Friday, August 31, 2018

LAT 5:00 (Gareth) 


NYT 4:33 (Amy) 


Peter Wentz’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 8 31 18, no 0831

Another smooth, crisp themeless from Peter Wentz. Look at these great answers! STAY-AT-HOME DAD, SPARE NO EXPENSE, TA-NEHISI COATES, ERIC BANA, FIRE ANTS! WAR MOVIE, INTERNET RADIO, GAS STOVE, OXFAM, ID NUMBER, SMIRK, and K.T. OSLIN ain’t bad, either. And HART CRANE brings some old literary cred.

Nine more things:

  • 1a. [Garage installation], SHOCKS. Shock absorbers, mechanic’s garage. Lots of ways you could clue this word—verb, electric shocks …
  • 17a. [Can opener?], HARD C. Great clue! Not its first time around, though—2003 NY Sun, 2009 Hamel CrosSynergy.
  • 26a. [___ d’amore], OBOE. I like to think this is lewd innuendo.
  • 55a. [1994 Denis Leary comedy], THE REF. A classic! Dark comedy. Haven’t seen it since the ’90s, no idea how it holds up now.
  • 3d. [Court order?], OYEZ. A word I learned from crossword puzzles and pretty much only see there.
  • 14d. [Playwright who wrote “Walk! Not bloody likely. I am going in a taxi”], SHAW. Great quote clue!
  • 29d. [Subject of a museum in St. Petersburg, Fla.], DALI. It’s a great museum! Marie Haley (Merl Reagle’s widow) took me there when I was in Florida a few weeks ago. If you go, be sure to take a guided tour with a docent—you’ll learn a ton of interesting tidbits about Dali’s life and art, and see so much more in the paintings.
  • 39d. [Fuzz], FIVE-O. As in Hawaii Five-0, slang term for the cops.
  • 47d. [___ salad], BEET. I had two salads with beets this summer. My decision: pickled beets will work, but non-pickled beets can biff right off. Too much beety flavor to tolerate.

4.25 stars from me.

Ross Trudeau’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up

LA Times

Cute theme, although the revealer is a tad strained: AUTOCORRECTIONS rather than more typical AUTOCORRECT. The rest of the the theme is common car complaints: BROKENTAILLIGHT, FLATTIRES and DEADBATTERY. CHECKENGINE is a bit of an odd one out, as it’s not a thing that’s wrong, but rather a sign. My Lizzie (2005 Fiat Panda) spent over a month at the mechanic waiting for a new hub (from Japan?!) so… flashbacks.

Things I learnt: [“Appropriate for all children” rating], TVY is a thing, wanted TVA. [Portia of “Arrested Development”], DEROSSI was in roles after Ally MacBeal other than Better Off Ted. [Legendary Yankees closer, familiarly], MARIANO – have no idea, though several other Fiend bloggers follow baseball, and particularly the Yankees; Google suggests Rivera – I assumed we were looking for a nickname.

3.75 Stars

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20 Responses to Friday, August 31, 2018

  1. Jim Hale says:

    Not a big fan of this puzzle. No excuse for 51A crossing 43D imo a pure Natik for me. One of the most frequent questions people ask me when I worked in horticulture for the Ag extension in my second life, was how to get rid of the hated fire ants. They are the bane of the Southland. My method, if they’re around my raised organic beds, is to pour boiling water on their colony. Very effective if you have sandy soil. and easy to do with a 5 gallon container and a tankless water heater with digital temp control.

    • pannonica says:

      Dunno. Recent National Book Award recipient / recent MacArthur ‘genius’ grant awardee / prominent journalist and author, crossing arguably the world’s most famous living architect? Wondering if the ‘no excuse’ could be attributed elsewhere.

      Also, Friday.

      • Lise says:

        Ta-Nehisi Coates was my first answer. My last answer was VEES. I had absolutely no idea who Downtown Julie Brown is/was; since I had MT_, I thought she was a character in the song about Charlie and The MTA (just a vague memory, there). But I wanted OBOE, and ran the alphabet for the V.

        So I guess we each come to the puzzle with different experiences. I can see not knowing Frank Gehry, especially if you’re newish to puzzles (he makes an appearance from time to time, but not often), and those vowels in Mr. Coates’s name can raise questions even if you’re familiar with the book. But I feel that the crossings were fair.

        I thought that this was an excellent Friday.

      • Jim Hale says:

        Our reading materials and interests are quite different. Mine have nothing to do with Hollywood, Fashion, The Arts or who won what awards in those fields. Given that this is an urban NYC puzzle I don’t begrudge those entries, but I’d prefer that they are at least derivable from the crosses.

        • David says:

          bark bark bark

        • pannonica says:

          I don’t even understand this reply. Gehry has notable buildings all over the world (I happen to think he’s overrated). Coates writes, among other things, trenchantly about society, culture, politics. Neither can be considered in any way obscure in contemporary society, at least at the level of a Friday NYT crossword.

        • Amy Reynaldo says:

          It’s really not customary for a diehard NYT crossword solver to proclaim a disinterest in literature.

          • Lise says:

            I feel that the things that we now regard as classics were considered pop culture in their day. Dickens, Shakespeare, Frank Lloyd Wright were new once, and not everyone was happy about them at the time.

            We all bring different interests and experiences to the table. I like that solving crosswords gives us the opportunity to learn, and I gain the opportunity to feel less old-fogey-ish when our extended family gets together.

          • Jim Hale says:

            My interests are associated with my background i.e. Military, Mathematics, Horticulture, Cycling, Snowboarding, Computer Science, International Travel,the rural Mountain West and rural Florida. I have a wide variety of tastes in literature (Mahfouz, Marquez, Dickens, Melville…), and music (some HipHop big Cardi b fan, Mozart, bebop jazz, Rock, Country(shout out to Hank Williams and George Jones)… ). My life experiences and possibly cultural differences are obviously different than many that post here. Still I enjoy the puzzles and this blog. That I’m not up to others expectations, well….

            • pannonica says:

              We all have various lacunae in our knowledge.

              You seem fairly well-rounded in your interests and experiences—so I’m trying to square that with your original assessment of ‘no excuse’ which comes across as forthrightly solipsistic, the qualifying ‘imo’ and ‘for me’ notwithstanding.

  2. Steve Manion says:

    Hard puzzle for me. I was not on the right wavelength. The top half was harder than the bottom despite the excellence of the long entries.

    I always look for articles in The Atlantic because I was in college with James Fallows. I knew Ta-Nehisi probably for that reason, but was not sure how to spell it.

    As a general rule, pop culture references and sports figures are known by far more people than classical musicians and intellectuals are, but I think that just about anything is fair on a Friday, plus I like to learn things.


  3. Matthew G. says:

    I haven’t yet had a chance to read Coates’s book, but it is inarguably one of the half-dozen or so most-discussed books of the 2010s, and so he’s completely fair game especially when clued via that book.

    I’ll take a writer in the grid over yet another actor or actress or singer any day, even if I admit that I have trouble remembering how to spell his first name.

  4. Zulema says:

    Besides the very great entries in the NYT, there were small clever ones. A very satisfying Friday crossword. Thank you all. I hope there will be a CHE soon.

  5. Margaret says:

    I liked the LAT even less than Gareth. 17A is the only one that really worked for me, a “blub” is a broken taillight (misspelled bulb.) I suppose flat tires are “prolbems” caused by nails, but I don’t see how check engine works for “dashbaord warning” at all. And my edition of the paper doesn’t have a [deliberate] typo in clue 48A while the other three do, nor does the clue seem to use wordplay or a figurative use to reference a battery, it seems straightforward, so I don’t get how it fits the autocorrections reveal except in the literal manner, that you have to replace a dead battery.

    Not to mention that typically autocorrect fails are substitutions of incorrect words, not typos, as the clue for 57A clearly states (“suggestions in a text message”) so I think the cluing might have been done better with an incorrect word rather than a typo.

    OTOH, I learned a new word today, ENTREPOT. Never heard of it before! So at least that’s good.

    • Lise says:

      Margaret: thank you for your post. It really helped me make sense of the theme. I got the autocorrect idea, but was looking for more of a relation between the clues and the answers.

      I had trouble in the CHECK ENGINE area, not knowing ENTREPOT (right, that’s very cool!), and having CH__KEN_INE, I thought, CHICKEN LINE? Is that a thing? My fault entirely, but picturing chickens in a conga line, or playing Chicken Limbo, (constructors! there’s an answer I’d like to see!) gave me a good laugh.

      And about the clue for 48A: I looked at the online version, and “Result” is misspelled “Resutl”. But it’s correctly spelled in my newsprint edition. Probably an AUTOCORRECTION issue.

      • Margaret says:

        CHICKEN LINE! I don’t know where I’m going to use the phrase chicken line, but I’m gonna use it somewhere!

        Glad I could help and I must say I wondered if autocorrect had “fixed” the clue to 48A, pretty funny! Thanks for confirming.

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