Monday, September 18, 2017

BEQ 11:11 (Laura) 


LAT untimed (pannonica) 


NYT untimed (pannonica)  


WSJ untimed (Jim)  


Tom McCoy’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

NYT • 9/18/17 • Mon • McCoy •№ 0918 • solution

Colorful idiomatic anatomy is the name of the game here.

  • 20a. [Visibly tense] WHITE-KNUCKLED.
  • 32a. [Extremely jealous] GREEN-EYED. See also 22d [One of the seven deadly sins] LUST (not ENVY).
  • 44a. [In the very act] RED-HANDED.
  • 56a. [Deplorably cowardly] YELLOW-BELLIED.

Very consistent constructions and all that.

  • 14a [Ogden Nash’s “two-l” beast] LLAMA, 7d [Lima’s land] PERU.
  • 17a [ __ nerve (retina attachment)] OPTIC, 9d [Holder of an eye or a light bulb] SOCKET.
  • 24a [Crucial biological molecule] DNA, 36a [Characteristic] TRAIT.
  • 21d [Prepare to be knighted] KNEEL, 46a [Lancelot’s title] SIR.
  • 33d [Florida senator Marco] RUBIO, 61d [Member of Cong.] REP.
  • 1d [Snow clearers] PLOWS, 48d [Bombarded, as with snowballs] PELTED.
  • 65a [Things in an Easter basket] EGGS, 68a [Supplies for Easter 65-Across] DYES. Seems like an editing slip-up—why repeat ‘Easter’ like that?
  • 45d [Blend] AMALGAM. Nice to see a less-common but not difficult word in a Monday crossword.

Very quick solve and a nice, easy way to start the week.

Brock Wilson’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 9/18/17 • Mon • Wilson • solution

  • 53dR [Ad agency guys responsible for 20-, 38- and 54-Across?] PR MEN. Hence, phrases whose words each begin with that bigram.
  • 20a. [Earnings before the government’s cut] PRETAX PROFITS.
  • 38a. [Words on a “No Trespassing” sign] PRIVATE PROPERTY.
  • 54a. [Invention that revolutionized book production] PRINTING PRESS.

Other protential prossibilities: PRION PROTEIN (12), PRIVATE PRACTICE (15, dupes 38a), PRAIRIE PROVINCES (16), PREDATORY PRICING (16), PRIOR PROBABILITY (16), PRESENT PROGRESSIVE (18), PRELIMINARY PROSPECTUS (21), and more no doubt. Oh, PROLONGED PREGNANCY (18). And more no doubt. As I said.

  • 9a [Pancake syrup tree] MAPLE. This clue disturbs me. I appreciate the intent, but (1) “pancake syrup” is what they have somehow decided the inferior HFCS alternative to genuine maple syrup should be designated, and (2) it also coerces me into thinking of a syrup tree (don’t ask me to explain what that might be) made of pancake batter.
  • 8d [Piccolo relative] RECORDER.
  • 15d [Coleridge’s “The __ of the Ancient Mariner] RIME, 21d [On the Caribbean] AT SEA … hmm, is that good fill? … 43a [Speck in la mer] ÎLE.
  • 35d [Drips in a hosp.] IVS, 41d [Surg. holding area] PRE-OP. “Doc, I’ve got acute abbrevitis.” …
  • 16a [Partners of pains] ACHES.
  • 60d [Va. summer hours] DST. Seems as if the clue wants EDT, else why specify a locale that suggests longitude and time zone?
  • 62a [Promises at the altar] I DOS.
    (so very ’80s)

Okay, I’ll stop.

Zhouqin Burnikel’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Ilk Conceived” — Jim’s review

Well, the theme didn’t help me solve the puzzle, because it was over before I knew it. And then I had to stare at the grid for a while to find the theme. The title really threw me because it seemed like we would be doing some wordplay in which the starting sound of the second word is added to the end of the first word.

But it’s not that complicated. The first word of each theme answer is a synonym for “ilk.”

WSJ – Mon, 9.18.17 – “Ilk Conceived” by Zhouqin Burnikel

  • 18a [Disruptive student, at timesCLASS CLOWN
  • 23a [Compliment] KIND WORDS. I’m not sure why this and the next entry were made to be plurals. They certainly didn’t need to be. And KIND WORD (as in, something someone might put in for you) sounds better to my ear than KIND WORDS.
  • 50a [Layout choices] TYPEFACES
  • 58a [Magic or juggling performance, say] VARIETY ACT

Despite the plurals, these make for solid entries. I especially like CLASS CLOWN and VARIETY ACT paired together. Maybe it’s a little light theme-wise, but the spartan theme helps keep the rest of the grid silky smooth.

Speaking of which, we get such lovelies as “ABOUT THAT,” WAL-MART, DEER FLY, PEONIES, and TEAM USA. I’m not as keen on “I’M UP FOR IT” as I would be for “I’M UP FOR THAT,” but it still feels fresh.

And I enjoyed that starting NW corner, even if it is proper-name heavy with KAL, OTIS, and JAVA, all crossing KOJAK. Nice and scrabbly.

There’s really nothing worth calling out on the negative side, so I’ll just leave it at that. This was a quick solve, but a pleasure nonetheless.

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Themeless Monday crossword—Laura’s write-up

BEQ - 9.18.17 - Solution

BEQ – 9.18.17 – Solution

[55a: Everything counted]: ALL TOLD, some entries felt so up-to-the-minute that it felt like one of Peter Gordon’s Fireball Newsflash puzzles. Two examples:

  • [49a: Award won by Marc-Antoine Fardin in 2017 for his research claiming cats are simultaneously both solid and liquid]: IG NOBEL PRIZE. The Ig Nobel (a play on ignoble) Prizes honor the year’s strangest scientific research that “makes people laugh, then think.” At this year’s awards, held last week in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Brendan’s band, The Boston Typewriter Orchestra, played a concert before the ceremony.

    Liquid Cat

    Solid? Liquid? If I fits, I sits.

  • [8d: Social website with the slogan “Media for the 65.8 million”]: VERRIT. Per its site, “Verrit collects and contextualizes noteworthy facts, stats, and quotes for politically engaged citizens. Each “verrit” is a verified item of information marked with a 7-digit identification code.” (That 65.8 million? The number of people who voted for Hillary in the 2016 election.) The site aims to counter “fake news” by providing authenticated facts. As a Clinton supporter and a librarian, who is professionally engaged in something we like to call “information literacy,” I suppose I’m in the targeted user community for this site. If you have thoughts about Verrit, let me know in the comments along with your 7-digit identification code.

Other interesting stuff:

  • [15a: “Cat’s Cradle” substance]: ICE-NINE. That would be Cat’s Cradle, the 1963 Kurt Vonnegut novel, not “Cat’s in the Cradle,” the 1974 Harry Chapin song. If a cat is in a cradle, is it a liquid or a solid?
  • [31d: It has both National Cheese Day and National Cognac Day … on the same day no less]: JUNE. When that day comes again, it will be a very fine day.
  • [9d: In great haste]: AMAIN. Something feels very archaic about this term, like an 18th-century boatswain yelling “abaft the binnacle amain, ye mateys!”


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18 Responses to Monday, September 18, 2017

  1. Martin says:

    65a [Things in an Easter basket] EGGS, 68a [Supplies for Easter 65-Across] DYES. Seems like an editing slip-up—why repeat ‘Easter’ like that?

    It seems more like careful editing to me. A cross-ref stands for the entry without regard to how it was clued. The second clue is therefore “Supplies for Easter eggs” and not “Supplies for eggs.” The former is better for a Monday clue.

    • pannonica says:

      Good point, but the result is an ungainly experience for the solver. I’d have found another way.

      • Papa John says:

        The solver, in this case, seems to be you, pannonica, with your predilection for finding what you call “dupes”.

        un*gain*ly = in*eleg*a*nt ≠ ineloqu*e*nt

        • pannonica says:

          You sound bitter.

          • Papa John says:

            Not at all! I just had a very enjoyable weekend with unexpected guests and am still basking in the glow.

            You do seem to find dupes a lot. Am I wrong? No judgement in that, just an observation. I hardly notice them.

            Any acrimony in me is due to my basic cynicism. Crosswords never make me cross.

            By the way, the word formula at the bottom of my post is a compliment to you.

          • pannonica says:

            Oh, certainly I do. It’s one of my fallbacks.

            Was referring to the other part.

            Glad you had a nice weekend!

          • pannonica says:

            “By the way, the word formula at the bottom of my post is a compliment to you.”

            I definitely read it the wrong way.

  2. Re: BEQ

    My thoughts on VERRIT as a crossword entry aside, I’m a fan of lefty Twitter mocking Verrit itself (see here and here for examples).

    • Laura B says:

      I did see those and was baffled and amused (but not bemused). VERRIT seems like it belongs squarely under the auspices of the Department of Missing the Point (unless I’m missing the point).

    • David L says:

      The merits of VERRIT aside, it’s also a Naticky entry, as EMEND could equally well be AMEND. But I recently read some of the snarkery about it so it was in my mind.

    • john farmer says:

      Mockery is often the weapon of choice in the intra-left feud between the H side and the B side. I’d say the Verrit mockery is about 90% politically motivated, about 10% on merit. It’s hardly a politically neutral dispute.

      • Yeah but 1) mockery that’s largely politically motivated can still be both funny and true, otherwise late-night comedy shows would probably cease to exist; and 2) the guy who created Verrit (Peter Daou) is far from a politically neutral person himself. I’d argue he often invites that mockery.

        • john farmer says:

          Of course, Daou is not neutral. He’s a supporter of Clinton’s, one of her most prominent defenders against media bias, sexist attacks, and frankly, uninformed mockery, of which there’s been plenty. Other than that, I’m not sure what he’s done that “often invites … mockery.” Verrit is a small thing but it’s generated an outsized response. Which is my point: it’s more about politics than the merits of the site. People are more likely to find Verrit and Daou mock-worthy if that aligns with their politics.

  3. ahimsa says:

    The best thing about the NYT puzzle is that it reminded me of this great video by OK Go, White Knuckles. If you’re a dog lover I think you’ll enjoy it! :-)

  4. lemonade714 says:

    As far as Easter being repeated, some of us find wit in the choice. Having a clue echo another clue, without duping an answer, is fun – to me. Likewise, your mini-rant on the use of pancake syrup tree to be a clue for maple (syrup tree) is most confusing. what does the clue or fill have to do with high fructose corn syrup? Both Monday puzzles were fun. Thank you, Tom and Brock.

    I would like to reassert my position that anyone who assigns a “1” to a puzzle must provide a reason. Neither the NYT or LAT were terrible.

    • pannonica says:

      What’s marketed as “Pancake Syrup” typically contains corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, water, molasses, artificial flavors and colors, etc.

      Wasn’t a rant so much as a digression explaining my idiosyncratic thought process there.

      • lemonade714 says:

        Thank you for the explanation. Being a purist, I use real maple syrup for pancakes. I must have missed the marketing deception.

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