Friday, February 8, 2019

CHE 6:39 (Laura) 


Universal 3:46 (Jim Q) 


LAT 5:32 (Gareth) 


NYT 3:37 (Amy) 


John Guzzetta & Michael Hawkins’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 2 8 19, no. 0208

This puzzle, it’s too easy for a Friday! I’m not getting my money’s worth here. Even with a 9-letter answer I’d never heard of (14a. [Military pilot’s waiting area], READY ROOM), I plowed right through.

Likes: MATHLETES, IMPRIMATUR, LOVE LETTER, CHAIR YOGA, John BONHAM, FUNEMPLOYED and its less whimsical counterpart FLAT BROKE, David TENNANT, slangy FOR THE WIN (if you thought the online shorthand ftw meant “fuck the world” or “fuck the what,” you were as wrong as I once was), IRENE Joliot-Curie, “NOT COOL,” and CLAIM TO FAME.

Five things:

  • 20a. [Metric unit], IAMB. Poetic meter, not the metric system. Though I like the idea of a kiloiamb, or a microiamb.
  • 45a. [Desert gullies], WADIS. TIL (“today I learned”) that Andalusian Arabic brings us Spanish place names that derive from WADI. For example, Guadalajara.
  • 57a. [Something to shuck], EAR OF CORN. If you’re clever, you’ll microwave-steam your corn in the husk, and then pull off the husk and silk with less drama afterwards.

  • 61a. [___ pants], KNEE. This feels so 1800s, no?
  • 6d. [Endure, in an expression], BEAR IT. This feels like a 6-letter partial to me. [“I can’t ___!” (“This is too much!”)], perhaps. IT is also right next to EAT IT UP.

Four stars from me.

Joy M. Andrews’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “Out, Damned Spot!” — Laura’s review

CHE - 2.8.19 - Solution

CHE – 2.8.19 – Solution

If you don’t like ADs in your crosswords, today is your lucky day! Five themers go AD-free, resulting in wacky phrases:

  • [20a: Ten-speeds made in Athens?]: GREEK CYCLES. Greek CyclADes. Maybe a touch redundant, since the Cyclades, an island group in the Aegean, are the only island group of that name. Not like there are, say, Portuguese Cyclades.
  • [38a: YouTube video depicting Lasik surgery?]: EYE SHOW. Eye shADow
  • [56a: Learning some Portuguese at Carnival, climbing Sugarloaf, etc.?]: RIO ACTIVITY. RADioactivity
  • [11a: Countries with high cat populations?]: MEOW LANDS. If they exist, I want to go to there. MeADowlands
  • [34a: Evening shift full of failures for a polygraph examiner?]: LIES NIGHT. LADies’ night

A cute idea; LIES NIGHT feels like the weakest of the set, but it doesn’t detract from it. I don’t see constructor Joy Andrews in our tag library, so I’ll assume this is a debut! If so, congrats, Joy, and I hope to see more of your puzzles in the future!

My parents used to listen to a lot of [29a: Phil who sang “Draft Dodger Rag”]: OCHS. “I believe in God and Senator Dodd and a-keepin’ old Castro down” — this would be Thomas J. Dodd, D-CT, who served from 1959 to 1971, not his son Christopher Dodd, D-CT, who served in the Senate from 1981 to 2011.

Mike Buckley’s Universal crossword, “Hydration” – Jim Q’s writeup

THEME: The word “water” can follow either parts of the theme answers


  • Universal crossword solution * 2 08 19 * “Hydration” * Mike Buckley

    17A [Chicago pizza style] DEEP DISH. I prefer our sloppy New York slices.

  • 24A [NFL’s Marshawn Lynch, for one] RUNNING BACK.
  • 34A [Being harshly criticized] UNDER FIRE
  • 48A [Respite before graduation, perhaps] SPRING BREAK
  • 58A [Kool-Aid instruction that can apply to either part of 17-, 24-, 34- or 48-Across] ADD WATER.

Straightforward theme, though in my haste I didn’t read the entire clue for the revealer (tsk! tsk!). I didn’t see what was going on until I had completed the grid.

FIRE WATER is a new term for me- according to Google it’s a type of liquor or moonshine. Makes sense!

3.3 Stars from me.

Andy Morrison’s LA Times Crossword – Gareth’s summary

Letter deletion rather than addition is the focus of today’s puzzle theme. Without the key phrase, MISSINGLINK, the deletions are puzzling to say the least. Four phrases are missing L-I-N-K in turn, creating nonce phrases: F(L)IGHTSCHOOL, GREATPLA(I)NS, TEXASRA(N)GER and WRITERSBLOC(K). The phrases themselves, given the almost limitless options, were a little dry, and I am not sure I have ever encountered RAGER as a term before. It sounds like 1940’s slang of some sort.

Although clues in general are more muted in the LA Times, as the week progresses we hope for some more meaty offerings. Today there wasn’t anything that stands out. There were some interesting entries, mostly single words like MACABRE (not respelt like most American words?), GENUINE, EPHESIAN and PACKAGEDEAL, but it was in general a more staid offering.

3 Stars

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13 Responses to Friday, February 8, 2019

  1. dkblake says:

    Shakespeare on sale here! Only 49 cents a kiloiamb!

  2. cc says:

    I know READY ROOM from Star Trek: TNG. That was what Picard called his, well, office, I guess?

  3. Huda says:

    NYT: I agree it was on the easy side, but with a lot of great entries. IMPRIMATUR fell out of the sky for me, and made life a lot easier.
    I LOVE that corn trick. I had no idea! I grew up watching my grandmother collect cornsilk to brew as a tea. It’s an herbal treatment especially for urinary problems.
    I also did not know FUNEMPLOYED. I would not have interpreted that word to mean unemployed and liking it, but rather employed in a fun job –e.g. being a scientist, although the grant system and academia work hard to suck the fun out of it. But I resist and persist.

  4. Huda says:

    Is anyone else obsessed with the LETTER BOXED game on the NYT Crossword page? I love that stuff. And I’m surprised that I consistently come up with 2 words solutions that are different from the solution that is reported the following day, especially with all the constraints. Sometimes, one word overlaps, but sometimes it’s completely different-e.g.

    It really illustrates for me how rich and flexible the English language is.

    • Brian says:

      Yeah, I love Letter Boxed too. Just a lovely combo of whimsical and challenging (to find a 2 word solution). I have found a two word answer on about half of the days, but have never actually matched the NYT solution either!

      My only complaint is that the new puzzles don’t drop at the same time as the crosswords, you have to actually wait until the next day to do it.

  5. Alan D. says:

    Re: LAT and MACABRE. Gareth, for some reason, this word we (or at least I) pronounce like macabra. Hence it doesn’t get re-spelled. Maybe it’s a French thing?

  6. Jenni Levy says:

    24d in the NYT: Hmm. All minerals are “on the Mohs scale.” Was something omitted from the clue? TALC is 1 on the Mohs scale. The geologist in the house cosigns this nit.

  7. BarbaraK says:

    Re LA Times: RAGERS was in the WSJ Crossword Contest last week. I’d never heard of it before then. I assumed new slang, but it certainly could be old.

Comments are closed.