Friday, October 19, 2018

LAT 5:46 (Gareth) 


NYT 3:55 (Amy) 


CHE 2:47 (Joon) 


Trenton Charlson’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 10 19 18, no 1019

I suspect this puzzle will be polarizing, as traditionalist solvers grumble about the more adventurous fill and others find that the freshness really hits the spot. Me, I am waiting for vacay (short for vacation) to be in wider use so I can use it without people looking at me funny—and Trenton including ON VACAY as an entry helps the cause. FRAT BRO and BBQ JOINT have the same colloquial vibe as ON VACAY. NEXT-GEN, too, and RIPPED clued as [Seriously muscular]. Gonna call foul on the singular OREO THIN, because the cookies are Oreo Thins in the plural, and they’re so thin and crispy that you can eat more of them. (I had four lemon Oreo Thins after solving this puzzle. That’s 140 calories. The rest of the family loves the salted caramel Oreo Thins, but I could do without.) (And then you’ve got the plural SAMOAS, Girl Scout Cookies, but meh. Not a fan.)

Most arid material: crosswordese NACRE and ONE-A, I/O DEVICE.

Five more things:

  • 25d. [Notable ring bearer], SMEAGOL. That’s Gollum’s pre-weaseling name, in The Lord of the Rings. I had the S in place and filled in SAMWISE—who can blame me?
  • 32d. [Official birds of Quebec], SNOWY OWLS. These birds occasionally make it down to Chicago and wow the local birders. I haven’t seen one in the flesh yet.
  • 43d. [Deep blue], COBALT. You know what I don’t have? Any antique pieces of cobalt glass. I should remedy that.
  • 61a. [Region of Ghana known for gold and cocoa], ASHANTI. I wonder if Trenton had clued this as the singer. Not sure how many NYT solvers are up on their regions of Ghana … or on their R&B singers.
  • 63a. [Roll of 4 and 6, in craps], EASY TEN. Presumably rolling 5 and 5 is 10 the hard way?

Four stars for this puzzle that took me 1 second less than the Wednesday puzzle—which people said should have been a Monday or Tuesday puzzle.

Sarah Keller’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Hall to the Chief” — joon’s review

CHE 10.19.18 - Solution

CHE 10.19.18 – Solution

hello, joon here filling in for laura, who’s away at a conference this week. sarah keller’s CHE puzzle is a straightforward homage to four presidential libraries… sort of. maybe somebody else will step in to explain what’s going on with the theme, because i think i must be missing something. here are the theme answers:

  • {Site of reference copies of the Nixon White House tapes} COLLEGE PARK, MD.
  • {Site of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum} WEST BRANCH, IA.
  • {Site of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Center for Public Affairs} SIMI VALLEY, CA.
  • {Site of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum} GRAND RAPIDS, MI.

there’s an inconsistency here i just don’t understand. hoover’s presidential library and museum (a single complex) is in WEST BRANCH. reagan’s is in SIMI VALLEY. so far, so good. ford’s presidential library is in ann arbor, but the museum is in GRAND RAPIDS. why do we have GRAND RAPIDS instead of ann arbor here? just because it fits length-wise?

and then there’s COLLEGE PARK. now, nixon’s presidential library isn’t in college park. his museum isn’t either. they are both in yorba linda, california. what is college park doing in the theme? is there some other wordplay connection between these four towns that ties it all together? because unless there is something else, to me this theme looks like a non-starter.

speaking of COLLEGE PARK, MD, though: university of maryland alum/fiend blogger/tournament champion/constructor/all-around crossword superstar erik agard is on jeopardy! today (and, i hope, every day for a good long while!). i can’t wait to see how he does!

other bits from the fill:

  • {Clapton or Heiden} ERIC. second-best spelling of this name, but well ahead of ERICK and ERIQ.
  • {Mo. for back-to-school sales} AUG and {Mo. when SCOTUS reconvenes} OCT. is two mo. abbrs. too many? maybe. that second clue, though… i can’t even.
  • {Barbed, in a way} SARCASTIC. i liked this answer, and i liked this clue. took me quite some time to piece it together. the symmetrically placed down, CLAY TILES, was pretty boring by comparison.
  • {Tuba emissions} OOM-PAHS. boy, do i not love this answer in the plural.
  • {Rambling, as a play} TALKY. i’m not sure i’ve ever used this word, and it’s not in my dictionary, but i can kind of see it. (the noun for a movie that isn’t a silent is TALKIE.)
  • {Victim of a mythical meltdown} ICARUS. fun clue.

overall, i have to admit that i didn’t really care for this puzzle. the inconsistent theme was a huge turn-off, but the fill also made me wince more than smile. i’ve enjoyed sarah keller’s puzzles in the past, and i hope and expect that i will enjoy her next offering more than this one. 2.6 stars.

Craig Stowe’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary

LA Times 191018

I’ve had a bit of a rougher day than usual, including three hit by car cases and a boerboel whose nose I had to attempt to rebuild after it basically cleaved in twain by a panga (machete) – it also had another laceration just above that went about four centimetres through its face but was stopped by the tough skull… So yeah crossword escape here I come.

This was a better than average letter addition Friday I feel. Yes, there is nothing tying things together, but STER is an interesting “suffix” in that none of the new words have much to do with their original forms (with the exception of HIP(STER)) which made for quite strong images, my favourite being HAMSTERRADIO. It evoked stand-up Bill Bailey’s “I got ham but I’m not a hamster,” dig at Brandon Flowers.

The 14/12/12/14 arrangement forced an unusual grid with big corners. There are some interesting long downs my favourite being IMONADIET and CHEAPSHOT. HORSEHIDE is new to me, but amusing nonetheless, being, allegedly a word for a baseball, presumably akin to pigskin? [Ones neglecting their duties] is an awkward clue for DERELICTS, but I’m guessing the call was made to avoid the more in-use, but pejorative term for homeless people?

The bottom-right was definitely the weakest corner, with old-skool OCA, blah ENOUNCE and convenient bottom DATASET.

3.25 Stars

P.S., I just realised I have been totally, unbelievably rude. I actually don’t all wrote the LA Times blogs while I was away in the Free State, but thank you each and every one of you. I appreciate it, although it may not have seemed so.

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25 Responses to Friday, October 19, 2018

  1. Jeff says:

    NYT — My fastest Friday ever at 11:53! Loved it; fresh and funky.

  2. Doug says:

    CHE – the easiest CHE puzzle in recent memory. Kind of a let down on a Friday, really.

  3. Lise says:

    Excellent NYT. I felt as though I were on the same wavelength as the constructor today. My experience was a graceful, smooth solve where I took chances on names and they were correct. That doesn’t happen too often…

    What I learned: that “corolla” is part of a flower.

  4. Dook says:

    Had trouble in the NE section of the NYT. Didn’t know O/E device, Neyo, Popo, or scan iron. Really at a loss there. Otherwise fun.

  5. Evad says:

    It’s an I/O (input/output) device and that scan thingy is a scantron. When I took the SAT back in the 70’s, we had to fill in our multiple choice answers using a #2 pencil on a machine-readable sheet. I remember being warned not to make stray marks outside of the bubbles or the test might be incorrectly graded. Are these still used?

  6. hibob says:

    Tubes = iVS and Teachers timesaver = SCANiRON? Maybe?

    • David L says:

      I had that at first and realized it must be wrong. SCANTRON sounded vaguely familiar to me, but in the context of machines that read paper votes. “Tubes” for TVS is seriously outdated, in contrast to the rest of the puzzle. You can’t buy a tubular TV anymore.

      • Alan D. says:

        I did the same thing and didn’t realize I had an error until coming here. Naticked!!!

      • Art Shapiro says:

        I don’t think the term “boob tube” has fallen completely out of the vernacular. “Boob plasma”, “boob HDTV”, or “boob led” just wouldn’t have the same savior-faire. So the answer didn’t grate on me.

        Still wondering how I managed to dredge up Ashanti from the deep mental cache.

  7. Jim Peredo says:

    NYT: Boo on spelling Hagåtña incorrectly!

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      That piqued my interest, and I find myself perusing the Wikipedia article on the Chamorro language. It’s fascinating that Old Chamorro has different words for numbers based on what’s being counted!

      • Billposter says:

        Maybe so, but as often as I’ve been there, it’s always been “Agana”.

      • Jim Peredo says:

        You got me there, Amy. If I was a better Chamorro, I might know that, but I was born and raised stateside except for one year of my childhood. I do know the difference between hot to the touch (maipe) and spicy hot (pika).

        Billposter, I don’t know when you were there last, but they officially changed the name to Hagåtña back in 1998. Those of us who grew up knowing it as “Agaña” have trouble changing though.

    • john farmer says:

      NYT style manual (5th ed., 2015) says to use diacritical marks for French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, but not for other languages.

      Yet at least one article (Aug. 2017) does use the marks for Hagåtña.

  8. Ethan says:

    Good NYT overall, although the SE took a while to fall for me because I had FRAT BOY instead of FRAT BRO (which seems a little strained).

  9. Huda says:

    NYT: I liked the fresh fill. We say NEXTGEN all the time–for genetic sequencing technology– e.g. NextGen Sequencing which is quite different from genotyping à la 23&Me.

    The SCANTRONS/TVS was also a snag for me.

    The NE-YO entry must have been a nice 39th birthday present!

    VACAY seems like a dashed dream these days– email never stops and nobody believes my away message… I need to find a way to be off the grid and not come back to thousands of messages. Hints welcome!

  10. Noam D. Elkies says:

    CHE:9D — The clue for OOMPAHS is a standard error: tubas only OOM; it’s the horns or trombones (or both) that PAH or PAH-PAH. (And yes, the plural’s inelegant even if clued correctly.)

    NYT:63A — yes, in craps there’s a side bet for making 10 as 5+5 (or 8 as 4+4 etc.), which is called “the hard way”. Note that 4&6 is twice as likely as 5+5 because it can be either (4,6) or (6,4) while the double-five can only be (5,5). So I guessed “EASY TEN” correctly, though I didn’t actually know it.


  11. JohnH says:

    NYT was incredibly hard for me. So much I just plain didn’t know or even at all recognize. The NW was a particular killer. There I had no clue whether to go with IVS/SCAN IRON or TVS/SCANTRON but guessed wrong, and I ended up with NEYS/POPS while not making sense of either one. (I don’t recognize either right answer.)

    I’d have appreciated more help from crossings in learning new vocabulary like that. I hate being reduced to guessing. A stack of NEOLITH, ASHANTI, and EASY TEN was by no means easy, but at least gettable.

  12. Mark Abe says:

    NYT had Breakfast Cereal on Tuesday, a pancake stack on Wednesday, and two kinds of cookie today. I need to stop doing the puzzle before breakfast!
    Actually, I enjoyed the mix of pop culture from Neyo back to Nemo to the Gabor sisters. The only one that stumped me was popo for policeman.

  13. GlennG says:

    Some puzzles people might want as WSJ puz files.

    Circles added (10-16-2018):

    Rebuses added (10-20-2018):

    Hope everyone has a good puzzle day. :)

  14. Ellen Nichols says:

    joon, I’m with you on the CHE. Got to the end and circled clue 70A: Ah, now it’s clear. Because it was not. Seems like the locations were based on length in the grid and a tenuous link to some President.
    My aunt had the goal of going to as many Presidential Libraries as possible. Took a detour to see W’s while returning from her home town of Kansas City, MO to long time residence in San Diego. I don’t know what her final tally was before she passed.

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