Friday, February 9, 2018

CHE tk (pannonica) 


LAT 5:37 (Gareth) 


NYT untimed (Amy) 


Brendan Quigley’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 2 09 18, 0209

Quick post, as I’m on not-my-usual computer and it annoys me.

Fave fill: EMPHASIS MINE, the National PORTRAIT GALLERY, BOOK PROPOSAL, bug ZAPPER, a LATE CALL by a sports official, JAZZ, LOLZ (had to check the crossing in case it was LULZ, of course), LAZYBONES, and FOODIE.

Did not know: ELDON, the [Iowa town where Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” is set]. Wasn’t Eldon a character on Murphy Brown back in the day? Apparently that show’s getting a reboot soon.

Blessedly have never done: SQUAT JUMP. I assume the Crossfit junkies can do dozens of these without dying.

Fave clues: [High-minded sort?] for AVIATOR, [Literary nickname for Dolores] for LOLITA, [Scare quote?] for BOO, the Cassius line for SCENE II (my fondness for this predates my birth–my mom’s friend teased her about my dad with that line in a college lit class), the NERUDA poetry clue.

Clue I disagree with: PLURAL, [What “they” can only be, to grammar sticklers]. I’m a bit of a grammar stickler, but if singular “they” was good enough for Jane Austen and it is preferred by a lot of people who reject he or she, then I’m using it. Have a conversation with someone who’s a they and tell them right to their face that you’re going to mislabel them with a pronoun that feels entirely wrong to them, and … that would make you what the Scots might call a shitgibbon. Be kind to people.

MEH fill: LST, NEAP. Not bad. This is why I appreciate 72-word themelesses–peppy fill not glued together by a bunch of dreck. Would’ve been good not to cross the “I” phrases, I INSIST and I MEAN, too.

4.2 stars from me.

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

LA Times

Meh. BAKERSDOZEN is used as a reason to list 13 baked goods in the puzzle. When the theme answers are things like CAKE, ROLL, BUN and PIE, I can’t work up any excitement. You don’t see themes as basic as this much in newspaper crosswords. I guess the kicker is 13 symmetrical short answers…

1.5 Stars

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30 Responses to Friday, February 9, 2018

  1. Ethan says:

    Maybe my circles lean too far left, but I was sort of surprised to see Ayaan Hirsi ALI clued in such a one-sided positive light. She is definitely well-known enough for the puzzle, but she is controversial for sure.

  2. Brendan’s was a good challenge. At 18-Across [Back in the stadium], I had LAST ROW, then SPONSOR, and finally ROOT FOR.

    • Lise says:

      I liked this one a lot. I didn’t know ELDON and couldn’t drag NERUDA out of my brain at first, so that area took a while. But that’s a good thing.

  3. Ethan Friedman says:

    Brendan’s NYT gets 5 stars from me. Fell for his little trick at 1-A — filled in the downs first, saw I had II to start the across and stupidly erased it.

    Nice little literary feel with BOOK PROPOSAL, NERUDA, etc.

    I would totally get behind the idea of making one of the early-week (Mon-Wed) puzzles an easy themeless if it got you grids like this.

  4. Papa John says:

    That was a Friday BEQ? You could have fooled me. It went down like an easy Wednesday.

    Question re Ayaan Hirsi Ali: I’m an atheistic (more accurately, a secular humanist) opposed to the destructiveness of all religions. Does that me make an Islamophobe?

    • austin says:

      if there’s anyone who loves to argue (pedantically nitpick, critique, play devil’s advocate, take your pick) more than “an atheist (more accurately, a secular humanist)” i haven’t found one. this explains so much.

      anyway, in answer to your question: yes, probably.

  5. Burak says:

    OK, I’m legit confused. I thought it was a no-no to use the same words in the same grid. Here, not only they’re in the same grid but I INSIST is crossing I MEAN. Is that acceptable now? Has it always been acceptable? What’s the rule on that?

    • Andy says:

      In his Special Post about the entry LENE on Wednesday (, Will said the following:

      “In the late stages of editing we noticed that the grid contained both CRIERS (5D) and FAR CRY (53A). While this doesn’t officially break my rule about duplications, which I can discuss sometime, it seemed inelegant.”

      I would move heaven and earth to see Will plainly describe his rule about duplications.

      • Amy Reynaldo says:

        The IINSIST/IMEAN duplication probably doesn’t violate Will’s spoken or unspoken policy on dupes, judging from the number of pronoun and preposition dupes in the NYT puzzles. I’m surprised that FARCRY/CRIERS was deemed not an official rule-breaker but worthy of changing—that seems like a much more noticeable/flagrant duplication to me.

        My own rule (honed with my co-editor Trip Payne) is that we try to avoid all such grid dupes, even of small words like IN or I, and we try to remove as many of the clue words that overlap grid entries. I’m OK with “in” showing up in clues when there’s an IN-containing entry, but do try to remove somewhat more niggling ones, like “your” in a clue when YOU is an entry. Our fact-checker Jon Delfin actually looks up each entry in a text document containing all the clues, just to flag those dupes for us.

        • Burak says:

          Yep, I had a conversation with Wordplay and Rex on Twitter, and what I gather from that is pronouns and preposition can and will be duplicated. I don’t necessarily like it, but at least I won’t waste any more precious minutes thinking two “I”s cannot exist in the same puzzle and trying different answers :)

        • Lorraine says:

          more jarring, to me, was TROMBONES and LAZYBONES. Each, on its own, is a terrific answer, but I really really did not like them in the same puzzle.

          I was surprised no one else mentioned the duplication. Or is it just me??

          • Amy Reynaldo says:

            As TROMBONE isn’t etymologically related to “bone,” I have zero problem with that, Lorraine. I don’t like cognates (etymological cousins) appearing together, but a letter sequence that coincides in two entries is fine. (Some people are thrown by it, but I don’t know that crossword editors try to avoid those. Maybe some do?)

            @Burak: Yes, don’t let that assumption slow you down. You don’t have to like dupes any more than I do, but it doesn’t help you as a solver to not consider that dupes may well appear in the grid.

      • Burak says:

        Yeah, that doesn’t make any sense. Let’s say that CRIERS and CRY are not duplicates (technically correct) but it is inelegant. I get it. How is an IINSIST/IMEAN crossing elegant then?

        My gods I’m utterly confused.

  6. Penguins says:

    “Meh. BAKERSDOZEN is used as a reason to list 13 baked goods in the puzzle. ”


    • CSC says:

      I don’t get, or haven’t bothered gaining access to, a digital version of the LA Times puzzle.

      Were the clues NOT obviously about baked goods? That seems like it would at least help make the solving more interesting.

      And though there might not be a lot of invention in the puzzle, my hats off to cramming 14 theme answers (13! Plus the revealer!) symmetrically into what looks like a pretty clean grid.

  7. Lise says:

    I liked the LAT better than most, it seems. I thought it was amazing to get a BAKER’S DOZEN of things created at a bakery in a daily-sized puzzle. And they’re symmetrical. And not all short. Plus: BRIOCHE! I don’t think I’ve seen that before in a puzzle.

    Since they were unclued, I had to work to unearth them. Nice touch.

    Sprinkles: ELOCUTE, ARRESTS, BLINDERS, BOSNIAN, QUIETED, CATSCAN. And a different sort of clue for RED. And bonus: a new (to me) airport code (ERI). I don’t love airport codes in crosswords, but I may as well learn them.

    Granted, there was a lot of short stuff, but it kept me going while I looked for pastries. Like sips of coffee or tea between bites.

    Fun puzzle, Mr. Wechsler!

  8. lemonade714 says:

    Other than the general dismissal of the puzzles in the LA Times I wonder about the review. The rating here even with the daily “1” inserted for all LA times’ puzzles is at the moment 3.40. Even without the reveal, have clues running 1-13 suggested something related to the number. The reveal confirmed same. Also, conceptually this is a child of modern puzzle creation where letters disappear, words are implied and all the other outre things I see applauded here regularly. Creating a grid to me is the most difficult part of making a puzzle. I thought this was well done, and three comments so far agree with me. Sorry Penguin, Gareth – opinions are opinions.

  9. artlvr says:

    I enjoyed the LAT — and it’s a good thing it appears in my local newspaper since I’ve never been able to get it on the Crossword Fiend site!

    • Papa John says:

      I, too, liked the LAT and I, too. have never been able to download it from this site. I told Dave about that a long time ago but nothing was said or done about it.

    • Lise says:

      Hi artlvr and Papa John – did you try clicking on the HTML button on the link to the LAT on Fiend under Today’s Puzzles? There’s an ad to sit through and then a selection of dates comes up. I just tried it, selected February 9, 2018, and it worked; I could then have done the puzzle online if I had wanted to.

      The Across Lite button doesn’t work, I agree.

      You can also reach the LAT online through Mensa or the Washington Post.

      I get it in my local paper but, annoyingly, the newspaper doesn’t mention the constructor by name, so I have to look it up online. I usually go to the L.A.Times Crossword Corner to see who constructed the puzzle.

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