Monday, August 12, 2019

BEQ 2:28 (Andy) 


LAT 3:52 (Nate) 


NYT 2:48 (Jenni) 


The New Yorker untimed (Jenni) 


Universal 5:59 (Vic) 


WSJ 5:25 (Jim P) 


Jeffrey Wechsler’s New York Times crossword—Jenni’s write-up

A nice, smooth, Monday puzzle without a revealer (unless I missed it, in which case I’m sure someone will enlighten me). All the theme answers start with the sound O B.

New York Times, August 12, 2019, #812, Jeffrey Wechsler, solution grid

  • 17a [Theatrical honor] is an OBIE AWARD.
  • 24a [“Star Wars” role for Alec Guinness] is OBI-WAN KENOBI.
  • 38a [Where education is pursued doggedly?] is a fun clue for OBEDIENCE SCHOOL.
  • 49a [Delivery people?] are OB/GYN DOCTORS.
  • 62a [“Hush, you!”] is OH, BE QUIET.

A fun, consistent, accessible theme. Perfect for a Monday.

A few other things:

  • 12d [Detonation of 7/16/45] is A-BOMB. That was several weeks before the attack on Hiroshima; it was the first successful test, code-named Trinity.
  • I’m glad we had a non-trig clue for COS. [Fortune 500 listings: Abbr.] is at least a change of pace. It would be better to have it not appear at all…
  • 35a [Little extra attention, as from a repairer, for short] is TLC. A “repairer?” Really? I associate TLC with nursing care or mama care, not “repairers.” That’s one of those non-gendered words I need to get used to.
  • 60a [Chicken raised for cooking] is a CAPON. This is true, but it’s not what I first learned about CAPONS. They’re castrated “male chickens,” otherwise known as roosters.
  • 54a [Foundry detritus] is SLAG. We have a lot of that around here in coal and steel country (I live in the Lehigh Valley, erstwhile home of Bethlehem Steel).

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that John Williams has five OSCARs. Here’s why:

Evan Kalish’s Universal Crossword, “Yellow-Bellied”—Judge Vic’s write-up

Evan Kalish’s Universal Crossword, “Yellow-Bellied,” Aug. 12, 2019, solution

Check the reveal, vis-a-vis the title:

  • 61a [Entrenched anxieties, or a hint to the word hidden in 17-, 26- and 46-Across] DEEP-SEATED FEARS

So, now we look for FEARs–entrenched, hidden, and deep-seated–and find:

  • 17a [Left work before 5] KNOCKED OFF EARLY
  • 26a [Not in eavesdropping range] OUT OF EARSHOT
  • 46a [Protected natural space] WILDLIFE AREA

Other stuff of note:

  • 4d [Stunt that might accompany a standing O] MIC DROP
  • 11d [Southern Japanese metropolis] HIROSHIMA
  • 33d [Makeup pencils] EYELINERS
  • 37a [Neckwear organizer] TIE RACK
  • 52a [Pitcher’s place to warm up] BULLPEN

Not bad. Perfectly adequate. Accessible. Little to :object to. 3.7 stars./

Matt McKinley’s Los Angeles Times crossword—Nate’s write-up

2, 4, 6, 8, who do we appreciate? Matt McKinley, for today’s Monday LAT puzzle!

8.11.19 LAT Solution

8.11.19 LAT Solution

17A: SIX FIGURE SALARY [Half a million in annual pay, say] – More like the 1%, am I right?
27A: TWELVE TONE SCALE [Chromatic basis of much modern music] – New to me!
48A: EIGHTEEN WHEELER [Big rig] – Thank you for bringing packages to all of us lazy online shoppers!
63A: TWENTY-FOUR SEVEN [Around the clock]

No need for a revealer with the consistent pattern of 6, 12, 18, 24. I largely liked this theme for a Monday except for the slight inelegance of the last revealer having another number included in it. Maybe twenty-four hours would have been a slightly tighter entry? Regardless, a quick and clean solve for me, which I appreciated.

Other random thoughts:
– Relatively a lot of women in the grid today! LEXI Thompson (with context so we can learn more about her!), CHICA, EVE, EDIE Falco, KERI Russell, and ELAYNE Boosler. Amazingly, that’s equal to or more than the number of men referenced in the grid/clues. So many bonus points!!
– So many X, V, and Y in this grid – made it feel a bit more fun and Scrabbly. I also enjoyed the DUAL / TWICE pairing.

Carl Larson’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Backsides”—Jim P’s review

At first I thought the byline belonged to Gary Larson, whose puzzles we’ve seen quite frequently in the WSJ. But this appears to be a debut for Carl. I wonder if there’s any relation there. Congrats!

REAR ENDED is our revealer at 58a [Bumped from behind, or a hint to 17-, 25-, 37- and 48-Across]. At first I couldn’t make sense of it until I looked at both ends of each entry. Each one starts with RE- and ends with -AR.

Wall St Journal crossword solution · Carl Larson · “Backsides” · Mon., 8.12.19

  • 17a [Vacation wheels] RENTAL CAR
  • 25a [Like department store fashion] READY-TO-WEAR
  • 37a [Grammy award won by “Hello,” “Get Lucky” and “Beat It”] RECORD OF THE YEAR
  • 48a [Kim Kardashian or RuPaul] REALITY STAR

Not bad, but the REAR in three of the four entries can be parsed in multiple ways due to extra A’s and E’s in the phrases. For example, in READY-TO-WEAR, you can get REAR from RE/AR as depicted above as well as R/EAR and REA/R. It still satisfies the theme constraint, but it’s a slight inelegance. Only RENTAL CAR lacks this ambiguity.

The rest of the grid is workmanlike and solid without much flash. CRASH INTO seems like it’s theme-adjacent, but is not clued that way [Collide with]. Its counterpart is DEVASTATE which is not usually a word associated with being REAR-ENDED.

Fave bits of fill include ALT ROCK, LAB RAT, and NEW ME though the latter feels like a partial without the definitive article. The singular THROE gets the side-eye from me as does the clue for HORNY [Hard and rough] which, unless you’re referring to a HORNY toad, is not a definition anyone ever uses (at least among the people I know).

A solid debut, however. Not much flash, and the theme has some ambiguities in it, but it works technically. 3.25 stars.


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

This one felt more difficult than the last few Monday New Yorkers, although I forgot to turn the timer on so I don’t know for sure. When I get stuck-ish in the NW corner, puzzles always seem harder to me.

The stuck-ness was in part due to my mistake – I thought the [Airer of N.B.A. games] at 22a was TBS and it’s actually TNT (yes, Adé, sports will make you smarter). I finally figured that out and also realized that 1a, [Large quantity], did not end in S (it’s SLEW) and then the whole corner fell to complete the puzzle.

Loved the center staggered stack of HALL OF MIRRORSCOMPANION DOGS, and FORBIDDEN CITY.

A few other things:

New Yorker, August 12, 2019, Patrick Berry, solution grid

  • 11d [Study of trees?] is GENEALOGY. Family trees.
  • 13d [They’re seen around the joint] does not refer to anatomical joints. The answer is GASKETS.
  • Oh, come on. STALKS is not as benign as 23a [Stealthily pursues] would imply. If you’re not going to use language like “threatening,” “criminal,” or at least “unwanted” to clue that word, stick to plants.
  • 40a [Period pieces?] are EPOCHS. I was hoping for a menstruation-related clue, but no.
  • 46d [BoSox rivals] are YANKS. {gloating redacted}

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that the ship in the movie ALIEN is called Nostromo, and that Adidas makes a shoe called the SAMBA.

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website crossword, Themeless Monday #529—Andy’s review

BEQ #1182, Themeless Monday #529

Apologies for my absenteeism lately! I was in Las Vegas this past weekend for Trivia Nationals, which was a lot of fun but which didn’t leave a lot of time for crosswording.

This is a really nice 60-word grid, which is something you don’t hear very often.  is an obvious pangram. The puzzle has been jam-packed with Scrabbly letters (two Zs, a V, and tons of Xs and Js). Liked seeing JUGGERNAUT, LOG JAM, and SOUR ALE. 

Favorite clue was [Ufologist’s subjects] for ABDUCTIONS — I really like the way the word “ufologist” looks.

Fun fact of the day: The Mechanical TURK [18th century hoax that was a chess-playing “machine”]. Truly a wild story. Amazon’s site for crowdsourcing business tasks is named for The Mechanical Turk.

Until next time!

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13 Responses to Monday, August 12, 2019

  1. philr says:

    I believe the last car that ever needed a LIVE job was made by Henry Ford I

  2. Zulema says:

    BOO ? “You stink!” ??

  3. Anne says:

    NYT: nice Monday puzzle. Smiled at OH BE QUIET after the theme was apparent. And I liked 38A.

    • Zulema says:

      A very nice NYT Monday puzzle, I agree. I also liked the New Yorker crossword, but then it was a Berry.

  4. Roget says:

    The contrast of the relative fill of NYT and WSJ is remarkable.

  5. Richard Alan Narad says:

    WSJ; I wonder how **often** security guards are “ex-cops.” It seems like it’s more common that they’re hoping to become cops.

    • JohnH says:

      I was thinking the same thing. Maybe it’s just become a crossword cliche. I’d have said that there’s no incentive for cops to go private, given decent pay, benefits, and (rare these days in most fields) pensions.

      • Norm says:

        Take said pension, get out of the line of fire, and collect a salary to boot. It’s more common than you might think. Often strongly encouraged by the officer’s family.

        • Cupric says:


          THAT makes sense

        • JohnH says:

          Ah, I see: older men. Could well be, and makes sense. Just bear in mind that the uniformed private security people I see on the street each day aren’t terribly old. Again I realize that I’m in a big city with special needs.

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