Friday, September 7, 2018

CHE 6:56 (Laura) 


LAT 6:40 (Gareth) 


NYT 6:27 (Amy) 


Josh Knapp’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 9 7 18, no 0907

Is it just me or did this play more like a Saturday puzzle? Could be I’m just distracted, who knows.

I like the criss-crossing 9s and 10s that are compound words or similar-sounding phrases. You’ve got SKETCHBOOK, QUICKSAND, LUNCH MONEY on the right, LAUNCHPADS, SPELL-CHECK, HEAD SHOPS on the left. {I accidentally doubled the E when entering SKETCH and finished it with PAD, which slowed my progress on the puzzle.) Also nice: ON THE CLOCK, ST. PAUL’S, DOPPLER (big fan of your radar and your ultrasound, sir), GO-ROUND, a PILSNER glass, HOBBIT.

Six more things:

  • 5d. [Mark of a villain, maybe], SCAR. Oh! Like Harry Potter? Come on, now. Can we just kill off this stupid “let’s give the villain a scar” nonsense? Most people with scars just, you know, happened to be injured or burned. Without first being a villain, and without later becoming a villain because of their scar. Dermatologists are pissed, because people with facial differences don’t need this cultural bias against them.
  • 45d. [Venue for broomball], RINK. An ice rink, yes! I played intramural broomball at Carleton College, when the Bald Spot (which you would call a quad) was iced over in the winter. (Not to be confused with the BALD PATE at 30d.). If you are not from Minnesota or a similar state, I expect you’d have no reason to have ever heard of broomball.
  • 30a. [Series of rounds], BOUT / 7d. [One of a series of attempts], GO-ROUND. Awkward near-collision of round/ROUND here.
  • 42a. [Brad’s gal in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”], JANET. As in, “Dammit, Janet, I love you.” (Video clip here.)
  • 37d. [Battery type], WET CELL. Really? I know dry cell batteries, never quite realized there are also wet ones.

There’s also Carl JUNG, 42d. [Psychologist who coined the word “synchronicity”]. Did someone say “Synchronicity”?

3.8 stars from me. I like my Friday puzzles to have more of a fun vibe than I got from this one.

Peter Gordon’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Cambridge University” — Laura’s review

If you work on a college campus, as I do, this time of year means lots of confused parents driving the wrong way on one-way streets and taking up all of the staff parking spaces. Yay! I extend compassion, given how many friends and blogging colleagues were those very confused parents at colleges and universities all across the country. The Chronicle of Higher Ed returns from hiatus and celebrates the beginning of the new academic year with a higher-ed-themed puzzle! This one’s from a proud alum of the titular “Cambridge University,” Peter Gordon, who is “Class of 1988 at 65 Across.”

  • CHE - 9.7.18 - Solution

    CHE – 9.7.18 – Solution

    [20a: Source of warmth in the winter, perhaps]: CHRISTMAS SPIRIT

  • [37a: Butcher’s center-cut offering]: TENDERLOIN STEAK
  • [54a: Welsh crossover singer with the album “Tissues and Issues”]: CHARLOTTE CHURCH
  • [65a: Sch. whose three initials have longer abbreviated forms hidden in 20, 37 and 54 Across]: MIT

Embedded within the three longest entries are longer abbreviations for Massachusetts, Institute, and Technology: CHRISTMAS SPIRIT, TENDERLOIN STEAK, CHARLOTTE CHURCH (red and gray are MIT’s colors — go Engineers!). Nice finds, all three of those, in that the four-letter abbreviation spans both words. I’m wondering, though, if TENDERLOIN STEAK is redundant? I’ve generally heard tenderloin cut, or beef or pork tenderloin without the steak. Isn’t the steak cut from the tenderloin the filet mignon? With that right next to ROMA TOMATO, I’m reminded that I need to cook dinner, so lemme finish up here. Fill-wise, it’s Peter Gordon, so things are smooth and clean, with nice long downs like SHORT LINE, DRY ERASE, and JET STREAM. As one would expect from the Chronicle, OTIS is clued in regard to education — [60. Los Angeles’s ___ College of Art and Design] — rather than the elevator company, and there’s some nice cultural trivia, like [36d: “Citizen Kane” studio]: RKO and [31d: George Orwell’s real first name]: ERIC Blair, and a lovely quotation, with which I couldn’t agree more: [28a: “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth” speaker]: ALI.

David Alfred Bywaters’ LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary

LA Times

EMPTYEXCUSE feels a little off as a revealer. It doesn’t Google that well, and dictionaries prefer empty words/talk. It is two words someone may say together, rather than an established phrase, though I concede those are two points on a continuum. The technical EMPTYSET may have worked better? Another issue is that, with such a broadly applicable change of M to T, there isn’t much consistency in execution. With extraneous T’s and M’s in all of the phrases, and the changes in the four theme answers occurring in different places, it was a tad confusing during solving. Some you may have enjoyed the puns regardless and found this needlessly nitpicking, and that’s OK too.

Not really too much more to highlight. There were very few truly difficult entries. I didn’t know the particular (crufty?) SUE answer. There was something of an early 1970s rock vibe with [“___ Told Me (Not to Come)”: 1970 #1 hit], MAMA. Early Randy Newman success, albeit as a songwriter and [Storied engineer Jones], CASEY. I ignored “storied” and initially had INIGO.

2.5 Stars

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17 Responses to Friday, September 7, 2018

  1. RSP64 says:

    Why is today’s (really tomorrow’s) NYT puzzle referencing back to August 31st?

  2. Jim Hale says:

    Liked the puzzle in general, though the bottom right seemed to take a long time to complete. The “vole” entry reminded me of an incident that happened many years ago when living in Utah. One got into the house from the field, and my cat Elmo shirked her job, just watching it from her seated position, while I ran from the living room through to the kitchen chasing it. Somehow it escaped and I never saw it again.

  3. john farmer says:

    I played intramural broomball at Carleton College…

    Never heard of broomball but my nephew plays basketball for the Knights and my niece is a counselor at the college. I suppose they know about it. I’ll have to ask them sometime. In any case, playing outdoors in winter in Minnesota is kinda crazy.

  4. Anne says:

    I’ve never heard of broomball either. Why would I here in Australia? But I assumed it was like curling, so filled in RINK. Oh well.

    I thought this puzzle was easier than the average Friday.

  5. GLR says:

    I know dry cell batteries, never quite realized there are also wet ones.


    Not sure if you’re old enough to remember when we had to periodically add water to car batteries, to keep the acid level high enough – but those were wet cell batteries. I think maybe car batteries are still wet cell, but they’re now “sealed.”

    • Jim Hale says:

      Batteries for trailers and some boats tend to be wet cell. Also some motorcycle batteries. I recently added distilled water to two of them.

  6. David L says:

    This was a struggle for me. TENTBED and BROOMBALL mean nothing to me. Didn’t like the clue for VOLE because I think of a field mouse as being an entirely different animal. PROPANE for the balloonist seemed wrong — the stuff is highly flammable, but evidently used as fuel for hot air (so it says toward the end of the Wikipedia entry). PAPAYATREE is pretty random. Not familiar with JANET of the Rocky Horror thing or ARIA as a Vegas hotel. Etc etc. Just a lot of stuff that was not in my wheelhouse, plus some excessively cutesy cluing (for SAID, eg) so the puzzle was a slog.

    • Lemonade714 says:

      Time to study the VOLE

      You northerners should try BROOMBALL this winter and get ready for the championships.

      • David L says:

        But I’m from the UK, and there a field mouse is indeed something entirely different. I wasn’t aware that in this country voles are sometimes called field mice.

      • pannonica says:

        The VOLE clue is subpar but defensible if you consider the primary target audience (North America). In my opinion that’s a poor defense, especially if the NYT crossword has, as I assume, ambitions of wider distribution.

    • Penguins says:

      NW corner had a healthy amount of trivia though having banana instead of PAPAYA is what really slowed me down there for a bit. Liked the puzzle as I did the LAT and CHE.

  7. Matthew G. says:

    Am I the only one who thought that cluing MIA via AWOL was just … awful? To equate a person who was lost in battle with someone who walked away from duty? I don’t know whether that was the constructor’s clue or Will’s, but either way, someone should have caught that and said no.

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