vibe here. GARTH Algar, ADIEU with a Sound of Music show tune clue, Jessica BIEL, BIGGIE SMALLS, a METALHEAD, Spike JONZE, IDRIS ELBA, ZAYN Malik (he records under just his first name), the NAE NAE, classic BIP, “JANE the Virgin,” LES MIZ, ADAM’S RIB, and MINI ME—if you don’t like movies, TV, and pop music, you might have foundered a bit. I’ll let you weigh in on any gnarly crossings, since the only crossing that slowed me down was having a quarterback’s ARM rather than AIM and thinking ERR****** was some mysterious structure in Rome, Italy (vs. the ERIE CANAL and Rome, New York).

Other entries I liked include NO MEANS NO, I NEED A MOMENT, TRIVIA (always!), D-BACK, and MALE GAZE. And DANG! I do use that word regularly.

Did not know: 7d. [DraftKings competitor], FANDUEL. I know that DraftKings is one of those fantasy sports league companies, but I don’t pay much mind to those things.

8d. [They might be wished for at fountains], FLOATS. Such as root beer floats, at a soda fountain. Man, I was sorely tempted by a box of root beer bars in the freezer case at the grocery store yesterday. Made out of root beer and milk, for the most part. Next time!

9d. [Polka forerunner], GALOP. I wonder if anyone got this with no crossings in place. With the -OP in place, my first thought was BEBOP, which is horribly wrong.

13d. [What words can do, in an admonishment], HURT. Wait. What admonishment is that? Not the one that goes, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” Is there an update that acknowledges how hurtful language can be?

4.25 stars from me.


George Barany and Michael Hanko’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Side Order” — pannonica’s write-up

CHE • 7/21/17 • “Side Order” • Barany, Hanko • solution

Was pretty easy to see the theme unrolling since I filled this one steadily from top to bottom.

  • 17a. [Disappearance site subject to much debunking] BERMUDA TRIANGLE.
  • 27a. [New Year’s Eve ball-drop setting] TIMES SQUARE.
  • 44a. [Defense Department headquarters] THE PENTAGON. Didn’t even read the clue, filled it in with few if any crossings.
  • 57aR [Progression of numbers with a constant ratio between successive terms … what 17, 27 and 44 Across feature?] … and here is where I stumbled, briefly. Instead of GEOMETRIC SERIES I focussed on the regularity of these regular polygons, answering with ISOMETRIC SERIES. It’s kind of a thing (physical fitness, spectral analysis, etc.) but the first search results show a manufacturer’s line of badminton racquets. YONEX is crossword-ready, no?

All right. 53a [Two-thirds of dodeca-] OCTA-. Wait, STOP—There’s no way this wasn’t intentional. Though eliding HEXA{GON} and HEPTA{GON} the series would continue through here, and this crosses the revealer, at the bottom of the grid. Perhaps it bothers me more than others, but I find this kind of tacked-on quasithematic content to be distracting rather than cute. I qualify it as possibly being a personal issue because, well, it happens a lot.

  • Speaking of ascending mathematical relationships: 1d [1,000, vis-à-vis 10] CUBE.
  • 4d [Thumb, for one] TOM. That was sneakily terse. Plus the masked capital.
  • Also tricky: 45d [Bangs but not eyebrows, say] NOISES, and 5a [Visual or aural: Abbr.] ADJ.
  • 18d [Sch. that gave Richard Gere a gymnastics scholarship] UMASS. News to me, but I can easily imagine him as a gymnast. Maybe it’s the haircuts/
  • Not exactly wow-quality, but I feel obligated: 36a/65a [Tool with a blade set at 90° to the handle] HOE, ADZE.
  • 29d [Half of an ironic pair?] QUOTE MARK. More formally, quotation mark.
  • 33d [Probable modern-day locale of the biblical kingdom of Sheba] YEMEN; 9d [Choleric blog posts] RANTS. Not getting enough attention: the worst cholera epidemic in history is happening right now in Yemen. More downers: 3d [Like lots of land in the Mesabi Range, once] STRIP MINED, 31d [Coerced into crewmanship] SHANGHAIED.
  • Favorite clue: 28d [Thinly-disguised prohibition?] IXNAY.

Solid—no wait, plain—theme and a well-constructed grid.

Jeffrey Wechsler’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up

LA Times

The theme exhorts LETSHAVESOMEFUN, but I found the three part “wacky” theme a bit flat… FUN is added to three answers: DEMANDA(FUN)CTION, CHERRYRE(FUN)D, and (FUN)GALFRIDAY. Only ever encountered this as GIRL, and it’s flagged in several dictionaries as “offensive”… I guess the GAL to FUNGAL change was too good to resist… still.

I finished at DASHI, which I’ve never encountered and had difficulty believing in… It didn’t help I was less than 100% confident in DIALER, AMF or SMU, but I couldn’t come up with anything other than IMMENSELY so… I bet quite a few of us will suffer deja vu on seeing [Tracy/Hepburn classic], ADAMSRIB today! EATTORENT and REPOMAN are other good longer answers.

2.5 Stars

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14 Responses to Friday, July 21, 2017

  1. Jeff says:

    Another sub-five minute Friday puzzle? I am that good or is Will dumbing down the Fridays and Saturdays?

    • Gareth says:

      4:56 here which is insane for me… I think it’s because a lot of the difficulty is knowledge-based not wordplay-based?

  2. Emma says:

    I remembered reading this article a while back where Shechtman describes a puzzle she had submitted to the NYT with the entry MALEGAZE that Will deemed unworthy of publication, so its nice to see that some progress has been made!

  3. Lise says:

    Don’t worry, Mr. Pasco. Even people as old as I am (think Methuselah) are eager to learn more about rap music. I don’t know whether the sometimes creatively-spelled names help or hinder construction, but I am glad they’re in there. And there’s a heap-o-talent out there.

    Knew ZAYN from bookselling. Somehow dredged Spike JONZE from the neuronal attic. It was nice to revisit The Sound of Music, and Wayne’s World. Thanks for a fun Friday!

  4. huda says:

    NYT: Very good puzzle, though I’m not up on my pop culture TRIVIA. But always good to learn. This way when the younger generation mentions the stuff in passing I don’t have a totally bewildered look on my face. Once in a while, I look the stuff up, get interested in it, and when they discover I know it, they’re seriously impressed. I like confusing the masses :)

  5. artlvr says:

    Yes, I knew GALOP right away… but most of the rest was not my cup of tea.

  6. David L says:

    I finished surprisingly (to me!) quickly despite the many proper names. ZAYN was the only one I didn’t know at all. It took me a while to get INEEDAMOMENT, perhaps because I think of it mainly as being used in a sarcastic way.

    REMS as a plural seems very wrong to me, but I guess you can find almost anything somewhere on the internet if you look hard enough.

  7. Dave C says:

    AIM/ARM pretty much had the same clue (Quarterback’s asset) in an ACPT puzzle 4-5 years ago, and I went with the wrong asset….though it would have been easily corrected if I had just checked the crossing.

  8. Bruce N Morton says:

    I didn’t like the NYT at all, and a couple spots I simply could not finish. I will only mention a couple of particulars. LAI- and ZAY- could just as well be a D as an N, and NAENAE, I just didn’t believe, and ended up erasing the who region a couple times before throwing in the towel, (or the pencil.)

  9. doug says:

    Re CHE:
    I had at first thought 57A would be arithmetic series, which 3,4,5… is, but it doesn’t fit the definition. Geometric series is exemplified by 3,6,12,24…. But TRIANGLE, SQUARE, PENTAGON… is a series of geometric figures. Which I suppose explains the “?” after the clue. It’s good to see a George Barany byline again. I have been a fan of his Crossword Puzzles by George Barany and Friends web site. I haven’t seen a new entry since Fall 2016.

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