Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Jonesin' 4:25 (Derek) 


LAT 5:26 (Derek) 


NYT 3:27 (Amy) 


WSJ untimed (Laura) 


Xword Nation untimed (Angela) 


Ross Trudeau’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 2 27 18, no 0227

Subtle theme for a Tuesday puzzle: Four creators of works with “Dream” in the title.

  • 19a. [“Montage of a Dream Deferred” poet], LANGSTON HUGHES. That’s not a poem, but a book written in poem form. You might be more familiar with his poem “Harlem,” which asks, “What happens to a dream deferred?”
  • 29a. [“The Interpretation of Dreams” writer], SIGMUND FREUD. Nonfiction prose.
  • 39a. [“Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening” artist], SALVADOR DALI. Painting.
  • 52a. [“All I Have to Do Is Dream” singers], EVERLY BROTHERS. I don’t think I know the song.

Interesting set. Might’ve been nice to include some women among the creators here.

A few other things:

  • 12d. [___ v. Ferguson (1896 Supreme Court ruling)], PLESSY. A little sucky to run this case right through LANGSTON HUGHES’ name. Definitely more challenging to clue it as, say, [Homer ___ (man who lost a Supreme Court challenge to pro-segregation forces)].
  • 10d. [Orwell or Wells], AUTHOR. Did you read this clue aloud? Cute.
  • 35a. [“HAHAHA!,” in texts], ROTFL. Texts belonging to people over the age of 40, presumably.
  • 36d. [Ingredient in Worcestershire sauce], TAMARIND. I have no use for Woostershur sauce, personally, but tamarind in chutney is A-OK. Tamarind’s also in sinigang, a Filipino soup or stew that some of you foodies may want to try making. (I’ve not tried it, but might order it next time I go to Isla Pilipina for dinner.)

Despite the stacks of 8s and 6s in this grid, the fill’s pretty smooth. Didn’t irk me as much as the fill in most Tuesday NYTs. 4 stars from me.

Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “It Bears Repeating” – Derek’s write-up

I had a minor foul-up at 47A, but other than that smooth sailing. We are being a little repetitive this week! Here are the thematic elements:

  • 17A [Action star who’s yellow and full of potassium?] ERIC BANANA
  • 35A [Shake it for an alcohol-based dessert?] RUM BABA DANCE
  • 44A [Classical piece for a jeweler’s eyepiece?] CANTATA LOUPE – A loupe is that magnifying glass a jeweler might wear.
  • 63A [Rock nightlclub open for a long time?] YEARS A GO-GO

Simple yet entertaining! If only I hadn’t filled in SCOUR where SCRUB goes I would have had a perfect solve! Are you all getting geared up for the ACPT? I had a perfect solving score last year, and I aim to repeat that feat! I suppose I should get a plane ticket!! 4.2 stars today.

A few more things:

    • 34A [Madalyn Murray __, subject of the Netflix film “The Most Hated Woman in America”] O’HAIR – This is obviously ON Netflix! This is about a prominent atheist. I may have to check it out. After all, it IS on Netflix!
    • 61A [Actress Russo] RENE – I was looking somebody up the other day, and I found someone who was married to Rene Russo’s sister. I don’t remember who I looked up, though. (I looked again, and her sis was married to Bernie Taupin, Elton John’s famous co-songwriter!)
    • 6D [Co. that launched Dungeons & Dragons] TSR – I have NEVER played this game. It was big even back when I was in elementary school. I have played Axis & Allies, and Strat-O-Matic, so I have experience with games that take a week to play!
    • 26D [“This is __!” (“300” line)] SPARTA – Always a great scene!

  • 46D [Winter Olympics sled] LUGE – The Olympics are over! And the US only placed 4th in medals, despite having the largest team in history. Now on to the Summer Olympics in 2020 in Tokyo! (Beijing in 2022, Paris in 2024, 2026 unchosen, Los Angeles in 2028)
  • 55D [Jeremy of 2018’s “Red Sparrow”] IRONS – This movie looks intriguing. I may watch it later on my phone!

Have a nice week!

Jake Halperin’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up

This puzzle really takes care of business!

  • 17A [Regularly go out (with)] KEEP COMPANY
  • 23A [Getup for Woody of “Toy Story”] COWBOY OUTFIT
  • 38A [What “2 + 2 = 4” is an example of] BINARY OPERATION
  • 50A [Preferred way of doing things] BEST PRACTICE
  • 61A [Front part of a hand tool, say … and the last word of 17-, 23-, 38- and 50-Across?] BUSINESS END

Yes, the ends of the theme answers are all synonyms for “business”: we have all called them company, outfit, operation, and practice. Cleanly done. I am not too familiar with Jake’s puzzles, but I do believe I have solved some of his before. Bring on more! 4.3 stars.

More things to discuss:

  • 27A [Like some consonants, as the nasal “n”] PALATAL – This is a little tough, but easy enough with the crossings and a little thought. Someone solving a crossword, even a newbie, would likely know this word
  • 55A [__ Kosh B’gosh] OSH – We have one of these stores right near my house! Now I don’t have to drive all the way to the outlet mall in Michigan City! Oh, wait: my son’s are all too big for baby clothes!
  • 7D [Finland’s second largest city] ESPOO – It is??
  • 25D [“True __”: HBO vampire series] BLOOD – I have never seen this show. And I’m not sure I want to; not too into the whole vampire craze.
  • 33D [Hoppy beer, for short] IPA – I had ALE in here at first. I don’t mind these beers, but they CAN be TOO hoppy.
  • 41D [Hindu princess] RANI – I don’t feel that I have seen this word in a while, so it is only minimally annoying!

The weather is breaking: almost time to start running again! Have a nice week.

Morton J. Mendelson’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Kinda Guarded” — Laura’s write-up

WSJ - 2.27.18 - Mendelson - Solution

WSJ – 2.27.18 – Mendelson – Solution

  • [17a: Accept as lost]: KISS GOODBYE. “Kiss today goodbye, the sweetness and the sorrow…”
  • [37a: Head of a film’s lighting and rigging crews]: KEY GRIP. Today I Learned: What this person does. Thank you crossword puzzle!
  • [59a: Beetle’s sporty cousin]: KARMANN GHIA. What? Apparently it went out of production in 1974.
  • [11d: London site that has the world’s largest collection of living plants]: KEW GARDENS. A royal residence since 1299 under Edward I “Longshanks” (second-best English King nickname after Æthelred “The Unready”), the botanic garden was founded in 1840.
  • [29d: Kin of avocado]: KELLY GREEN. I’m all, K … KIWI FRUIT? Something else Millennials have killed?
  • [67aR: Kinda guarded, or a homophonic hint to the starred answers]: CAGEY. Oh, like kay-gee. KINDERGARTEN. KILOGRAM. KANGAROO. KID GLOVES. KELSEY GRAMMER. KITTY GENOVESE. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND.

With more Ks than usual in the themers, fill needed to step up to the challenge:

  • [11a: Policeman of silent films]: KOP. As in Keystone.
  • [47d: Hogged the discussion?]: OINKED. I personally feel that there’s something inherently funny about oinking.
  • [25d: Wasn’t injured]: IS OK. This reminds me that a friend of mine in college couldn’t quite parse the title of the 1970s self-help book I’m OK, You’re OK and thought it was actually a coming-of-age story set on the planet Vulcan called Imok, You’re OK.

Elizabeth Gorski’s Crossword Nation Puzzle “Famous Last Words”—Angela’s write-up

PuzzleGirl here with this week’s Crossword Nation offering. Simple theme: Last words of the theme answers generate a famous movie quote.

  • 17a. [*Procastinator’s vow], I’LL DO IT TOMORROW. This is my life. Sigh.
  • 29a. [*Suspenseful Oscar Night phrase], AND THE WINNER IS. I was trying to fill this in without reading the clue carefully so I had it starting with ANOTHER. That didn’t work very well for me in case you were wondering.
  • 45a. [*Peacenik’s appeal for brotherhood, perhaps], LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
  • 58a. [*Time off from work (taken in the spirit of self-care)], MENTAL HEALTH DAY. I read an interesting article the other day about how a lot of people think “spa day” when they think “self-care,” but sometimes self-care means “making a doctor’s appointment,” “doing laundry,” “paying bills,” stuff like that. Sure, spa days are nice, but I often leave the spa thinking “Oh man, I have a lot to do.”
  • 65a. [Butler’s love, whose final words in “Gone With the Wind” are the final words of the asterisked answers], O’HARA.

I am reminded once again that I haven’t seen this movie. Is that weird? Seems like it’s a movie I should have seen by now. Pretty sure I’ve never seen “Casablanca” either. I’ve never gone on one of those classic movie jags like I’ve seen others do. Maybe one day.

A few other things (including a lot of false starts!):

  • 16a. [Elaborate party], FETE. Tried GALA first.
  • 25a. [Grumpy person], CRANK. With CR*N* in place, I inexplicably filled in CRONE. Apparently, I need to slow down sometimes.
  • 33a. [Ready to order?], BOSSY. Super cute clue.
  • 42d. [Like a rageaholic], LIVID. Tried ANGRY first.
  • 53a. [Tony-winning actress Merkel], UNA. This is the second time this week I’ve come across her name. I guess she’s here to stay.
  • 3d. [Majesty], SPLENDOR. Tried HIGHNESS.
  • 26d. [Tip for a calligrapher], NIB. I love it when you can see the constructor’s personality come through in a puzzle. This is definitely Liz.
  • 30d. [Jury complement], TWELVE. Funny that this was the entry that made me realize ANGRY was wrong at 42a.
  • 48d. [Former Steelers coach Chuck], NOLL. With all my missteps it’s kind of hilarious that I got this one right off the bat with only the first L in place. Hilarious because I’m not a football fan at all. Not sure why this particular name is in such an accessible spot in my brain.
  • 57d. [“I’m surprised to see you here!”], “OH, HI!” I love this entry. Every time I see it, it makes me smile. I guess because it evokes such delight.

Just another sweet, smooth puzzle from Liz. What a shocker, right?

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25 Responses to Tuesday, February 27, 2018

  1. Martin says:

    Sinigang’s good stuff. Tamarind is also used in sambar, the pigeon pea and vegetable dal dish that goes with idlis and dosas, which I’m sure came up here recently. I use a lot of it in this and other Indian dishes.

    Tamarindo is also my favorite agua fresca, the fruit ades that go so well with Mexican food. Soak some tamarind pulp in hot water, strain out the seeds and fibers, add water and sugar and ice. Yum.

    • Steve Manion. says:

      My friend took me out for lunch yesterday at a South Indian restaurant here in Phoenix called Chennai. We had dosa, which looks like a hollowed out loaf of French bread. The center had what she called peas and potatoes. I wonder if that is sambar,
      There were three sauces. We had “spicy”. I only know that it was excellent.


      • Martin says:

        No, the filling is aloo masala, spiced potato. You would have had a masala dosa. The outside should have been thin, like a crispy crepe. Bready is not good.

        Two of the sauces were probably coconut chutney, one white and one red with tomato. The third should have been a soupy dish, the sambar. As with most food, home cooked is way better.

        • Steve Manion. says:

          Exactly right. It was crispy with all the ingredients you mentioned. I let my friend order so I never saw what we were ordering.

          I never knew Phoenix had so many people of Indian heritage. It was in a great little plaza that had three Indian restaurants and one Vietnamese. Right near Arizona State.

  2. Lise says:

    I liked the clue for RED ALERTS (“States of emergency”) as I am a fan of nouns that take a following adjective, like “attorneys-general” and “mother-in-law”. They sound so medieval to me, especially the plurals.

    I also liked that the dreamers were different types of artists. And it would have been nice to include a woman, yes.

    I didn’t love SOYS; in a puzzle which included PLESSY and TURTURRO, why not add HOSEA to the mix?

    I remember TAMARIND as part of a Games Magazine scavenger hunt several decades ago. I’m not a fan of Woooosturshur sauce but thank you, Martin, for pointing out that tamarind has other uses; I will try it!

  3. Jenni Levy says:

    We have a block of tamarind in the fridge, used in several Asian recipes. Yum.

    Love me some Everly Brothers. Those harmonies….

    • PJ Ward says:

      If you enjoy sibling harmonies, check out the Secret Sisters…

    • Lise says:

      I can’t recall seeing tamarind for sale. I will check Whole Foods later this week but in the meantime, where do you get yours, Jenni and Martin?

      • Jenni Levy says:

        Wegman’s carries it (I know they’re not everywhere) and we’ve also bought it at Asian markets.

        • Lise says:

          We have a Wegmans and several Asian markets. Thanks!

          • Martin says:

            Indian, Chinese and Mexican markets all carry many kinds. Some have fresh tamarind, in a pod that looks like a giant brown peapod. It also comes in a moist brick, with pod and seeds removed. Finally, you can buy tamarind paste in a jar. It’s the most convenient form but not quite as fresh-tasting as when you make the paste with one of the other forms and a litter hot water.

            • lemonade714 says:

              Tamarind grows wild here in South Florida; my wife from Thailand picks the pods from any unsuspecting trees and then uses her huge mortar and pestle to prepare for many dishes. She has worked as a chef for years.

  4. Zulema says:

    I didn’t like the DODO entry. They were not stupid, they were trusting. If that’s stupid, well…

  5. huda says:

    NYT: Tamarind is called in Arabic: Tamar Hindi— Indian Date…
    I guess the plant must look like a palm date… or maybe because it can turn into a paste like dates can.
    I still remember my father visiting the US for the first time, tasting Worcestershire sauce on his steak, again for the first time, pausing for a second and then saying: Tamar Hindi!

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Great anecdote, Huda! And I always appreciate your Arabic lessons.

    • Martin says:


      It’s a big tree that looks sort of like a locust bean tree. No similarity to a palm. I’m sure the name comes from the usage. “Tamar” is one of my favorite names. If we had had a daughter I would have lobbied for it.

  6. scrivener says:

    The LAT’s ESPOO, CHARY, and TINGOD all next to each other slaughtered me. First time I had to reveal a box (the S in ESPOO was enough to get me to MISHIT) on an LAT Tuesday since, um, early January. But before THAT it was more than a year. I hate myself.

  7. Jim Peredo says:

    WSJ: I do enjoy your posts, Laura, and agree with your assessment of English king nicknames. Why don’t they do that anymore? Perhaps they’ll start up again with Charles the Long-Suffering. Or maybe they could start now with Elizabeth the Undying. Here’s a listing of monarchs and their nicknames. I like “Fulk the Ill-Tempered” of Anjou. With a name like Fulk, he was probably bound to be.

    Also, shout out to KEW GARDENS, one of my favorite places in London.

  8. Noam D. Elkies says:

    With 19A:LANGSTON_HUGHES crossing 12D:PLESSY and Do the Right Thing-clued 18D:TURTURRO, I was expecting a Black History Month theme. Turns out to be an entirely different kind of theme. Could still have worked with ML “I have a dream” K Jr. and (say) Maya Angelou (Google serves up “I am the dream and the hope of the slave”), except for a malign force even more powerful (in the crossword realm) than The Patriarchy: the fetish for grid symmetry. (The daily 5*5 minipuzzle occasionally serves up an asymmetrical grid; possibly the NYTimes is testing the waters for discarding the symmetry straitjacket also for the 15*15 format.) Meanwhile, there are other axes of diversity: besides Hughes, there’s the Jewish Freud, and I see that Dalí claimed Moorish descent. Plus of course the diversity of genres among the four themers, which was already remarked on.


  9. Gareth says:

    LAT: Cute early week theme idea, but definitely a pelican – marred by trying to fit more theme (11,12,15,12,11) than could be accommodated cleanly; so many ugly partials and other glue…

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