Monday, August 13, 2018

BEQ 10:56 (Laura) 


LAT 5:01 (Nate) 


NYT 3:43 (Jenni) 


WSJ 5:01 (Jim Q) 


The New Yorker 10:11 (Jenni) 


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

I love Lynn Lempel’s puzzles. Her Monday puzzles are smooth and fun to solve as well as accessible to new solvers. This one played a little harder than an average Monday for me, but that may be because it’s Sunday night, I’m on call, and we just finished a party with four of Emma’s preschool friends to send them off to college. Erp.

We have four theme answers and a revealer.

NYT 8/13, solution grid

  • 17a [Leave a lasting legacy … or do worse at school] is GO DOWN IN HISTORY. Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer….
  • 23a [Succeed on the gridiron … or invite a slap in the face] is MAKE PASSES. Not a big fan of joking about being sexually inappropriate, but at least we’re not making it delightfully romantic.
  • 39a [Score in baseball … or ruin some hose] is GET A RUN. I had GET RUNS at first, which seems more baseball-authentic to me.
  • 54a [Be lucky in Scrabble … or come up short memorywise] is DRAW A BLANK.
  • 61a [Start of a mixed message, as illustrated by 17-, 23-, 39- and 54-Across] is GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS.

I liked this theme despite my raised eyebrow at 23a.

A few other things:

  • 9d [Carole King’s “Tapestry” and “Music”] are LPS. I hadn’t heard of the latter. I looked it up and it turns out I know all the songs. This is not surprising. #childofthe70s
  • Birds! IBISES in the grid and pelicans in the clue for BEAK.
  • 36d [Nongovernmentally owned ship decked out for war] is a PRIVATEER. Thanks to The West Wing, I thought a PRIVATEER was a person. Turns out it can also be said person’s ship.
  • 45a [Shoe with holes] is a CROC. Yes, I went there.
  • 51d [Unclear] is VAGUE. I very rarely have to take out an answer on a Monday. I had the G from 61a and dropped in FOGGY. Wrong.

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: see above re: the album “Music” and the PRIVATEER.

Lewis Porter’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Front Loads” — Jim Q’s review

Jim Q standing in for Jim P. So mind your P’s and Q’s. Has that joke been made yet? Probably.

This puzzle served as a reminder that I must see to the mountain of laundry piling up near my front loader. I ran out of detergent about a week ago.


Different detergent brands begin the theme answers.

17a. [Aztec practice] SUN WORSHIP. I didn’t know this was a practice… and I’m not entirely sure I’ve heard of Sun detergent.

21a. [Coastal region of Virginia] TIDE WATER. Is the “Tide Pod” eating craze still a thing? I hope not.

33a. [Pep rally performer] CHEERLEADER. 

42a. [As a group] ALL TOGETHER. 

52a. [Emphasized, typographically] BOLD FACED. 

61a. [Laundry needs, and the starts of 17-, 21-, 33-, 42-, and 52-Across] DETERGENTS. 

See? Don’t they all look pretty much the same?

It’s hard to say whether or not all these brands are familiar. I use Purex (usually on sale 10 Gallons/$1 or something like that). But the different brands sort of blend together in the detergent aisle at my grocery store. It’s as if all the detergent makers got together and decided to use the same color palette and fonts in their packaging. Here’s a list of top sellers from a quick Google search.  Looks like only All and Tide made the cut from this puzzle. I’m a bit surprised Gain wasn’t included in the grid.

The puzzle is clean overall I thought (it’d better be… there’s plenty of detergent in it). I’m always impressed when themers are stacked on one another and the result is devoid of gunk.

I got inexplicably hung up in the NE when I entered TROT for [Horse’s gait] and refused to change it. Instead I shoehorned A ONE in for [Pinnacle] instead of ACME and foolishly erased LIMA as the capital of Peru (I dunno. Figured the clue wanted some kind of currency instead). My normal Monday time is about 4 minutes and this took me 5. Seriously, 20% of my time was spent in that corner cursing my own idiocy.

The one clue I was going to question was [Cheesy talk] for SASS. But just now I’m realizing that I misread the clue. [Cheeky talk] works much better [Facepalm]. What can I say? I woke up late and I’m groggy.

Fun puzzle, Lewis! Also, a clever title. 3.5 stars from me. Happy Monday!


Anna Shechtman’s New Yorker crossword—Jenni’s write-up

I love this crossword series. It’s great to have a good chewy themeless on a Monday – especially a Monday that’s as dreary as this one is. Rain, rain, go away. Or go to California, where they really need you.

I was surprised to see my time when I finished. It felt like longer than that, in part because the NW was the last to fall. The only answer I put in on my first pass was HAUT for 2d [High up on the Eiffel Tower] and I took that out and put it back a couple of times. It was correct, in the end.

There are four stacks of 11-letter words anchoring this puzzle, and they’re all terrific. In the NW we have the ones that stumped me:

The New Yorker 8/13, solution grid

  • 1a [Subjects for Canova and Botticelli] turns out to be THREE GRACES. The TH fooled me into thinking the answer started with THE, and RRNA at 3d was the last answer I put in. I have heard of ribosomal RNA, but messenger RNA is so much more common in crosswords that I had it stuck in my brain, which is why I took HAUT out.
  • 15a [They witness the rise of the blogosphere and reality TV] had me thinking we were looking for a demographic group – a subset of millennials. Nope. It’s EARLY AUGHTS.
  • 17a is [Symbol of racial subjugation]. I got it from crossings – it’s SUNKEN PLACE. Google tells me this is a reference to the movie “Get Out,” which I admit I have not seen because I can’t tolerate horror movies.

Highlights of the NE:

  • 12d [Fratty Silicon Valley type] does not end in BRO, as I expected. It’s BROGRAMMERS. I love this word. I know some of them.
  • 13d [Petition to a higher court] is CERTIORARI. I know it’s a legal term and don’t know what it means. Those of you who do can comment on whether the clue is correct.
  • I really liked 12a [Keep apprised, in a way] which is BCC. Entries without vowels always look odd until they fall into place.

We continue the Email theme in the SW:

  • 24d [Commits a common workplace faux pas] is REPLIES ALL. I did some part-time work for a telemedicine group last year, and they sent an Email to all the providers in the spring without blocking the list of recipients. It still amazes me that people who are, in theory, smart enough to practice medicine are not smart enough to realize that hitting “reply all” to complain about other people hitting “reply all” just makes the problem worse. It took a full week for it to die down.
  • 26d [Valerie Solanas and Donna Haraway wrote famous ones] is MANIFESTOS. Valerie Solanas was a radical feminist who wrote the SCUM manifesto in 1967. Donna Haraway wrote A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century. See, boys, it could be worse. You could have one of them writing crossword reviews instead of me.

And in the SE:

  • 56a [Ruled by the one percent] is PLUTOCRATIC. No comment.
  • 61a [Pigeonholes] is a neutral term for STEREOTYPES.

I also liked PINK TAX for [The cost of being a female consumer]. My husband and I have identical blazers from our alma mater. They are almost the same size and are constructed in precisely the same way. It costs $10.00 more to have mine dry-cleaned because it’s a woman’s jacket.

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: I hadn’t heard of either Valerie Solanas or Donna Haraway, and thanks to Anna and the crew at The New Yorker for educating me.



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

BEQ - 8.13.18 - Solution

BEQ – 8.13.18 – Solution

[34a: Phrase said after trailing off]: WHERE WAS I? Oh right … writing a blog post. [45a: Instruction beginning]: STEP A: Post the solution grid. Step B: Tell them some things you liked about the puzzle:

  • [16a: Java alternative]: PERL. Because it’s a programming language used in web development.
  • [32a: ___ River (northwest California river,
    doubtful if it has any)]: EEL. Nope. It has lampreys, though, which spawn in fresh water, and European settlers thought they were eels.
  • [55a: 2018 Jon Chu movie]: CRAZY RICH ASIANS. Based on the 2013 novel by Kevin Kwan, about an Asian American woman who meets her fiancé’s wealthy family in Singapore. I’ve heard it’s great!
  • [62a: Alphabet creator]: SERGEY BRIN. Wait, what? Oh, right. Google restructured in 2015 and the parent company became known as Alphabet.
  • [35d: Spandau Ballet singer Tony]: HADLEY. I know this much is true.

Craig Stowe’s Los Angeles Times crossword—Nate’s write-up

Two Craig Stowe Mondays in a row! He’s certainly not vacation, so don’t expect a 59a:

LAT 8.13.18

LAT 8.13.18

17a: BIG BOARD [NYSE nickname, with “The”]
24a: CHEAP TRICK [“I Want You to Want Me” band] – Such a good song!
35a: HAMMERHEAD SHARK [Stingray predator named for a tool] – For whatever reason, this made me want to listen to Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer”!
51a: MIND READER [Clairvoyant] – It’s odd that 34a SEER is also clued as [Clairvoyant]. I know that sometimes two pieces of fill will get the same clue to make things a bit trickier, but it feels odd to spread that over one themed clue and one non-themed clue.
59a: POSTCARD [Vacation memento … or where you might find the ends of the answers to starred clues?]

This is a cute revealer, giving us CARDBOARD, CARD TRICK, CARD SHARK, and CARD READER. The middle two refer to the same type of card, but that’s only the tiniest of dings. Another small ding for some less than exciting short fill, including ULA, UTE, ECCE (fun fact: I read this as [PiRate’s “Behold!”] for way too long + AVAST did not fit), CLE, and EES. Otherwise, a lovely Monday puzzle. What more could you want? BEATS ME!

Charlotte RAE

Charlotte RAE

#includemorewomen: There’s only one (!) woman represented in today’s clues or fill (aside from maybe one of the clairvoyants?), and it couldn’t be more timely. Charlotte RAE was an actress and comedian who died just last week at the age of 92. She was most well known for playing Edna Garrett in both Diff’rent Strokes and The Facts of Life, and more recently featured in Girl Meets World. Amazingly, she was childhood friends with previous #includemorewomen honoree Golda Meir during their early years in Wisconsin! She starred across stage and screen to much acclaim and conquered pancreatic cancer along the way, but ultimately succumbed to bone cancer. The upcoming The Facts of Life reboot simply won’t be the same without her. Rest in Peace, Charlotte Rae.

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18 Responses to Monday, August 13, 2018

  1. GLR says:


    I thought we went 2-for-4 on the themers (plus the revealer was also good).

    GO DOWN IN HISTORY and DRAW A BLANK are very good phrases, and the “punny” versions brought a smile.

    On the other hand, MAKE PASSES doesn’t sound quite right in the football context – it would be “complete passes” (the passes aren’t worth much unless they’re completed).

    Likewise, GET A RUN – it would more likely be “score a run.” To my ear, I think it would work better in the past tense – “they GOT A RUN in the 10th inning to win the game.”

    • Steve Manion says:

      Completely agree re the unidiomatic sports references.

      Puzzle was enjoyable nonetheless.


    • Ben says:

      I think GET A RUN is defensible. “We need to get a run here!” or similar phrases are pretty common in baseball. Agreed that MAKE PASSES was pretty clumsy, and the constructor even admitted as such in the NYT Wordplay column.

      • Steve Manion says:

        I can create sentences that would justify MAKE PASSES, but they would be pretty contrived: Coach to QB: You need to make passes that are a little lower or the receivers are going to get nailed.

        While GET A RUN can be justified, isn’t it more likely that the conversation would be “We need a run” or “We need to score.”
        Sports idiom has improved dramatically over the last 10 years, but still has the occasional WTF.


  2. Huda says:

    NYT: I too like Lynn Lempel puzzle on Mondays. And this one is no exception… Cute theme, very little crosswordese, full on smoothness.

  3. dj says:

    Nice concept, but “make passes” really doesn’t work. It’s not “bad news” to make a pass at a female.

  4. Sheik Yerbouti says:

    New Yorker: I think certiorari is the writ issued from the higher court, not to the higher court, no?

    • Ben says:

      The higher court issues the writ once they decide to take the case. But first, those who want their case heard before the court file a petition for the writ of certiorari.

      • Norm says:

        Exactly. I had the same initial reaction as Sheik, but then looked at the clue more closely. Very accurate.

  5. Ben says:

    To me, “make a pass” implies unwanted or inappropriate attention, but googling the phrase presents the typical definition as more neutral. For whatever reason I see it as negative compared to something like “flirting” or “asking out” or “approaching.”

    • Jenni Levy says:

      I agree with you. “Flirting” and “asking out” and “approaching” are all mutual activities between equals. “Making a pass” presumes the man is the actor and the woman is a passive object.

      • GLR says:

        Seems to me that flirting is usually mutual, or it stops fairly quickly. With asking out, more or less by definition, one party would have to be the actor (could be the man or the woman) – and I’ve certainly heard of situations where the asking out is not welcome. Not sure about approaching.

        Making a pass definitely is one-sided, and implies to me a certain assumption of mutual interest that is often/usually unwarranted. Back when I was young enough to be a party to/observer of such activities, men were not the only makers of passes – though that was clearly the more common case.

  6. Penguins says:

    nice TNY marred by the trivia party in the NW imo

    nice BEQ as always

  7. DRC says:

    WSJ – I read it as cheeky talk as well! Blame it on rainy Monday morning.

  8. Mark McClain says:

    Thought it was worth adding that Lynn Lempel got a twofer today, also in Puzzle Society “Knife Skills” with nary a clumsy phrase. Excellent.

  9. PhilR says:

    Re New Yorker- Anna and I never mesh, i.e Anna makes me feel the fool. As I had no hope of finishing I left 34A as GYNOTAX as that’s way better than the correct answer. Looking up SUNKENPLACE post solve depressed me enormously. A perfect phrasing of a common horror.

  10. Garrett says:

    I found this puzzle (New Yorker) to be very difficult. I don’t know who is editing the clues in these New Yorker puzzles, but whoever it is (or they are) the clues are uniformly difficult from one puzzle to the next. Take “Lose crispness,” for example, for SOG. I don’t associate sog with wilt, and I think the clue is horrible. There are all kinds of places where people unknown to me cross already difficult areas, and unless you’ve heard about the movie “Get Out,” or seen it, SUNKENPLACE is just a mystery zone in the puzzle, along with the names.

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