Friday, July 13, 2018

LAT 5:35 (Gareth) 


NYT 3:44 (Amy) 


Great news for fans of vowelless crosswords! Peter Broda—one of the organizers of the terrific Indie 500 tournament)—is selling an 8-pack of brand-new vwllss pzzls. Or really, 7 puzzles for sale, plus a bonus sample puzzle you can solve for free at his “Made Without AEIOU” page. You can name your price—use PayPal to send Peter any non-zero amount of money and he’ll send you all 8 puzzles, in .pdf and .puz formats, with and without enumerations for the answers. I just breezed through puzzle 1 in not a whole lot longer than it takes me to do a Saturday NYT; puzzle 2 took me 9:13, or about double a Friday NYT. Peter’s clues are clear and on the long side, which helps you figure out the answers. His vowelless fill is pretty dang zippy, too. Amy recommends!

Trenton Charlson’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 7 13 18, no 0713

Another easy Friday NYT, another with a mini-theme. Here, the thematic angle is the double Z’s in the top row—RAZZ, PIZZA, and FIZZ—tied together with 52a. [Rock band whose name is suggested by the first row of this puzzle], ZZ TOP. Fact: The trio has those two guys with huge beards, and an unbearded guy whose name is Frank Beard.

Fill I liked: “HOW GOES IT?”, RAGNAROK, musical toon SCHROEDER, WHIZ KID, SETS A DATE, and interesting ZOETROPE, 13d. [Old-fashioned image projector]. Do you know that with the ZO*T in place, I very nearly entered ZOOT SUIT here? That would call for a question mark in the clue, though.

Grossness: 42d. [Vamps], SEXPOTS. Tired of inherently sexist language.

It’s after sunset and I haven’t gotten out for my daily Pokémon Go walk, so I’ll sign off now and leave you to discuss amongst yourselves. Four stars from me.

Jim Quinlan’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up

LA Times

LA Times Fridays and letter-addition themes go together like strawberries and Wimbledon (Gratuitous mention since we have TWO South Aftrican finalists). Today is the trigram UPS, revealed in the final answer of UPSDELIVERY. Rival DHL is also included, but I can’t decided if that’s a bonus or a distraction. The S of UPS was always going to be a problem letter, but only once is it used to make a plural, and once to make a possessive. The other two UPS’s are at the beginning, so we get a nice variety and are kept on our toes. The full list is: PIN(UPS)POINT, FRENCHKISS(UPS), CHICKEN(UPS)WINGS and (UPS)TATEMUSEUM.

Like yesterday, this puzzle has five theme entries, and the central 15 and 2 13’s are definitely upping the challenge to fill a grid cleanly. And yet, unlike yesterday, this one isn’t out of control – the revealer being in the 13th not the 12th row is one factor, but I do admire the careful positioning of black squares to make the grid very well-balanced.

Bits and bobs:

  • [“Logan” superheroes], XMEN. I know Wolverine is Logan, but I did not know this was a 2017 film (that grossed over $600 million). Am I the only one who has tired of endless superhero universe films… I can remember being so excited for the first X-men film, but I have long since reached saturation point.
  • [First word of The Beach Boys’ “Kokomo”], ARUBA. Avaunt! foul earworm!
  • [__ periculo: at my own risk], MEO. New Latin phrase for me…
  • [Fictional miner], DWARF. Watched Disney-on-Ice in Cape Town, on Wednesday, which included all seven dwarves on skates, and I don’t know how they can skate in those costumes!
  • [__ day: school contingency], SNOW. Never experienced one of those.
  • [Smartphone alternative], TABLET. More two points on a continuum. I for one cannot point to one feature that makes something a tablet not a smartphone.
  • [Actress Gabor], EVA. As good as reason as any for…

3.5 Stars

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15 Responses to Friday, July 13, 2018

  1. Jim Hale says:

    Easy Friday. Favorite fill “nodes” and Iron Mike. Least favorite fill Pelosi

  2. Dook says:

    Why would “vamp” and “sexpots” be sexist?

    • Jenni Levy says:

      because they reduce women to objects for the sexual delectation of men, promote a narrow and often unreachable beauty standard, and because Amy said so.

      • Richard says:

        SEXPOT has some non-gender-specific usage, though it’s still mostly gendered. It’d be nice to see it expanded to mean more generally and positively “very sexy, sexual person” as it’s a pretty fun word to say. I don’t know if VAMPS can escape its sexist baggage.

    • David L says:

      My first thought was that the clue referred to the musical sense of ‘vamps.’ I wonder which meaning came first?

      • Tim in NYC says:

        OED: The musical VAMP is much older. It derives from a term for part of a shoe, and by extension to restore that part, to cobble, to throw together, to improvise. The musical sense goes back to the 18th c.

        The term VAMP to describe a “temptress” derives from vampire and is 20th c.

        • David L says:

          Thanks. But I’m mildly disappointed. I was fondly imagining a sultry singer in the 1920s vamping in front of the band and hence giving rise to the sexpot meaning…

          • Elise says:

            “She was a scamp, a camp, and a bit of a tramp.
            She was a V-A-M-P … Vamp.”

            Were you thinking of Cher?

  3. GLR says:

    A pretty easy Friday NYT, but I still finished with an error. I suspect I’ve seen RAGNAROK before, but I couldn’t recall it, and went with blob instead of GLOB at that crossing.

    I thought the ZZ TOP mini-theme was cute.

    • Steve Manion says:

      THOR RAGNAROK was a highly rated (92% critics on Rotten Tomatoes, 87% audience favorable) movie last year that grossed over $300,000,000.


    • Chukkagirl says:

      Thank you! It seemed a bit cruel to have something that could be either BLOB or GLOB crossed by a word that isn’t exactly in everyday use.

  4. Steve Manion says:

    I enjoyed seeing KENDO in the puzzle. My boys pretend they are kendo masters when they play with the foam tubes you see at swimming pools.

    I looked up to see where KENDO stood in the pantheon of martial arts. The answer is not very high. The most aggressive of all the martial arts is an Israeli one called KRAV MAGA. I have a friend who has been a lifetime martial artist with black belts in many disciplines. He likes Brazilian Jiu Jitsu the best.

    Very easy, excellent puzzle this week, but it highlights for me my disagreement with the love of so many solvers for scrabbly puzzles. For me, scrabbly is a synonym for (too) easy.


  5. Gareth says:

    Why is it that in crosswords “bush = Australia”, when that meaning is as ubiquitous here as it is there. (See also, UNI.)

    • Amy L says:

      I watch a number of Australian shows (comedies, dramas, detective shows) on TV, but I’ve never seen a South African show. Perhaps that’s why we know more about that country than yours.

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