Brendan Emmett Quigley’s New York Times crossword—Laura’s write-up
A themeless from BEQ to kick off the weekend; I found it [28a: Especially]: ABOVE ALL tougher than usual. Got the center right away with [20d: Toys that may open and close their eyes]: BABY DOLLS, along with [23d: Sometimes-zippered container]: SANDWICH BAG, flailed a bit because I had BASIC for [25a: Computer programmer’s need]: LOGIC, but then that led to most of [8d: Defined 25-Across]: MADE NO SENSE (though I first parsed it as something something NOSE something SE). And I even thought for a minute, re [9d: Became slippery, in a way] is ICE DOVER a place? Is that where the University of Delaware’s hockey team plays? Middle regions (what I think of as the I-80 latitudes of the grid) were fine, got the SW fine (anyone else a little startled by the stacked THEs in 58a and 61a?), and then stared off into the middle distance like [38d: Internet meme of the star of the “The Matrix” looking sullen] for what seemed like hours.
No way was I going to [16a: Be successful]: ACHIEVE anything special with this one. NW and SE just killed me. I’d seen a [60a: Toy consisting of a spool on a string] at your various old-timey museums and historical societies — it’s the type of [26d: Antique]: OLDEN [27d: Whatchamacallit]: GIZMO one finds at those places — but I didn’t know it was called a DIABOLO (I had something something YOYO for a while), and also got hung up because I mixed up [44d: Cousins of honeydews]: CASABAS with CASSAVA (which is another term for yucca). When I was a kid, our local independent TV station used to show tons of their movies, but never [17a: 1942 Abbott and Costello musical comedy]: RIO RITA — which apparently is all about outwitting Nazis! I’ll add it to my list of “movies in which Nazi motherfuckers get their asses kicked.” Overall, great work as usual from BEQ, and I blame my troubles on the [22a: Jazz/samba fusion popularized in the 1960s]: BOSSA NOVA. Tomorrow I’m heading down to NYC for Lollapuzzoola, which will be my very first tournament as a competitor; hope to see many of you there!
Jeffrey Wechsler’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
THEXFILES is represented four times with a strong visual theme – FILES spelt out in the shape of an X. The theme did make for difficult to design corners, which were mostly well contained. Clue of the puzzle was [Toy used on flights] for SLINKY.
I object to the idea that LAW CLERKS write opinions even though they often literally do. The clerks draft opinions, which, in some or many cases depending on the judge, might be accepted in haec verba as the opinion, but the judge is always solely responsible for the opinion itself.
I thought every section was initially tough, but each fell quickly once a foothold was obtained.
After reading the Wall Street Journal review of Wednesday and today’s New York Times commentary, I can’t help but wonder if reviewers shouldn’t exhibit decorum with their readers by respecting that if a word is too offensive to be included in a newspaper’s crossword, it should be considered too offensive to be included in reviews of such crosswords.
Many find it hard to steer clear of the F word when it comes to Nazis.
This is a blog about the NYT crossword and others, not the decorous old Gray Lady itself.
I find objecting to the use of “motherfuckers” as an epithet for “Nazis” in a blog post frankly ridiculous and I find our President’s reluctance to immediately condemn such disgusting violence as this weekend’s as fucking offensive.
You want decorum? I suspect that the Times’ own Wordplay blog would adhere to the paper’s sense of decorum, so read and post there. The reviewers at this site appear to be free to speak their minds using the full glorious breadth of English vocabulary, from the highfalutin’ to the gutter, to which I say “A-fucking-men.”
That’s so sexist.
HALP I’M BEING HELD HOSTAGE BY STANDARDS THEY’VE GOT ME TIED UP IN THE COFFEE ROOM!
And yes, if I wasn’t obligated to adhere to the standards of The Times, I would have totes referred to them as “Nazi motherfuckers” as well.
Can we really be still getting the vapors and clutching at our pearls about seeing the f-word in print after all the major papers published Scaramucci’s tirade verbatim?
Anyone else have an issue with the clue for 18A in the NYT, “Deemed fit” for DEIGNED? I suppose there are sentences in which “Deemed fit” would be an acceptable substitute for “deigned”, but I feel that it misses a big chunk of the word’s meaning: that it refers to being fit to one’s dignity, nothing else. You wouldn’t say, for instance, “President Trump deigned to go on a Twitter rant against the media”, though you might say he saw fit to do so.
I resisted putting down DEIGNED until the crosses forced me to; even once I’d considered the possibility, it didn’t seem right to me.
“I DEIGNED to refer to Nazis as ‘motherfuckers’ in a blog post about the New York Times crossword puzzle” = “I DEEMED FIT [both to my dignity and to the conventions of crossword puzzle blogging] to refer to Nazis as ‘motherfuckers’ in a blog post about the New York Times crossword puzzle.”
Honestly, I’m not sure I’d write a sentence like that at all—to me,
deigned is pretty close kin to condescended, which doesn’t seem to quite fit. If I did write it though, DEIGNED would translate as “DEEMED FIT [to my dignity, without reference to the conventions of crossword puzzle blogging].” It’s true that if a crossword blogger tells you that she deigned to refer to Nazis as ‘motherfuckers’ in her blog post, one could reasonably infer that she deemed it fit to the conventions of crossword puzzle blogging as well—but that doesn’t mean that’s included in the meaning of deign.
Proof: you would use deign to describe deeming something fit to your dignity, where nothing else is at stake, but you wouldn’t use it to to describe deeming something fit for other purposes, when your dignity is not at stake. Hence, I conclude that deigned refers to finding something fit for one’s dignity and not to finding it fit for something else (or I’m wrong about how you would use the word).
How about “I DEIGNED to engage in discussion with the blog commenter who wanted to address the semantic nuances of deign“?
A fine usage, and very kind of you, too, ma’am.
CASABAS crossing DIABOLO was the only thing that really tripped me up. V instead of B seemed to make sense for both answers. Otherwise a very enjoyable puzzle
NYT: THE LAMB stacked with THE AREA? The fuck?!?
NYT: Sailed through this one quite quickly, but spottiness at the outset gave me ––MA––A for 1a [Island known for its coffee] and I went with JAMAICA even though I greatly enjoy Indonesian varieties, such as those from SUMATRA.
Not that many here care, as three (3) people rated the LAT 1 – an absurd reaction – but in addition to the review by Gareth (3.75 BTW) the five Xs made by the circle, also create a big X NW to SE and NE to SW. And finally, the word FILES presented in a Z patters, progress left to right for a wonderfully crafted visual puzzle.
I don’t know why anyone would rate the LAT 1, much less three people. Creating the grid was a feat of construction and I enjoyed solving it. The longer answers were excellent, too.
Thank you for pointing out the additional visual part that I hadn’t noticed!
Not only that, but as pointed out at CC’s Crossword Corner, the letters all progress through the Xs in the same order: NE, C, SW, SE, NW. This progression happens when you look at the big Xs in the same NE, C, SW, SE, NW corner. Pretty nifty!
edit: whoops, I see you already said that in a much more succinct way!
Isn’t it sexist not to include fatherfuckers?
I’m still waiting for Thursday’s LAT.