Thursday, November 23, 2017

BEQ untimed (Laura) 


LAT 3:43 (Gareth) 


NYT 3:30 (Andy) 


Happy Thanksgiving! Fireball is on hiatus and will return November 29th. No WSJ puzzle due to the holiday.

Howard Barkin’s New York Times crossword—Andy’s review

NYT puzzle 11.23.17 by Howard Barkin

Howard! A strong contender every year not only for ACPT champ but for nicest guy in crosswords. Thankful to see his byline on this Thanksgiving Thursday!

I’m not sure exactly how to describe today’s theme. The theme clues are all numerical two-word phrases, and they’ve been interpreted a bit literally, to humorous effect:

  • 20a, THIRTY MINUTES [Halftime show?]The show is 60 Minutes; half of that time would be THIRTY MINUTES.
  • 30a, SIX AMIGOS [Double feature?]. The movie is Three Amigos (or, rather, ¡Three Amigos!); double the feature, and you get SIX AMIGOS.
  • 38a, RICHARD IX [Triple play?]. The original is Richard III; tripled, it’s RICHARD IX.
  • 50a, THREE OAKS [Fourth estate?]. Twelve Oaks is the name of the Wilkes plantation in Gone With the Wind; take a fourth of that and you’ve only got THREE OAKS.
  • 59a, THE JACKSON ONE [Fifth act?]. A fifth of the musical act The Jackson Five would be THE JACKSON ONE. Or, as we know him, Michael.

I’m totally on board with this theme. I didn’t think it was as tricky as the usual Thursday, but my solving time suggests otherwise. I certainly needed a lot of the crossings to get the theme answers, and I think the nature of the theme requires that. Very cute to have WRAP, MOVIE, and EBERT all in the first two rows (plus MERYL not far away).

A clue that totally tripped me up was 69a, [The star Mars] for BRUNO. I fell hook, line, and sinker for the astronomy misdirection, when the clue in fact refers to Bruno Mars.

Really unfortunate to have George TAKEI in the puzzle after the sexual assault allegations that have recently come to light. This puzzle was certainly accepted months (if not years) ago, well before this story broke.

Poll: Which of the below videos is Rex Parker more likely to include in his blog post?

Nice job, Howard, and Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Until next week!

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website crossword, “Blue’s Clues” — Laura’s Writeup

Ben is on HIATUS [58a: Time off] with his family, so you get me again this week, taking a short break from food prep. And it’s a tangentially food-themed puzzle from BEQ, with a different take than yesterday’s WSJ.

BEQ - 11.23.17 - Solution

BEQ – 11.23.17 – Solution

  • [4d: Tripoli resident is a master chef?]: LIBYAN CAN COOK
  • [7d: Late September babies concealed one strong craving?]: LIBRAS HID A JONES
  • [11d: Purposely defame a Cuban boy?]: LIBEL NINO
  • [19d: Madame Booth Luce’s sex drive?]: LIBIDO DE CLARE
  • [31dR: Tomorrow’s dinner … and, cryptically, a hint to this puzzle’s theme]: LEFTOVERS (duplicated in [50d: “We’ll deal with this tomorrow”]: LATER).

Get it? LIB (i.e. liberal, i.e. Left, i.e. blue — hence the puzzle’s title) is over the base phrases, which are, respectively, YAN CAN COOK, RASHIDA JONES, EL NINO, and I DO DECLARE.

TBH [29d: “Actually,” initially], I don’t have much else to say — in general, NO FUSS [26a: Easy-to-do] and fill is what you’d expect from BEQ, plenty of pop culture and clever misdirects. Today I MUST [21d: “Allow me” {to}] be thankful for this blog, and the great people I’ve met through writing for it, both the folks on Team Fiend and all of you in the comments. [53a: Drink in]: SAVOR your holiday (or your regular old Thursday, for our non-U.S. readers).

Craig Stowe’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary

LA Times

The connection between ZIPFILE and “add zip to the last word of theme answers and you can make words” seems tenuous at best. Anyway, LIPLOCK can make ZIPLOCK; BOTTOMLINE has a ZIPLINE; TESTDRIVE can form an archaic ZIPDRIVE; and in SECRETCODE one can create a ZIPCODE.

The grid design has “big” corners, but is otherwise more of an early in the week flavour. ANSE is some high-end literary minutiae, but well known to crossworders. Similarly, DCCAB, is not your typical vowel-heavy crossword favourite, but it sure shows up more than one would expect for a largely forgotten film! In other crossword staple news, it seems the city of OCALA, as a unit, breeds horses. Bizarre.

2.5 Stars

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19 Responses to Thursday, November 23, 2017

  1. Jeff M says:

    One cute.

    (Too cute by half.)

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Evad says:

    Enjoyed this mathy offering from Howard and second his nomination for the nicest bloke in Cruciverbia.

    Thanks to all who share their commentaries and comments here and most of all to our blog hostess who has been at this for over 12 years now. (Can we be that old?)

  3. David L says:

    I finished with no understanding of the theme, and even after reading your explanation I am not altogether clear what the logic is meant to be. How does ‘fifth act?” translate into ‘a fifth of’? Didn’t help that the THREEOAKS answer was completely obscure to me.

    And can someone explain ALA, “start of a well known roll call”?

    But hey, Happy Thanksgiving to one and all. I am grateful to the proprietor of and contributors to this blog for giving me a little boost at the start of every day!

  4. Jenni Levy says:

    I think ALA is the start of ALABAMA, which would be the first state on an alphabetical roll call as done in Congress.

    I really liked the theme – nice one, Howard!

  5. John Morgan says:

    “I didn’t think it was as tricky as the usual Thursday, but my solving time suggests otherwise.” Wait, so 3:30 for this puzzle is considered slow? Seriously??

  6. Jim Peredo says:

    NYT: I really enjoyed Howard’s puzzle. It provided a fun a-ha moment. It must have been a challenge to cram that much theme material in nine rows of the grid. Well done and thank you!

    And thanks to Amy for this site which is unlike any other on the internet, and for giving me a shot at joining the team a couple years ago.

  7. pannonica says:

    BEQ: 48a [Steely Dan album that comic Phil Hartman did the art for] AJA. Over two years later and it still isn’t true.

  8. Lois says:

    I don’t know what Andy means by his question about Rex Parker (NYT review), but I’m still wondering about Rex’s not apologizing for his factually wrong review of the “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate” puzzle from a week ago Monday. If he has an apology somewhere, it’s buried. But I really just looked him up expecting him to make a boo-boo, after I made the same mistake on my own.

  9. Pat says:

    Please, would someone tell me what the letters TBH stand for to mean “Actually, initially” in BEQ’s puzzle.
    I, too, am thankful for this web site and all the hard work the puzzle reviewers do for us.
    Thank you all.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  10. David says:

    Can someone explain “Poor” as the answer to the clue “D”???

Comments are closed.