Sunday, September 9, 2018

Hex/Quigley 14:11 (Laura) 


LAT 7:13 (Jenni) 


NYT 9:00 (Amy) 


WaPo untimed (Jim Q) 


Evan Birnholz’s Washington Post crossword, “Small Screen” – Jim Q’s writeup

Rebus time! The small screen is made even smaller in today’s WaPo as short-titled T.V. shows are crammed into one tiny box.

WaPo crossword solution • 9 9 18 • “Small Screen” • Birnholz


  • 23A  and 19D. GROWING SEASON / SWING SET. Wings was a 90’s sitcom that I somehow missed entirely growing up.
  • 46A and 9D. CONCISE / SAN FRANCISCO. NCIS is heading into its sixteenth season. The “second-longest-running scripted, non-animated U.S. primetime TV series” per Wikipedia.
  • 48A and 15D. REPELLENTS / LEAVE WELL ENOUGH ALONE. Ellen. Hard to believe this was once a controversial show because it featured an openly gay character.

Alf. Featured in 102 Episodes. And 102,000 crosswords.

  • 66A and 68D. FATAL FLAWS / AL FRESCO. Alf. It only ran for four seasons, but the show is immortalized in crosswords.
  • 69A and 60D. GOOGLE EARTH / EAGLE EYE. Glee. I went through a Glee binge-watch phase. I’m not proud of it.
  • 51A and 38D. FIREBALLS / MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK. Reba. Reba in a rebus. That’s fun.
  • 108A and 82D. SOUR MASH / ATOM SMASHERS. M*A*S*H*. Just found out that the title stands for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital.
  • 117A. [Program with a limited run, and a hint to seven squares in this puzzle] MINI SERIES.

I liked this puzzle a lot, but it was much more challenging for me than usual. I correctly guessed the theme from the title before starting, and still struggled with nearly every rebus entry. I don’t think my brain is working right today. All of my crossword times are much higher than normal.

For instance, I figured the answers for 69A and 60D were probably GOOGLE EARTH and EAGLE EYE, but it felt like it took forever before I could see GLEE hiding in each. I actually wrote several of the theme answers out on paper just to hunt for a show title.

The tiny NW corner completely stumped me. I had ?SETS and knew the answer was SWING SETS. Across gave me ??OSEASONS and I knew the answer was GROWING SEASONS. But for some reason, I couldn’t figure it out. I foolishly entered “SWING” above SETS and figured it was some show I never heard of. I took a break from the puzzle and the answer hit me while I was weeding my garden. WINGSDuh.


[Problems that spell doom]

28A. [Avoid getting hit?] STAY. Had to run the alphabet for that T. The clue is referencing blackjack. Took a while for it to “hit me.” Ha. Ha. Ha.

66A. [Problems that spell doom]. I had ????LAWS. And while it didn’t fit, I really, really wanted the answer to be INLAWS.

118D. [Recurring theme in the podcast “My Dad Wrote a Porno” (obviously)] SEX. I’ve never heard of this podcast, but I’m super curious. That’s one helluva attention grabbing title.

113D. [Thunder shower, at times?] ESPN. I don’t know if I really like this clue or really dislike it… after all there’s no weather phenomenon called a “thunder shower” (which is the misdirection in the clue), but it’s still a clever concept.

124A. [Wails noisily] KEENS. Happily added to my lexicon. Never knew it could be a verb.

Here’s to hoping I’m a little more keen tomorrow. 4 stars from me, despite my hiccups.

Hal Moore’s New York Times crossword, “Mixed Feelings”—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution • 9 9 18 • “Mixed Feelings” • Moore

LOVE-HATE RELATIONSHIPS is clued 63a. [They involve mixed feelings … or a hint to four squares in this completed puzzle], and there are four rebus squares that use LOVE in the Across, HATE in the Down.

  • 26a. [Neighbor of Hungary], S{LOVE}NIA / 23d. [“Why am I not surprised?”], “W{HAT E}LSE IS NEW?”
  • 37a. [Pair of diamonds?], BATTING G{LOVE}S / 12d. [Islamic state], CALIP{HATE}.
  • 83a. [Option for moving an investment], ROL{LOVE}R IRA / 45d. [Basically what was said], WORDS TO T{HAT E}FFECT.
  • 102a. [Symbol of luck], FOUR-LEAF C{LOVE}R / 98d. [Fancy French home], C{HATE}AU.

Works well enough, and I like 23d, 45d, and 102a. Took me a while to find two of the rebus squares! Glad the revealer specified that there were four.


Three more things:

  • 29a. [Whopper inventor], LIAR. I wanted to fit HERSHEY in here.
  • 47a. [Big name in water filters], BRITA. I’ve moved on to Pür filters. I think they filter out certain things (maybe lead?) better than Brita.
  • 17d. [Mustard and saffron], YELLOWS. I can’t be the only one who wondered what the name was for the kind of plant both are, right? Except that mustard is in the Brassica genus, along with all your cabbages and broccolis and whatnot. Saffron’s a crocus. And what is the goldenrod I admired today in Lincoln Park? Googling … those are in the aster family.

Four stars from me.

Ross Trudeau’s LA Times crossword, “TV Partners” – Jenni’s write-up

Ross Trudeau is rapidly becoming one of my favorite constructors. I was not looking forward to solving and blogging this puzzle; I am tired from driving in and out of NYC for Crosswords and Coffee (totally worth it!) and coming home to ongoing Rosh Hashanah prep. When I saw the constructor’s name, I instantly perked up. Fun puzzle!

Our theme answers are television M*A*S*Hups – two shows that share a word, one at the end and the other at the beginning, stuck together and clued accordingly.

  • 23a [Show in which the Tanners move to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.?] is FULL HOUSE OF CARDS.
  • 37a [Show in which Daenerys questions her suitors?] is DATING GAME OF THRONES. I’d pay to watch that.
  • 53a [Show in which Gloria and Lois commiserate about lazy husbands?] is MODERN FAMILY GUY. I didn’t read the clue carefully, saw “Gloria,” and tried ALL IN THE FAMILY GUY. That did not work.
  • 65a [Show in which a Time Lord becomes a live-in domestic worker?] is DR WHO’S THE BOSS. This may be my favorite.
  • 76a [Show in which zombies invade an 1870s South Dakota town?] is WALKING DEADWOOD. Or that may be my favorite.
  • 90a [Show in which Richie and the Fonz write a soap?] is HAPPY DAYS OF OUR LIVES. Ayyy.
  • 112a [Installment of each of the “shows” in six puzzle answers?] would be CROSSOVER EPISODES.

Not a particularly challenging theme (I dropped a few of them in without any crossings) and I didn’t really care, because it’s so much fun.

Yawn. Sorry, too tired for a few other things. Let’s skip right to What I Didn’t Know Before I Did This Puzzle: I’m ashamed to admit it, but I didn’t know that the O in OPEC does not stand for OIL. If you’re as clueless as I was, it’s the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Good night!

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s CRooked Crossword, “Jump Change”—Laura’s review

CRooked - 9.9.18 - Solution

CRooked – 9.9.18 – Solution

It’s a sound-change theme, whereby CHs become Js. This’ll be a short post from me today; gotta jop up some apples and bake some jallah.

  • [23a: Actress Fonda’s double take?]: JANE REACTION. Jane Fonda has had a comeback lately in Grace and Frankie on Netflix, teamed up with her 9 to 5 costar Lily Tomlin. I hear it’s a great show.
  • [31a: Athlete game for playing time?]: JOCK UP TO EXPERIENCE. Isn’t the base phrase more commonly chalk it up to experience?
  • [51a: Arabic genie’s tunes?]: JINN MUSIC. Chin music, i.e. idle chatter, such as one would find on a crossword blog.
  • [62a: “Ulysses” author for today?]: JOYCE OF A NEW GENERATION. Joyce scholars love puns almost as much as Joyce did himself; I wouldn’t be surprised if this had been a title of a paper at a Joycean conference.
  • [77a: Stunt done in an Army vehicle?]: JEEP TRICK.
  • [90a: Yankee legend Derek’s family can’t catch a break?]: JETERS NEVER PROSPER.
  • [106a: Disappointed cry from a kid who would have preferred a dog?]: JEEZ GOLDFISH. I have a big container of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Brand Snack Crackers in my kitchen, and I’m not sure that cheese goldfish is the phrase (maybe cheddar goldfish? There are pretzel goldfish and rainbow goldfish, too).


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8 Responses to Sunday, September 9, 2018

  1. moh says:

    Thunder showers (or thundershowers) happen all the time around here, and the term is common on local weather.

  2. arthur118 says:

    I didn’t solve the Wash. Post puzzle but just looking at the clue I can tell you with some certainty that it is referring to ESPN being the “shower” on tv of the Oklahoma City Thunder of the NBA.

  3. Jim Hale says:

    Pretty good NYT. I didn’t know many of the personal names, but they were all derivable. My daughter switched form Brita to Zero which she swears by. I got Yen really quickly by having known the exchange rate, as I just ordered the currency from my bank. Surprisingly WF will Fed Exp it to you if you have an account with them. They carried Yen and Bhat but couldn’t get the Cambodian Riel. Much better rate than getting it at the airport or atm machines overseas.

    • Christopher Smith says:

      Yes I don’t like traveling somewhere without a little local currency because you never know.

      You really need to get the clue before this one comes tumbling down but it’s a nice tight Sunday if you’re smart like FREDO.

      • Jim Hale says:

        That’s true, I was lucky to recognize the trick when first encountering it.
        Heading to these countries in a few weeks. I’ve been told Japan is very cash oriented, many places don’t take credit cards. The trick in Thailand is to have an assortment of small bills. Cambodia takes US dollars, at least in Siem Reap. Going with my best travelling buddy… my daughter, who’s being overworked as a Neurology Resident and needs a break.

  4. Lise says:

    The NYT was way fun! In addition to a sparkly theme, I loved the clues for AMPERSANDS (88A: Parts of many law firm names) and THE FAR SIDE (59D: Cartoon in which one cow says to another “Hey, wait a minute! This is grass! We’ve been eating grass!”). Those cartoons never get old :-)

    Really, the entire puzzle was great. I hope to see more from Hal Moore!

  5. anon says:

    From the NYT review: “29a. [Whopper inventor], LIAR. I wanted to fit HERSHEY in here.”

    As it happens, Whoppers were invented by Leaf Brands, which *would* fit in there.

    Leaf invented/produced several other candy brands (PayDay, Jolly Rancher, etc.), which are now owned by Hershey.

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