Friday, December 1, 2017

CHE untimed (pannonica) 


LAT 6:24 (Gareth) 


NYT 4:53 (Amy) 


Lily Silverstein’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 12 1 17, no 1201

Wow, I loved this puzzle! Tons of juicy fill, nary a partial to be found, very few things on the abbrev/prefix front. I’m just sad that I didn’t take a picture of that FABIO cardboard cutout standing outside a store today, because it would have been the perfect illustration for this puzzle.

The tastiest morsels include the central stack with CONTROL FREAK, GENDER ROLES, and ZILLIONAIRES; LOOMED OVER atop ORION’S BELT (17a. [Group of stars also known as the Three Kings] was a tough clue for me … and I briefly wondered if the “stars” here were celebrities); ZABAR’S deli of NYC; tasty, basic PERONI (though the clue’s “Italian” sort of dupes ITALO Calvino right above); ZIP IT UP (that’s sage advice for workplace pants); GLARED AT (which pairs nicely with LOOMED OVER); Wyatt CENAC; LANDO Calrissian, played by Donald Glover in next spring’s Han Solo movie; and FERRARI, BAFFLE, and WANNABES.

Clue bits:

  • 7d and 8d. [One in a story with an apple], biblical EVE and William TELL.
  • 34d. [Green or red things from the garden], ONIONS. Could be OLIVES, though those are more an orchard crop than a garden one, or peppers or tomatoes (which have the wrong letter counts), or probably a bunch of other kinds of produce.
  • 6d. [Crowd around], MOB. Feel like the word’s usually clued as a noun, but I like it here as a verb.
  • 37a. [Tiny top percent of one-percenters], ZILLIONAIRES. So we’re subdividing the top 1% into another 100 hundredths, and having a percent of a percent? That feels weird, and oddly specific on the number front for a whimsical “number.”
  • 47d. [Chickens (out)]. WIMPS. Wow, this word is terrible when clued as a noun, but it feels just fine as a verb, as clued here. Past WIMP(S) clues in crosswords have included crass (and gender-normative) bullshit like [Hardly a he-man], [Namby-pamby], [Wusses], and [Non-macho men]. When you can avoid name-calling and insults, it’s a big plus.
  • 19a. [Cartoonist William who co-created Tom and Jerry], HANNA. I always wished that Hanna-Barbera were an animation company run by women named Hanna and Barbera.

I’ll ding the puzzle a smidgen for SERE, while wondering if the constructor had initially gone for SMH (internet shorthand for shaking my head) crossing HERE.

4.5 stars from me. Enjoyed the crossword from start to finish.

Peter A Collins’ Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Fantastic Voyage” — pannonica’s write-up

CHE • 12/1/17 • “Fantastic Voyage” • Collins • solution

65a [Expeditionaries who set off near 4 Down …]

—4d [City dubbed “The Gateway to the West”] ST LOUIS, MISSOURI

66a [… commissioned by 7 Down …]

—7d [President who notably walked to and from his inauguration ceremony] THOMAS JEFFERSON

67a [… intent on 10 Down]

—10d [Boldly going where no one has gone before] BLAZING THE TRAIL


Note how those 15-letter verticals (a) intersect their cross-referents, (b) have clues that evoke the theme subject—this is most salient (or most forced, depending on your disposition) for the Jefferson clue.

This crossword probably deserves more discussion but I simply have nothing in my tank.

Jeffrey Wechsler’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up

LA Times

QUASIMODO, with padding BELLTOWER only there for symmetry, is the punning sayer of IFITOLLEDTHEM/ONCEITOLLEDTHEM/AHUNDREDTIMES. That’s a lot of solving to do for a bad pun…

Unusually, this puzzle has two equally valid solutions. Both EKGS/KARATS and ECGS/CARATS satisfy both clues.

[Parts of Walmart work uniforms], VESTS – guessing this is the formalwear type?

An unusual TLA occurs at the bottom of the grid: BWI, which I’m told is Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (you can see why it’s abbreviated!) In the past, it has been British West Indies more often than not. Add it to your mental airline code list if you don’t know it…

3 Stars

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32 Responses to Friday, December 1, 2017

  1. steveo says:

    Feeling vindicated about ZILLIONAIRES now, which cost me a personal Friday record. Thanks, Amy. :)

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      I absolutely tried to make sense out of BIP IT UP.

      • Brian says:

        Hand also up for missing a personal best…BAG IT UP? BOX IT UP?

      • dbardolph says:

        Yeah, that. A gentle forehead slap when the Z occurred to me.

      • Tim in NYC says:

        A percent of a percent, or 1/100th of a percent, is called a basis point in finance, and is shortened to “bip.” As in, “We outperformed the index by fifty bips.” It would be nice if people started using “bip it up” to mean improve their investment performance.

        • Jenni Levy says:

          Totally missed “zillionaires” and was not helped by not knowing the Italian brew. Some hint that the number was fanciful would have helped. Despite that, it’s a great puzzle.

        • Nietsnerem says:

          I’ve been in finance for 35+ years; never saw nor heard any use “bip”. As far back as I can recall it’s been bps.

      • joon says:

        i didn’t know the beer either so i ended up with BIN IT UP. :/

        otherwise a delightful puzzle!

    • Papa John says:

      I’m confused why ZILLIONAIRE caused such a stir, especially with the crossing down fill, ZIP_IT_UP. Granted, “Zip it!” may be more familiar for “Shush!” but what else could it be? Anyway, I sailed right through it without pause. I can’t say that for the rest of the puzzle. I stumbled and almost fell at number of places.

      • Brian says:

        i think it’s just a lot of tough stuff rolled into one little spot –
        you’ve got ???ITUP. BILLIONAIRES was first to my mind (and a lot of other peoples) for the first blank. If you don’t know Calvino ITALO or PERONI beer then ???ITUP could be anything.

        Not unfair by any means, but pretty easy to get off track around there.

      • Rick Narad says:

        Isn’t the correct description a “gazillionaire”?

  2. huda says:

    NYT: Good week, puzzlewise…

    The “Error Prone, Control Freak Zillionaire that Loomed Over” felt oddly familiar.

  3. Nene says:

    I know I’m not one but what is a ZILLIONAIRE versus, say, a millionaire?

  4. Dr Fancypants says:

    The Friday puzzle seemed super-easy this week—I blew away my prior record for a Friday. Or maybe it just clicked with me?

    • Jeff Mizrahi says:

      Same here. Took 1/3 of my normal Friday time…first time under 6 minutes on a Friday. Really nice puzzle, just wish it took it’s time…

  5. Dook says:

    NYT went very fast except, of course for that Z! But two quibbles: First, Zabar’s is what Zabar’s is, but I wouldn’t call it a “deli”. No pastrami = not a deli. Second, Archie and Edith lived in Ridgewood, not Astoria. The Bunkers were not Greek.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      From Wikipedia: “The show is set in the Astoria section of Queens, with the vast majority of scenes taking place in the Bunkers’ home at 704 Hauser Street. Occasional scenes take place in other locations, especially during later seasons, such as Kelsey’s Bar, a neighborhood tavern where Archie spends a good deal of time and which he eventually buys, and the Stivics’ home after Mike and Gloria move to the house next door. The house seen in the opening is at 89-70 Cooper Avenue near the junction of the Glendale, Middle Village, and Rego Park sections of Queens.”

    • Papa John says:

      I can’t say that I’ve ever heard of ZABARS, so I had to look it up. They call themselves “Upper West Side gourmet epicurian [sp?] emporium”. They do claim to have a “deli counter” within their emporium. Safeway has a deli counter but I wouldn’t call Safeway a deli. My guess is that their prices are as highfalutin as their language. Near as I can tell, they’re a grocery store.

  6. Erik says:

    I’d have had a Friday record, too, but had “EXTEND” and “DRAC” instead of “EXTENT” and “TRAC.” EXTEND is a perfectly acceptable answer if you interpret “Range” as a verb. As for TRAC…well, I guess I should know it, but I didn’t.

    Excellent puzzle overall. I got duped with HERA for TELL at 8 down.

  7. Ethan Friedman says:

    HOLY COW that NYT sped by. A personal best and the first and no doubt only time I will *ever* beat Amy’s time on a puzzle (by 12 secs). Not sure what the hell happened but there literally wasn’t a tough spot in the puzzle. Almost disappointingly so.

  8. Penguins says:

    Nice CHE

  9. Papa John says:

    I liked panonnica’s comment about workplace pants. “Zip it up”, indeed!

    I’m astounded by the actions of the jackasses making headline news. Here’s my question; Isn’t sexual harassment/assault a punishable crime? It seems trivial punishment for them to merely lose their jobs. Most of them are zillionaires and don’t really need to work. Why aren’t they being prosecuted?

    And why is tax-payer money being used to pay settlements for those creeps in office?!?!

    Amy doesn’t harp enough by masculine misconduct.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Please leave the word “harp” on the cutting room floor, unless you mean to say that I’m not tedious enough.

      The settlements for elected creeps are paid for by taxpayers because it was a bunch of dudes who wrote those rules to benefit themselves.

      And the workplace pants line was mine.

    • pannonica says:

      “It seems trivial punishment for them to merely lose their jobs. Most of them are zillionaires and don’t really need to work. Why aren’t they being prosecuted?”

      Seems you don’t appreciate the pervasiveness of the phenomenon in our culture. We’re only hearing about it in the news at this moment because some famous (read: wealthy, powerful) women and a few men have chosen to speak publicly about it. Typically such experiences would never be reported because HR/work culture would quash it, unaffordable lawsuits would be threatened, other threats would be levied, etc.

    • Papa John says:

      Oh, my! The education I get on this site is much appreciated but I don’t follow the lesson about “harp”. Are you saying it’s another word that I should no longer use? From the info panonnica provided, it seems I was using it the way I intended. My point was (and is) Amy, and others, need to continue to make comments about sexual bias/harassment/assault.

      >>>…because it was a bunch of dudes who wrote those rules…<<<

      I fully understand that.

      I thought my "?I?I" was enough to show my exasperation, not my ignorance. The masculine legal preference — written by men — in our laws is well known. My advice? Get more women into office and change that. Continue to demand change. Continue to call out any social injustice as it happens. Lean in.

      panonnica: I'm not sure how you derived a lack of appreciation in me for the pervasiveness of masculine dominance in our culture from what I posted. I've been married three times and have heard, first hand, from my wives many sickening stories of how they've been treated by other males in their lives. My current wife is employed in a male-dominated workplace, a lumber mill, and she is constantly faced with stupid male actions against women. (Reporting the offenses has gone nowhere.) In a word, I'm aware. Am I a saint? No. I stumble, occasionally, I fall. I err. I try my best to learn.

      To me, the most astonishing parts of these revelations is in the details of what these guys have done. Yikes! It's stuff I would never think to do.

      • pannonica says:

        Please forgive me. I’m not focussing well today.

      • Amy Reynaldo says:

        “Harp” comes across as somewhat pejorative to me. I will continue to press the point, yes, but “harping on it” suggests that I’m being too mouthy, too uppity, and not just trying to speak truth to power.

    • Lois says:

      Interesting article on how it isn’t that easy to make it punishable because of court precedent:

  10. Noam D. Elkies says:

    CHE — Nice puzzle for the most part, with a somewhat unusual architecture (the long themers all go down). I thought 43A was ???LEZ (confusing the legal hearing 32D:OYER with the courtroom cry OYEZ), saw the clue ends ” . . . composer”, and was impressed to find BOULEZ in the grid (though most Boulez is very far from my cup of thé au lait). Then realized that I know who wrote Des Knaben Wunderhorn and it ain’t Boulez. Well, 43A:MAHLER is nice too.

    “Missal storage site” is a cute clue for 39A:PEW. “Ova there in the water?” (63A:ROE) is trying too hard for the pun. An alternative, somewhat “scrabblier”, choice is to change PEW to HEX. changing POE/SOW to HOE/SOX, and then the Ulalume clue can go at 63A: for POE, changing 60D:ERA (clued as a b*seball abbr., but SOX replaces this) to another familiar abbr. EPA.

    NDE (xword commenter, briefly)

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