Monday, February 12, 2018

BEQ untimed (Laura) 


NYT 3:26 (Amy)  


LAT 2:10 (joon—paper) 


WSJ untimed (Jim)  


Michael Black’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 2 12 18, no 0 212

The theme here is 59a. [One with credit … or a literal hint to 17-, 27- and 44-Across], CARDHOLDER, and those other three themers contain VISA, AMEX, and DISCOVER spanning two words:

  • 17a. [Best-selling autobiography by Priscilla Presley], ELVIS AND ME. Title doesn’t ring a bell, but it’s plausible.
  • 27a. [State capital ESE of Guadalajara], OAXACA, MEXICO.
  • 44a. [Many a 1970s remix], DISCO VERSION. I don’t recall “disco version” being a thing, but I was just a kid in the disco era.

The theme is a reasonable size, four entries in 44 squares. So I don’t know why the grid is jammed with a zillion names and obscurities. You know how I consider 14 to be about as many proper nouns as a puzzle can have before a bunch of solvers complain that it’s full of names? SAWII OBIE WIE OJAY RITTER SEDAKA TAZ DEION GETZ UPN CONEY ERIC UVA UTAH UCLA ALLIE PAPI JONI INI AJAX DAVISCUP EDNA CADY OPERAMAN LAO NILE CATE OZZY? I count 28. I assume a lot of solvers hit the skids where people, places, and brand names collided. Putting aside the name issue, entries I’d consider too hard/obscure for a Monday puzzle include OBIE INI DRYAD LAO SEER and (sighI-TEN. Most of the pop culture seems pitched at people in their 50s on up. Sorry, younger solvers, you gotta learn all that stuff from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s.

Three more things:

  • 48a. [Dressed for a classic fraternity party], TOGAED. Does anyone actually use that form of the word? Note that pantsed does not mean wearing pants, socked doesn’t mean wearing socks, and scarfed doesn’t mean wearing a scarf.
  • The first and last Across answers are SAW II and FOOTS. Is there foot sawing in every Saw movie, or just in the Scary Movie parodies?
  • 41a. [Onetime competitor of the WB], UPN. The two channels were combined into a single channel, the CW, in 2006. At what point does a defunct TV channel become crappy fill? For example, TNN became Spike in 2003, and now Spike’s been changed to the Paramount Network, as of a few weeks ago. TNN needs to die a quiet death in constructors’ word lists, and UPN is close behind.

Three stars from me. Would’ve been better with fewer names in the grid, no?

Dan Fisher’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Run Down” — Jim’s review

In honor of the Winter Olympics, we’re presented with phrases that hide the word SKI (56d, [Downhill runner found in the four longest Across answers]).

WSJ – Mon, 2.12.18 – “Run Down” by Dan Fisher (Mike Shenk)

  • 17a [Media packets] PRESS KITS
  • 26a [Sidestroke swimmer’s leg motion] SCISSORS KICK. I’m more familiar with the term “scissor kick,” and the Internets seem to agree with me.
  • 41a [Manhattan area west of the Theater District] HELL’S KITCHEN. Great entry! I’ve spent almost no time in New York City, but I know this locale thanks to Daredevil comic books.
  • 51a [Software download format] DISK IMAGE. Not sure how many solvers would be familiar with this term.

Bonus entry: KOREA (1a, [Setting of the 2018 Winter Olympics]).

Very nice fill overall, not a single abbreviation or partial. There are a couple unusual entries in LAY BY and BEERY as well as the Roman numeral III, but everything else is solid.

Speaking of LAY BY (15a, [Store for future use]. Is this a regional term? I’m more familiar with “lay aside” or “lay away.” In Britain, a LAY-BY is a side-of-the-road turnout where you can park your lorry to use your mobile or grab some nosh from a fish and chip van.

Long fill highlights include BACKFIRE, MYSPACE, and EARTHSEA (4d, [Setting for many Ursula K. Le Guin stories]). Le Guin passed away a couple weeks ago, so it’s nice to see this entry. I haven’t read any of the EARTHSEA books, but they’re on my list. The books are highly acclaimed, but Tales from Earthsea is the only Studio Ghibli film to have a “rotten” rating from Rotten Tomatoes.

Overall, the puzzle features a fairly standard hidden-word theme, but it has nice long fill and a remarkably clean grid.

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s themeless Monday crossword — Laura’s Review

BEQ - 2.12.18 - Solution

BEQ – 2.12.18 – Solution

In case you don’t hang out on the internet as much as I do, here are two recent phenomena that provided the impetus for BEQ’s seed entries today:

  • [1a: “Challenging” things to eat?]: TIDE PODS. Since Americans are so lazy that we can’t even manage to measure laundry detergent, Procter & Gamble has appeased us by manufacturing Tide in single-use pods. The pods, like anything called “pods,” are totes adorbs leetle brightly colored packet thingies. The entire internet panicked last week because of a rumor that teenagers were daring each other to eat TIDE PODS and then posting videos to their Instygrams and Snappychats and YouTubeses. But [69a: “Here’s the bad news”]: SAD TO SAY — this has been a thing for like almost a year already, so we should all get over the moral panic now.
  • [47a: Tone-deaf snack proposed by PepsiCo last week]: LADY DORITOS. Hey ladies! When you eat DORITOS don’t you find that they make just too much noise with their crispity crunchiness? Doesn’t that disrupt your dainty snacktime demeanor? Gosh, I wouldn’t want anyone to hear me making any noise — that might indicate that I’m a person with things to say and that I might want people to listen to me! Moreover, DORITOS have so much salty-spicy-umami cheese powder … so powdery and orangey — it gets all over my “Girls Just Want to Have Fun-damental Human Rights” t-shirt and my crossword-puzzle-themed nail art (which, btw, I’m totally going to do for ACPT). I should never be messy or unkempt or present myself as anything but perfectly coiffed, especially after dining. Just like [26d: “Calamity Jane” star]: DORIS DAY, I was not brought up that way. Well, thank you PepsiCo, because now we ladies will have our own specially designed snacks to appeal to our ladylike lady mouth and lady finger lady parts. Why thank you! You shouldn’t have! In fact, I must demur; I’ll have a TIDE POD donut instead.

    From Wake-n-Bake Donuts in North Carolina

Jerry Edelstein’ Los Angeles Times crossword—joon’s write-up

LA Times crossword solution, 2 12 18

joon here with the review of today’s LA times puzzle. it’s an anniversary puzzle, of sorts, celebrating the 209th birthday of 54a ABRAHAM LINCOLN. why 209th? who knows. (and why not also charles darwin, born on the same day/month/year?) anyway, the theme is four phrases whose first word can follow LINCOLN:

  • {Trifling matters} PENNY-ANTE STUFF. i like PENNY-ANTE as a crossword entry meaning “trifling”; not sure it hangs together as a phrase with STUFF included.
  • {Focal point in a theater} CENTER STAGE.
  • {John Paul Jones was a commander in it} CONTINENTAL NAVY. i suppose this was a thing, but gosh, CONTINENTAL ARMY is the same length and way more familiar. i wonder if jerry tried ARMY first and changed it because that center-right section turned out to be hard to fill?
  • {May observance for those who died in military service} MEMORIAL DAY.

LINCOLN CENTER is named for lincoln; the LINCOLN MEMORIAL and the LINCOLN PENNY are explicitly in honor of him. i didn’t know this until looking it up just now, but the lincoln car company (maker of the LINCOLN CONTINENTAL) was also named after the president. i figured it might have been founded by somebody named lincoln, but no. so this isn’t one of those themes where the all-these-words-can-follow word is used in a different sense in the implicit phrases.

interesting grid pattern here, with the 14s in rows 3 and 13 necessitating a bunch of black squares in the corners, but also very little connectivity—those 14s are the only entries connecting the NW/SE corners to the rest of the puzzle. there’s also a word count of only 72, giving the grid more of a themeless feel despite the rather large amount of theme. you don’t often see 8-8-14 stacks on a monday. the short fill is mostly fine, although the SE corner with A LOVE, MCI, and INV was a little unsightly.

that’s all i’ve got. 3ish stars.

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15 Responses to Monday, February 12, 2018

  1. huda says:

    NYT: I solved it in decent time, but I wonder if this puzzle would have been more appropriate for a Tuesday…, still with many fewer names.

  2. Anne says:

    NYT: As an Australian I have never heard of PAPI or UPN – I had PA-I and U-N and had to just guess. And there is no Discover credit card here. It seemed much harder than the average Monday to me.

  3. Susan Hoffman says:

    BEQ: Two complaints for my usually-fave constructor. March is when Daylight Savings Time begins. So the answer could have been DST. But the answer was EST, which is Eastern Standard Time, which begins in October, not March. But the biggest complaint (from this Philadelphian) is that there were, in fact, no “rioters” after the Super Bowl win, just exuberant celebrators who may (ok, did) have had too much to drink. The press focused on a few incidents. There were all of 3 arrests that night, which is amazing given how many people hit the streets.

    • e.a. says:

      literally what is a rioter if these are not rioters

    • LauraB says:

      Thank you for pointing out the EST error, which I didn’t comment on in my post.

      I disagree with you regarding the “exuberant celebrators,” as you call them, given the racist double standard that law enforcement often applies toward peaceful demonstrators.

    • While I also don’t care for media personalities painting all Philadelphia sports fans with a broad brush (as though fans booing or rioting is a thing that happens only in Philly and not, you know, *every* city with a major sports team), I will point out that BEQ’s clue is actually fairly evergreen. The Eagles won this year’s Super Bowl, but you could run that same clue in any year and it would almost certainly still be true no matter which team won (and yes, some fans here were rioters).

      –signed, a guy who’s not a fan of Philly’s teams but has lived in the city for more than a decade

    • Penguins says:

      BEQ’s a Patriots fan so I laughed when I filled in RIOTER.

  4. Gareth says:

    That Earthsea film looks awful, given how basically none of the people are supposed to have white skins…

  5. placematfan says:

    TOGAED works for me. Googling today’s and past responses to its appearances, there seems a near consensus against it. Hmmm. I don’t get it. One, I think it’s cool-looking. Two, the structure is totally legit: q.v. gloved, robed, clothed. Three, my Rules of Fill-Quality Appraisal demand that I give voice not only to memory but imagination as well; so “Have I used this or seen this used before?” is the primary critical question, but a close runner-up in importance is “Can I imagine a scenario where I would use this or see it used?” And I could see myself in a Frasiery fit of grandiloquence commenting or posting something thus: “Before the arrival of the police at three in the morning, the besotted, pulsating, togaed throng occupying–and, of course, strewn across the lawn of–the frat house carried on, keenly oblivious to the nearby houses occupied by people who in stark contrast were planning to rise and start their day long before three in the afternoon.” And I can imagine using or seeing: “He adored taking her out on their bimonthly date nights, but he did begrudge her her decision, every time, to leave the house with bare shoulders, predicating the inevitable scene wherein she’d importune her jacketed husband to have to choose between being a gentleman and warmth.”; so I wouldn’t label JACKETED dreck, either.

    • Billie says:

      A quick visit to shows “togaed” as the adjectival form of “toga”in seven of the dictionaries they feature. These seven include Merriam-Webster, Collins,, and Seems perfectly legit to me.

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