Sunday, July 30, 2017

Hex/Quigley untimed (pannonica) 


LAT 8:50 (Amy) 


NYT 8:41 (Amy) 


WaPo 13:28 (Erin) 


Isaac Mizrahi & David Kahn’s New York Times crossword, “By Design”—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 7 30 17, “By Design”

I am not a fashion critic, so this is my first time reviewing Isaac Mizrahi’s work. He and David Kahn paired up to create the latest celebrity crossword, this time a big Sunday puzzle. Various phrases are clued as if they actually have something to do with the fashion business:

  • 24a. [Flaunt a loose dress at a soiree?], WORK THE NIGHT SHIFT. Eh, a simple dress worn to an evening event ≠ “night shift,” too much of a stretch.
  • 33a. [Title of a fashion industry seamstress’s tell-all?], ON PINS AND NEEDLES. I guess because there’s so much anticipation for such a book?
  • 56a. [What some wrap dresses are?], FIT TO BE TIED. Perfect! I’m a fan of the faux wrap dresses that look like wrap dresses but don’t need tying. You just slip it over your head and you’re dressed.
  • 77a. [Like a model’s hairstyle?], CUT AND DRIED. Well, except I think models often show up for runway events with unwashed hair that will hold a style. But what do I know? Maybe the Fashion Week stylists are wetting down models’ hair, cutting it, and drying it.
  • 99a. [Takes fashion photos using an unorthodox camera angle?], SHOOTS FROM THE HIP. Hey! On an Impractical Jokers episode I saw today, they made Joe photograph a model while bouncing on one of those big yoga balls. Numerous unorthodox angles were achieved!
  • 109a. [Shorten some couture dresses?], TAKE UP A COLLECTION. Perfect!
  • 3d. [Preferred means of arriving at a fashion show?], TAXI TO THE RUNWAY. As phrases go, this one feels a little awkward as a crossword answer. It’s okay thematically.
  • 46d. [Inspects a fashion designer’s offerings?], GOES OVER THE LINE. Another good one.

So the theme’s got some highs and some lows … which means it’s like a lot of other Sunday puzzle themes.

I wanted to see what sort of clothes Mizrahi is selling these days. This top is cute—should I get it?

Five more things:

  • 16d. [Not worth ___ of beans], A HILL. The phrase “doesn’t amount to a hill of beans” is more common. Also? I’m going to start using “not worth a sou of beans.” Who’s with me?
  • 48d. [AOL alternative], NETZERO. Do they still exist? *googling* They do! And they offer dial-up internet access nationwide, along with broadband. You might laugh, but a friend of mine who lives in the woods on the shore of Lake Superior only got high-speed internet last year. There was no broadband provider that had brought any wires into her area till then.
  • 83a. [Northern Indiana county or its seat], LAPORTE. A gimme! I mostly see it when there are lake-effect snow warnings for Northwest Indiana. Derek knows it too, because it’s on his way to Chicago. (Prediction: Solvers who aren’t from this part of the Midwest are pouting that this is too obscure, as a town of under 25,000 in a county of 110,000 is not particularly notable.)
  • 101d. [Like some floors], OAKEN. *frowns* Yes, we call them oak floors, not oaken.
  • 1d. [Last Scottish king to die in battle], JAMES IV. So I looked at this clue with no crossings in place and my first thought was IDI AMIN. Just me?

3.75 stars from me.

Evan Birnholz’s Washington Post crossword, “Space Oddity” – Erin’s writeup

WaPo solution 7/30/17

Fun theme with mystery and visual elements this week! Five entries, SATELLITE, WEATHER BALLOON, HELICOPTER, PASSENGER PLANE, and METEORITE, are clued simply as [???]. All these objects can be found in the sky or space (update: or in the sky before hitting the ground, in the case of a meteorite), but that does not qualify as a Sunday-level theme. Our revealer at 14d. then ties these objects together: [With 66 Down, odd sighting … and a description of five answers in this puzzle]. We now know that each member of our mystery group is an UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECT.

The puzzle’s note alerts us to a visual component as well: “The circled squares, beginning at 30 Across and reading clockwise, will spell an apt two-word phrase.” These symmetrically placed squares spell out CONSPIRACY THEORY in a shape reminiscent of a flying saucer.

Other things:

  • I can’t think of any related pictures or songs this week, so here’s a photo I took of Luma catnapping shortly before posting. 
  • 102d. [Doctrinal dissension] HERESY. I could not stop reading this as “Doctoral dissertation,” so it took me forever to crack it.
  • 8a. [Target of Nerd Skincare products] ACNE. Thank you for a new clue for ACNE. It’s about time. Facebook plasters their ads all over my feed. The concept sounds great, but the price is pretty steep.
  • 134a. [It’s not a good look] LEER. The clue is clever while denouncing the action instead of making it seem cutesy.
  • 86d. [Second-hand item, perhaps?] TIMEPIECE. Nice clue.
  • 21a. [Waffle maker] IHOP. I bet I’m not the only person who had IRON first. Tricksy Hobbit.

Until next week!

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s CRooked crossword, “Or Else” — pannonica’s write-up

CRooked • 7/30/17 • “Or Else” • Quigley • bg • solution

Phrases containing the conjunction or are alternatively imagined as the preceding word ending in -er. Schwa!

  • 24a. [Rapper’s wits?] RHYMER REASON (rhyme or reason).
  • 30a. [Like finances you won’t share with a beau?] NOT-FOR-LOVER MONEY (not for love or money).
  • 50a. [Slugger’s nothing-but-air swing?] HITTER MISS (hit-or-miss).
  • 67a. [Boxer’s charter plane?] FIGHTER FLIGHT (fight-or-flight).80a. [More objective infraction?] FAIRER FOUL (fair or foul).
  • 98a. [Become shriveled alone?] WITHER WITHOUT YOU (with or without you).
  • 109a. [Editor’s mistake] RIGHTER WRONG (right or wrong).

Took me a little while to understand what was going on here. With only the first two themers in, my idea was that the OR was dropped from the phrase, but the R remained for the crossing vertical entries—it was weird, and wrong wrong wrong. Subsequent themers, with their less ambiguous spellings, eventually allowed me to see things properly.

  • It’s a good feeling when you can unhesitatingly fill in an unusual and longish 1-across: [Cauliflower-and-potato Indian dish] ALOO GOBI.
  • 47a [Power supply[ WATTAGE. Is there proper clue-answer agreement here?
  • 65a [Coastal inlet] RIA, 40a [Glacial inlet] FJORD, 37a [40 Across nat.] NOR{way}. Ja, I could’ve done without that forced cross-reference abbrev. Voe, WOE IS ME (60a).
  • 21a [Museo Nacional del Prado’s country] ESPAÑA. 103a [“The Princess Bride” swashbuckler hero Inigo] MONTOYA.
  • Relative neologism! 7d [Easily offended white guy] BROFLAKE.
  • 10d [Tops with words] T-SHIRTS. Tricky, especially as the crossing themer 24a [Rapper’s wits] reinforced the misdirection.
  • 25d [Author Arundhati] ROY. She’s on the long list for the Man Booker Prize for her second novel, 20 years after her début The God of Small Things won that distinction. She’s been active in other endeavors in the interim.
  • 46d [Retirement plan] KEOGH. Not, as I suspected, the k of 401(k).
  • 62d [Staff notes]  EGBDF. This is, as they say, YEKIOYD.
  • 76d [Bear up above] URSA, 90d [Twinkler in “le ciel”] ÉTOILE.
  • 54d [Knitting together] SEAMING, 14d [Sewn up] DARNED.

Well I’ll be.

C.C. Burnikel’s Los Angeles Times crossword, “Double Trouble”—Amy’s brief write-up

LA Times crossword solution, 7 30 17, “Double Trouble”

The theme changes initial D’s to TR’s in assorted phrases and clues the oddball phrases accordingly. TRANCE PARTY, SALSA TRIP (but I really don’t think anybody says “salsa dip” rather than salsa), TRASH LIGHT (I don’t know “dash light”—the indicator lights on the dashboard?), SPEED TRIAL, LUCKY TRUCK, TRUST BUNNY, TRUNK SHOT, and KOSHER TRILL. Theme didn’t really resonate with me, and the title doesn’t seem like it offers a rationale for making this particular letter change.


3.33 stars from me. Sorry for the late post—a busy day today.

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16 Responses to Sunday, July 30, 2017

  1. PJ Ward says:

    WaPo – Really enjoyed the puzzle. One thing – a meteorite is not found in the sky. It’s a meteor that makes it through the atmosphere and strikes the Earth.

  2. JohnH says:

    The NYT was tougher than usual for me, and as Amy says some of the theme clues could have been a lot smoother, but overall solving was a decent “aha!” (LAPORTE was new to me and among my last to fall, but I’m not objecting to it.)

  3. MattF says:

    Found the NYT to be somewhat uneven. Tripped over 25D– Huns and Vandals were quite different peoples.

  4. Norm says:

    Found the NYT rather blah. If the humor is going to come from the clues, they need to be wackier. WORK THE NIGHT SHIFT / FLAUNT A LOOSE DRESS AT A SOIREE was the only pairing that made me smile — and all those three letter entries?? Arggh (or however that’s spelled).

    WSJ was clever — even if I had to backtrack after trying to enter THEORY OF RELATIVITY in the circles after filling in enough of the grid to see THEORY. I thought the concept was a bit loose, however, since CONSPIRACY THEORY can cover so many things these days, and UFOs, frankly, seem rather far down on the list these day. Wish Evan could have worked AREA 51 or ROSWELL into the grid somehow to tie things together, but that’s a minor nit and the UFO image was very nice.

  5. Allan says:

    Really liked BEQ’s work today, especially two of the themers: NOTFORLOVERMONEY and WITHERWITHOUTYOU.

  6. Joan Macon says:

    Where’s the LAT, please?

  7. Joan Macon says:

    Thanks, Amy!

  8. Chukkagirl says:

    I know this is a little late, but I’m confused about NYT 86D “Cans” being COOLERS. I’m missing the connection somehow…?

Comments are closed.