Friday, January 18, 2019

CHE 3:28 (joon) 


Inkubator 3:39 (Amy) 


LAT 5:15 (Gareth) 


NYT 6:40 (Amy) 


Tina Lippman’s Inkubator crossword, “Carmen Miranda’s Hat”—Amy’s write-up

Inkubator crossword, 1 18 19, “Carmen Miranda’s Hat”

It’s here! It’s here! The Inkubator crossword has begun! The constructor is making her debut at the same time this puzzle venue does. The theme is women with fruits in their names, with a pinwheel layout of two 10s and two 11s, plus a trio of bonus fictional 5s:

  • 20a. [“Buffalo Stance” singer], NENEH CHERRY. I know the name but not the song.
  • 57a. [First African-American woman on Florida’s Supreme Court], PEGGY QUINCE. I’m not sure the Illinois Supreme Court’s ever had a black female justice. Certainly the U.S. Supreme Court has not. I didn’t know Quince, and quince is not a household fruit, but I was glad to learn this political trivia.
  • 11d. [Winner of the Best Female Rock Vocal Performance Grammy for 1997’s “Criminal”], FIONA APPLE.
  • 29d. [Winner of the 2002 Best Actress Academy Award for “Monster’s Ball”], HALLE BERRY. BERRY is rather nonspecific as fruits go. My favorite is raspberry, but nobody seems to be named that.
  • 13d. [Ms. Oyl], OLIVE. From Popeye cartoons.
  • 31d. [Princess in Nintendo’s Mario franchise], PEACH.
  • 51d. [Role for Fey on “30 Rock”], Liz LEMON.

I like the all-female theme set. Chuck Berry would fit the general concept, but boy is he problematic.

I also like the feminist focus of this first Inkubator puzzle. ACT II clued via a Lorraine Hansberry play. DARA Torres. A gyn. APPT. MEL B of the Spice Girls. ELLA clued as the [Emergency contraceptive brand]. USCG clued via its WWII women’s reserve. Ava DuVernay’s powerful SELMA. DECOR clued via two decorators of yore whom I’ve never heard of. EVANS clued as [Dale or Sara of country music]. Michelle OBAMA. [Lesbian icon Lesley who had a #1 hit in 1963 with “It’s My Party”], GORE. NCAA clued by way of Rebecca Lobo.

Four more things:

  • 6a. [“This is a box full of random crap,” briefly], MISC. Accurate.
  • 51a. [Only non-English-language song with vocals on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” list], LA BAMBA. Trivia! (Note: “Trivia” is a good thing, if you ask me.)
  • 69a. [Singer whose “Miss Independent” praises a confident, self-reliant woman], NE-YO. How many other songs like that—recorded by men—can you think of?
  • 1d. [One of 16 on a square gameboard], PAWN (chess), 2d. [One of 640 in a square mile], ACRE. Do the math and tell me how many pawns there are in a square mile. Wait, no. How many gameboards are there in an acre?

Four stars from me for this joint debut.

Andrew Ries’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 1 18 19, no 0118

The answer of the evening is 29a. [Overspent?], BONE-TIRED. I am ready for bed, except for this puzzle staring me in the face.

I don’t get this clue: 4d. [What briefs are delivered in, in brief], ABA. Is this referring to ABA (American Bar Association) style? If so, I don’t know that it’s kosher to lop off “style.” There’s APA style, AP style, MLA style, AMA style … and I’m not accustomed to seeing this style-free usage. (Cue the parade of people telling me I’m wrong about this.)

Fave fill: The ICE BOWL. LISA LOEB (who constructed an NYT crossword with Doug Peterson). SPIELS. PAPER TOSS. UBER DRIVER. The triple nerdery of D&D TETRAHEDRA dice, ESCAPE ROOM, and NERDS clued via [Binges on Sporcle quizzes, say, with “out”]. Been so busy with work and life, I am days behind on my Sporcling!

Three more things:

  • 36a. [Able to get out of the hole], SOLVENT. Those of you who are federal employees, or have one in the family, I wish you a speedy return to getting the wages you were hired to earn.
  • 11d. [Say “Hip, hip, hooray!,” say], ALLITERATE. Ha! I did not see that answer coming.
  • 17d. [Needle point?], BLOOD VESSEL. That was my Tuesday morning, yep. Dannella is the best phlebotomist I know. Pro tip: If you get a lot of blood work done and you find a phlebotomist you like, ask for them on your return visits.

Four stars from me.

Clive Probert’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Computer Menu” — joon’s review

(reminder that the Chronicle of Higher Education puzzle is now only published in print, but you can still get a .puz and .pdf every week at fiend’s Today’s Puzzles page.)

Chronicle of Higher Ed crossword solution, 1 18 19

joon here with a quick review of the che puzzle before i head off to mystery hunt. clive probert’s theme is computer terms that include food or drink items:

  • {A single Pringle, to someone who’s sworn them off forever?} MEMORY CHIP. that is an intriguing, evocative clue. very proustian.
  • {Alert Hormel about a defective can, maybe?} EMAIL SPAM.
  • {Oreo eaten by Spider-Man?} WEB COOKIE. BROWSER COOKIE is a much more familiar (to me) way of saying this.
  • {Numbered bottles of dessert wine?} SERIAL PORT.

i thought the theme was just okay. i think perhaps it could have been a little more coherent with a different cluing tack; in particular, i don’t think the clues made sense in context of the title, because the foods weren’t all clued as foods. (notably EMAIL SPAM.) and even the ones that were clued as foods were not clued as menu items. so it felt less tight thematically than it could have been based on the answers themselves. on the other hand, i do kind of love that MEMORY CHIP clue and i think i’m likely to remember it for a while, so i guess there’s a trade-off.

i liked the big 3×8 corners in the grid. the clue for PETER PAN {Eponym for a flat, rounded collar} was a total mystery to me, but piecing together the answer made for a nice aha. (there’s a lot i don’t know about fashion.) i was also tripped up by the great entry {“Ohhh, that explains it!”} NO WONDER, because with the crossings partly filled i was sure it was going to be NOW something, like NOW I SEE or NOW I GET IT. that was another fun one to work out gradually.

3.6 stars.

Bruce Haight’s LA Times Crossword – Gareth’s summary

LA Times

The theme is words that can, if tortured, be represented as three letters spelt out loud… EZR = easier; NML = animal; JQZ = Jacuzzi; PNO = piano; NRG = energy. I think I’ve read to many ca. 1990 Reader’s Digest shorts to find this novel, myself.


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23 Responses to Friday, January 18, 2019

  1. Mac says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed the Inkubator puzzle, nice work and debut!

    • Brian says:

      Yeah it’s outstanding. Really appreciated how careful Tina was with proper name crosses I didn’t know – 20A, 41D, 53D e.g.

      • Norm says:

        Less than enjoyable because of the number of names, but the crosses were fair for the most part. NEYO not so much for this senior citizen and ELBA as well, but Ms. Berry is iconic, so even those were fine. I just found it more of a struggle than a pleasure.

        • Brian says:

          I’ll give you NEYO being outside your wheelhouse, but he’s pretty famous and imo very crossworthy. But I say yes please to more puzzles where the worst/most obscure fill is ELLA and NEYO

          • Amy Reynaldo says:

            ELLA, of course, is wildly familiar fill. But people who aren’t in the demographic that would know about emergency contraception options might find the clue “obscure.” I, for one, applaud Inkubator for putting this ELLA right on the same level as TTOP and GTO, which I have never had the slightest interest in and yet they appear in plenty of crosswords.

        • JohnH says:

          I wouldn’t have known of either NEYO or that definition of ELLA. But can someone help me catch up? What and were are Inkubator puzzles?

          BTW, off topic but I know a pet peeve of many here including Amy. Cory Booker today wrote, “Ten years ago when I talked about school choice, I was literally tarred and feathered.” I hate to single him out, and I won’t offer an opinion here on him as a politician or presidential possibility one way or another. But yeah, sure wish that usage of “literally” would go away so that I can use the word with confidence. It often allows rather nice rhetoric taken, well, literally.

    • Rich says:

      With the precedent for what’s now rewarded at Wimbledon and comparable activities, constructors should be paid the same for 13×13 crosswords as men for 15×15 crosswords.

    • Lise says:

      I agree! I particularly liked the cluing. I am looking forward to more of these.

  2. Greg says:

    Perfect Friday Times puzzle: challenging, lively fill. (I was temporarily led into the wilderness by “Tesla,” instead of “Hertz” at 47A. “Tesla” worked so nicely with “tetrahedra.”)

    Only demurral: Like Amy, I’m mystified by the cluing for ABA at 4D. I’m a lawyer, and I doubt anyone has ever referred to (legal) briefs being “delivered” at — a meeting of the American Bar Association? I’m sure I’m just missing something.

    • KarenS says:

      +1 from a (retired) lawyer

    • Steve Manion says:

      I also think it is a bad clue. My thought was that people frequently submit amicus briefs to the ABA in Supreme Court cases. I don’t know what happens next, whether the ABA puts its imprimatur on them, rewrites them or simply submits them–with or without corrections to the style mandated by the Supreme Court.


  3. Anne says:

    I didn’t much care for ESCAPE ROOM, after the deaths of five Polish teenage girls in such a room less than two weeks ago. Google tells me that there are such venues right here in my home city – I hope they have emergency exits that can be operated from the inside.

    • Brian says:

      The ones I’ve done either have a separate door you come in that’s always unlocked, or a code that’s posted to unlock the door that’s not the solution.

  4. Dr. Fancypants says:

    Lawyer here, and you’re absolutely correct about the clue for ABA being really, really off. First, briefs aren’t written in “ABA style”. They may be in Bluebook style, or in the style specified by the court where you’re submitting the brief, but people don’t follow some general “ABA style” for briefs.

    I *think* what the clue was going for is that [some] people [who may or may not be] in the ABA write briefs, but (a) that’s really a stretch of the English language, (b) not all lawyers are members of the ABA (I personally refuse to join because the organization has done a horrible job policing law schools), and (c) not all members of the ABA write briefs.

    • Matthew G. says:

      Another lawyer here to chime in that the clue on ABA just absolutely does not work.

    • Victor Fleming says:

      Agreed 100%, maybe more. Email me — judgevic (at) gmail — and I will share a story that only an anti-ABA person could appreciate.

  5. David L says:

    I disagree with the clue for HERTZ. It’s certainly true that Heinrich Hertz was the first person to send and receive radio waves – but it was over a very short distance in his lab. That doesn’t qualify as ‘broadcasting’ waves, to my mind, and Hertz was decidedly uninterested in any technological applications of radio waves.

    I’d never heard of the game PAPERTOSS or “D4 dice” but they were both fairly easily guessable once I had a few of the letters.

    Glad to see everyone else was baffled by the ABA clue. I’m also perplexed by ETC ‘Abbr. for a compiler.’ What’s the context here?

    • Lise says:

      My take is that “compiler” is used in the context of “one who amasses a lot of possibly related things”, and who would use “etc.” when telling you all about them. ;)

      • David L says:

        Maybe, but I hired someone to make a list of customer names, for example, and they came back with “Smith, Jones, Whatever, etc etc” I would say they were not doing a great job…

  6. Victor Fleming says:

    I really liked “Carmen Miranda’s Hat”! Grats to Tracy, Laura, and Tina for some stellar work there! It took me 15 minutes to solve, which generally would be Thu-Fri difficulty, but, after-the-fact, I couldn’t justify why I didn’t finish in under 10. Also, the pdf version is really attractive, so even if you don’t print it out and solve it like I did, take a gander at the artwork.

  7. Matthew G. says:

    PEGGY QUINCE’s other claim to fame is that she was one of the four justices in the Florida Supreme Court majority who ruled in favor of Al Gore in the 2000 recount—the decision that the U.S. Supreme Court would then reverse in Bush v. Gore.

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