Friday, June 28, 2019

LAT untimed (Jenni) 


NYT 4:21 (Amy) 


Universal 7:25 (Vic) 


The New Yorker 3:42 (Jenni) 


Bruce Haight & David Steinberg’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 6 28 19, no. 0628

This one’s not a themeless puzzle—it’s got a mini-theme of two 15-letter entries (SPREAD ONE’S WINGS and BATS IN THE BELFRY) and the trio of flying bats drawn in black squares in the center of the grid. Luckily, the rest of the puzzle lives up to our expectations for themelesses, with such fill as LEFT JAB, “ALLOW ME,” ELROND, SNO-CONE, MENSWEAR, CAR LOAN, MARS BAR, DR DREW, A.P. EXAMS, WENT PRO, MR. GREEN from Clue(do), and the underused word ANODYNE.

It’s late because I was watching the second Dem debate tonight, and it’s time for a bedtime snack. So just three more things:

  • 27a. [Tourist center handout], AREA MAP. I know it’s more than half vowels and thus useful, but this entry feels like it’s in puzzles far out of proportion to how much any of us actually use the term. “Do you have a map?” That’s what we call it. A map.
  • 35d. [Ohio town that was the first permanent settlement in the state (1788)], MARIETTA. This is pretty incorrect, no? Are you going to claim that none of the indigenous people living in that area had “permanent settlements”? Clue should say “first permanent white-people settlement.” Also, few of us have heard of this town of 14,000. The Atlanta suburb by the same name is likely more familiar.
  • 34a. [Salon offering], PERM. Heh. The salon I go to does not offer perms. Perms are outmoded, no? At least in big cities, perhaps?

Four stars from me.

Stella Zawistowski’s Universal Crossword, “Making the Grade”—Judge Vic’s write-up


Stella Zawistowski’s Universal Crossword, “Making the Grade”–6/28/19, solution

The USDA’s grades include Prime, Choice, Select, Standard, and a few more. Stella’s puzzle uses these four as first words in in-the-language stand-alones (ILSAs), clued punnily.

  • 17 [Top-quality integer, per the USDA?] PRIME NUMBER
  • 61a [Average cooking fat, per the USDA?] STANDARD OIL
  • 11d [Very good vocabulary, per the USDA?] CHOICE WORDS
  • 25d [Pretty good organization, per the USDA?] SELECT GROUP

Nice theme to display in a pinwheel grid, allowing for good stuff elsewhere. Including MALAISE, ONEUPS, DISAVOW, ON A DIME, CD RATES, DOGEAR, AD COPY, COME OUT, NARRATOR, THE A-TEAM, and a couple other, shorter entries.

Nice job, Stella! 4.1 stars.

Patrick Berry’s New Yorker crossword—Jenni’s review

A Berry smooth Friday solve to ease us into the weekend. It was lots of fun to solve.

There’s no junk in the puzzle and not much of the “do you know this?” stuff that often annoys some of our commenters. The 10-letter stacks in the NW and SE are solid and fresh, and the whole thing flowed, as I said, smoothly. Let’s start with the NW:

New Yorker, June 28, 2019, Patrick Berry, solution grid

  • 1a [Outbuilding that usually has vents but no windows] suggested OUTHOUSE to me, but is actually SMOKEHOUSE.
  • 15a [Waymo and Venmo, for two] are MOBILE APPS.
  • 17a [You don’t come back from it] is a ONE-WAY TRIP.

The SE:

  • 50a [Latin phrase seen on headstones] is ANNO DOMINI. PSA: outside of cemeteries, please use CE (Common Era) and BCE (before the Common Era) rather than AD and BC, in recognition of the fact that Christianity is actually not the only way of seeing the world.
  • 53a [Pithy excerpts from a speech] are SOUND BITES.
  • 55a [Avalanche of posts on social media] is a TWEETSTORM.

A few other things:

  • 1d made me smile. SMOOCH is just a fun word.
  • 13d [Homemade music compilations of old] are MIXTAPES. Kids today just don’t understand.
  • 29a is the one clue I thought might exasperate the folks who are often exasperated by New Yorker puzzles.  [“Saint ___” (Sartre biography of a literary colleague)] is GENET.
  • 32d [Laundry product labelled a health risk by the C.D.C.] are TIDE PODS. Not a health risk when used as intended.
  • 45a [“I’d just as soon kiss a Wookiee” speaker] is a fun clue for LEIA.

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that there are four volumes of ODES by Horace.

Michael Paleos’s LA Times crossword – Jenni’s write-up

It took me a while to hunt down all the theme answers in this puzzle. Thank heavens for symmetrical placement. It’s a fun theme!

The central entry tells us what to look for: 38a [Splitting with one’s group … or a hint to the theme found in four puzzle rows is BREAKING RANKS. Four of the rows have military ranks split across two answers.

Los Angeles Times, 6/28/2019, Michael Paleos, solution grid

  • First, we have DILEMMA  JORDAN.
  • Down a few rows, we find RECAP TAINTED.
  • In the bottom half of the puzzle, we have PICCOLO NELLY, which reminded me of a very silly camp song.
  • And at the bottom: EUGENE RALLIES.

Satisfying and solid.

A few other things:

  • We’ve been talking about the lack of representation of women in puzzles, and at 8d we have an actual woman’s name clued without reference to an actual woman. [Spinning __: weaving innovation] is JENNY. COME ON.
  • 14a [Whale-watching excursion, say] is an ECOTOUR. My father just didn’t understand the allure of whale watching. “So you…see whales. That’s it? That’s the whole thing?”
  • ODES showed up in the LAT and New Yorker today. Here it’s clued as [Lyric tributes].
  • I’m not crazy about ACNED. Who says that?
  • I once listened to an audiobook in which the narrator repeatedly pronounced EROICA as EROTICA. REPEATEDLY. If it had been a physical book, I would have burned it.

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that Joe NAMATH  is the only Jet to ever be named Super Bowl MVP.

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12 Responses to Friday, June 28, 2019

  1. DH says:

    “…Are you going to claim that none of the indigenous people living in that area had “permanent settlements”?

    I would probably claim that the indigenous people living in that area most likely called it something else. If the clue were to have read “first permanent settlement in what is now the state of Ohio”, I’d be more inclined to agree, or seek an answer like “Iroquois” or “Seneca”.

    The European settlers were the ones that created the town and the state, so to me this is correct – with a slight allowance for the time delay between 1788 and 1803, when Ohio was granted statehood.

  2. GlennP says:

    NYT: Comments on the Rex Parker blog reminded me that Marietta, OH, is also the site of the Marietta Mounds, a Hopewell settlement from 100 BCE to 500 CE. The mounds were preserved by the early white settlers that came along after the Northwest Territory became part of the early United States. So maybe the clue is not so far off!

  3. huda says:

    NYT: I thought it was a terrific puzzle. I liked the visual element. I thought that the first long answer would be about “wings” and the second would be about the “stairs” elements of the design. So, it took a bit longer to come up with the BATS IN THE BELFRY entry.

    I love the word ANODYNE. A scientist I know (who has passed away) extracted material from blood and brain that she said blocked pain and called it “Anodynin” for pain killer. But she never succeeded in purifying it fully or proving that it is different from the endorphins which had already been discovered.

  4. Doug C says:

    LAT: With a tip of the hat to Jenni’s father (who sounds like a guy I would like): So, your Friday theme is military ranks…broken in half. That’s it? That’s the whole thing?

  5. Stephen B Manion says:

    Fun, easy puzzle.

    The Jets have only been to the Super Bowl once. Joe Namath is iconic, but his actual stats are pretty mediocre by Hall of Fame standards.

    Snickers, yes; Milky Way, yes; Mars Bar, no!


  6. DW says:

    USA Today: If anyone did it and can enlighten me about the theme, please do. (It’s V-4, which I assume is referring to the engine type, but I know nothing about engines or machinery, and I don’t see anything in the theme answers that refers to that, and I don’t see anything unifying in the theme answers.)


  7. Gareth says:

    LAT: Clever revealer, and a bit different as a theme for the LA Times. As always, the downside is a lack of long marquee answers… I think that can lead to some people’s shrugs.

    I recently went on my first sea tour, with the goal of seeing seabirds that are difficult to see from the shore. I spent 8 hours throwing up over the side for R2000 (around $150), but I did see 9 new species. I was hoping for some bonus whales, but the only mammals were the (inevitable, since the boat went by the colony) fur seals.

    Did anyone else see Ballmer’s name in the STEVE clue and mentally hear “Developers!”?

  8. roger says:

    you can get a perm in marietta, ohio

  9. Christopher Smith says:

    TNY: We would have also accepted “Something a lot of residents hope New York will someday become” for 20-across

    • Lois says:

      Hi, Chris. Since apparently you’re a New Yorker, I’ll dare to ask at last whether you ever worked for the United Nations. I know that there’s more than one Christopher Smith, however, and it’s not that likely that you’re the same person. Besides, it’s already Sunday, and you’re unlikely to see this note, so maybe I’ll ask again when I read your comments on the day they appear.

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