Friday, September 21, 2018

CHE 6:06 (Laura) 


LAT 5:47 (Gareth) 


NYT 4:48 (Amy) 


Zhouqin Burnikel’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 9 21 18, no 0921

Lots of crisp fill here. You’ve got your CRIME BOSS, the hot gas of EMPTY WORDS, the makings of some Mexican food with AVOCADOS and CORNMEAL, STRESS-ATE, HATE MAIL, “I SUPPOSE” instead of the more common entry IGUESSSO, Sandra Day O’CONNOR and David SOUTER, MR. ORANGE from Reservoir Dogs, and the SILK ROAD.

Did not know: 40d. [Brand of facial brush], MIA. Apparently this is a $99+ device that delivers sonic waves to the brush part, and it’s used for cleansing. I don’t wear makeup or have 28a ACNE, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ . (I do appreciate seeing clues that will probably resonate with women more than men.)

Five more things:

  • 63a. [Core group?], SEEDS. Took a while to make sense of this one. An apple core has a group of seeds in it.
  • 8d. [Tarbell who took on Standard Oil], IDA. Between the badassery of the IDAs Tarbell and Wells, the name Ida is ripe for a baby-name renaissance.
  • 33d. [Rapper with the double-platinum album “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late”], DRAKE. It is ridiculous how many hits this man has. This summer, the Billboard Hot 100’s top 10 was 70% Drake songs. He’s on the radio all the damn time, and as if he didn’t have enough of his own hits, he’s also featured on other people’s hits. As of July, he’s had 31 top-10 singles, surpassing Michael Jackson, and he’s only 30.
  • 43d. [French aperitif], PASTIS. As I learned via Learned League trivia this week, PASTIS is a lot like Greek ouzo, Italian sambuca, and other anise liqueurs from around the Mediterranean. I hate licorice, anise, and that family of flavors. Please do not offer me any of these.
  • 52d. [Rhinestone-covered appurtenance for Elvis], CAPE. +5 for the use of the word appurtenance.

3.9 stars from me. Pretty good but not great.

Dan Schoenholz’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “You Can Say That Again” — Laura’s review

CHE - 9.21.18 - Solution

CHE – 9.21.18 – Solution

Listen carefully!

  • [20a: Seek help with humble reluctance]: COME HAT IN HAND
  • [29a: Prosaic fundamentals, metaphorically]: MEAT AND POTATOES
  • [44a: Compendium on a gastronome’s shelf]: GOURMET COOKBOOK
  • [54a: Command at a swearing-in … or a literal feature of 20, 29 and 44 Across]: REPEAT AFTER ME

Each themer has the letter sequence ME and then another letter sequence that repeats (HA HA, TA TA, and OOK OOK), respectively — from now on I’m going to say ook ook instead of goodbye. These are three nice finds! Fill-wise, we’ve got the Chronicle’s reliable combo of academic culture and trivia:

  • As an XER [59d: Many a fortysomething, briefly], I’m always happy to see my fashion role model and quondam Halloween costume inspiration, [19a: Bespectacled “Scooby-Doo” character]: VELMA.
  • I did not know that in the original stage play by Isaac Bashevis Singer, [36a: Gender-bending Streisand role]: YENTL goes on to live her/his/their life as a man, and that the heteronormative romance of the movie was added by Barbra. In the Broadway production, Yentl was played by Tovah Feldshuh, who plays Rebecca Bunch’s mother Naomi in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the best show on television that isn’t The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
  • The [11d: Killer of Adonis, in myth] was a WILD BOAR, whereas [61a: He “hunts” with Canis Major and Canis Minor]: ORION‘s downfall, in some versions of the myth, was a giant scorpion.
  • A [38d: Particle name coined by Enrico Fermi]: NEUTRINO can, apparently, pass through normal matter undetected. Like a ghost?
  • After shopping for foundation garments, I often [24a: Feel remorse over] [25a: Low] [26a: Lingerie item]: RUE SAD BRA.

Jerry Edelstein’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up

LA Times

The revealer is very clever – NOCANDO is in fact NO C AND O. Letter deletions are more tricky to make work in general than letter additions (and I wrongly accused yesterday’s of being a Friday!) This one is helped by its consistency. The CO is always subtracted from the beginning of the first word of each phrase, making it easier to puzzle out. So: (CO)PIERJAM; (CO)PIOUSNOTES, (CO)UPONCLIPPERS, (CO)GENTARGUMENT), (CO)PINGISSUES.

The rest of the puzzle has… a lot of compromises. So much that I would have preferred it rewritten, possibly with one less theme entry if need be. ONEBELOW as clued is just not an entry. Arbitrary spelt-out temperatures are neither interesting nor “in the language”. It’s like Random Roman numerals (MDI), but sticking out a whole lot more. STEPG is also not anything. You can’t just have STEP and a letter and call it an entry. Even with these, ASSESS, RESEED and DISSENT show a need for a lot of free squares to hold the puzzle together.

[Golden State traffic org.], CHP is California Highway Patrol. That’s remarkably regional, but it is the >LA< Times and well, they made a TV show about them (I only connected the dots afterwards though).


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8 Responses to Friday, September 21, 2018

  1. Jim Hale says:

    Liked the puzzle for the most part. It was going super fast for me until 3/4 in I stalled out a bit at the South West corner. Reservoir Dogs, Tarantino’s first major film. “Why am I Mr. Pink?” (Steve Buscemi)

  2. Lise says:

    I liked the NYT grid design. There were lots of little nooks and crannies helping out with stuff I didn’t know, and clues that I had overlooked at first. I had a lot of “how did I miss looking at that clue?” moments.

    Any puzzle that OINKs is fine with me. Also MAA. Just saying.

    I had Eric Idle instead of BANA, which gummed up the top for a while. ICE PALACE was way more elegant than the frozen pond in my imagination, for 60A: Skating site.

    Also, I love AVOCADOS. I have been told that mashed avocado was my first solid food (I’m from Phoenix, so that makes sense).

    This was a satisfying and tasty puzzle!

    • Steve Manion says:

      I have lived in Phoenix for the past 20 years. I buy avocados at least 5 times every month. I would buy more, but they along with cantaloupe melons are extremely hard to find at the correct ripeness. Not yet ripe avocados and melons do not ripen very well and overripe ones are (in the case of avocados) mushy, brown and pretty inedible.

      Mr. Orange was my first entry. Average Friday difficulty for me.

      • Lise says:

        I once saw a greeting card illustrating the seven stages of avocado ripeness: not ripe, not ripe, not ripe, not ripe, not ripe, not ripe, bad.

        I have medium good luck with them. Cantaloupes have two seasons here in Virginia: terrible, and August (nirvana).

        Did not know Mr. Orange. I think my first answer was the always-reliable IDA.

      • Elise says:

        I’m a newbie and a cheater at crosswords, but let me chime in on avocados: Plan ahead. Buy them green, and let them ripen at home. It’s the best way to avoid the disappointment of brown, bruised, nasty bits.

  3. Gareth says:

    Re Ook, took a while but I found one of my favourite Discworld Quotes…

    The Librarian of Unseen University had unilaterally decided to aid comprehension by producing an Orangutan/Human Dictionary. He’d been working on it for three months.

    It wasn’t easy. He’d got as far as “Oook.”*

    *Which can mean…well…meanings include: “Pardon me, you’re hanging from my rubber ring, thank you so very much”, “It may be just vital biomass oxygenating the planet to you, but it’s home to me” and “I’m sure there was a rain forest around here a moment ago.”

  4. Brenda says:

    Avocados will ripen in a brown paper bag on your countertop & should be checked daily. Ripe ones will keep for up to 5 days afterward in the fridge. The Hass variety of avo is the most reliable.

  5. Ellen Nichols says:

    I’ll have my YAKITORI from CHE on NYT’s TATAMI MAT. Do Japanese restaurants have Wasabi Bars? Mine did, for a while.

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