Sunday, April 29, 2018

Hex/Quigley 11:03 (Laura) 


LAT 8:37 (Amy) 


NYT 10:29 (Amy) 


WaPo untimed (Erin) 


Bumping this up: Don’t miss the “Women of Letters” crossword puzzle pack! It’s yours free with a receipt for a $10 (or more) donation to one of 11 women’s charities. I’m proud to have been one of the editors (together with Patti Varol) for this project, which includes 18 all-new crosswords constructed by women. Enjoy!

Evan Birnholz’s Washington Post crossword, “Tech Crunch” – Erin’s writeup

WaPo solution, 4/29/18

Hello! This Sunday we have a computer brand rebus puzzle:

  • 24a. [Extensive school assignment] RESEARCH PROJECT. HP (Hewlett Packard) in the rebus square, crossing ASHPIT.
  • 39a. [Nursery rhyme character] FARMER IN THE DELL, crossing DELLA REESE
  • 67a. [Space where a heating appliance is installed] FURNACE ROOM, crossing LACERATION.
  • 70a. [Tries to understand, as a problem] GRAPPLES WITH, crossing JAVA APPLETS.
  • 92a. [The continuation of the status quo] BUSINESS AS USUAL, crossing PEGASUS.
  • 109a. [Old term for desktops and laptops, and a hint to this puzzle’s theme] MICROCOMPUTERS

Other things:

Kristen Wiig (right) with Ruffnut Thorston

  • 121a. [Required one’s words to be bowdlerized, maybe] CUSSED. Let’s let Thomas Bowdler define his own eponym with the title of one of his works: The family Shakespeare, in one volume; in which nothing is added to the original text, but those words and expressions are omitted which cannot with propriety be read aloud in a family.
  • Fun medical stuff this week: 12a. [Sign of inflammation] for ABSCESS and the previously mentioned 61d. [Deep cut, perhaps] for LACERATION.
  • 108a. [Sigmatism, by another name] LISP. Did not know this term, but sigma is the Greek letter for /s/, so it makes sense. I like how this clue does not joke about a condition that could cause a lot of distress to a person.
  • 89a. [Former SNL star Kristen] WIIG. Among lots of other things, she voiced Ruffnut Thorston in the How to Train Your Dragon films. If you are looking for a children’s show that won’t completely bore/annoy adults, check out Dragons: Race to the Edge on Netflix. Much better than Caillou.

Until next week!

Peter Wentz’s New York Times crossword, “Mis-Unabbreviated”—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 4 29 18, “Mis-unabbreviated”

Take familiar phrases that begin with a 2-letter abbreviation, mis-expand the abbreviation into something else that those 2 letters stand for, clue the resulting phrase accordingly, and you’ve got this theme:

  • 22a. [Meadows filled with loos?], WATER CLOSET FIELDS. If I ever knew what W.C. Fields’ initials were short for, I’ve forgotten.
  • 38a. [Where sailors recover from their injuries?], PHYSICAL THERAPY BOATS. The Navy’s PT boats had names like PT-109, and I don’t know what that PT stood for.
  • 55a. [Goings-on in accelerated classes?], ADVANCED PLACEMENT NEWS. AP News is the Associated Press.
  • 80a. [Dog that doesn’t offend people?], POLITICALLY CORRECT LAB. Labrador retriever, vs. a PC lab full of computers.
  • 100a. [Cry of devotion from a non-academy student?], PUBLIC SCHOOL, I LOVE YOU. I don’t know if anywhere other than New York City uses the P.S. designation for individual schools. Chicago’s public schools have names (the large majority are named after people) rather than New York-style numbers.
  • 117a. [Morning zoo programming?], ANTE MERIDIEM RADIO. Amplitude modulation!

Six long themers, and lots of fill that crosses two or even three theme answers but the fill doesn’t suck. Peter knows how to fill grids.

Five more things:

  • 11a, 89a. [First name on the Supreme Court], RUTH Bader Ginsburg and also SONIA Sotomayor.
  • 28a. [Be agreeable], SIT WELL. I feel like the phrase is dangling loosely without a “with” after it. That doesn’t sit well with me. Clue could have been for writer Edith Sitwell, particularly since there’s only one proper noun crossing this entry.
  • 37a. [Blotto], LOOPED. Wha…? Do people use that term to mean drunk? Huh. Not sure I’ve ever seen that before.
  • 69a. [Onetime Bond girl ___ Wood], LANA. Who? Turns out Natalie Wood had a sister who was also an actress. L. Wood played Plenty O’Toole, and I’d like the record to show that I have the greatest disdain for Ian Fleming’s puerile character naming for women.
  • 73d. [Elite court group], ALL-NBA TEAM. Not sure I knew that was a thing.

Four stars from me. Thoughts?

Jeff Eddings’s Los Angeles Times crossword, “Camera Shy”—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 4 29 18, “Camera Shy”

Seven camera brands appear in the circled letters in otherwise unrelated phrases. Six themers are nouns while one is a spoken phrase—would have been a little tighter to use all noun phrases or to have more of a mix of types.

  • 23a. [H&R Block calculation], PERSONAL INCOME TAX hiding PENTAX.
  • 42a. [Individual with limited skills], ONE-TRICK PONY hiding NIKON.
  • 50a. [“You can’t be serious!”] I BEG YOUR PARDON hiding GOPRO (a video camera).
  • 70a. [Hamilton, for one], AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY hiding MINOLTA. Nice to have a grid-spanning entry from time to time.
  • 91a. [Recreational area with pipes, bowls and ramps], SKATEBOARD PARK hiding KODAK.
  • 99a. [Dropping-off places?], SLEEPING CARS hiding LEICA.
  • 122a. [Red choice], CABERNET SAUVIGNON hiding CANON.

The theme phrases are a fairly lively set, and I suspect there are a lot of duller alternatives that also include the letters of camera brands interspersed within them. Not sure it would have been doable to somehow get the phrases to fit into the category of “things related to photography in some way” but it would be a bit more compelling to have some other thread linking the theme phrases.

A few more things:

  • 31d. [Stick on, in a way], TAPE TO / 109d. [Zero input], NO SAY / 33d. [Dojo action], JUDO KICK / 129a. [Part of a plot], IN ON IT. None of these feels like an in-the-language, crossword-worthy phrase.
  • 51d. [Like rolled carpet], UNLAID. What? No. Dictionary tells me that <em>unlay</em> is a nautical word, and that the adjective unlaid means “not laid,” as in “the table was still unlaid” (which is a terrible example in American English because that’s primarily a British usage). You can argue that since carpet gets laid, uninstalled carpet is UNLAID, but it feels to me like a wording nobody would use.
  • 32a. [They may be footed], PAJAMAS / 65a. [Drs.’ publication], JAMA. I like the double-JAMA action!
  • 44d. [Lake Wobegon creator], KEILLOR. *side-eye*

3.25 stars from me. This type of theme is pretty dry, but the theme answers themselves were a crisp set. The fill didn’t have all that much sparkle to it, though.

Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon’s CRooked Crossword, “Repeat Performance”—Laura’s review

CRooked - 4.29.18 - Cox & Rathvon - Solution

CRooked – 4.29.18 – Cox & Rathvon – Solution

Today we’ve got a series of reduplicated homonyms:

  • [23a: Early spring walk?]: MARCH MARCH
  • [25a: Carriage with some flaws?]: BUGGY BUGGY
  • [46a: “You really ought to buy my tar”?]: PITCH PITCH
  • [55a: Safe jump?]: VAULT VAULT
  • [77a: Stout hauler?]: HUSKY HUSKY
  • [86a: Toss Barkley out?]: CHUCK CHUCK. Is Charles Barkley really referred to as Chuck?
  • [108a: Cow farther down the hill?]: LOWER LOWER
  • [112a: Nail-biter of a finale?]: CLOSE CLOSE
  • [34d: Melt trash together again?]: REFUSE REFUSE
  • [39d: “How to Apply a Coat of Paint”?]: PRIMER PRIMER

This kind of theme has many, many possibilities, so this is a nicely selected set with all ten-letter acrosses and two 12s going down. Fill I liked: artists DUPRE and WHISTLER; literary names BARTH, REGAN, and ERATO; and a shout-out to my favorite “narrative tension enacted through watching someone frantically typing,” THE NET, starring Sandra Bullock.

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19 Responses to Sunday, April 29, 2018

  1. Huda says:

    NYT: That was fun! Which I especially appreciate in a Sunday puzzle.
    And I really liked the way Syria was clued. It brought back memories of going to the souks of Damascus, down alleyways where store after store displayed an amazing range of fabrics— Dmasks, Silk’s, brocades and many others. I still have a soft spot for unique fabrics, not just from Damascus but from all,over the world.

    • huda says:

      PS. Sorry for the typos. My edit button got stuck. I mean Damask fabric… Although in Arabic that first syllable is really short- Damascus would be fine spelled “Dmashq”

  2. Matthew G. says:

    I have a kid in the NYC public schools and I’m still confused by that themer clue. I mean, the PS part makes sense, but it’s the “non-academy” that confuses me. To me the word “academy” just means … school. There are several public schools in the NYC public school system that even have the word “academy” in their names. I don’t see anything about the words “non-academy” that pushes me toward thinking public schools. Can anyone explain this one?

    That was the only thing that confused me in a really outstanding puzzle!

    • Christopher Smith says:

      Yes that was a little forced. The non-PS grade schools seem to signify themselves by “academy” or “collegiate” but it’s not very definitive & also tres New York (not that the latter part bothers me).

      WC Fields was born William Claude Dukenfield. He was also inventive with names, writing under pseudonyms like Charles Bogle, Otis Criblecoblis & Mahatma Kane Jeeves.

    • Martin says:

      I took “academy” to mean “private school” in this context. The dictionary supports a sense of academy meaning “private high school.” Of course, a PS in New York is an elementary school, so it’s not a perfect fit but close enough I thought.

      ex PS24 and PS81.

      • Matthew G. says:

        Counterexample: The Academy of Talented Scholars, a NYC PS down the street from me. It is PS 682. (With regard to Amy’s point, although NYC public schools do have numbers, most of them also have names these days as well. So they would be referred to as “PS 102 The Bayview” or the like.)

        Anyhow, word “academy” just doesn’t foreclose “public” in my lexicon. I’d be willing to believe that the word is more frequently used in the names of private schools than public schools, but not overwhelmingly so.

  3. Norm says:

    PT boat = Patrol Torpedo boat
    Liked the puzzle a lot, but I do not understand the title. Explanation, anyone?

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      I suspect it’s an allusion to the Bushism “misunderestimate” but I could be wrong.

      • Martin says:

        I think you may be overthinking it. I think it just means that abbreviations in the phrases are expanded (“unabbreviated”), but using an alternative phase that shares the abbreviation (“mis-“).

        I could be wrong, too, in which case you’re not.

  4. David L says:

    Chiming in late, but “Supercollider bit” = ATOM: No, just no. Unless it means that a supercollider is made of atoms, same as a washing machine, for example.

    • Martin says:

      It seems like decades ago that I tried arguing that an ion is not a kind of an atom. The problem is that every dictionary defines ion as a “charged atom.” Furthermore, all accelerators, including colliders, are commonly called “atom smashers.”

      In other words, in the realm of common language and not particle physics, this ship has sailed and it’s not the editor’s problem.

      • David L says:

        I don’t disagree with the definition of an ion as a charged atom, but particle accelerators don’t smash ions into each other.

        “Atom smasher” is an inaccurate description, and one that seems very old school to me. Good science journalists don’t use the phrase.

        Oh well.

        • Martin says:

          Colliders accelerate ions. LHC uses hydrogen ions (“protons”) and lead ions, e.g. If you’re ok with them being atoms, that should do it, no?

          • David L says:

            It’s arguable, I guess. I wouldn’t refer to protons as hydrogen ions in the context of particle physics experiments and the lead ions are actually lead nuclei, free of all electrons. A lead ion, to me, suggests a lead atom with some electrons removed (or added), but not the bare nucleus.

  5. Beach bum says:

    NY Times. 28A, I also didn’t like SIT WELL for “Be agreeable.”

    59D [Green org.] | EPA. A more accurate clue would be “Green org.?”. Is it still green? (I don’t mean “green” as in a money-making machine.)

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Every single EPA clue I read, write, or edit, I have similar thoughts. I like the aspirational nature of cluing it as what it was intended to be and may (we hope) one day be again.

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