Monday, November 27, 2017

BEQ untimed (Laura) 


LAT untimed (pannonica) 


NYT untimed (pannonica)  


WSJ untimed, of course (Jim)  


Kevin Christian’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

NYT • 11/27/17 • Mon • Christian • № 1127 • solution

Revealer: 68a [Much-derided hairstyle seen in 1-, 17-, 39-, 47- and 58-Across] MULLET. Yes, you read that right. It’s a theme ‘celebrating’ mullets in film. I don’t care if it’s supposed to be ironic or whimsical or what, this is not particularly inspired theme-making.

  • 1a. [1997 Nicolas Cage film] CON AIR.
  • 17a. [1987 Kiefer Sutherland film] THE LOST BOYS. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow.
  • 24a. [1987 Patrick Swayze film] DIRTY DANCING.
  • 39a. [1982, 1985, 1988 and 2008 Sylvester Stallone film franchise] RAMBO.
  • 47a. [1987 Mel Gibson film] LETHAL WEAPON.
  • 58a. [1994 John Travolta film] PULP FICTION.

Basically, it reflects a fashion for a certain time period.

Mean: 1990.56
Median: 1987
Range: 26
Mode: 1987 (n=3)

The 2008 Rambo is an outlier. Without it:

Mean: 1988.38
Median: 1987
Range: 15
Mode: 1987 (n=3)

Plus, the standard deviation drops from 7.94 to 4.84.

I will speak no more of the theme.

  • 33d/67a [Root beer brand] A AND W, DAD’S. The former, of course, is actually A&W. Also, it’s paralleled by the similarly-constructed 39d [Rod and __ ] REEL.
  • 48d [Sometimes-bad bacterium] E COLI. Pleased to see a relatively neutral clue for this rather than the typically pejorative kind. Something I’ve been critical of for a long while.
  • On the other hand, both 65a [Environmental messes from tankers] SPILLS and 55d [Ozone layer problem] HOLE minimize the enormity of such phenomena. “Mess” and “problem” seem so oh-so genteel. Oopsie!


Mark McClain’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 11/27/17 • Mon • McClain • solution

Super-easy crossword, despite the inclusion of 34d [City south of Bagdhad] NAJAF, which certainly isn’t Monday fare.

  • 59aR [Kid’s imaginary companions, and what’s literally found in this puzzle’s circles] SECRET FRIENDS. Uh, is that a thing people call imaginary friends? I’ve never heard it in such a context. Now, if you want to talk about things like trysts, collusion, conspiracies and the like, I can well see a use for that locution.
  • 20a. [Seaside shade provider] BEACH UMBRELLA. Yummy, chum at the ocean.
  • 37a. [Philatelist’s volumes] STAMP ALBUMS.
  • 44a. [Practice that develops a variety of employee skills] JOB ROTATION.

We have consistency in how the hidden words span the elements of each entry, but I nevertheless found this theme to be underwhelming.

  • Central across entry ATILT (42a)  isn’t exactly common, despite being easily gettable. We’re also treated to A PEEP, A DAB as well as the more sedate ARISE and ADORE. (48a, 7d, 53d, 57d)
  • TA-TA and TA-DA? (30d, 61d)
  • Plenty of greater Middle East action today: in addition to NAJAF, 3d [’70s–’80s Egyptian president Anwar] SADAT, 14a [Severely damaged sea] ARAL, 26d [Capital of Jordan] AMMAN, 45d [Oil gp. that includes Iraq] OPEC, and 69a [Country south of Egypt] SUDAN.

Haven’t anything  else to say about this one. Oh wait, I guess 6d [Good name for an average guy] NORM is kind of a cute, fun clue for a Monday. But it should’ve had a question mark.

11d [Act of leaving] DEPARTURE.

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Themeless Monday crossword — Laura’s Writeup

BEQ - 11.27.17 - Solution

BEQ – 11.27.17 – Solution

Can’t say I’ve ever used the term NINJAESQUE [1a: Blessed with mad acrobatic and martial arts skills, say], but that’s a nice combo that threw me off a bit, especially after getting the -AE- combo from AFTRA [5d: See 64-Down {64d: With 5-Down, performers’ union}] and ECO [6d: Thinking of the planet, briefly]. I think we may be a W and a K short of a pangram (if someone spots them, point it out in the comments and send me another coffee), what with the J and Q in 1a and XYZ [26a: They some in last] (btw, nice touch to have that entry in 26a).

Am I the only one who finds the work of [68a: Titan of baby photography]: ANNE GEDDES creepy and a little terrifying? The baby in the sock, cabbage, or watermelon; on the pumpkin; in a snail shell; as a Celine Dion accessory …. Here’s some sketch comedy that should cleanse you of those cloying images. Naturally, it shares [34a: Features of all Quentin Tarantino movies]: R-RATINGS. And while I’ve been image-googling to find entertaining pictures to illustrate this post, I discovered that [37a: Pictures of Yosemite?] {Sam}: CELS have been co-opted by gun nuts.

While we’re telling HERSTORIES [17a: Feminist lessons] about #METOO [33a: Hashtag that took off in October 2017], let’s not forget that according to Wikipedia, “The [herstory] movement has led to an increase in the popularity of other female-centric disciplines such as femistry and galgebra.” [45d: “Hadn’t thought of that one”] TOUCHÉ.

There are so many videos from HERB ALPERT [66a: Only person to have a #1 song with a vocal performance as well as a #1 with an instrumental] (including my favorite version of “Spanish Flea” and this classic reworking of “Rise“), but today we end with EARTHA [46a: “That Bad ___” (1957 vocal jazz album)]:

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

The puzzle posted late so you get just a quick re-cap this morning. Theme: Things with SCALES, using different senses of the word, as revealed at 45d: [Climbs, or what the starred answers all have].

WSJ – Mon, 11.27.17 – “Climbs” by Zhouqin Burnikel

  • 17a [*Stamp seller] POST OFFICE. Weighing scales.
  • 30a [*State fish of Rhode Island] STRIPED BASS. Fish scales.
  • 43a [*It may involve learning lento and largo] MUSIC LESSON. Musical scales.
  • 58a [*Country album?] WORLD ATLAS. Map scale. Nice clue on this one.

A perfectly good theme for a Monday. And as usual, Zhouqin executes with aplomb. I love those two 8-letter stacks in the NE and SW: CALAMARI, “THIS IS IT,” SOUR NOTE, and POSEIDON. Plus an “ALLOW ME,” “OH RATS,” and “TOUCHÉ” thrown in for good measure. Despite English not being her first language, Zhouqin is always good for colorful colloquialisms.

A fine Monday outing.

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10 Responses to Monday, November 27, 2017

  1. huda says:

    NYT: THE LOST BOYS crossing OH BOY? I really resisted that crossing, just didn’t think it would be allowed…

  2. poppy says:

    Anyone else having trouble downloading WSJ?

  3. David Halbstein says:

    Re: NYT – I am assuming that Pannonica’s “Mean, Median, Mode, Range” analysis refers to the years of those movies; it’s an interesting look, but given the constraints of putting them into a puzzle, I don’t think the data set is accurate enough to derive any kind of conclusion.

    Anyway – my main question is this – the “notepad” section bears this advice:

    “The print version of this puzzle contains a visual element that the software cannot reproduce. However, it is equally solvable either way.”

    Did anyone print this? What is the visual element?

  4. e.a. says:

    i urge the academy to consider today’s burnikel for an easy puzzle of the year orca

  5. Norm says:

    Nearly Normal Norm says 6D in the LAT was just fine without the question mark, thank you very much. ;)

Comments are closed.