Monday, October 2, 2017

BEQ 12:27 (Laura) 


LAT untimed (pannonica) 


NYT untimed (pannonica)  


WSJ untimed (Jim)  


Trenton Charlson’s  New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

NYT • 10/1/17 • Mon • Charlson • № 1001 • solution

Series or groups the contents of which may be represented—but not necessarily exclusively—by single letters. The clues exhaustively, and alphabetically, list the members that qualify.

  • 18a.[A B C D E F G] MUSIC NOTES.
  • 23a. [A B C D F] LETTER GRADES. Academically speaking.
  • 52a. [G R X] MOVIE RATINGS.
  • 62a [A B O] BLOOD TYPES.


  • 29a [Hay storage areas] LOFTS, symmetrically paired with 46a [Bundles of hay] BALES.
  • 44a [French affirmative] OUI, 63d [Affirmative] YES.
  • 49a [Strands in a cell?] DNA. Little too strained for the joke to work, don’tcha think?
  • Liked both longdowns: 3d [Utterly ruined, informally] SHOT TO HELL, 30d [Play and film about a 1977 series of interviews with a former president] FROST/NIXON.
  • 65d [Cry upon getting a tough crossword clue] AHA. Ironically, I mistook “getting” in the clue to mean “receiving” rather than “resolving”.

Alright Monday, didn’t feel like much.

Theresa Schmidt’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Making the Bed” — Jim’s review

Theme: Parts of a bed.

WSJ – Mon, 10.2.17 – “Making the Bed” by Theresa Schmidt

  • 20a [Burglars may escape under it] COVER OF NIGHT
  • 35a [Winter wonderland feature] BLANKET OF SNOW
  • 52a [Window makeup] SHEET OF GLASS

The theme feels rather light and slightly off target. A “blanket” and a “sheet” are well-defined, but a “cover” seems vague. A “quilt” or “pillow” would have been more welcome. Also, the long Across answers BARGES IN ON and MOLTEN LAVA at first appear to be theme answers, but it turns out they’re not.

Nice fill in FREE FALL, ERITREANS, and MARY ASTOR. I had never heard of a BOBOLINK [Black songbird named for its call], but it looks like the Dennis Rodman of the bird world (see video below). Also good: PASCAL, FIASCO, ENCINO, and MASH-UP.

One clue still befuddles me: 41a [Gut courses] for EASY A’S. Can anyone clear that up for me?

Not much else to say. It’s a Monday. Lots of long non-theme fill, but a rather light theme.

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

BEQ - 10.2.17

BEQ – 10.2.17 – Solution

Hey, I KNOW A GUY [1a: Diversion dropped when you’d rather not explain things] who constructs awesome crossword puzzles. You can get them for free on Mondays and Thursdays at his website. But if you’re here reading this blog post, you already knew that, so IGNORE ME [36d: “I’m just babbling here”]. I found this a reasonably challenging (for pre-Monday morning coffee) grid that was DOABLE [47a: Not out of the question], with some WEIRD [55a: Off the beaten path] cluing, which I liked with IMMENSITY [57a: Enormousness]. Nothing to put me IN A DITHER [63a: Fit to be tied], no LE SIGH [44d: Pepé Le Pew’s humorous phrase of disappointment].

LINDSEY STIRLING [35a: Classical crossover violinist with the 2016 album “Brave Enough”] was described on her America’s Got Talent debut as a “hip-hop violinist” but I kinda like the steampunk/Mad-Max-Beyond-Thunderdome vibe of this video:

Nice misdirects:

  • [17a: Item in a case]: STAIRSTEP. A case … of what? I thought, BEER CAN? No, a STAIRSTEP is one item in a staircase.
  • [12d: Alternative to bow ties]: RIGATONI. ASCOTS? BOLO … something? Ah, pasta! Farfalle, or bow ties.
  • [52a: Caboose]: ASS. When you publish your own puzzles on your own site, you can clue a common word in the sense that most people use it. In contrast, ASS (which is a very convenient word for constructors, what with its A and two esses) has been used in the New York Times around 1,000 times since 1942, and it has always been clued in reference to either a “braying pack animal” or “buffoon.”

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

LAT • 10/2/17 • Mon • Wilson • solution

You can count on Monday puzzles to be straightforward.

  • 17a. [Evening show with headlines and stories] NEWS AT TEN.
  • 29a. [Like perceptive hindsight] TWENTY-TWENTY.
  • 47a. [Generic pre-sunrise error] OH-DARK-THIRTY.
  • 64a. [Farm’s remote acreage] BACK FORTY.

Tail ends of these answers progress by tens. No real viable alternative to the number-also-at-the-front entry at 29-across, though it afforded the opportunity to learn about the SACRED TWENTY. There’s the band MATCHBOX TWENTY, but then we have no viable 14-letter phrase for x THIRTY. Just so.

Though I could trawl the crossword for a few elements to highlight, I’m pressed for time this morning. Suffice to say that there’s nothing notably bad or amazingly good among the supporting fill. As I said, Mondays.

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16 Responses to Monday, October 2, 2017

  1. Robert White says:

    “X” as a movie rating?? I thought NC-17 was used now!

  2. Chance says:

    @Robert White, I’m not sure if X is still used, but NC-17 was created to distinguish arty, non-obscene but very sexual films from X movies, that exist for one reason only.

    On the NYT puzzle, I found the theme to be fun on this one, but the clues too straightforward — no humor or wordplay in 90% of them.

    I wish you had posted a time — mine was 5:01.

  3. arthur118 says:

    Speaking of euphemisms, before we forget the theme of yesterday’s puzzle, (though I think most of you had hoped to never be reminded of it), 60 Minutes tonight showed a segment reviewing the extraordinary wonders we have gleaned from the Hubble telescope over the years.

    One such event captured by the telescope showed the enormity of an explosion resulting from a comet that had crashed into Jupiter. The NASA scientist left no doubt that, had the comet struck Earth, it would have meant total, immediate destruction.

    (Now, here’s the relevant part of this post), she then noted that at NASA they would call such an event “a biosphere changing event”.

    That’s One Way To Put It.

    • huda says:

      I love it… I wish the puzzle had included similarly unexpected turns of phrase.

      Hubble has been awesome. I hope somehow we find ways to continue to support science in this country.

  4. Ethan says:

    Eesh. MUSIC NOTES. One -AL away from being a real phrase.
    CHEMICAL SYMBOLS seems off, too. ATOMIC SYMBOLS or even ELEMENT SYMBOLS would have been better.

  5. David L says:

    I’m perplexed by a couple of things in the BEQ.

    “It may come with cable” is the clue for DSL — but isn’t DSL what you get on your old-fashioned phone line as an alternative to cable?

    INADITHER — to me, dither means vacillate, waver etc — nothing to do with anger. I’ve heard “in a pother” to mean angry, although it’s not a word I would use.

    Also, SMITHY for “horseshoe maker.” I think this has come up before, but to me a SMITHY is the place where a blacksmith works. Apparently the misinterpretation arose because of a misreading of the Longfellow poem: “Under the spreading chestnut tree/the village smithy stands.” In fact the next two lines are “The smith, a mighty man is he/with large and sinewy hands.”

    ETA: never heard of Lindsey Stirling but the crosses were fair

    • Laura B says:

      DSL is indeed transmitted over old-fashioned phone lines, but it is an alternative to a cable modem, not to cable television. Many cable tv packages offer a bundle that includes DSL as internet service. I’ll accept IN A DITHER as meaning “generally agitated,” which would include being flustered or “fit to be tied,” which idiomatically can mean either angry or frustrated. I’ll also accept the name of location of the work being done — i.e. SMITHY — as a metonym for the worker. A parallel would be CITY HALL for [Law maker] — clearly the place isn’t making the laws, but we know that it’s a figure of speech. Perhaps a more precise clue here would’ve been [Horseshoe maker, figuratively]. Thanks for the Longfellow quotation!

      • Sheik Yerbouti says:

        No, David L has it right on cable/DSL. The clue is “It may come with cable.” DSL will never come with cable. Different technologies altogether. You say “many cable tv packages offer a bundle that includes DSL as internet service.” I’m not aware of any examples, unless you are thinking of things like DIRECTV, which, again, is not cable. Otherwise, I did enjoy the puzzle (and BEQ continues to impress with the regularly excellent quality of his puzzles).

  6. golfballman says:

    A big thank you to Norm for his solution to my LAT problem. Problem solved

  7. Laura B says:

    Jim: One clue still befuddles me: 41a [Gut courses] for EASY A’S. Can anyone clear that up for me?

    A gut is a an easy course taken by a college student to boost his or her GPA, like “Rocks for Jocks” (Introduction to Geology), “Clapping for Credit” (Music Appreciation), or my favorite, “Physics for Poets.”

    • Jim Peredo says:

      Thanks, Laura. I had never heard that use of the word gut. As someone who double-majored in Electrical Engineering and English, “Physics for Poets” sounds like it would have been right up my alley.

  8. Sarah says:

    Best Monday NYT in months.

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