Monday, March 19, 2018

BEQ 8:57 (Laura) 


NYT 3:46 (Amy)  


LAT 1:38 (erik) 


WSJ untimed (Jim) 


Michael Wiesenberg & Andrea Michaels’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 3 19 18, no 0319

Spectral theme: 48a. [What the starts of the answers to the seven starred clues constitute] clues RAINBOW, and those other seven things start with colors of the ‘bow. ORANGE PEEL, RED TAPE, INDIGO GIRLS, YELLOW LIGHT, GREEN ARROW, BLUEBIRDS (the only one that’s one word, not two), and VIOLET RAY (which I’ve never heard of: 35d. [*Antique medical device used for electrotherapy]). Not keen on including 8 theme entries that aren’t in any sort of order in the grid. Maybe the theme is better suited to a larger format than 15×15.

Perhaps on the challenging side for a Monday: ABBIE, ASEA, PAPPY, DUMA, ISLET, OUZO, SHOED, AROAR, I.M. PEI.

Four things:

  • 9d. [Cowpoke’s sweetie], GAL. Well, not all cowpokes are attracted to women. If heteronormative clues wear you down, run, don’t walk, to the Queer Qrosswords site. With documentation of a $10+ donation to an LGBTQ+ charity, you’ll receive a PDF puzzle pack containing 22 all-new crosswords by constructors in the LGBTQ+ family. Five of the puzzles are themeless, which delights me!
  • 27d. [Louvre Pyramid architect], I.M. PEI. Over in Learned League, the online trivia competition league, one of the Friday questions was “The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong, and Le Pyramide du Louvre in Paris are iconic works of what architect?” 70% of all players got the right answer, but in a subgroup of 25 other crossworders I play with, all 26 of us nailed it.
  • 56a. [Letters suggesting “I’ll just go ahead and throw this out”], FWIW. I feel like the quote in the clue needs a “there” at the end. “I’ll throw this out” is more suggestive of tossing something in the trash than offering a suggestion.
  • 54d. [Gastric ___], ACID. Feels slightly less in-the-language to me than “stomach acid.”

3.25 stars from me.

Bruce Venzke & Gail Grabowski’s Los Angeles Times crossword—erik’s write-up

LA Times crossword solution, 6 38 36, no 0638

the theme is DOUBLE DATES, or two-word phrases where each word can come before “date”:

  • START DINNER (start date, dinner date) – not the most idiomatic phrase.
  • HEAVY RAIN (heavy date, rain date) – what to heck is a heavy date? google informs me it’s heavy in the heavy petting sense. very risqué for the la times crossword.
  • HOT COFFEE (hot date, coffee date) – just right.
got off to a slow start with [Bird’s crop] at 1-across, because [Stick in one’s ___] would have been asking too much. irritations continued with the pileup of ACERB, E-TAIL, and DR. T in the northeast. i wouldn’t call LASE, MUFTI, ASTA, or ESSEN monday-friendly, either. on the plus side, GREASER, RHUBARB, MADE HAY, and MYOB are nice, and the clues were pretty lively on the whole.


i may just be spoiled from all of the wonderful queer qrosswords i binged over the weekend, but i feel that fill in general, and monday fill in particular, should be more accessible than this. still, a hearty thank you to the constructors and editor for the puzzle.


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

BEQ - 3.19.18 - Solution

BEQ – 3.19.18 – Solution

Five things I loved:

  • [25a: Quiz mag]: COSMO. Because Cosmopolitan is infamous for such personality quizzes as “Who said it: Kardashian or Hemingway?” and “Which Ryan Gosling character is your boyfriend?” and “How much do you really know about vaginas?” I just took a Cosmo quiz and learned that my social media age is … 25! LOLWHUT
  • [15d: “I don’t recognize you” in some memes]: NEW PHONE WHO DIS. This is how you reply when you get a text from some rando.
  • [61a: Uranus and Neptune]: ICE GIANTS. Namely, that’s how they’re classified as planets. Also makes me think about frost giants, which are creatures from Axis: Bold as LoveScandinavian mythology.
  • [5d: 1967 Jimi Hendrix Experience album]: AXIS: BOLD AS LOVE. I’m listening to it right now. “But I’m gonna wave my freak flag high… High!”
  • [36a: Performance on NPR’s “All Songs Considered”]: TINY DESK CONCERT. If you’ve never listened to this series, it’s awesome. They invite artists into the studio to perform in someone’s cubicle. You can subscribe to the podcast or watch the videos. Here’s a recent one I liked very much:

Harold Jones’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Coming Clean” — Jim’s re-cap

The puzzle posted late once again this Monday morning, so this will be brief.

Our theme is clean things in various senses of the word. They all share the same clue modified as necessary for plurality or lack thereof.

WSJ – Mon, 3.19.18 – “Coming Clean” by Harold Jones (Mike Shenk)

  • 18a [They’re clean] FRESH LINENS
  • 20a [It’s clean] MOUNTAIN AIR
  • 35a [It’s clean] FAIR FIGHT
  • 54a [It’s clean] SOLAR ENERGY
  • 57a [They’re clean] FAMILY SHOWS

Got it?

Moving on. Good fill: SHIP AHOY, ICE CUBE, HEROINE, COLGATE. Junk fill: Nothing beyond the normal.

In sum: Another theme answer to [It’s clean] could be THIS PUZZLE.

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17 Responses to Monday, March 19, 2018

  1. Huda says:

    NYT: I thought this was remarkably smooth given the density of the theme. It was also a really nice Monday theme. In contrast to my complaint last week, I could see doing it with my granddaughter (whom I’m using as my proxy for all new solvers). Once you tumble to the rainbow motif, the colors are very helpful and get you around most of the crosswordese or the slightly challenging stuff.
    And who doesn’t want a rainbow on a a Spring Day (felt like Spring today in Ann Arbor)!

  2. artlvr says:

    NYT: I liked this puzzle too, except for the “SHOED” at the end. When taking a hose to a blacksmith, one asks that the animal be shod or reshod. People may race barefoot or shoed but I never heard of a horse being other than shod and I used to ride horses often.

  3. Jim Peredo says:

    WSJ: No puzzle posted as of yet (9:37 am EDT) on the WSJ website. I will try to keep an eye on it throughout the day.

  4. Norm says:

    GREASER is/was a pejorative and sometimes racist term. I would hope to not see it again.

  5. Byron says:

    Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls should change her first name to Violet.

  6. Papa John says:

    I’d like to add my kudos for today’s NYT, too. I think it’s an excellent example of a early-week puzzle.

    Cornelia, three on-line resources tell me that SHOED and shod are interchangeable, albeit shod is more in use:

    Merriam-Webster; shod \ˈshäd\ also shoed

    Interestingly, my spell checker doesn’t like SHOED.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      I’m going to give the edge to artlvr’s actual exposure to the horsey world over what Merriam-Webster records.

  7. Papa John says:

    Norm, I grew up in the ’50s among many GREASERS. The term, then, was no more derogatory then jock, do-gooder, brown-noser or ivy-leager. It was merely a way to label a particular teen-aged social group. (Think James Dean, early Elvis Presley, or the brilliantly satirized character of Fonzie.) I understand, today, it refers to Latin types — men, more so — in a deprecating way, but the clue is specific: “Many a ’50s pompadour sporter”. Given this particular meaning, I would hope that the word not be censored.

    • Norm says:

      I’m a child of the 50s as well, Papa John, and I disagree with you. It is not just “today” that it has racist overtones; OED traces the usage as a slur back to 1848. It is no better than terms used to refer to Italians, Asians, and others that would never see the light of a day in a puzzle.

      • Papa John says:

        I’m not making myself clear. Yes, greaser does have a long history of being a pejorative term. I’m saying in this particular, narrow instance, when referring to “an aggressive swaggering young white male usually of working-class background”, it’s not offensive.

        Like Amy said above, “actual exposure” trumps written authorities.

        • Norm says:

          Hmm. There have been prior criticisms here of words that could have a negative connotation, despite the cluing. If you’re happy with your explanation, more power to you. I continue to disagree. Regards, Norm

        • Steve Manion. says:

          I am with John on this although, at 69, I am a little bit younger than the core group. On the other hand, I grew up in Niagara Falls, whose single biggest ethnic group was Italian Americans. Greasers were Fonzie wannabes. It was not pejorative. Greaseball was pejorative as were traditional ethnic slurs.

          I don’t think that the movie would have been named GREASE if greaser were thought to be pejorative.


  8. Joshua Kosman says:

    Big ups for the NYT puzzle, except for the thematic “green” in the clue for 30D.

    ROY G. BIV has shown up in many different puzzles of various kinds over the years. It’s always fun, but there’s always the Mood/Bunting/Girls bottleneck.

  9. Lise says:

    Today’s RAINBOW is a nice contrast to the sky here today, which is uniformly grey. The colors are much appreciated. Not BLAND at all.

    Getting the colors and the revealer into a Monday-level puzzle, with good fill such as ALLOCATE, MONORAIL, ZAPPED, and BURRO, must have been a challenging task. Good work, Mr. Weisenberg and Ms. Michaels; I hope to see more from either (or both!) of you.

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