Caleb Madison’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
68-worder with 22 answers of 7+ letters? Yes, that’ll do.
Question: Am I the only one unfamiliar with the phrase ON A DOWNER? 15a. [How buzzkills end things] might lead me to on a down note, but ON A DOWNER is ringing no bells at all. (For the record, the sort of buzzkills who refute dumb hoaxes on the internet are wonderful.)
Favorite fill: WORD VOMIT (let me keep this post short enough not to be accused of producing this), KARATE KID (even with the dreaded “The” consigned to the clue), COVER BAND, and WET KISS.
Clues of note:
- 8d. [G in jazz], KENNY. Cue the wailing and gnashing of teeth from jazz snobs.
- 27d. [Ones who know the way?], TAOISTS. Cute clue!
- 1a. [Source of embarrassment for some public officials], WIKILEAKS. The clue feels maybe a little dated? Not sure. Julian Assange was in the news this month for his … natural aroma.
- 21a. [Building block makeup], CINDER. Okay, so those big, light gray bricks called cinder blocks don’t look like they’re made of anything burnt to me. Wikipedia explains the ash angle.
- 14d. [Bulgaria’s Simeon I and Simeon II], TSARS. Bulgaria had tsars?!
- 51d. [Something that people wish you would take when you leave], CARE. “—And take this care with you when you go! Now go on, get the hell outta here!”
- 54d. [Noted mansion man, for short], HEF. Gross.
-IDE, ANION, SRS, APSE, yawn. Not too many entries in this category, though, and lots of zippy stuff to offset it. Four stars from me.
David Poole’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
I associate this theme flavour with BEQ. UNDERSEALAB is rendered as the letter string LAB under a sea: YELLOW, NORTH, IRISH and outlier (in that it isn’t pat of a long word) CHINA.
Of the thematic entries, SHEREENORTH is something of a 50’s deep cut. Unknown to me, as is the movie in the clue, although it does also star Betty Grable, per Wikipedia. I’m also not sure what makes a potato an IRISHPOTATO, but it seems to be an in use phrase.
ERNESTO is clued as [Che’s given name]. This doesn’t bode well for the song Remember Me‘s Oscar nom, sung by the character ERNESTO de la Cruz and others in the film COCO.
Daniel Landman’s Chronicle of Higher education crossword, “Ellipitic Functions” — pannonica’s …
How meta that we had to wait for the availability of this week’s offering…
- 17a. [ … ] OMITTED TEXT.
- 23a. [ … ] PASSAGE OF TIME.
- 47a. [ … ] PREGNANT PAUSE.
- 57a. [ … ] TRAILING OFF.
… not that it hasn’t happened before (and been inappropriate). But you can’t say that I MISAPPLY (31a) the term here.
So that’s pretty straightforward.
Incidentally, I feel quite strongly about using the dedicated ellipsis character rather than three separate periods or points. That’s … vs …
- 29a [Cheek, in slang] ’TUDE. When it looked like this was going to be TUSH, I experienced festering fulmination, ready to whine about singulars and plural.
- 39a [The “P” in PET scan] POSITRON. Also the foundation of Asimovian robot brains.
- 44a [“Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of __” (1972 Newbery Medal book)] NIMH, the National Institute of Mental Health.
- 45d [Distractions to the racing Atalanta] APPLES. The Golden Apples of the Hesperides. 45a [Books full of legends ATLASES. The Hesperides are sometimes said to be the daughters of the Titan Atlas; by some accounts their legendary garden in the far west is sited near the Atlas Mountains in north Africa. By the way, that’s a particularly goofy myth in my estimation.
- 2d [Food __ (big-meal side effect, facetiously)] COMA. There was a minor kerfuffle (56a ADO) here at DOACF on Tuesday (comment et seq) which invoked this term.
- No thanks to both: 3d [Part of a restoration project on a dome] HAIR PLUGS, 33d [Targets of mayonnaise scalp treatments] LICE.
- Your dose of humorist quips: 64a [“I failed to make the ___ team because of my height”: Woody Allen] CHESS, 36d [Bombeck who said “I come from a family where gravy is considered a beverage”] ERMA. Also “no thanks” for the latter.
- 37d [Composer known for inserting objects between piano strings] JOHN CAGE. “Prepared piano”.
- 47d [“The Devil Wears __”] PRADA alongside 48d [“The Gates of Hell” sculptor] RODIN. Cute. And 61a [Athlete at 49 Down] EAGLE (49d EMORY) followed by 62a [“For Every Bird ___” (Emily Dickinson work] A NEST, which is not a 32d PROSE POEM [Form for Charles Baudelaire or Gertrude Stein].
- 50d [Feature of a morning coat] TAILS. Indeed, yea verily.
Two fun facts (at least to me!) from today’s puzzle:
– The first American team to win the Stanley Cup was the Seattle Metropolitans in 1917, but they weren’t part of the NHL. I spent too long trying to cram stuff like SEAMETROS in. They also had gorgeous sweaters: https://s3-media1.fl.yelpcdn.com/bphoto/in7VjCGx0eLvsqDeggqMTA/o.jpg
– Bulgaria’s Simeon I and Simeon II were respectively the first and last people to have the title of TSAR – Simeon I began his rule in 913, and Simeon II was exiled in 1946. Simeon II did return in the 90’s and was elected Prime Minister in 2001.
At most casinos, seven card stud hi lo (my favorite game) also references “8 or better.” The low hand has to be at least an 8 low. If no one has a qualifying low, the high hand wins the whole pot. Low hands have to be unpaired and are called out in descending order. A combination of 2, 4, 6, 7, 8 would be referred to as an 8 low or an 87 low. The winning low hand is the hand with the lowest high card. A “bad” 7, such as 7-6-5-4-2 beats a “good” 8: 8-4-3-2-A. If two players both have, say, a 7 low, it goes to the next highest card: a 7-5-4-3-2 beats a 7-6-3-2-A. Straights and flushes swing (a straight to the 7 is both a straight as a high hand and a bad 7 as a low hand.) A straight to the five is the best possible low hand and is called a “wheel.”
That is the standard hi-lo game. There are variants such as deuce through seven (aces are a high card and straights and flushes do not qualify as low hands so that the best possible low is 7-5-4-3-2) and others in which the wheel is a high hand so that a 64 is the best possible low hand: 6-4-3-2-1. Players often refer to their low hands as numbers: the 64 is often called sixty-four. And, if you are still reading this, if your lowest three or four cards are 3-2-1 or 4-3-2-1, you can refer to your hand as smooth, flat or perfect (a hand of 7-4-3-2-1 is 7 smooth, a flat 7 or 7-perfect. As a poker idiom snob, I consider “smooth” as the best usage.
I did not know either one-named singer and was surprised to see KID and KIDDO in the same puzzle. I had a hard time getting started, but once I did, it fell quickly.
With the exception of perhaps LORDE/TORTA or EWOK/AKON a really solid puzzle imo. Not sure you can expect much more from a Friday.
Could’ve been more challenging I suppose, but do we get many difficult Fridays anymore?
LORDE/TORTA was the best part
It might be too early to ask this, but will there be a CHE puzzle today? I don’t see it on the site.
The person at the CHE who handles posting of the puzzles is out of the office this week, I discovered belatedly…..the flurry of e-mails that has happened this morning indicates that her backup person is willing but as yet uninitiated. I’m working on it, and have sent Team Fiend copies of the puzzles for possible posting here in the meantime.
Re “Mixed Doubles” (a really great puzzle) by Raymond C Young, in the Fall 2017 issue of Dell Sunday Crosswords:
The theme answers are:
ACCORDING TO PLAN
STAR TREK NEMESIS
SHOWED IN ADVANCE
MUPPET NEWS FLASH
Does anyone know what the theme is?
Perhaps the theme is contained more within the clues than the answers? MIRRORED VOLUMES and MUPPET NEWS FLASH don’t seem like real things to me, but the other listed answers are. Odd.
MUPPET NEWS FLASH was a recurring bit on the Muppet Show back in the day:
And it’s definitely a more technical thing, but MIRRORED VOLUMES are a widely-used computing storage term:
That all being said, I’m mystified by the theme as well!
The NYT was one of the best Fridays I’ve ever solved. There were so many zippy answers and clues I will gladly overlook the little crossword glue it had. Just 28% of it was 3- and 4-letter answers. That’s an amazing construction job.
Did the NYT actually make a Ugandan Knuckles reference at 27d? If so, I’m a little shocked but also applaud their efforts at crafting a recent, relevant clue—even if it’s a bit risqué.
Non-Russian tsars must have been a clue in the past. I put in the answer without looking at the crossings and I can’t imagine that I learned this anywhere else.
Take care everyone.
Heard an interview with Simeon II on French radio after his autobiography was published. I don’t think he used the term tsar once, only king. An interesting life, by the way.
Amy, i remember from way back “verbal diarrhea,” as a synonym to WORD VOMIT, but IMO this last is much uglier and makes me want to…….
WORDVOMIT, SISTERWIVES, HEF – the trifecta of ew.
A new hire is going to try to get CHE puzzle files for 1/26 and 2/2 posted today. I will send copies of today’s puzzle to you myself if you e-mail xwords [at symbol] chronicle.com.