Friday, April 20, 2018

LAT 6:15 (Gareth) 


NYT 5:01 (Amy) 


The CHE has moved to its summer schedule of alternate weeks, with the next puzzle coming on 4/27. If that’s wrong and there’s actually a 4/20 puzzle, let us know!

Joel Fagliano’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 4 20 18, no 0420

This puzzle’s got a mini-theme: 10d. [With 26-Down, the place of today’s puzzle among all New York Times crosswords] clues TWENTY-FIVE / THOUSANDTH. (But who’s counting?) The rest of the puzzle’s themeless, a 70-worder.

New to me:

  • 40a. [Under the specified word, in a reference book], SUB VOCE.
  • 3d. [Topic of the mnemonic “Eat An Apple As A Nighttime Snack”], CONTINENTS. Really? People need a mnemonic to remember a whopping seven continents in no particular order? I get “every good boy deserves fudge” for that musical note order, and my grandpa taught me SUNP, pronounced a lot like “sump,” to remember the order of the last four planets (this is the only reason I remember that Uranus is closer than Neptune). But this EAAAANS mnemonic seems rather pointless. If you fine readers report that you did, in fact, use a mnemonic to help you remember the seven continents, I shall retract the cavil.

Entries I like: APOLO OHNO, HIS ‘N’ HERS, GRIDDLE (I recommend a double-burner griddle, so you can make a bunch of pancakes or grilled cheese sandwiches or whatever at the same time), HOT TUB full of OLIVE OIL, KAREEM Abdul-Jabbar (I appreciate the columns he writes for assorted venues—here’s one from the Hollywood Reporter on grappling with the art of artists who’ve done bad things), and noseless Tycho BRAHE.

Four more things:

  • 26a. [Desperately in need of approval, in modern slang], THIRSTY. Wait. Does this have anything at all to do with thirst trap, or are the two things separate? Checking Urban Dictionary … seems like that sort of THIRSTY kinda ties to Instagram posts. I’m not really on Insta.
  • 55a. [Back now after going out?], RELIT. Meh. Back on, maybe, but not back now. I’d say that the power’s back now, but not that a candle or lamp is back now.
  • 58a. [Entrenched network inside a government], DEEP STATE. Such a neutral clue for what is really a highly politicized term.
  • 22d. [100+ million-selling band that once held a Guinness record for loudest concert], THE WHO. What a dreadful Guinness record to seek. This is why Pete Townshend developed hearing loss. A better (and far more arcane!) Guinness record to shoot for: biggest rally of living organ donors. I’m accompanying my donor husband to The Bean (which looks like a kidney, only shiny, metal, and huge) this weekend for the Guinness attempt!

Four stars from me for this puzzle.

Mike McHugh’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up

LA Times

This clue/answer reversal theme is definitely one of the better examples of the genre. The initial answers don’t seem to make sense until you work out the theme. INREVERSE is slightly heavy handed as revealers go, but I guess they were trying to make the puzzle more broadly accessible. Also, none of the answers themselves felt annoyingly contrived that you have to torture your brain to get to a strangely phrased clunker.

How it works – [Pay back] = YAP = PRATTLEON; [Step back] = PETS = DOMESTICANIMALS; [Snap back] = PANS = GIVESABADREVIEW.


  • [2018 Super Bowl designation], LII. A rare clue that actually succeeds in rescuing a random Roman numeral!
  • [Chain with a dog-and-cat logo], PETCO. Does this count as a duplication?
  • [’90s-’00s NFL Pro Bowler Warren], SAPP. Mysterious surname of the day for me.
  • [Baking convenience], CAKEMIX. Hmph. Usually means it’ll taste “cheap”.
  • [Outkast, for one], DUO. Crossword-friendly BIG BOI & ANDRE 3000.
  • [Beersheba’s locale], NEGEV. It is the largest city in the desert region.
  • [Still being tested, as software], INBETA. Clever fill nugget.
  • [Polk’s middle name], KNOX. “Mr James K. Polk, Napoleon of the Stump…”
  • [New driver, usually], TEEN. I only started at 21.

3.5 Stars

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22 Responses to Friday, April 20, 2018

  1. Dr. Fancypants says:

    I always liked “Mother Very Earnestly Made A Jam Sandwich Using No Peanuts” for the planets (back when Pluto still qualified), in part because the otherwise extraneous “A” corresponds to the asteroid belt.

  2. Jason Mueller says:

    I remember a “Newhart” episode where Dick tried to teach that continent mnemonic to Larry when Larry was studying for his high school equivalency test. And “name the seven continents” ended up being the final question!

  3. huda says:

    NYT: I liked. I think doing the minis on a daily basis helped me get on JF’s wave length.

    OLIVE OIL: my grandfather owned olive groves and I grew up hearing a fair bit of discussion about it… I feel that extra-virgin oil needs to be used advisedly, especially in cooking or else it can overwhelm the taste. I have about 6-8 different densities, grades and flavors of olive oil at any one time. I know, people think it’s nuts. But I’m thrilled that my 7 year old grandson asks me for specific kinds when he’s helping me cook or concocting something on his own. He has a great nose for different tastes and he can definitely tell the difference. Some little gene from 5 generations ago has snuck into him…

    Amy, the Organ Donor rally is such a wonderful idea! The generosity is inspiring and restores one’s faith in humankind. And what an inspired place to hold it! Both organic looking and yet aspirational and reflective. I love the architecture in Chicago. I attended an event at the Pritzker Pavillion one year and was amazed by the acoustics.

    • Lise says:

      I have olive oil envy now, Huda. Just 3 in my cupboard. Do you have any recommendations?

      • huda says:

        I do. A L’Olivier. It is not extra fancy or expensive. You can get it on Amazon. If you buy the crock, you can get refills in cans. To me, it is an excellent middle of the road, non overwhelming kind of olive oil. I use it in a wide range of dishes if I want good taste without automatically yelling: Olive oil here…

        • huda says:

          also, for a flavored kind, I like Zeta Garlic and Basil. Some people have problems digesting real garlic, but it’s not a problem if it’s infused in oil. Again, tasty but delicate.
          “Zate” means oil in Arabic…

          • Lise says:

            Thank you for all of this information. I am going to try those. And thanks for the Arabic! I love learning words in other languages.

            We love olive oil at our house. Also garlic. If I’m reading a recipe, I usually double or triple the garlic (I consider recipes “suggestions” rather than commands). So we would love a garlic-infused oil.

            I appreciate that crosswords take us in so many different directions, and I love this forum. Thanks!

      • PhilR says:

        Unfiltered Organic Tunisian. It’s like an Olive Oil punch in the mouth.

  4. Candice says:

    Sad that “Stringer” wasn’t clued as a The Wire reference…

  5. Dave says:

    SCRY was a new one to me. Learn something every day.

  6. David L says:

    Another science fail: Johannes Kepler was Tycho Brahe’s assistant, not the other way around, as the clue says. In fact, Brahe died shortly after taking Kepler on, which is how Kepler came to have access to Brahe’s observational data, which he had been loath to share.

  7. Lise says:

    As I remember it, Kepler was Brahe’s assistant, not the other way around (clue for 11D: “Kepler’s contemporary and assistant”). I looked this up and am relieved to find that Wikipedia agrees with me, since I don’t want to think that I have taught my students incorrectly.

    Congratulations to the NYT on their TWENTY-FIVE THOUSANDTH puzzle! That’s an amazing record.

    I have never heard any mnemonic for the CONTINENTS. I’m glad there is one, for those who need it.

    I hadn’t known that an otter’s den is a HOLT. For a minute or so of absolute otter pup cuteness, go here:

  8. Ethan Friedman says:

    Loved the NYT. And that’s really something. Not many cultural series get to 25,000 of anything. Congrats to Farrar, Maleska, Weng, and of course Shortz for steering it successfully though the decades.

  9. Steve Manion. says:

    I really liked this puzzle. My favorite type of puzzle is one in which I learn new words. Today there were two: SCRY and HOLT.


    • Lise says:

      If you read the Bartimaeus Trilogy, by Jonathan Stroud, you’ll find plenty of SCRYing. Bartimaeus is a rather impudent djinni reluctantly attached to a magician named Nathaniel. I’m not a huge fantasy fan but I really liked this set, for the writing, the setting, and the relationships between characters.

  10. JohnH says:

    The SW was tough because of SCRY and the temptation of “room” for capacity, but it was the crossing of the athlete with HOLT and the choice of RE/OSIN that defeated me. Hate when I can’t finish.

  11. Mark Abe says:

    I remembered the planets as “My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nine Pies,” but just memorized the continents by visualizing a map. I also objected to the clue for “deep state” not including the word “alleged” or “arguably.”

  12. m says:

    WSJ Saturday puzzles both link to the cryptic. Where’s the crossword link?

  13. Penguins says:

    Anyone have a LAT .puz file they can upload somewhere?

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