Monday, January 8, 2018

BEQ 2:57 (Andy) 


LAT untimed (pannonica) 


NYT untimed (pannonica)  


WSJ untimed (Jim)  


Sam Ezersky’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

NYT • 1/8/18 • Mon • Ezersky • № 0108 • png

Terminal oh-ay entries. Long O, long A.

  • 17a. [“Would you mind?”] IS THAT OKAY?
  • 22a. [Informal breakfast beverage order] GLASS OF OJ.
  • 33a. [Hypnotist’s command] YOU WILL OBEY.
  • 51a. [“Ulysses” star, 1967] MILO O’SHEA.
  • 57a. [Cappuccino relative] CAFÉ AU LAIT.


  • 1a [Pour love (on)] DOTE. Or, you know, “to exhibit mental decline of or like that of old age”. (
  • 19a [Letter accompanying a college application, informally] REC(comendation), 42a [College dorm overseers, for short] RAS (resident assistants), 8d [College person with a “list”] DEAN. Do I detect a preoccupation? 34d [university of Illinois city] URBANA.
  • 2d [Board game named after a Shakespeare play] OTHELLO. I hadn’t realized there was a formal connection. From Wikipedia (qv for primary sources): “The name was selected by Hasegawa [Goro] as a reference to the Shakespearean play Othello, the Moor of Venice, referring to the conflict between the Moor Othello and Iago, and more controversially, to the unfolding drama between Othello, who is black, and Desdemona, who is white. The green color of the board is inspired by the image of the general Othello, valiantly leading his battle in a green field. It can also be likened to a jealousy competition (jealousy being the central theme in Shakespeare’s play), since players engulf the pieces of the opponent, thereby turning them to their possession.”
  • 13a [“Vous __ ici” (French for “You are here”] ÊTES.

Vous avez atteint votre destination.

Parikshit S Bhat’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s going-over

LAT • 1/8/18 • Mon • Bhat • solution

Standard-issue initial theme.

  • 41dR [Like many animated films … and a hint to 21-, 31-, 41- and 52-Across] PG RATED.
  • 21a. [Admit to wrongdoing in court] PLEAD GUILTY.
  • 31a. [Location-based smartphone game release of 2016] POKÉMON GO. In the grid POKEMONGO looks like a weird place name, reminds me of both Cucamonga (CA) and Tishomingo (MI).
  • 41d. [Similar set of individuals] PEER GROUP.
  • 52a. [Inland sea between Iran and Saudi Arabia] PERSIAN GULF.

I’d be astonished if such a theme hasn’t been done before. Turned up nothing in searching this website, but themed crosswords have a long history preceding this humble blog.

  • 6d [Disney mermaid] ARIEL. Rated G.
  • 37a [1998 biopic about model Carangi] GIA. Uh, okay. There’re some other entries that seem out of place in a Monday offering.
  • 1d [Two-faced god] JANUS. Pretty good timing on this one. Little more than a week after the new year.
  • 5d [Steel-gray metallic element] GALLIUM. Couldn’t have told you the color of it. ATNO 31.
  • 27d [Ice cream thickener] AGAR, 64d [Gumbo thickener] ROUX.

Note: constructed by neither Peter Gordon NOR (47a) Paula Gamache.


Martin Leechman’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Pack of Words” — Jim’s review

The online applet on the WSJ site was exhibiting some strange behavior as I solved this. It got to a certain point then stopped accepting new letters. Whatever I typed got written over by whatever I typed next in the same square. In other words, it would not advance to the next blank square. This consistently occurred toward the end of the solve. Consequently the attached image shows an incomplete grid. The final two rows are ELKE / FINED / ETNA / REST / TARS / REEL. When I can get an image of the completed grid, I will replace the picture and delete this paragraph.

WSJ – Mon, 1.8.18 – “Pack of Words” by Martin Leechman (Mike Shenk)

  • 18a [It’s the equivalent of eight chops] RACK OF LAMB
  • 26a [One of the one-eyed face cards] JACK OF SPADES
  • 41a [Remote spot] BACK OF BEYOND
  • 53a [1527 act committed by Emperor Charles V’s army] SACK OF ROME

Self-evident theme needing no explanation. Just right for a Monday. I like how the entries are consistent in that each first word starts with only one letter before the repeated -ACK. (That is, you don’t see an entry like STACK OF BOOKS.)

Very good long fill in OHIO STATE, SKYDIVER, DRESS CODE, SPRINKLE, SPEEDOS, EPSILON, EURASIA, ATE CROW, URANUS, and even FAR OFF and PICK OFF, despite the repetition.

Not such a fan of RETITLE, CASER, and partials A DAY, A TALE, and ON A, but I think these are outweighed by the rest of the solid fill.

Love love LOVE the clue for SKYDIVER: [Down-to-earth sort?]! I don’t know if that’s ever been used before, but as SKYDIVER doesn’t show up very often, if ever, the clue sure feels fresh.

Overall, sure, it’s a simple theme, but it feels mostly clean with sparkly fill, and that clue for SKYDIVER—lovely!

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s “Themeless Monday #448” — Andy’s review

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s “Themeless Monday 448,” 1/8/18

With a BEQ themeless puzzle, it’s often fairly easy to see what the seed entries were. In a puzzle with only four long answers, it’s even easier:

  • 19a, SAOIRSE RONAN [“Lady Bird” star]. She won a Golden Globe last night, to boot! This was her third nomination, after a breakout role in Atonement and starring in 2015’s Brooklyn.
  • 42a, BOMB CYCLONE [Blizzard condition with an explosive name]. The currentest of current events; it’s this year’s “polar vortex.”  And they’re both 11s! [wink wink]

The symmetrical entries, CURRENT YIELD and APPLE DANISH, are both nice if not highly topical. Running through all four of those entries is 20d, RENT VS. BUY [Real estate dilemma]. I dropped in RENT OR BUY first, but I like RENT VS. BUY too.

A few clues of note:

  • 34d, SKI LODGES [Accommodations for moguls?]. As in these moguls. They’re not exactly accommodations for moguls… more for mogul lovers, really.
  • 1a, LOL NOPE [“Hahaha, UR dreaming”]. The entry is very much in the common vernacular — the clue, less so, although now I really want to start using “Hahaha, UR dreaming.”
  • 37a, OKAPI [Quadruped whose males have ossicones]. They’re those little horn-like protrusions coming out of their heads. Giraffes more famously have them.

    OKAPI ossicones.

  • 7d, EROICA [Its original name was “Bonaparte”]. A little trivia chestnut: Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony, EROICA, was dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte.
  • 13d, REZA [Tony-winning playwright Yasmina]. She won for the play Art.

Just a little glue in the corners: SMIRCH, LON, GLO. OLD SONG feels a little green-paint-y, as does POLO ADS (though for some reason I like the latter more).

Solid puzzle as always from BEQ.

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10 Responses to Monday, January 8, 2018

  1. Ethan says:

    OJ seemed a bit inconsistent to me, since the primary stress is on the O, and in all the other themers the stress is on the following syllable.

  2. Stephen Edward Anderson says:

    NYT 9-A {Antlered Yellowstone denizens} ELKS. In the Rockies & the Pacific Northwest, where elk are found, the plural is unmarked, elk : A dozen elk were grazing near the lodge. Elks with the plural marker -s are members of B.P.O.E.

    • arthur118 says: states–

      “noun, plural elks (especially collectively) elk for 1, 2.
      Also called European elk. the moose, Alces alces.
      Also called American elk, wapiti. a large North American deer, Cervus canadensis, the male of which has large, spreading antlers.”

      Merriam-Webster, New American Oxford Dictionary and Free Dictionary concur that ELKS is an acceptable plural of elk.

      • Martin says:

        I agree with SEA that there are better ways to have clued ELKS. The usual rule is many elk of one kind; different kinds of elks. That’s what the “especially collectively” means. It’s the same for most animals: two salmon on ice; Chinook and Coho are two salmons.

        There are several kinds of elk, but Yellowstone is home only to the Rocky Mountain elk. The state of Washington has Roosevelt elk. These are two of the elks found in North America. Yellowstone has many elk.

        Having said all that, elks for the herd in Yellowstone is not wrong-wrong, just not the preferred way that most people use it.

  3. Alan D. says:

    Thought the BEQ was outstanding this week. 20-down…wow! Had to google the whole string just to figure out what the answer was.

  4. beqfan says:

    BEQ: So I type about 50 WPM. Even knowing every answer immediately (because I did it again to check), there is no way I can complete this puzzle in less than 3 1/2 minutes. I can’t read the clue and write the answer fast enough to break three minutes, as Andy did. What are some tips that would help me to increase my solving speed, given that my tries are correct? I find that paper solving takes longer because of the constantly longer distance my eyes need to travel to read/write. I’m not disputing Andy’s time — just amazed that it could be done with a puzzle BEQ himself labels ‘hard’ (FWIW I’m usually around 3 1/2 – 4 mins for say, NYT early week puzzles).

    • Norm says:

      I often find BEQ’s “hard” themeless puzzles easier than many of his “medium” themes one, but I try not to speed because then the fun is over too soon.

  5. Rick Narad says:

    Really LAT? Crossing SKUA and ROUX? On a Monday?

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