Monday, April 23, 2018

BEQ untimed (Laura) 


LAT 4:07 (Erin) 


NYT 3:01 (Amy)  


WSJ untimed (Jim) 


Lynn Lempel’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 4 23 18, no 0423

The theme answers with circled letters all begin with letters that spell out a way to tell somebody to get lost: SCAT, SCRAM, LEAVE, SHOO. The GO FIRST revealer is clued 38a. [Lead off … or a hint to the circled letters]. The theme answers that contain those exhortations are a fairly lively batch: a SCATTER RUG, SCRAMBLED EGGS, LEAVENED BREAD, and SHOOT HOOPS. One of the four is a verb phrase rather than a noun, but I certainly didn’t notice that while solving.

Fill highlights include director Steve MCQUEEN, INSIDIOUS (have you seen the horror movie by that name?), WEARS THIN, and the 11d/12d pair of YOUNG and THING clued as [The “T” {or “Y”} of Michael Jackson’s “P.Y.T.”].

Tough for a Monday: COHO, DDE, ALEE, DIODE.

Three more things:

  • 54d. [Swelter], BROIL. I’m almost looking forward to the sweltering part of summer. Spring is so shyly inching in here in Chicago, with trees and bushes adorned only with leaf buds at this point. We’ve had a chilly April and spring is lagging. I’m so desperate for spring flowers, yesterday I took a picture of some big tulip buds. Hopefully this will be the week that Michigan Avenue’s median planters and sidewalk flower beds explode in tulipmania!
  • 27d. [Cavernous openings], MAWS. There’s something I really like about the word maw, particularly when paired with gaping.
  • 48d. [Annoy], VEX. This is another favorite 3-letter word.

Four stars.

Jeff Stillman’s LA Times crossword – Erin’s write-up

LAT solution, 4/23/18

Hello again! Today’s LA Times theme involves celebrities with the same first name as the names of famous cities, minus their initial “San”:

  • 16a. [*Actor who played Ché in the 1996 “Evita” movie] ANTONIO BANDERAS. San Antonio.
  • 25a. [*1990s-2000s Red Sox Hall of Fame pitcher] PEDRO MARTINEZ. San Pedro.
  • 44a. [*Argentine who shared the FIFA Player of the 20th Century award with Pelé] DIEGO MARADONA. San Diego.
  • 58a. [*20th-century Spanish dictator] FRANCISCO FRANCO. San Francisco.
  • 65a. [Without … or, as a plural, what the starts of the answers to starred clues are without?] SANS, as in each of the theme entries is without its “San,” so the cities together are without their “Sans.” I like how this ties everything together, but the clue reads a bit awkwardly to me.

Other things:

  • 42d. [First name from which the “Adi” in Adidas is derived] ADOLF. The bit of trivia is great – apparently Adi Dassler founded Adidas, while his brother Rudolf created Puma. Apparently the two brothers were members of the Nazi party as well, which leads into why this answer has only been used in 26 NYT puzzles total. It’s hard to see this name and not think of the other Adolf.
  • A woodie

  • 4d. [Stereotypical surfer’s wagon] WOODIE. Here is a history of this station wagon with a wooden back.
  • 15d. [“Begin the __”: Cole Porter song] BEGUINE. I need to brush up on LA Times pop culture if I ever want to pinch-blog it again. Let’s end with this clip from Night and Day, a 1946 movie. (Warning: fairly skimpy outfits, puffy sleeves, and tight pants)

Roger & Kathy Wienberg’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Tuning In” — Jim’s review

Our theme is MIDDLE EAR as clued at 59a with [Anvil setting, and what the long song titles have in common].

WSJ – Mon, 4.23.18 – “Tuning In” by Roger & Kathy Wienberg

  • 16a [Bob Seger song heard in Chevy truck ads] LIKE A ROCK. I think most everyone is familiar with this one.
  • 22a [Hit for the Spinners later covered by Hall & Oates] I’LL BE AROUND. Didn’t know Hall & Oates covered this. Here’s their version.
  • 36a [Song sung by Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof] IF I WERE A RICH MAN. A gimme.
  • 47a [1950s torch song made popular by Julie London] CRY ME A RIVER. I know the phrase but didn’t know the song, not the original one, anyway. Justin Timberlake has a song of the same name as well.

The theme doesn’t require that each entry be a song title, but I like the consistency. And I’m just wowed that each song title has EAR exactly in the middle. And to have the set be symmetrical…that’s just amazing serendipity. A fantastic set of theme entries overall!

That’s a lot of really great music. Plus, there’s a bonus track at 1a: DAY-O (The Banana Boat Song).

Overwater bungalow in TAHITI

Lovely fill throughout. There’s a handful of partials (A WILL, A NAP, EN LAI), but those are isolated. The rest is solid. Nothing long and sparkly, but I like BREWER, BUCKO, SPEEDO, FIASCO, and SLOT CAR. I’m also partial to RENO (the city of my birth) and TAHITI (the island of my honeymoon). Pro tip: if you’re in TAHITI and you see a sign warning you of sea urchins at the bottom of a dock’s ladder, heed it. Or else, don’t be surprised when the hotel staff instructs you to urinate (or have someone else urinate) on the injured foot to coax the spiny tips out from your skin. Just sayin’.

Anyhoo, a most enjoyable Monday grid — a simple theme but executed with precision. Very nicely done. 3.8 stars from me.

Let’s close it out with one of the thematic songs. You know, for a song titled I’LL BE AROUND sung be a group named The Spinners, there’s a notable lack of rotational motion in this video.

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

BEQ - 4.23.18 - Solution

BEQ – 4.23.18 – Solution

Sure, you can have your stunt themelesses with those impressive triple- and quadruple-stacks. But on any given Monday, I’ll take a classic grid with nothing longer than eight letters. Five things:

  • [67a: Oberon’s wife]: TITANIA. And Queen of the Fairies in her own right (not just because she’s was somebody’s wife), from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. By the Julian calendar, today is the 402nd anniversary of Shakespeare’s death; by the Gregorian calendar, he died ten days later.
  • Jimi Hendrix playing a FLYING V


  • [3d: Classic Gibson guitar with a futuristic body]: FLYING V. Jimi had a sweet one.
  • [35a: Country renamed by King Mswati III celebrating its 50th anniversary of independence]: ESWATINI. I did not know, but do now, that Swaziland is officially known as the Kingdom of Eswatini.
  • [51a: Buffoon]: MORON. The word moron was coined in 1912 by Henry Goddard, a eugenicist and professor of abnormal psychology at Ohio State. His intent was to categorize immigrants at Ellis Island by degree of “feeble-mindedness” so that they could be deported. Easy fix: [51a: Fifth element]: BORON; [39a: London gallery]: TATE; [36d: “Three men in___”]: A TUB].
  • [58a: Original shark jumper]: THE FONZ. Why he wore his leather jacket to go waterskiing we’ll never know.

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5 Responses to Monday, April 23, 2018

  1. Martin says:

    Re: ESWATINI in the BEQ.

    It’s actually spelled eSwatini, which makes it look like the hi-tech version of brick-and-mortar Swatini. The king decided to change the name from Swaziland to avoid confusion with Switzerland. I wonder if they were getting a lot of tourists with skis.

    • john farmer says:

      It’s actually spelled eSwatini, which makes it look like the hi-tech version of brick-and-mortar Swatini.

      We can make jokes about the rebranding, but when nobody was going to the old Swatini anymore, the king knew it was time for a change. If successful, this could be the start of a trend. A few countries considering name changes:

      Iran –> iRan
      Oman –> OKman
      Togo –> Forhere
      Ireland –> HappyLand
      Iceland –> IceCreamLand
      Chad –> Jeremy

  2. Burak says:

    NYT is one of the best Mondays that I have ever done. I’d imagine that it’s really hard to come up with a fill that’s clean and fresh and easy at the same time, and Lempel does just that. If the theme answers didn’t have those circles (which she didn’t want per xwordinfo) it’d have been an even better puzzle imho.

    4 stars.

  3. Ethan Friedman says:

    A day late, but just wanted to chime in on the NYT. Lempel is a master at these easy grids, which are frankly harder to do than many of the Friday+ grids. Smooth and pleasing

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