Friday, November 23, 2018

LAT 6:42 (Gareth) 


NYT 4:41 (Amy) 


CHE 8:21 (Laura) 


Temple Brown’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 11 23 18, no 1123

First off, let me object to 17a. [Ginormous quantities], SQUILLIONS. That’s so much less common than zillions, jillions, bajillions, gazillions. I guess people out there use it, but I wasn’t expecting it.


Did you pick up that initialism/abbrev/stand-alone letter vibe? BBC AMERICA, UFOS, ESP, CBS TV, PT-BOAT, NRA, A.P. BIO, C-SPAN, ETS, AAAS, ABC, BLTS, BBQS, VIP PASS, T-BAR, U-HAUL, NIH? Dang, that is too much.

Five more things:

  • 51a. [State without words?], AWE. The noun, not a verb. I almost filled in APE. Great clue.
  • 25a. [Cobbler’s job], SOLING. Maybe shoe repair workers and shoe factory craftspeople use the word, but who else does?
  • 55a. [Number 2, for one], LEAD PENCIL. As opposed to …?
  • 58a. [Old World blackbird], MERL. We adored Merl Reagle, but the bird is crosswordese in this country.
  • 5d. [Relative of a malt shop], MILK BAR. Gotta look this one up. There are the brand-name Milk Bar bakeries in the Momofuku family, but as a generic term? Apparently this is a thing, but in Upstate New York and some foreign countries, not a broadly familiar concept. I’ve heard of the Momofuku desserts thing, from magazine or NYT stories most likely, and suspect that actually would have resonated with more solvers than this generic clue.

3.4 stars from me. Hope y’all had a good Thanksgiving! Pass the Tums.

Richard Shlakman’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Chime Is of the Essence” — Laura’s review

CHE - 11.23.18 - Solution

CHE – 11.23.18 – Solution

Woah this is late and will be quite short — sorry, friends! I’ve been digesting and napping. Also, Richard Shlakman isn’t in our tag library, so I think this is a debut. Congrats, Richard! Rebus time today, as the word BELL is compressed into six squares:

  • [9a: Glass cover for Victorian bric-a-brac]: BELL JAR crossing [9d: Mountain in the Bernina Alps whose name is the Italian counterpart of 18 Down]: BELLA VISTA
  • [17a: Sign at an empty hotel desk]: RING BELL FOR SERVICE crossing [18d: Manhattan hospital that opened the nation’s first maternity ward in 1799]: BELLEVUE
  • [24a: 29 Down became one in 2009]: NOBEL LAUREATE crossing [26d: Vegas casino known for its dancing fountains]: BELLAGIO
  • [45a: Pulitzer-winning WWII novel about replacing the local alert system]: A BELL FOR ADANO crossing [37d: Group with the 1975 #1 hit “Lady Marmalade”]: LA BELLE
  • [57a: Its caps can be prepared as substitute hamburger buns or pizza crusts]: PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM crossing [36d: Disney cow romantically linked with Goofy]: CLARABELLE

All good finds, though I would’ve thought it a bit more challenging if BELL had been hidden orthographically in all the answers (as in 24a) rather than as a separate word.

Hey sister, go sister, soul sister!

Jeffrey Wechsler’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s summary

LA Times

Another Friday, another letter addition theme. Today features the bigram TR, always at the beginning, with no revealer. It’s curious that, with such a loosely defined theme, the two middle answers are 13s. I guess the author really liked TREATSANDRUNS and TRELLISISLAND.

Those central 13’s lead to unusual grid architecture, with MOOSEMEAT and STATETREE spanning three answers each, and a second large themeless-style stack segmented in the top-right and bottom-left. The overall word count of 72 is at the upper end for a themeless.


  • [Common cooking ingredient], KOSHERSALT. The one themeless seed grade answer. Is it a common cooking ingredient in the States even if you’re goyim?
  • [How brooms are usually stored?], ONONEEND. What a strange clue and answer set? Inferrable, but who says, “I store my brooms on one end.”?
  • [Canadian rapper with the album “Reckless”], NAV. Recent, with current platinum singles. Note down for future puzzles.

3 Stars

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6 Responses to Friday, November 23, 2018

  1. Penguins says:

    Nice clues for UFOS and CSPAN too.

  2. Jeff K says:

    Amy, FWIW, I’m from Upstate New York and never heard of a MILK BAR.

  3. Lise says:

    I loved the CHE! It was extremely fun to solve. I drew little BELLs.

    The puzzle is fine the way it is, but in the interests of #includemorewomen, I thought that BELL JAR could have been clued as a Sylvia Plath reference, and REE could have referenced Ree Drummond, author of many cookbooks and several children’s books.

    Not that there weren’t plenty of others: ABBA, the great Patti LaBelle, and CLARABELLE too :-)

    In any case, I do like the clue that Mr. Shlakman used for BELL JAR, and hope to solve more of his puzzles. Oh, and kudos for including the science term ADSORBS.

  4. Elise says:

    “55a. [Number 2, for one], LEAD PENCIL. As opposed to …?“
    I thought as opposed to the other numbers of hardness. 6B soft, up to 7H hard. Art school/ drafting stuff. No one says “lead” anymore. It’s graphite.

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