Monday, June 11, 2018

BEQ 7:15 (Laura) 


LAT untimed (Nate) 


NYT 2:41 (Jenni) 


WSJ untimed (Jim) 


The New Yorker 9:24 (Jenni) 


Gary Cee’s New York Times crossword—Jenni’s write-up

Amy and I both have kids graduating from high school tomorrow. I’m filling in for her while she’s out to dinner.

This was a fun Monday puzzle, even with the circles. We have a central revealer and four pairs of theme answers. The revealer is 35a [“I’ve got this round!” … or a literal hint to this puzzle’s theme], which is DRINKS ARE ON ME. The circles show us ME  in four answers, and ON ME we have:

NYT 6/11, solution grid

  • 17a [Motorcycle attachment] for SIDECAR
  • 21a [Tropical tree with hot pink flowers] for MIMOSA
  • 53a [Hand tool for boring holes] for GIMLET
  • 61a [Danny DeVito’s role in 1975’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”] for MARTINI.

I wouldn’t drink those all in one place if I were you. This was a fresh theme, accessible for a Monday (thanks to the circles) and amusing. Some crosswordese crept in – do new solvers know pro TEM  and EMI?

A few other things:

  • 13a [George Bernard Shaw wanted his to read “I knew if I stayed around long enough, something like this would happen”] is of course his EPITAPH. Mama told me there’d be days like this….
  • Baking instructions! 29d and 30d are both [Pie recipe directive]: BAKE and COOL, respectively. Mmm. Pie. One of these days I will get to the Indie 500 and partake of some pie there.
  • Gary missed the chance for a third pie-related clue: 36d [Window ledge] is the SILL, a classic pie-cooling spot.
  • 20d [“Pay attention out there!”] is the very-much-in-the-language LOOK ALIVE.
  • 49a [Nerd] is GEEK. My understanding is that there are subtle but important differences between the two. Discuss.

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that a GIMLET was a hand tool.

I leave you with this, because GAVOTTE appears at 18a.

Charlie Oldham’s (Mike Shenk’s) Wall Street Journal crossword, “Diamond Doings” — Jim’s review

WSJ – Mon. 6.11.18 – “Diamond Doings” by Charlie Oldham (Mike Shenk)

  • 17a [Striking] EYE CATCHING
  • 27a [“Tom Jones” author] HENRY FIELDING
  • 44a [Filling for quilts and cushions] COTTON BATTING
  • 59a [Sleepwear with a hood] BABY BUNTING

A nice set of entries, especially with the changes in meaning for the keywords. However, one could argue that BUNTING would fall under the category of BATTING. By the way, I never knew what BABY BUNTING was. Seems like putting a hood on a baby’s sleeping outfit is asking for all kinds of trouble.

Fave fill: “DON’T CARE,” TRENCH COAT, VIETNAM, ARACHNE, COGNAC, and LAND LEGS even though I’ve never heard of the latter. Makes sense, though, since “sea legs” are certainly a thing.

A few things:

  • In the right-answer-wrong-place category, I had VEINS at 67a [Ore sources]. This turned out to be MINES. Later, I found that VEINS went into 43a [Blood lines].
  • 3d [Spade suit?]. TRENCH COAT. Before I cottoned on to the theme, I thought this entry might be thematic (given the puzzle’s title). But in truth, the clue refers to fictional detective Sam Spade.
  • 11d [Army transport]. JEEP. Not for decades.

Overall, a solid Monday outing. 3.5 stars.

B.Kameron Austin Collins’s New Yorker crossword—Jenni’s write-up

A knotty Kameron! Happy Monday!

I was surprised to see this was under ten minutes. It felt way longer than that. There were difficult bits all over the place, especially in the central west. The difficulty came both from vague or misdirecting clues (totally fair and even desirable in a puzzle at this level) and from unexpected or unfamiliar entries (also totally fair). I am not complaining. I really enjoyed this puzzle. Here are a few reasons why:

The New Yorker, 6/11/18 – solution grid

  • Right up at the top we have [One whose tongue is constantly in a twist, maybe] at 1a. I eventually filled in SSER at the end and tried ASS at the beginning. Nope. It’s BAD KISSER.
  • After last night, I wanted 12d [Some prime-time honors] to be the TONY AWARDS, but that didn’t fit. It’s the SAG AWARDS
  • 13d [Sad return on a sweet offer?] is I’M ON A DIET.
  • Vague-but-fair cluing: 21d is [Tough] and the answer is NO PICNIC.
  • The last answer I filled in was 24d [Ones looking for a cause]. I was thinking activists. The answer is CORONERS. {nerdy digression about the difference between coroners and medical examiners deleted}
  • Yesterday’s NYT Book Review suggests Michael Pollan is one of “they” in 29d: [They have a habit of tripping] – ACID HEADS
  • 31d [Ones frequently behind bars] are not any kind of inmates. They are PLASMA TVS.
  • 43a [Like John Singer Sargent’s “Male Nudes Wrestling”] had me wondering about museum collections. The answer is HOMOEROTIC. No argument here. 

As Kameron says at 59a, this is a SRSLY good puzzle.

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that LESS by Andrew Sean Greer won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in April.


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

BEQ - 6.11.18 - Solution

BEQ – 6.11.18 – Solution

Only three things today, because five things? Well, [1d: “You’re asking a ___”]: LOT.

  • [44a: Phrase said while showing off one’s arms at the beach]: SUN’S OUT GUNS OUT. Last time I took my kids to Six Flags, there were like five dudes wearing novelty tank tops with this quip writ upon them.
  • [18a: Aztec rain god]: TLALOC. While indigenous religious practices were mostly eradicated during the Spanish colonial period, some evidence suggests that worship of Tlaloc continued through syncretism.
  • [20a: First band to have four songs chart on the Billboard Top 100 for over a year each]: IMAGINE DRAGONS. This is a little hard to believe; haven’t there been plenty of bands/artists that have had songs continue on the charts for that long? The Beatles? Michael Jackson? But no. Here’s “Thunder,” in honor of Tlaloc:

Matt McKinley’s Los Angeles Times crossword—Nate’s write-up

Quite the airy Monday LAT:

LAT 06.11.18

LAT 06.11.18

  • 17a: WHAT A BREEZE [“That was easy!”] – My thoughts on this puzzle!
  • 26a: DODGE THE DRAFT [Move to Canada to avoid military service] – I mean, that’s one way to do it.  But you could also, oh, I don’t know … invoke bone spurs?
  • 45a: DUST IN THE WIND [Top-10 1978 hit for Kansas]
  • 61a: DOROTHY GALE [Girl who went to Oz]

This was a pretty straightforward theme, but it felt a tad inelegant to me for two reasons:  Two of the themers use the last word in the literal sense, while the other two make use of homonyms instead.  Also, DODGE THE DRAFT feels like a clunky rephrasing of draft dodger / smells like a bit of fresh, green paint.

WONK, WAX PAPER, SINEX, IMHO, A WORD, NEWISH, and XMEN were all CUTE entries in the grid.  PGUP certainly IRKS me, as do AZOV, CALE, and OLEO.

#includemorewomen watch: With June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month, who better to celebrate from this puzzle than the gay icon herself, Judy Garland as DOROTHY GALE.  <3  Before it was safe (or as safe as it is today) and legal to be out as a queer in the US, gay men needed ways to identify each other covertly without risk of being arrested or worse.  One way they did this was to use terms like “friend of Dorothy” (instead of “gay”) to subtly self-identify to only those who needed to know / knew what the term meant.



But what did straight folks do when they heard about this mysterious Dorothy that all us gays seemed to know?  Join me in a hilarious anecdote, as retold on the “Friend of Dorothy” Wikipedia page:  “In the early 1980s, the Naval Investigative Service was investigating homosexuality in the Chicago area. Agents discovered that gay men sometimes referred to themselves as “friends of Dorothy”. Unaware of the historical meaning of the term, the NIS believed that there actually was a woman named Dorothy at the center of a massive ring of homosexual military personnel, so they launched an enormous and futile hunt for the elusive “Dorothy”, hoping to find her and convince her to reveal the names of gay service members.”

Needless to say, DOROTHY GALE will never talk.  (And we’ll never tell you where she’s hiding!)  Happy Pride, everyone!

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24 Responses to Monday, June 11, 2018

  1. Ethan says:

    BART: In the meantime, I gotta tell those Internet guys to hold tight.
    MILHOUSE: Can I come too?
    BART: Good idea, you can speak nerd to them.
    MILHOUSE: I’m not a nerd, Bart. Nerds are smart.

    Also, in the commentary tracks for the episodes of “Freaks and Geeks” the creators and actors are quite clear that the geeks are not nerds because they’re not particularly smart or good at school.

    P.S. Does anyone think that Nick Martini from It’s A Wonderful Life is a more familiar than Danny DeVito’s small part in Cuckoo’s Nest?

    • GLR says:

      I think “Martini’s” was the name of the bar Nick worked in, owned by an elderly couple named Martini. In the “George never existed” part of the movie, the bar was called “Nick’s.”

  2. Huda says:

    NYT: Lovely puzzle!

  3. philr says:

    There’s an error in the New Yorker – 41A is cluded as Sideshow _____ (Krusty sidekick), which is Bob, not Mel.

  4. Tim in NYC says:

    I think GEEK implies more obsessive, more crazily dedicated than nerd.

  5. Diana says:

    I usually don’t read the Monday reviews, but I wanted to see if the NYT reviewer would post the “Your So Vain” video. Indeed.

  6. Ethan Friedman says:

    Lovely NYT. Smooth and fun.

  7. David L says:

    The New Yorker puzzle defeated me. No idea about Sideshow MEL, had MILAN for VILLA (I knew the movie was set in Italy, but that’s about all I knew), had MUGS instead of VACS…

    I found some of the cluing inscrutable. “Makes good on sweater weather” = KNITS? I don’t see how that works. TWINE could be clued in many ways, but ‘paper binder’ would not have occurred to me. DEVIL = “slick one”? If you say so.

    It wasn’t on my wavelength at all, is what I’m saying.

  8. NonnieL says:

    Jenni, did you notice the PIE COOLING on the SILL in the Carly Simon video? How appropriate!

  9. Burak says:

    Wow, a very pleasant NYT Monday puzzle indeed. It doesn’t wow you by a single feature but it just above par quality in everything. Bonus fills (although a few are too bonus-y), fun clues, a typical theme executed brilliantly with a great revealer, and no rough spots despite the abundance of short fill. Good job! 3.8 stars.

  10. Penguins says:

    I thought TNY was a toughish, really good puzzle.

    BEQ was very good as usual. Thankful for his output.

  11. David Glasser says:

    New Yorker: This puzzle was overall quite nice, but ALPINE SKI/ALPHORN was enough of a dupe that I spent a while trying to figure out what else 17A could possibly be…

  12. Ellen Nichols says:

    I will pick the nit in BEQ’s Themeless: How can 6D GAYLIT be clued as Pride-themed LITerature? Since I did not know TLALOC, I was even less sure. But only L made sense when running the alphabet.

    Also, to be snarky, I suppose, Imagine Dragons (who I like well enough to listen, but not buy) could/can have so many long duration hits because there were/are not very many good competitors, unlike MY era of favorite music. Actually, it is probably due to the change in music business, which is not so much driven by the new Top 40 every week. Did anyone else listen faithfully to the radio show with the new countdown every week, because we were too young to drive to the store and look at the posting?

  13. Gareth says:

    Really enjoyed this NYT theme! Very clever parsing of DRINKSAREONME!

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