Monday, March 26, 2018

BEQ untimed (Laura) 


NYT 6:42* (Amy)  


LAT 10:12, on paper (Ade) 


WSJ untimed (Jim) 


Andy Kravis’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 3 26 18, no 0326

Congrats to Team Fiend’s beloved Andy, who had an impressive 11th 6th place finish at the ACPT this weekend! Andy, I know you solve faster than me on nearly everything, but I need to explain my 6:42 finish on your Monday puzzle. I rarely ever solve on my phone, and when I do, it’s Crosswords With Friends, which has a bigger on-screen keyboard than the Times app. Also, winter just ended, and Chicago’s roads are a little rougher (my son was driving, not me! but I was solving in a moving car). Anyway! The theme is a vowel (sound) progression theme, with a long A, E, I, O and U in L—N words.

  • 17a. [Site of a postrace celebration], VICTORY LANE. Is this about “motor sports”? Because I don’t think my husband’s races, marathons and such, have a VICTORY LANE.
  • 26a. [Director of “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Doctor Zhivago”], DAVID LEAN.
  • 38a. [Follow one’s political group], TOE THE PARTY LINE.
  • 48a. [Helping hand for a low-income entrepreneur], MICROLOAN. Microloans are great!
  • 60a. [Classic Debussy work that translates as “Light of the Moon”], CLAIR DE LUNE. I like the Monday-clue addition of the English translation.

Love CIVIC DUTY, and the PEANUTS comic and THE NFL are other bright spots in the fill.

Five things:

  • 1d. [Finish a drive?], PAVE. I started out with PARK here. Anyone else?
  • 6d. [Wood nymphs, in myth], DRYADS. That … is not easy Monday fill.
  • 36d. [About, at the start of a memo], IN RE. I have written many a memo in my time, and probably most interoffice email would have been a printed memo before email became commonplace. I’ve certainly seen “RE:” headers, but IN RE? Yeah, no. I don’t suppose lawyers use it?
  • 61d. [One of 200 in the Indy 500], LAP. Speaking of that, Andy is one of the founders and organizers of the Indie 500 crossword tournament! Registration is open already. Hope to see many of you in D.C.!
  • 10d. [Like a good surgeon’s hands], STEADY. When a friend is going in for surgery, I like to wish them the surgeon’s best day on the job ever. Steady hands and the smoothest competence, the finest technique, the most perfect sutures.

Four stars from me.

ACPT Recap Addendum:

Team Fiend’s beloved Erik Agard blew the ACPT Finals speed record to smithereens, with a startlingly dominant 1st place performance throughout the weekend capped by a 4:58 finish on the A Finals puzzle. (“Startling” only because the person in 1st place before the finals doesn’t usually open up such a big lead in solving time. It’s unearthly, I tell you!) His other trophies include top Juniors and top Mid-Atlantic.

Our chief MGWCC blogger, Joon Pahk, took 4th place overall and fastest in New England.

Fill-in blogger Doug Peterson placed 14th, ex-Fiender Jeffrey Krasnick had a personal best 25th, Fiend regular Derek Allen scored the 2nd place in the Midwest, Fiend regular Laura Braunstein was the 5th fastest rookie, and Adesina Koiki won the coveted best handwriting award. 

Erin Milligan, Jenni Levy, Sam Donaldson, Ben Smith, and Angela “PuzzleGirl” Halsted all had fabulous fun (which is always a big win), and Fienders Dave Sullivan and Janie Smulyan facilitated all the fun and triumph by volunteering as tournament judges.

Mae Woodard’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Hue’s Clues” — Jim’s review

Our theme is two-word rhyming phrases, the first word of which is a color.

WSJ – Mon, 3.26.18 – “Hue’s Clues” by Mae Woodard (Mike Shenk)

  • 17a [Person who comes to the rescue] WHITE KNIGHT
  • 35a [Activity in which people ask to be hit] BLACK JACK
  • 57a [Film background later replaced with special effects] GREEN SCREEN
  • 13d [Julianne Moore or Jessica Chastain] REDHEAD
  • 38d [Organized absence by members of the police force] BLUE FLU

A nice set. BLUE’S CLUES may have been the impetus for this theme, but it doesn’t fit because it includes a possessive.

For the longest time, even while writing this up, I wasn’t cottoning on to the rhyming aspect of the theme. And with two of the theme entries in such unusual places (13d and 38d), I didn’t even recognize them as part of the theme. This is what I get for blogging while TV-watching.

Anyhoo, there’s a lot of great fill here. I love CLOWN CAR especially. Also good: THE PEARL, MALAISE, BRISKET, RUBS OUT. Plus, SHAKE IT, SCREEDS, ANTARES, GRID MAP, NITRITE.

Now it’s time for so long. But we’ll sing just one more song. Thanks for doing your part; you sure are smart. You know, with me and you, and my dog, Blue, we can do anything that we wanna do.

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

BEQ - 3.26.18 - Solution

BEQ – 3.26.18 – Solution

Just back from my first ACPT! My only goal was to keep ABREAST [7a: Alongside] my other rookie friends in filling in the SQUARES [32d: Town centers] that we were given. I tried not to be too much IN A ZONE [14a: Daydreaming], as there were a few ENIGMAS [51a: Hard nuts] to solve, including Damon Gulcynski’s Puzzle #4 (my favorite) and Joel Fagliano’s Puzzle #5, which were NOT EASY [35d: Hard]. As the day progressed, I was not content to SIT PAT [28a: Wait around], and I found myself ON A ROLL [49a: Really smoking]. The CRUX [39a: Meat] of the weekend: I took Fifth in the Rookie division and I attribute my success to a comprehensive LIBERAL ARTS [47a: English field?] education.

On Sunday, I was loath to ARISE [23a: Get up], having closed down the bar the night before listening to LORE [47d: Old stories] about ACPTs of yore. (I wanted to SECLUDE [12d: Hide away] my hungover self at the SPA [25a: Place to wear a robe].) But NO SIREE [52a: “That ain’t happening”] was I going to miss watching the weekend’s CODA [27d: End notes?] as my friend Erik Agard, in a major COUP [24a: Power change], as he LARRUPS [3a: Thrashes] the competition. I ENTREAT [15d: Plead with] you, Fiend readers, to ADJUST [7d: Fiddle with] your standards for excellence, for in regard to Erik Agard he is ALONE [38a: Unmatched] among EQUALS [36a: Reaches].

Paul Coulter’s Los Angeles Times crossword—Adesina’s write-up

Los Angeles Times crossword solution, 03.26.18

Good afternoon, everyone! This is Ade/AOK, still high on life after spending the a large portion of this past weekend in Stamford at ACPT, filling in once more today. Given the news that you might have read at the top of the page in the NYT blog, I, to my surprise, ended up as the winner of the Best Handwriting Award at this year’s tournament, and I hope you don’t mind seeing my handiwork at the end of solving today’s puzzle on paper.

Before I dive into today’s grid, let me tell you a very funny story that occurred yesterday that only could have happened at ACPT. As I walked around to say hello to a number of people getting ready to solve Puzzle 7, I momentarily stopped at one table where I had an extended a conversation with a lady who I knew prior to yesterday, as well as a gentleman sitting next to her whom I met for the first time at that moment in time. The gentleman, who told me that he constructed puzzles, expressed his appreciation for my past blogs on Fiend and also said he was looking forward to the time I would blog about one of his puzzles.

That gentleman’s name? Mr. Paul Coulter…the constructor of today’s puzzle that I’m blogging about now. No joke!! What a coincidence!!…but not IRONY, of course (37A: [O. Henry specialty]). I swear that I had not met Paul before yesterday, had no idea I would be blogging today’s grid until late last night, and, for his part, Paul did not let me know when his next puzzle would be published! Crazy!!

Today’s puzzle from Paul is a SLICK one (39A: [Ingenious]), with four of the theme entries, all going across, being two-word geographic locations that feature the letters “L-A” consecutively in each of the words. (Those letters are indicated by the circles in the grid.) A fifth theme entry, LA LA LAND, acts as the reveal (2016 Gosling/Stone film…and, as shown by circles, what each of four answers is]).

  • A[LA]SKA PENINSU[LA] (17A: [Narrow land formation along the Bering Sea)
  • [LA]KE P[LA]CID (33A: [Upstate New York Winter Olympics village])
  • WAL[LA] WAL[LA] (42A: [Washington city with a repetitive name])
  • SHET[LA]ND IS[LA]NDS (58A: [Scottish archipelago])

Got myself into a spot of bother when I put in an ‘n’ at the end of Alaska, which eventually made me wonder for a split second if I had been spelling “peninsula” wrong for all these years! It was a quick fix at the end, though I’m pretty sure I had always said “Alaskan” when referencing the peninsula before today. As if the four themes weren’t enough, there were many more pieces of land sprinkled across the grid, starting from the top with OSLO (1A: {Norway’s capital]) and continuing with OCALA (5A: [Central Florida city]) and also featuring DAKAR (32D: [Senegal’s capital]). Extra points from me for African geography, of course! I also give this grid extra points for another piece of geography, the ELBE, that I was fortunate enough to see – and fall in love with – when I spent a couple of days in Hamburg during the 2006 World Cup (55A: [Hamburg’s river]). Initially had “solo” instead of SOLI, so the top of the grid had two places where I tripped myself up for a bit (2D: [Songs sung alone]). I’ll admit to being a little nervous solving this grid today, knowing that I was going to post the completed, written-out puzzle on here. Don’t want to disappoint the audience, you know?!

“Sports will make you smarter…and write neatly” moment of the day: EDGE (57D: [Barely beat]) – It’s time to give the football players who play special teams some love. Shayne EDGE is a former collegiate and professional football player who was, statistically, one of the best punters ever at the University of Florida, playing in Gainesville from 1991-94. Edge appeared only in four regular-season games in his NFL career, all in 1996 as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. And, of course, in his first NFL game, Edge was ejected for fighting a member of the Houston Oilers after that player hit Edge late after the play was over. At least Edge will never forget his first game in the big time!

Thank you so much for your time, everyone, and I hope you all have a great rest of your Monday!

Take care!


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16 Responses to Monday, March 26, 2018

  1. David says:

    Re: comes from the Latin phrase “in re”, meaning “in the matter of”. Re is not an abbreviation of regarding, reference, or anything else in English, and is also not an abbreviation in Latin.
    Using “re:” in place of “in re:” is the customary usage, but makes no sense in Latin. Res: (the thing we are talking about) is in the nominative case and makes sense; In re: (in the matter of the thing we are talking about) is a prepositional phrase using the ablative case and makes sense). So there’s that.

  2. Lise says:

    NYT: For 1A, I had putt. Then park. Then finally PAVE. Whew! Anyway, nice puzzle.

    WSJ: Great theme! Timely fill too: early this morning, Jupiter was visible in the SW, and proceeding towards the east, ANTARES, then Mars, then Saturn. Pretty neat!

    Also, I don’t know why the ratings on this one were so low. I really liked it. Fun fill, great theme. What’s not to like?

    Congratulations to everyone at the ACPT! Nice write-up, too.

  3. huda says:

    Congratulations to all the talented people who won or placed, and my hat’s off to all of you who participate in this tournament. Very impressive bunch!

    NYT: Very nice puzzle. And Amy, my time is comparable to yours, but I don’t have roads with potholes as an excuse. It’s made me think about potential potholes in my neural highways…

    Oh well, a few bumps, a few detours, but we get there eventually.

  4. janie says:

    yup — PARK before PAVE, too. and among the themers… LEAN after LANE had me thinking this might be an anagram puzzle. wasn’t exactly sure *how* [oh yeah — patricia NEAL and “something something” ELAN], but clearly andy had a much more lively (and far better) game in store for us. hooray for that!


  5. Gareth says:

    For some reason, although the phrase is not quite the same, I now have Rocky Burnette stuck in my head… Thanks, Andy!

  6. Penguins says:

    Congrats to EA. Love that fro!!!

    BEQ’s puzzle was really good as usual though LIED/EDERLE was a bad cross imo. LIED should’ve been used more commonly since EDERLE is not a household name.

    • LauraB says:

      Depends on your household! My mother is a competitive swimmer so EDERLE is as familiar to me as, say, QUIGLEY or AGARD would be in a household of competitive puzzle solvers. The clue for LIED was difficult, yes, but not out of the ballpark for an intentionally difficult themeless, and a good misdirect.

      • Penguins says:

        An uncommon term crossed by an uncommon name is poor construction imo, particularly in this case where LIED could be used commonly and clued toughly if difficulty is an issue. Could be Ederle is not as uncommon as I think but I don’t recall seeing it.

  7. Brian says:

    Loved seeing CLAIR DE LUNE…music doesn’t get much more relaxing than that. I have a Pandora station set up with lots of Erik Satie and Calusd Debussy which is imo the perfect crosswording music

  8. Robert White says:

    NYT: Did this puzzle Saturday at an XWord Tournament in Akron; NE a problem. Predicting there’ll be controversy over one of the entries in Thursday’s puzzle!

    • Robert White says:

      Oops! NW corner was the tough one, but does the phrase “Pave a drive” work without “way” at the end?

  9. Paul Coulter says:

    Thanks for the write-up, Ade. I enjoyed chatting with you, too, especially since you’d recently covered the Villanova game. Villanova is much loved in my area. It was my son’s back-up school (he wound up at Johns Hopkins – go, Blue Jays! – then came back to Philly to do his graduate work at Drexel – go Dragons!) When I mentioned looking forward to you blogging me – David Steinberg had just come by, and I said I hoped his new series gets coverage here, soon, and maybe you could do it – I’d actually forgotten the date of my next LAT. This morning, not for the first time, when I opened the .puz file at Cruciverb, I was surprised to see my byline. Anyway, thanks for the great work you and all of Team Fiend do bringing these reviews to crossword fans.

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