Monday, July 8, 2019

BEQ tk (Jim Q) 


LAT 3:37 (Nate) 


NYT 3:20 (Jenni) 


The New Yorker tk (Vic) 


Universal 9:11 (Vic) 


WSJ 6:09 (Jim P) 


Ned White’s New York Times crossword—Jenni’s write-up

I thought I had figured out the theme when I filled in the first theme answer. I was wrong.

All the theme answers are two-word phrases that start with P___ G___.  I figured it was something to do with movie ratings.

New York Times 7/8/2019, #708, Ned White, solution grid

  • 4d [*Darts and snooker] are PUB GAMES.
  • 18a [*Basketball position for Magic Johnson or Steph Curry] is POINT GUARD.
  • 20a [*Level on the military wage scale] is PAY GRADE.
  • 26a [*Alternative to a brush when coating the side of a house] is PAINT GUN.
  • 37d [*Roast accompaniment prepared with drippings] is PAN GRAVY.
  • 41a [*The Beach Boys or Backstreet Boys] are a POP GROUP. Speaking of the Beach Boys, we saw “Echo in the Canyon” last night. It’s a documentary about the folk-rock stars of the mid-60s, including the Beach Boys. Definitely worth seeing. Here’s the trailer.
  • 52a [*Shade akin to olive] is PEA GREEN.
  • 54a [*Sorority types who go out a lot] are PARTY GIRLS.

I realized I was wrong about the theme in the middle: 36a [Consumer products giant, for short … or a hint to the answers to the eight starred clues] is P AND G (Procter and Gamble). A nice, accessible Monday theme, solidly constructed and well-clued. I’ll take it.

A few other things:

  • 1a [Al who created Li’l Abner] is CAPP. Kids, ask your parents. Li’l Abner stopped running in 1977. Maybe it should stop running in crosswords, too.
  • And does anyone say IMING any more? Or even do it?
  • 27d [Mom’s mom, for short] is GRAN. I put GRAM at first. Just me? She shows up again at 29d [Mom’s mom] as NANA.
  • In the constant effort to find an interesting (or at least less common) clue for OREO, we have 31d,  [___ O’s (breakfast cereal)]. My teeth hurt just thinking about that. Ick.
  • 49a [___ Field, former home of the Seattle Mariners] is SAFECO. I’d prefer “former name of…” since they still play at the same ballpark, which is now named T-Mobile Park. This is the first season with the new name; I wonder when Will accepted this puzzle and if they had to change the clue.

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that Magic Johnson and Steph Curry are POINT GUARDs. Not a basketball fan.

Ross Trudeau’s Universal Crossword, “See You in a Week!”—Judge Vic’s write-up

Ross Trudeau’s Universal Crossword, “See You in a Week!”–July 8, 2019, solution

As per the title, this puzzle has four words that are indeed seen in a week. Let’s start with the reveal:

  • 59a [Does some scheduling … or, when parsed differently, a hint to this puzzle’s theme] NAMES A DAY–This feels contrived. I don’t think the puzzle needs a reveal. Perhaps the title could have been “Name the Day.” Or “What’s in a Name Today?” I guess parsed differently contemplates A DAY’S NAME?
  • 17a [“Dragnet” sergeant] JOE FRIDAY–A day of the week is this cop’s last name.
  • 24a [Title girl of a Rolling Stones hit] RUBY TUESDAY–A day of the week is the title character’s last name. Keith Richards, who was 23 when he wrote this song, has cited a couple of different people as being its inspiration. IMO, absent proof positive the muse was under 18, Ruby should be referred to as a woman in the clue, not a girl.
  • 35a [TV daughter of Morticia and Gomez] WEDNESDAY ADDAMS–A day of the week is this fictional Addams’s first name.
  • 51a 19th-century baseball player who became an evangelist BILLY SUNDAY–A day of the week is this athlete-turned-pastor’s last name.

Stuff that bugged me, besides having only four of the seven days covered:

  • ODORIZE–I’ve never heard anyone use it.
  • UNROLLS–This pluralized word with a prefix has a built-in conflict issue with the common figure of speech that one rolls out a carpet.
  • MEZE–Never heard of it. Merriam-Webster says it’s been around since 1904, meaning “an appetizer in Greek or Middle Eastern cuisine.” And I’m like, “Wha?”
  • SPREAD ‘EM–The clued context is a negative law enforcement stereotype. A second stereotypical connotation comes to mind, it too being negative. I’d avoid this entry, even though its two NYT appearances have been rather recent.


2 stars.

Zhouqin Burnikel’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Inside Joke”—Jim P’s review

We have a Monday-simple, but Zhouqin-smooth grid today in which she’s found phrases that hide the word GAG (61d, [Joke hidden in the starred answers]).

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Inside Joke” · Zhouqin Burnikel · Mon., 7.8.19

  • 17a [*”Nope, still not right!”WRONG AGAIN
  • 39a [*Way back whenLONG AGO
  • 58a [*It’s between 16 and 18 years old in most statesDRIVING AGE. So…if you’re over 18, you’re riding the bus?
  • 11d [*Laughing uproariouslyBUSTING A GUT
  • 25d [*Game console introduced in 1989] SEGA GENESIS. Ah, the venerable Genesis. Never owned one (I was always a Nintendo fan), but if you wanted to play Sonic the Hedgehog games back then, you needed a Genesis. But you’re in luck! If you want to relive those glory days you can pick up a SEGA GENESIS Mini starting September 19th.

A fun example of the “hidden word” theme type. If I was to pick a nit, it would be that all of the GAGs are preceded by an N except the last one. It would be more elegant if a greater variety of examples was found.

With the theme entries in a pinwheel pattern, there isn’t room for any long fill answers, but the mid-length entries are strong: COUSIN, GOSPEL, DEARTH, ENIGMA, GARTER, AUNTIE, OREGON, JOLTED, BANJO.

I liked the crossing of LAILA (15a) and ALI with its factual clue [With 8-Down, boxer who retired undefeated]. I also had no idea that Jenny McCarthy is Melissa McCarthy’s COUSIN. And cluing OBESE with respect to a fictional character [Like Jabba the Hutt], is far more welcome than trying to be cutesy with it.

A strong and clean puzzle. 3.75 stars from me.

Jennifer Marra’s Los Angeles Times crossword—Nate’s write-up

Is this possibly a debut puzzle? I can’t find a record of Jennifer Marra anywhere in Fiend’s database; if so, hooray! Congrats + yay for seeing a woman’s byline.

LAT Solution 07 08 2019

LAT Solution 07 08 2019

20A: HOLMES AND WATSON [Investigating team in “Sherlock”]
39A: FRIDAY AND GANNON [Investigating team in “Dragnet”]
56A: MULDER AND SCULLY [Investigating team in “The X-Files”]

A consistent theme of investigating duos who, somehow, have name pairs that add up to 15 letters (once AND is included). Brava for finding those!

It’s certainly a straightforward theme, which is what you want in a Monday puzzle. My only gripe, perhaps, is that the themers + other fill/cluing seem dated. Or rather, it feels like this exact puzzle could have be published in the 90’s. We at least had GLENN Close referenced by her 2017 movie “The Wife”, but that modernity stood out in an otherwise OPIE OLEOS NEET-filled puzzle.

Other random thoughts:
– Loved the clue for BOND ([Tight connection, as between mother and baby]). Women are obviously so much more than just mothers, but I’d be surprised to see a male constructor or editor think about this as a way to clue BOND.
– I was also glad to see SELMA and its importance referenced in the grid!
– Yay for inclusions like GLENN Close, ERICA Jong, and ANNE Frank. These aren’t women who show up in grids as often, so I was glad to see them.

This entry was posted in Daily Puzzles and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Monday, July 8, 2019

  1. DH says:

    Re: GRAM – no, not just you. I called my grandmother “Gram”. “Gran” was foreign to me, except as a shortened form of “Granny”, which was to me a character on “The Beverly Hillbillies”. My wife called her dad’s mom “Nana”, and her mom’s mom “Gramma”.

    Why would you suggest that Al Capp be discontinued in crosswords? I remember the comic was pretty crude, but it’s part of the history of our culture.

    Marvel Comics are making a huge comeback now, and graphic novels are increasing in popularity as well. Like it or not, “Comic Art” (for lack of a better term) is a “thing”, and has a relevance to who we once were and who we are today. Al Capp and Li’l Abner are part of the fabric that led us to this, as was Toulouse Lautrec and his illustrations of the seamier side of Paris before the turn of the century.

    I completely forgot about the theme here, and just filled in the answers until your review reminded me of it. “Oh, yeah …” said I.

    • Jenni Levy says:

      I agree with you about the importance and relevance of comic art. Unfortunately, it’s not preserved or venerated in the same way. Toulouse-Lautrec has art hung in museums. I know there’s a cartoon museum (it used to be in my hometown, Port Chester) but you won’t see Capp’s work in other spaces, and to me it’s a dated entry that won’t be accessible to anyone younger than I am. I’m in shouting distance of 60.

    • PJ Ward says:

      My wife’s grandmother was Gran. She was the consummate southern lady with all the positive and negative baggage associated with the middle of the 20th century. We got along because, I believe, I didn’t treat her like a china doll.

  2. Cynthia says:

    Re: UNIVERSAL – Vic, I think that what Ross meant by “parsed differently” in the reveal is “Name’s A Day,” as in “this person’s name is a day.”

  3. Dr Fancypants says:

    NYT seemed a little on the hard side for a Monday.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Cluing ANNA as [Eugene O’Neill’s “___ Christie”], for example, jacks up the difficulty level, as does some of the fill.

      • Jenni Levy says:

        Um, yeah, which I wouldn’t notice because of the whole wrote-senior-thesis-on-Eugene-O’Neill-thing. It was a gimme for me.

      • John says:

        Yeah and not least because it’s crossed with an incredibly uncommon last name :/

  4. Stephen B Manion says:

    Magic is generally considered to be the greatest point guard of all time. I would have used John Stockton, Steve Nash or Isiah Thomas as the other rather than Steph Curry, not because they are any better, but because the modern NBA game is somewhat positionless. If pressed, I would say Steph is a point guard as would most others, but the game is changing. Here is a link on the subject:

    And here is a parody of Steph’s running without the ball to get open. Point guards normally have the ball in their hands to distribute.


    • Pseudonym says:

      I’d call him a shooting guard

      • Victor Fleming says:

        Steph’s freshman and sophomore years at Davidson, he was a “two-guard.” In 2007-08 season, point guard Jason Richards averaged 8.1 assists, mostly because he was passing to Steph. Between soph and jr. seasons is when Steph set his mind on becoming a point guard. But, you are right, that in the NBA he’s really kind of different. Watch the Warriors late in each quarter, tho. If the game is close at all, they want Steph bringing it up the court.

  5. Billy Boy says:

    It was GRAN and not GRAM because GRAM whilst the more common for Grandma is more specifically a unit of weight. Akin to LASE and LAZE?

    For the opinion of ‘harder for a Monday NYT’, I would agree, but obviously still pretty easy. Good write-up.

    Just a FWIW ramble, I’ve gone to solving more on-line or in apps than on paper, esp. NYT. Did WSJ on paper today and NYT on the website. It may be boring to most to say this, but it is so striking how differently I fill a puzzle on paper than on a screen. I remember crossing clues and write in partials and more than one answer at a time, especially these early week puzzles.

    Tangential p.s. How much I loved to play Basketball in H.S. and my 2x winning intra-mural University teams, I loathe the game as it is played today, even though I know enough ppop culture answers to breeze through 84.76% of the clues.

    I must be lonely today, I keep rambling. I’ll stop now.

  6. JB says:

    Am I missing something, or is the clue for 33A in the New Yorker the complete wrong part of speech?

    • jj says:

      Agree – I think the “Like” should have been dropped, as it suggests an adjectival phrase (I had ASYLUMSEEKING first). Without the “Like,” the clue’s grammar would work.

      • Matthew G. says:

        Agreed. I wrote in ASYLUMSEEK___ and then had to check the crosses because ASYLUMSEEKING seemed grammatically correct but not terribly in-the-language, and I suspected (correctly) that ASYLUM SEEKERS was the entry despite the agreement problem.

    • Christopher Smith says:

      Also NOON is not when shadows are shortest, at least for most of the year, because we’re on Standard Time less than 5 months nowadays (except Arizona, etc).

    • billy boy says:

      There’s *more*!

      I generally look askance at thee NYMag puzzles, too cute and lefty by a factor of six. Combos of stupid easy fill, incorrect correlations (such as this) and extra-pluto entrys and crosses.

      N’KRUMAH – WAKANDAN crossing at the A, d*mn, thought I had that

      Head-shake, Facepalm worthy stuff, all for free.

  7. ahimsa says:

    Universal crossword: I’ve never seen MEZE on a menu. But I have often ordered a MEZZE (2 Zs) at middle eastern restaurants.

    • DW says:

      Maybe the inconsistency is inevitable with any word that has been transliterated (in this case from, possibly, Greek and Arabic) and that doesn’t get published often enough to ensure consistency.

      Fwiw, it’s “meze” in what used to be the Oxford online dictionary; the New Yorker (excellent fact-checkers and copy editors) has used “meze” more often than “mezze” (“about 39” times to “about 7” times, according to Google, though why “about” for numbers that seem precise …). So maybe you could make a case for both being acceptable.

    • DW says:

      A PS about “mezze” in TNY — at least two of the references are to pasta, with “mezze” referring to a shortened version of a traditional shape (mezze maniche, mezze rigatoni). I couldn’t check more because the paywall limits access.

      • ahimsa says:

        Thanks for passing on that info!

        I was just sharing my own observations about what I’ve seen on a lot of menus, not trying to say the Universal was wrong.

  8. John says:

    Re Universal
    Where’s the outrage about “idno”? Shame on Steinberg for allowing this crap.

  9. Walking Bird says:

    Where is the New Yorker puzzle for Monday, July 8? I can’t see it. What am I missing?

Comments are closed.