Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Jonesin' untimed (Derek) 


LAT 4:35 (Derek) 


NYT 3:35 (Amy) 


Universal 7:31 (Vic) 


WSJ 6:02 (Nate) 


Xword Nation untimed (Ade) 


Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle (Week 422), “Pool Party Recipe”—Ade’s take

Crossword Nation puzzle solution, Week 422: “Party Pool Recipe”

Good day, everybody! Hope you all had a good Canada Day on Monday and celebrated as only a wild and crazy party animal north of the border would! Here is hoping that you did so while having some PINA COLADAS, as ingredients that make up the look of the popular drink are the answers to the first four theme entries (57A: [Poolside drinks made with ingredients 1, 2, and 3]).

  • JAMAICAN RUM (17A: [Ingredient #1])
  • PINEAPPLE JUICE (23A: [Ingredient #2])
  • PAPER PARASOLS (35A: [Festive toppers for 57-Across])
  • CREAM OF COCONUT (47A: [Ingredient #3])

If you have ever taken the A TRAIN (46D: [Famous subway line on an Ellington song]) during rush hour before, something that I have done a countless number of times while growing up right next to the Euclid Avenue A train station in Brooklyn, you’ll know that you’ll definitely feel like a SARDINE more than on any other train in New York City (42A: [Packed-in subway rider, metaphorically]). Absolutely fitting those two entries were in the same grid!  Speaking of things I like in the grid, have to always give love when Africa is referenced, and today that comes in the form of MALI (33A: [Land bordering Algeria]).  Loved the long fill on the corners, though hoping all the food and drink in the grid, including PEAR TART (35D: [Pastry made with boscs or anjous]), doesn’t make people have to use some ANTACIDS (12D: [Heartburn remedies]). Honestly, the only things that were missing from this grid was the kitchen sink and a nude woman…oh, wait, there’s MAJA (1D: [Goya’s “La ____ Desnuda”]). Well, there’s still no sink!

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: PURDUE (45D: [Indiana university)]) – For a good long while, Purdue University, located in the wonderful little town of West Lafayette, Ind., was known as the “cradle of quarterbacks.” Why? Well, to start, Pro Football Hall of Fame signal-callers and Super Bowl winners Len Dawson and Bob Griese, both at the peak of their professional powers in the late ’60s and ’70s, played collegiately at Purdue while former Pro Bowl quarterback Jim Everett and College Football Hall of Fame members Mark Herrmann and Mike Phipps also attended the school and played QB. However, all have been surpassed by the greatest quarterback who once donned the Boilermaker black and gold, current New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who is the National Football League’s all-time leader in passing yards (74,437) and second in touchdown passes (520, just 19 behind Peyton Manning).

Thank you so much for the time, everyone! Have a wonderful rest of your Tuesday and, as always, keep solving!!

Take care!


Peter Gordon’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 7 2 19, no. 0702

Celebrity trivia time! The theme answers are well-known actors who played film characters with the same initials:

  • 17a. [Actor with the same initials as Michael Rezendes, his role in “Spotlight”], MARK RUFFALO.
  • 49a. [With 31-Across, actor with the same initials as Alfred Hitchcock, his role in “Hitchcock”], ANTHONY / HOPKINS. Cute that other Anthony ***kins, Mr. Perkins, starred in Hitchcock’s most famous film, Psycho.
  • 62a. [Actor with the same initials as Jake Blues, his role in “The Blues Brothers”], JOHN BELUSHI.
  • 11d. [Actress with the same initials as Linda Marolla, her role in “Arthur”], LIZA MINNELLI.
  • 25d. [Actor with the same initials as Jefferson Smith, his role in “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington”], JAMES STEWART.

I’ll bet Peter has a list of other people who fit this category (although we’d want to rule out any whose characters shared the performer’s first name—see also: all the TV roles where Tony Danza played a Tony), and wonder if any women had the right letter counts and degree of fame to replace any of the men. I don’t ding a 4 men + 1 woman theme for not having all five the same gender, as that constraint would make for far too many all-dude themes and this is 2019.

Lots of nice fill in this 15×16 grid. To wit: The TWIST/TWIRLER/TWINE twio, BIKER BAR, UNWRITTEN, and some other longish fill that’s entirely unimpeachable if not exciting. Rather less keen on NBAERS, letter ESS, LEA clued as a [Grassy field] when I daresay few of us encounter that sense of the word outside crosswords, abbrevs SST and SGT. I usually dislike STYE but will excuse it this time because I have a story. Last week at the gym, my trainer said she had another client who, at the end of his session, rubbed his eye and said he thought he was getting a stye. Dude, don’t rub gym germs in your eye—this is how you pick up Staph infections!

Tuesday-easy, fairly smooth puzzle. I say this one did not Tuezz. 3.9 stars from me.

David Alfred Bywaters’s Wall Street Journal crossword—Nate’s write-up

Who are we “Dropping Off” today? Let’s find out:

WSJ Solution 07 02 2019

WSJ Solution 07 02 2019

18A: FLUSH LUSH [One bingeing on Chateau Lafite?]
23A: FLEA LEA [Meadow that you shouldn’t walk your dog in?]
38A: FLANDERS LANDERS [Arrivals at Antwerp International Airport?]
50A: FLAB LAB [Dietary scientist’s workplace?]
59A: FLOCK LOCK [Sheepcote security feature?]

It turns out that there is quite the F LOSS in this puzzle: each theme entry has a first word that has its F drop off to form the second word. The theme struck me as consistent and tight, but the cluing wasn’t on my wavelength at all. I’ve never heard of Chateau Lafite or sheepcotes, so I needed the crossings to get a toehold into some of these themers. Otherwise, the fill felt quite clean (aside from bits like NIM).

Random thoughts:
– [Flower holders] seems off for STEMS. Maybe [Flower supports] would be better? I plunked vases into 1A at the start and it took me a bit to take it out of the grid.
CSA :/
– [Bride’s destination] is a clue that has so much loaded into it. Why not [Husband’s destination]? Could it be the social assumption that women are expected to get married and that doing so is part of their expected path through life? Having a woman anywhere in the pipeline of this puzzle’s development might have resulted in a better clue for ALTAR.
– Thankfully, we have a few women recognized for their accomplishments: Queen ANNE, CLIO, and LINDA Ronstadt. But why not clue SOFIA through the context of a woman with that name?

Ken Albright’s Universal Crossword, “You Can Say That Again”—Judge Vic’s write-up

THEME: Redundant phrases (as said by actual people, presumably).

Ken Albright’s Universal Crossword, “You Can Say That Again”–7/2/19, solution

  • 15a [Direction-switching flow, redundantly] A.C. CURRENTA.C. stands for alternating current, so when people say “A.C. current,” they’re re-saying the same thing over again redundantly.
  • 22a [Nest egg, redundantly] IRA ACCOUNT–People do say individual retirement account, but the term promulgated by the IRS was (and I think still is) Individual Retirement Arrangement. Which, arguably, abates the redundancy … but since most people think account, rather than arrangement, does that abate the abatement?
  • 47a [Certain monitor, redundantly] LCD DISPLAYLiquid Crystal Display. I don’t hear or see this one much.
  • 59a [Car’s unique code, redundantly] VIN NUMBERVehicle Identification Number. This one I hear lot, in court. “Officer, did you run the VIN number on that automobile through the crime information center?”

Not much else to comment on, positive or negative. Clever idea, though. And competently rendered.

3.5 stars.

Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “The Secret Ingredient” – Derek’s write-up

Jonesin’ 07/02/2019

As Matt churns out a seemingly endless number of puzzle theme ideas, I can imagine him in the kitchen preparing a recipe, which undoubtedly contained a certain spice:

  • 17A [Get a message across] COMMUNICATE
  • 20A [Location of Ball State University] MUNCIE, INDIANA – A gimme for me! This is about 2 hours from my front porch!
  • 38A [It’s equal to the sum of the two before it] FIBONACCI NUMBER
  • 55A [Durational patterns in music] RHYTHMIC UNITS 
  • 61A [And your secret ingredient is …] GROUND CUMIN 

Cleanly done. All are different anagrams of CUMIN, and now I am getting hungry! Sorry for the late post, but it has been a busy couple of days. Those holiday weeks!  A solid 4.5 stars for Matt this week.

Some more stuff:

  • 1A [American realist art school] ASHCAN – I had an error in the grid here; I blanked on this name. I am not comfortable with art; mainly because I am highly uncultured.
  • 32A [Went on an unfriending spree, maybe] PURGED – I need to do this to my social media accounts. Too many posts to keep up with!
  • 66A [“Red Rocks” city of Arizona] SEDONA – I know some people with a cabin out there. I should take them up on the winter vacation offer!
  • 3D [“Let me think …”] HMMM – Also part of my error. I thought it might be MMMM. It would have worked!
  • 12D [Sultanate on the South China Sea] BRUNEI – Isn’t this Sultan the richest dude in the world?
  • 28D [Multiple-choice question choices, perhaps] ABCDE – I had A, B OR C. This also would have worked!
  • 52D [___ forth] AND SO – This makes me think of the Billy Joel song And So It Goes, which would be a great musical clue for the Muller Music Meta, which came out yesterday!
  • 58D [Pool props] CUES – Oh, THAT pool! I admit: I was a little fooled. Have I mentioned I’m tired?

It is late in the day Tuesday; I think I am going to bed soon! Here’s some music to enjoy:

Emily Ludolph & Jeff Chen’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up

LAT 07/02/2019

I am getting to the blog post late today, and now I am a little sad that I am, because this may be a debut puzzle by Emily Ludolph. Her name is not in the comprehensive name database used to tag these posts, so if this is in fact a debut, congrats! Knowing Jeff as I do, he is great with working with constructors. We have even been kicking a few ideas around, so who knows when our collaborations will see the light of day. But enough about me!

Today’s LAT is all about invisible things, which are tied together in the clues:

  • 18A [Invisible impediment in the workplace] GLASS CEILING 
  • 58A [Invisible impediment in the sky] SOUND BARRIER 
  • 12D [Invisible impediment in the theater] FOURTH WALL 
  • 29D [Invisible impediment in science fiction] FORCE FIELD 

I would call this a timely theme, since between the US Women’s soccer team poised for another World Cup victory, and with several highly capable females vying for the presidency, the GLASS CEILING looks like it is in serious threat. Time will tell, but I enjoyed this puzzle. Looking forward to more from both of these folks! 4.3 stars.

A few more things:

  • 1A [Former NFL running back Jennings who won “Dancing With the Stars” in 2017] RASHAD – I remember this player. I don’t remember watching him dance, though.
  • 21A [Solar phenomena] SUN SPOTS – This is my explanation for anything that doesn’t work
  • 31A [Average schlub] JOE SCHMO – Great entry. This has not appeared in a NYT, per Jeff’s site xwordinfo.com that he helps maintain.
  • 50A [“Reservoir Dogs” co-star Harvey] KEITEL – I liked him in Pulp Fiction, also a Tarantino film, I believe.
  • 5D [Marketing jargon] AD SPEAK – Another great answer. I had AD SLANG and AD LINGO in at first, but I was tired. That’s my story and I am sticking to it!
  • 30D [Packaged buy including shower curtain, towels, etc.] BATH SET – Another great entry, with only one NYT occurrence.
  • 38D [Slalom setting] SKI SLOPE – Not a place I want to be, and less so as I get older.
  • 43D [Producer of curls] HOT IRON – I remember hot combs being around when I was younger, but I only have one sister and no daughters, I am not usually around curling irons. It’s much safer that way!

Congrats again! And enjoy the day off later this week!

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7 Responses to Tuesday, July 2, 2019

  1. Ellen Nichols says:

    I just want to say thanks to all of you Team Fiend bloggers. Reading the reviews sometimes corrects me (I solve on paper, mostly), often enlightens me, and gives closure to my day’s solving experience.

  2. DD says:

    WSJ: Thanks, Nate, for noting that ALTAR was clued in a misogynistic way (of course all women want to get married, and of course all men don’t — squeals, giggles, pink frilliness!). I’ll add to that: Please, men, stop clueing ELLE as the fashion magazine.

    Hey, men who edit these puzzles: The only thing worse than excluding women from clues/fill is clueing words/phrases in ways that reduce women to brides, wedding attendants, wives, moms, babysitters, models, shoppers, and people who are interested only in weddings, fashion, and shopping. Please cut it the hell out already.

    And, while women are in such short supply in puzzles, please clue non-gendered stuff in a way that represents the breadth of women’s experiences. For ex.: The NYT recently clued AVIATORS as “pilots.” How hard would it have been to clue it as “Amelia Earhart and Bessie Coleman”? (And Ms. Coleman is a three-fer: a woman of African-American and Native American descent.)

    Language matters because: We think in language, so our ideas are only as good as our words, and our society is only as good as our ideas. Please stop reinforcing ridiculously limiting stereotypes about who women are, what we have done, and what we can and want to do.

  3. DD says:

    Ade (CN): I was listening to this version of “Take the A Train” earlier today — the female vocalist is terrific (I don’t know her name):

    And, “sports will make you smarter” — I assume that you’re being tongue-in-cheek and that you’re not conflating trivia-acquisition with the ability to analyze complex info and create new ideas, but just in case …

  4. Good evening DD,

    Thank you very much for your commentary, both today and in days past! Also thank you very much for the link you sent! Glad to hear that wonderful song once more, and the woman with Duke Ellington’s orchestra is Betty Roché, who I believe first made a name for herself at the Apollo Theater! Swelling with New York City pride here!

    As for the “sports…smarter” title, it is definitely tongue-in-cheek on its surface and it actually was Amy’s idea originally. (I’m pretty sure she came up with the original working title for it, and I moved a couple of words around about a couple of weeks after. Five years later, and I’m still running with it!)

    I guess by now that you are aware that one of my specialties is sports and sports trivia. (I’m a sports journalist by trade and once competed on a national television sports trivia show eons ago.) That section of my blog here on Fiend is meant to take on more of a “Did you know?” tenor and, when possible, I do try to select an entry in a crossword that has not been clued using sports and reimagine it through that lens. The points that you have made recently about the blind spots that people have in their general knowledge when it comes to sports vis-à-vis other genres, and the sexist forces that caused it to come to existence and remain pervasive, are more than valid. From my perspective, given my decade-long dedication to include more women, minorities and underrepresented groups in sports (e.g. more extensive coverage of women’s sports, having people from underrepresented groups be more involved in writing and being on-camera, etc.), plus my love for crosswords, I do believe that, in my own little sphere on here, I can make sports more inclusive for passionate crossword solvers with some of these anecdotes.

    Believe me, I am well aware that enough readers on here will blow by that section as if it wasn’t even there, for a number of reasons. And that’s more than OK! But for that one time someone does let me know that they appreciated the fact that I took a partial entry of “SAW A” in a grid and flipped it to talk about former 2o11 Women’s World Soccer Player of the year Homare SAWA of Japan or took “NAP” in a grid and talked about how the former nickname of the Cleveland pro baseball team was once named after its best-ever player, Nap Lajoie, I am and have been heartened by it. It also does spark a conversation with like-minded people, which usually is a good thing — just as Jenni’s/Amy’s knowledge of medicine and other bloggers’ passions that they share also become conversation starters. Though I am sure people would take issue with entries in grids that aren’t widely associated with sports being clued through the lens of athletics, I do not think that is an issue SO LONG AS the constructor(s) and the editor(s) is respectful, conscientious and creates a good balance with the clues and entries of the rest of their grids without falling into the same laziness, latent sexism and lack of proper representation that many grids have experienced…and we are fighting like heck to eradicate!

    Sorry for the short message! ;-) Thank you for the personal message to me, and hope you have a great day!


    • ahimsa says:

      This is a late reply but I want to let Ade know that I enjoy all those “sports will make you smarter” segments. They are fun to read even though my brain is a sieve and rarely retains anything.

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