Monday, January 7, 2019

BEQ 18:50 (Vic) 


LAT 4:15 (Nate) 


NYT 2:51 (Jenni) 


WSJ untimed (Jim P) 


The New Yorker 5:37 (Amy) 


Andrew Kingsley’s New York Times crossword—Jenni’s write-up

This is a twist on a vowel progression theme, and it’s well done.

The theme answers shift A-E-I-O-U down the grid, and each one has a rhyming counterpart.

NYT 1/7/19, solution grid

  • 17a [Five-time N.B.A. championship-winning coach with the Lakers and the Heat] is PAT RILEY.
    19a [Cable channel with many science shows, familiarly] is NAT GEO.
  • 24a [Garfield, to Jon Arbuckle] is a PET CAT.
    27a [Notable statistic for Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates] is NET WORTH.
  • 37a [Casino floor V.I.P.] is a PIT BOSS.
    40a [Make tiny criticisms] is NITPICK.
  • 51a [Road hazards that need filling] are POTHOLES. I live in PA, where the real problem isn’t the POTHOLES, it’s the bits of road that stick up in between.
    54a [“Be patient!”] NOT YET.
  • 60a [Peeved] is PUT OUT.
    62a [Dessert loaf] is NUT BREAD.

All solid, in-the-language phrases, easily gettable from the clues. A good Monday theme. Despite the vast amount of theme material, the fill is pretty good.

A few other things:

  • I got 8a [Maze runner in an experiment] from crossings and initially parsed it as LA BRAT.
  • 10d [Proceeding from low to high] is BOTTOM UP, which is kind of awkward.
  • 35d [Singer with the 1961 hit “Big Bad John”] is JIMMY DEAN. I forgot that he had a career before sausage.
  • 46a is [Bygone monthly for the 12-to-20 set]. Really? 19 year-olds were reading TEEN BEAT?
  • TETRA is not clued as the fish. It’s [Four: Prefix].

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that RUGER is America’s largest firearm manufacturer.

Zhouqin Burnikel’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Brain Food” — Jim P’s review

Now this is how you make a Monday grid! The theme is simple but elegant, and the fill is fantastic. We’re given food dishes whose first word can be a slang term for your cranium.

WSJ – Mon, 1.7.19 – “Brain Food” by Zhouqin Burnikel

  • 16a [Fruit plate items] MELON BALLS
  • 25a [Pho, for example] NOODLE SOUP
  • 46a [Creamy sweet treat] COCONUT PIE
  • 58a [Fiber-rich side dishes] BEAN SALADS

Has this theme been done before? Probably. Almost undoubtedly. But this is so clean and fun that it doesn’t matter, at least not to this solver.

With only four sparkly theme answers, there’s plenty of room for great fill, and Zhouqin delivers big time with UGLY AS SIN and “NOT SO FAST!” I’m also liking “ALL GONE!” and HENDRIX.

Sure, THE SEA is a little weird with that definite article [Neptune’s domain], and CASALS probably isn’t Monday-level [Spanish cellist Pablo], but everything else was smooth sailing.

This was a tasty little morsel to start your week off right. 4.25 stars.

Kameron Austin Collins’s New Yorker crossword—Amy’s write-up

New Yorker crossword solution, 1 7 19

Quick recap! Fave fill: LASH CURLER, INNER VOICE, SAILOR MOON, IN TEARS from laughing, UBER DRIVER, PETER FONDA, TRADING UP, WHITE NOISE clued via the Don DeLillo novel about an “airborne toxic event,” journalism-speak’s NUT GRAF, ALUMNI MAGS, and DANA CARVEY. And also BLOOP!

Unfave fill: RE-ETCH, DEARIE ME.

Did not know: Bob Dylan’s “Love and THEFT.”

Clues I’m furrowing my brow at:

  • 5d. [Stitch], CROCHET. I think of stitching as involving a needle going through an existing piece of cloth, whereas crocheting, like knitting, involves using doodads to loop yarn into a piece of cloth. The counterpart to knitting needle is crochet hook, and who stitches with a hook?
  • 8d. [Big trophy], LION. Great. Now you’ve got me thinking about Donald Trump, Jr. and people who hunt “big game.” Yuck.

4.2 stars from me.

Bruce Venzke & Gail Grabowski’s Los Angeles Times crossword—Nate’s write-up

This dynamic duo of constructors is back for another great Monday puzzle:

LAT 1.6.19

LAT 1.6.19

21A: WINE STEWARD [Sommelier]
26A: WITNESS STAND [Court spot for giving testimony]
44A: WORRYING KIND [One constantly fretting]
50A: WIND BREAKER [Lightweight jacket, and a hint to 21-, 26- and 44-Across]

The revealer is quite apt: each of the theme entries has the letters of WIND span the phrase, and I appreciate that WIND was broken (so to speak!) in a different spot each time. That is the kind of attention to detail I really dig as a solver!

A few random thoughts:

Coca Cola Polar Bear

Coca Cola Polar Bear

ICEE Polar Bear

ICEE Polar Bear

15A: [Drink with a polar bear mascot] was ICEE, but I always want this clue to be COKE. Anyone looking to do a Schrodinger puzzle could certainly scoop up this double-answered clue!

49A: [Strips of developed film, briefly] was NEGS. Is this a commonly known shortening of negatives? It’s new to me!

5D: PROWLER for [Cat, or cat burglar] was my favorite clue of the grid!

40D: AORB for [Choice of two] was fun to parse when I didn’t fully have it yet. I had AO_B and was like ?!?!??! : )

ANNE Burrell

ANNE Burrell

#includemorewomen: We thankfully have a modern reference – ANNE Burrell from “Worst Cooks in America” – to balance out the more dated references: BRENDA Lee, MEG from “Little Women”, Harriet to TV’s OZZIE, TESS, and HEDDA Gabler. Either way, I’m always pleased to see as many women represented!

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Themeless Monday crossword #498—Judge Vic’s review

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Themeless Monday crossword #497 solution, 1-7-19

Finishing in 18:50, with a three-minute waste-factor-feeling, I assumed BEQ was not on his A game with this themeless puzzle. None of the clues really grabbed me, like Brendan’s usually do. But, on reviewing it after the solve, I concluded that it is a really nice effort.

Here are the highlights … and then I gotta go watch the National Championship football game:

  • 7a [Got past things[ MOVED ON–Good ILSA. Nice clean clue.
  • 14a [Places you might go] URINALS–Liked this one. It reminded me that Mel Rosen once rejected a puzzle of mine for having UROLOGIST in it.
  • 19a [“Can’t you see I’m busy?”] JUST A MOMENT–I got this one quickly and it propelled me into uncharted waters timewise. Then I recovered from it.
  • 31a [All-electric supercar with a quarter million dollar price tag] TESLA ROADSTER–This one also came to me quickly, as I guessed TESLA and saw it had to end in ER.
  • 46a [Government reports] WHITE PAPERS–I read a really good one of these back in the early 1970s on the Kennedy assassination. Had to do the inter-library loan thing through my college ‘brary. I remember the looks I got from some of the assistants.
  • 48a [US Air Force Academy freshmen] DOOLIES–This was one I thought I should have known, but didn’t. It rolled in with the crossers, though.
  • 4d [Powder for lunch] INSTANT SOUP–I don’t think I’ve ever eaten instant soup.
  • 13d [Container used in rinsing out nasal cavities] NETI POT–I’ve used one for years.
  • 24d [Bad influence] ROTTEN APPLE
  • 32d [College in Beverly, Mass.] ENDICOTT–Home of the Gulls, Div III.

Not bad at all. 3.7 stars.


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22 Responses to Monday, January 7, 2019

  1. Robert White says:

    I don’t think of PUT and NUT as words that rhyme, usually…

  2. Sarah says:

    PUT and NUT do not rhyme.

  3. Jeff says:

    ELSTON / ELROPO is a terrible cross. Never heard of either and El Ropa / Elstan sound just as likely to me.

  4. JohnH says:

    Regarding the WSJ, I’ve never heard of coconut or melon for brain, so the theme had me scratching my head.

  5. Jeff says:

    Can someone explain the ten to one clue/answer in the BEQ?

  6. Lester says:

    Amy, are you really okay with KAC’s clue of “D-bag”? (I don’t think the D stands for Dirt.)

    • Doug says:

      I have that question, too, and a few more. D-bag is crude, several others are just questionable, in addition to the aforementioned CROCHET. VROOM used as a noun? BLOOP clued as “Robot noise” (in some cartoon, or what)? ARCADIAN clued as “rustic”? (Rustic means rural or unsophisticated, whereas ARCADIAN means idyllic – not at all the same). GILT clued as “Fitted with fancy fixings”? There are just a whole lot clues today that seem off to me.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Yes, I don’t have a problem with D-bag or A-hole.

  7. David L says:

    The New Yorker had a couple of head-scratchers for me: BLOOP doesn’t sound much like a robot noise (more like a stone falling into a mud puddle) and it crossed SLAMS, which is clued as an event with finger-snapping. No idea what that refers to. Poetry slams come to my mind, but why would people snap their fingers?

  8. arthur118 says:

    Are Crosswords Killing America?

    So asks tongue-in-cheekish Boston Globe columnist Alex Beam who likely wouldn’t have written this column had he known the answer was BEEEATERS.

  9. pannonica says:

    New Yorker: The poor taste of the LION clue negatively affected my interpretation of 45d [Impressionable collection] HERD (as branding cattle, rather than describing a herd mentality) and even extended to 52 [Barbecue-festival attendees, hopefully] MEAT-EATERS (with the ‘hopefully’ seeming macabre—and I’m not exactly a vegetarian).

    In a slip that would leave the proofreaders of the magazine qua magazine aghast, the clue for 30a MR T should read [Actor Laurence Tureaud].

    Lots of questionable stuff in that crossword.

    • JohnH says:

      I’m with the consensus here that much of TNY was weird. As usual, it was trivia laden to my taste, like (my last to fall) SAILOR MOON. But I’d have felt better about learning them if so much else wasn’t odd.

      Others have mentioned most of what struck me, but say, too, how many cabbies really then drive an Uber shift? Searches mostly turn up instead the threats to cabbies from Uber or at best the very rare story of a cabbie turned Uber driver. And no, I’m uncomfortable seeing d-bag (with a more unacceptable interpretation than “dirt”) or A-Hole.

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