Friday, September 8, 2017

CHE untimed (pannonica) 


LAT untimed (Gareth) 


NYT 4:46 (Amy) 


Sam Trabucco’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 9 8 17, no 0908

This one’s hit or miss with me. Hits are BUZZFEED QUIZZES, CAKE POP, SAYONARA, FAKE NAME, BAZOOKA JOE, my beloved QUEEQUEG, and MIKE PIAZZA‘s double-Z crossing the same in QUIZZES. I like Brooklyn Nine-Nine and character ROSA Diaz, too.

I’m less sure of A LOT TO DO, “I’M A MORON,” “YOU’RE A JERK,” “ARE WE CLEAR,” and SIT AT HOME. CYBER CAFES—is that still a term in current use? I don’t dig ALIA, the never-heard-of-it STARCRAFT, and plural FIDOS. Heck, I don’t even care for singular FIDO! It’s way overused in crosswords.

Four more things:

  • 22a. [Bare place on the side of a mountain], SCAR. Didn’t quite know this one, had to work the crossings.
  • 33a. [Wheelchair-bound “Glee” character], ARTIE. People! Quit using the term wheelchair-bound. People use things like wheelchairs, crutches, canes, hearing aids, and so on to expand their access to the world, while –bound suggests limitations. It’s also bogus that the Artie character was played by a non-disabled (so far) actor when there are paraplegic actors out there. (See also: transgender characters being played by cisgender characters.)
  • 8d. [Who set the standard for the United States?], ROSS. A less common meaning of standard is flag, and Betsy Ross sewed the early U.S. flag. (“Set” is a bit of a stretch, though.)
  • 23d. [Israeli city that shares its name with a unit of measure], ACRE. There’s also a Brazilian state by the same name, but never pronounced like the measure of area.

Four stars from me.

Jacob Stulberg’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Leading (W)edge” — pannonica’s write-up

CHE • 9/8/17 • “Leading (W)edge” • Stulberg • solution

This week’s offering certainly fits the Chronicle’s niche.

  • 7aR [With 66 Across, nickname for the Piedmont region whose points are marked by academic institutions … as depicted in this puzzle] RESEARCH | TRIANGLE.

And the relevant spots are three rebus squares:

  • 1a. [Fictional canine owned by the Winslows] MARMA{DUKE}.
    6d. [“Black, Brown, and Beige” composer] {DUKE} ELLINGTON.
  • 29a. [Numskull] D{UNC}E.
    23d [Post-office scale unit] O{UNC}E.
  • 42a. [Compound formerly known as “white vitriol”] ZI{NC SU}LFATE. Old name seems as if it could find a place in today’s resurgently overt ugliness in society, Better to listen to Ellington’s thoughtful history.

    31d. [Surveyor who established the Iowa–Missouri border] JOH{N C SU}LLIVAN.

Duke University, University of North Carolina, North Carolina State University, located respectively in Durham, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill. I overlaid several maps upon the grid and none of them matched well to the locations as represented here. Relatively speaking, however, the municipalities are correct: Durham is northernmost, Chapel Hill is westernmost, Raleigh is southern- and easternmost and more distant from the other two. So with the right projection and proportions I’m sure it could be aligned adequately. It can’t have been easy to get all of those intersecting rebuses (especially the cumbersome NCSU) into the grid exactly where they need to be to match the most common geographical representations. This is definitely close enough for jazz.

  • 48a [“One __ doth tread upon another’s heel”: “Hamlet”] WOE. I, uh, had TOE filled in for a while.
  • 2d [Chicken __ king] À LA. Oh look, some more jazz.
  • 4d [Sunset color] MAUVE. I, uh, tried TAUPE first? 10d [Cream alternative] ECRU.
  • 13d [Ginger __ ] CAT, just above 27d [Ginger __ ] ALE.
  • 20d [Combo-meal choices] SODAS. I, uh, had SIDES there.
  • Curious to see in Row 3 DIARISTS (with the neat clue [They often keep their thoughts locked up] alongside SAMUEL [Gompers or Goldwyn]. Tough not to think of Pepys.
  • 59d [Marc-André __ Stegen (German goalie for FC Barcelona] TER. I guess that’s better than the outdated ℞ ter in die (tid), but I still wouldn’t want to see it three times in one day,

SODAS? ALE? Take two pils and call me in the morning.

Alex Eaton-Salners’ LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up

LA Times

It’s refreshing to have another LA Times crossword with an offbeat theme. Mostly to keep more casual solvers happy, the crossword often ploughs well-worn thematic furrows. This, however, is the second LA Times in a short period to dips into the well of rebuses (which are officially verboten, per the constructor’s spec sheet). Four pairs of two O’s function normally going across, but represent “8” in six down entries. The only weakness is, once you have the gimmick, it’s a tad repetitive, as all the eights are numeric: [8]ISENOUGH (so, if with six you get eggroll, what do you get with eight again?), [8]COUSINS (not heard of that one), [8]TRACK, SUPER[8], SECTION[8] and PIECESOF[8], the revealer.

USNAVY is stacked over SEABEE, but, surprisingly, not cross-referenced. Perhaps subtlety is a virtue.

[Somewhat, to Saint-Saëns], POCO. Also a multi-national discount furniture store. There are two locations in South Africa, one very near to me. I think they are German in origin? Checking… In Germany, Poland, Australia and now South Africa. An obvious way to expand???

[Level, in London], RASE. Is this standard? We use British spelling here, and I’ve never seen it, nor do I recall it any in British novels. It is ubiquitous in crosswords, however.

3.75 Stars

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22 Responses to Friday, September 8, 2017

  1. Ethan says:

    54-Down is like red meat to the people who have been complaining about figures from Trump’s administration showing up in the crossword.

  2. Steve Manion says:

    Double Z notwithstanding, Mike Piazza should not be in a crossword puzzle unless and until Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are also enshrined in Cooperstown. The sanctimony and hypocrisy of baseball are overwhelming. All of Piazza’s big home run years occurred in the heart of the steroid era and he (just as Mark Mcgwire did before him–to avoid the real issue of steroids) admitted to using androstenione. I do not like Bonds at all, but he was perhaps the greatest baseball player of all time and to let any abuser in when he is out is just wrong. My major league baseball friend from that era told me that it was 60-80% abusers.

    That inclusion of Piazza spoiled an otherwise fun and pretty easy puzzle.


    • Ethan says:

      I’m struggling to understand your position here. Mike Piazza can’t be in a crossword puzzle because Barry Bonds isn’t in the Hall of Fame? Unless Will Shortz has said that he won’t accept Barry Bonds in the NYT puzzle until Bonds is elected to the HOF, I have no idea what argument you’re trying to make. Pete Rose frequently appears in the puzzle, and he’s not in the Hall of Fame either.

      • Jenni Levy says:

        Yeah. I agree with the HOF argument (and don’t get me started on Tony LaRussa) but that has nothing to do with crosswords. Piazza was accurately clued.

      • Steve Manion says:

        This was personal. Ann Coulter appeared in a puzzle and I was disgusted because I find her disgusting. Amy, Jenni and others frequently find fault with terminology that they deem sexist or otherwise offensive.

        I played baseball and my father was a high school baseball coach. I find the hypocrisy of baseball disgusting and do not like to be reminded of it. The arguably greatest player of all time is excluded from a crossword puzzle and a lesser light who is probably equally guilty (I consider steroid use akin to being a little bit pregnant). If you used steroids in that era, which were encouraged by the powers that be, you should not be punished, period. If Bonds can’t get into a crossword puzzle, Piazza should not be able to either.


        • PJ Ward says:

          Check out 32A from August 17.

        • Amy Reynaldo says:

          BARRYBONDS has been in two LAT puzzles and a CrosSynergy. There are lots of ways to clue BONDS (it’s a common noun), and yet it’s been clued via Barry five times. Also two BARRY clues for Bonds. Not in the New York Times, but I’ll bet it’s not some vendetta against Barry Bonds, just random chance. Do you have some source for “Bonds can’t get into a crossword puzzle”? Because here, he just wouldn’t have worked with the Z crossing.

          • Steve Manion says:

            If it is any consolation, I have disgust for IDI and SESE as well. I am actually an advocate for anything goes in a crossword puzzle and have a very high (or is it very low?) breakfast test threshold, but if you are going to let some entries in for expedience and omit others for whatever real or contrived political for social reason, that to me is hypocritical.

            To answer your two-part question, isn’t a piazza a gathering place? I thought I read somewhere that Barry Bonds was a crossword no-no

            P.S. I actually always liked Mike Piazza (and Sammy Sosa, and Mark Mcgwire, etc., etc., etc. ) and all the other steroid abusers who brought baseball back after the strike year.

          • Amy Reynaldo says:

            PIAZZA has been in four puzzles, never clued as Mike! No idea where you might’ve read that Barry Bonds was a crossword no-no. Would be interested to know what you find if you Google that.

  3. David L says:

    I had STAN Lee in the SE, which caused some trouble before I tried SARA instead. I also didn’t understand the clue for PROM — “Last dance?” Why? (Since I didn’t go to high school in this country the whole prom thing is kind of mystifying to me).

  4. Dr Fancypants says:

    STARCRAFT is one of the most successful video games of all time. Doesn’t mean you need to have heard of it, but it seems odd to complain about its presence (it would be like complaining about AVATAR appearing in a grid because you don’t watch sci-fi).

  5. scrivener says:

    I suspect the theme gimmick in the LAT has been done before, but I haven’t seen it and really enjoyed the discovery. Fun solve.

  6. DaveB says:

    Loved the fresh and funny clue at 21a for Rams fan? (EWE) Nicely done!

  7. huda says:

    NYT: Yeah scrabbly without being clunky, which makes it fun. Once I recognized the love of rare letters, it helped me guess at some crossing.

    I actually liked the snarky bits: I’m a moron, you’re a jerk, are we clear? Totally…

  8. Jenni Levy says:

    I liked the NYT better than Amy except that it was easier than I prefer.

  9. Mr. Grumpypants says:

    I groaned when I saw the LAT theme at
    Sorry to rain on the parade of praise, but that just does not work. I guess if you solve on paper you can draw things to make it look like an 8 but … no. No rating from me; I just had to note my distaste for this one.

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