Sunday, July 1, 2018

Hex/Quigley 12:40 (Laura) 


LAT 12:03 (Jenni) 


NYT 16:09 (Laura) 


WaPo 12:10 (Erin) 


Sam Trabucco’s New York Times crossword, “Driving Around” — Laura’s review

NYT - 7.1.18 - Trabucco - Solution

NYT – 7.1.18 – Trabucco – Solution

Laura here, in for Amy, who is continuing to celebrate graduation season. This evening I was, as the boys from Boston used to sing, taking my time, just movin’ along (speaking of Boston, registration for Boswords is now open! Hope to see you on July 29). Sam gives us a motor-vehicle-themed puzzle for a lazy Sunday drive, such that each themer crosses into the “left” lane next to the entry, around a motor vehicle (in the circled squares) and through the corresponding squares in the neighboring entry, to complete the clued phrase, et voilà:

  • [23a: Trying to show no signs of life]: PLAYING CARD, which passes CAR to become PLAYING DEAD
  • [28a: Began a PC session]: LOG CABIN, which passes CAB to become LOGGED IN
  • [68a: Was forced to turn down an invitation]: HAVANANS, which passes VAN to become HAD PLANS
  • [69a: Big character?]: BLOCKBUSTER, which passes BUS to become BLOCK LETTER
  • [108a: Bottle for a beachgoer]: STRUCK OIL, which passes TRUCK to become SUNTAN OIL
  • [109a: It’s left on a highway … or a path used by five answers in this puzzle?]: PASSING LANE
Josep Maria Sert, Apollo flying through the Clouds (1913)

Josep Maria Sert, Apollo flying through the Clouds (1913)

I thought this was a lovely feat of technical achievement, fun to solve, and very satisfying once the gimmick clicked. Maybe the fill suffered just a bit; I got Naticked at the LACUNAR/SERTS (55a/47a) crossing and stared for maybe three minutes until I subbed an R for the L I had put there. Maaaaybe I would’ve edited 46d to [Sumerian name for Ishtar]: INANNA, 52a to [Spanish year {with a tilde, please}]: AÑO, and 47d to [Kinds]: SORTS. And we’ve got [19a: “It’s all good”]: NOT A BIG DEAL but also [87d: Enjoy consistent, favorable luck, in poker lingo]: RUN GOOD; I might’ve edited the 19a clue to [“No worries”]. Also, both [1d: Not using sensitive language, say]: UNPC and the themer clue [28a: Began a PC session]; even though the abbreviation PC stands for two different phrases (and ugh, UNPC as an entry does indeed [31a: Annoy, in a way]: GRATE ON me), it still seems like a dupe to me.

Meme-y colloquialisms having a conversation: SRSLY? BAH, GRR, SO LAME. THINK SO? [“Yer darn ___] TOOTIN! I WANNA PARTAY and DAY DRINK!! AOK, I CAN SEE THAT! UH HUH!

Ya think there are two turntables and a microphone at that [71a: Happenin’ Place]?

Gail Grabowski’s Los Angeles Times crossword, “Cool Comfort”—Jenni’s write-up

A timely puzzle, since the East Coast of the US is ratcheting up for a significant heat wave. The puzzle felt like a walk in very hot weather – slow and not all that pleasant. I didn’t figure out the theme until I got to the revealer, and then I kind of shrugged. The revealer is 115d [Coolers, briefly, that span two words in the nine longest answers] and it’s ACS. So the revealer is a three-letter abbreviation, which I’d prefer not to see in the puzzle at all. And each theme answer has the letters AC spanning two words. Okay.

LAT 7/1, solution grid

  • 23a [Bottom of a pie] is PIZZA CRUST. I know this is a thing but it’s not a term I hear a lot. PIZZA DOUGH, sure.
  • 25a [Quality bedding material] is PIMA COTTON.
  • 37d [Struggling student’s option] is EXTRA CREDIT.
  • 42d [Game player’s purchase] is a SEGA CONSOLE. Really? Is this how people refer to it?
  • 46a [Where Petaluma is] would be SONOMA COUNTY.
  • 65a [Room in some posh residences] is a MEDIA CENTER.
  • 88a [Tex-Mex dipper] is a TORTILLA CHIP.
  • 112a [Oakland-based environmental group] is the SIERRA CLUB.
  • 114a [2009 Meryl Streep role] is JULIA CHILD.

And there you have it. We also have ANACONDA at 75a but the AC doesn’t span two words.

A few other things:

  • 4d [Like the most summery day] is LAZIEST. Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day/Thou are more temperate and lazier…
  • 10d [Palatable] is SAPID. Really? Really?
  • 32d [Altar sacrifice, at times?] is a LAST NAME. At least they said “at times.”
  • 85a [Teaching model] had me flummoxed for a bit, because I was looking for something like “constructivism.” Nope. It’s a physical model – the MOCK UP that one would use to teach.
  • 100d [Beat around the bush, e.g.] is an IDIOM.

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that the NAACP was founded on the 100th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth.

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

WaPo solution, 7/1/18

There’s a Wheel of Fortune “Before and After” vibe going on here, in which the letters HIP link two unrelated words or phrases.

  • 23a. [“Get off the boat, you flower child!”?] ABANDON SHIPPIE   (ABANDON SHIP / HIPPIE)
  • 36a. [Those whose freestyle raps and break-dancing moves are inspired by a cookie tidbit?] CHOCOLATE CHIP-HOPPERS (CHOCOLATE CHIP / HIP-HOPPERS)
  • 61a. [Revere river beasts?] WORSHIPPOPOTAMUSES (WORSHIP / HIPPOPOTAMUSES). This is the only themer that combines to form a single word.
  • 72a. [Super-cool version of a 1986 hit by Huey Lewis and the News?] ULTRAHIP TO BE SQUARE (ULTRAHIP / HIP TO BE SQUARE). I could not find much on either “ultrahip” or “ultra hip,” unless you are looking for a room at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas.
  • 99a. [Order to an ancient Greek physician to become strict?] CRACK THE WHIPPOCRATES (CRACK THE WHIP / HIPPOCRATES)
  • Revealer at 120a. [Inseparable … like five pairs of phrases in this puzzle, literally] JOINED AT THE HIP

Only five theme entries (plus the revealer) this week, but that includes two 20s, two 18s, and a 14. WORSHIPPOPOTAMUSES made me chuckle. A fun theme overall.

Fake Xbox 360 message: “Achievement unlocked: Made a meme for Crossword Fiend”

Other things:

Picture of a bullmatian

  • 78d. [Access, as a video game achievement] UNLOCK. Completing certain events in an Xbox 360 game would prompt a satisfying ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED message. Despite the console being almost 13 years old, people are still using the term when they achieve random things in life.
  • 59a. [Bullmatian or schnoodle, e.g.] MUTT. I found a bit of debate on the topic, but it looks like if a bullmatian is bred from a purebred bulldog and a purebred dalmatian, then it is considered a designer dog. If the lineage of either parent is not clearly documented, then the dog is considered a mutt. Either way, it’s adorable.
  • 120d. [“El Anillo” singer, to fans] J.LO. Jennifer Lopez is ending her residency at the aforementioned Planet Hollywood in September 2018. “El Anillo” is Spanish for “The Ring.”

Until next time.

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s CRooked Crossword, “Company Heads”—Laura’s review

CRooked - 7.1.18 - BEQ - Solution

CRooked – 7.1.18 – BEQ – Solution

CO (i.e. abbreviation for company) gets added to phrases to make new, funnier phrases:

  • [26a: “Idol” judge Simon gave money?]: COWELL ENDOWED
  • [107a: Casting a net for a Xerox?]: COPIER FISHING
  • [4d: Burlesque/stand-up act?]: COMEDIAN STRIP
  • [12d: When a money-saving item
    shows up?]: COUPON ARRIVAL
  • [39d: Asp arsonist?]: COBRA BURNER
  • [40d: Kids who sell pitch material?]: COAL TAR BOYS
  • [52d: Revolt over some blow?]: COCAINE MUTINY
  • [55d: Scam a nirvana seeker?]: COZEN BUDDHIST

If I had to make a bet on which entry was the seed for this theme, I’d put my money on COCAINE MUTINY; I can just see BEQ flipping through channels, The Caine Mutiny (1954) is on TCM, hilarity ensues. This is a fairly standard theme-type, but it raises itself to a higher level in changing the meaning of the base phrase in each case; COAL TAR BOYS even alters the enumeration of the phrase. Also, it’s an interesting choice to rotate the standard grid 90 degrees and put the majority of the themers in the downs.

We’ve got a heat wave this weekend on the East Coast; stay cool! I’ll leave you with this clip from [85d: Comic Kumail]: NANJIANI, before he became known for Silicon Valley and The Big Sick:

This entry was posted in Daily Puzzles and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Sunday, July 1, 2018

  1. Huda says:

    NYT: The theme itself was very clever. I kept thinking there was a rebus or something, until I tumbled to it. Made things a lot easier after that.

    But yeah, some of the chitchat was a little random and how it was clued could be misleading –because in real conversation it would depend on your tone of voice. Though I’m proud of myself for knowing all that SRSLY ADORBS stuff… Need to impress my 11 year old grand daughter…

    That aside, it was a pretty original theme and I always vote for that even if there is some price to pay in terms of fill..

  2. Dook says:

    The NYT theme was all right, not all that difficult to figure out and once I got it, those answers flowed quickly. The fill was another matter and not very satisfying. Plus – “day drink” crossing “cold day” seems very improper.

  3. Christopher Smith says:

    NYT: Would it have been OK if 71d had been clued as “Single that earned Beck a Grammy” or do only boomer-y things like Little Latin Lupe Lu warrant that kind of treatment?

    • LauraB says:

      I would not be surprised if Sam’s original clue had referenced Beck and that it was edited out.

  4. JohnH says:

    I admired the theme, especially how the passed vehicle created reasonable fill. I sure needed it, though, in a tough puzzle. This was the rare one in which I relied on the long entries to get a handle on the short ones. I still don’t understand the clue for ANAGRAM.

    At least for once the difficulty was more strange words and phrases (where I started with “truly” for SRSLY and took a long time to get SEA PIG) than pop culture names. Lots else I didn’t know from idioms like PARTAY to HATHA and GOJI. The NW was especially tough for me, with the clue “Dis-banded.”

  5. Lise says:

    “Nerd’s epithet” ANAGRAMs to “The president”.

    Great theme! Excellently executed, since the entries were real words/expressions themselves, irrespective of the PASSING LANE.

  6. Lise says:

    WaPo: I was thinking that ULTRA HIP TO BE SQUARE didn’t fit the overlappingness of the inseparability, but according to Collins dictionary online, ultrahip does seem to be one word. Then I noticed that all the theme entries were joined at the HIP (this took me an embarrassingly long time) and that was so cool that I my Theme Appreciation Meter pegged.

    I had a slow start by writing SHOD for 1A, then erasing it, then putting it back in, then erasing it, then finally realizing that there might be another Perry besides Katy (slow brain day) (and this was after-caffeine! what’s up with that?) and putting it back in again.

    Excellent Sunday!

  7. Ned says:

    In NYT, the word “that” is in both clue and answer for 113A. Is that (or should I say “this”) legal?

    • Jim Q says:

      The clue I’m seeing for 113-A is [“Yeah, it makes sense”]. No “that” that I can see… I solved with a .puz. Did you have a different clue?

      • Ned says:

        In a print copy of the NYT in Philadelphia, the clue is “yeah, that makes sense” in quotes. Somebody caught it (“it” ?), evidently, in the one you saw.

      • GLR says:

        In the dead tree version of the magazine, the clue is “Yeah, that makes sense.” Guess someone changed it after they went to press.

      • GLR says:

        The Sunday puzzle appears in the glossy magazine insert to the paper. I wouldn’t be surprised if the magazine gets printed a day or two ahead of the Sunday paper.

  8. Norm says:

    WaPo: “joined at the hip” didn’t really say repeated word or overlapping word to me, but it was an entertaining puzzle to solve, although I kind of solved clockwise around the edge and had “… Socrates” until I saw what was going on [yeah, I managed to somehow read physician as philosopher].

    NYT: Loved the theme; hated the cluing in most of the grid. Just kept annoying me and detractedfrom an otherwise enjoyable puzzle. YMMV

Comments are closed.