Monday, November 11, 2019

BEQ tk (Jim Q) 


LAT untimed (Jenni) 


NYT 2:15 (Jenni) 


The New Yorker 12:33 (Rachel) 


Universal untimed (Rebecca) 


WSJ 4:16 (Jim P) 


Evan Kalish’s New York Times crossword—Jenni’s review

I didn’t grok the theme until I got to the revealer, which is at the bottom of the puzzle as all good revealers should be. It’s a solid Monday theme.

New York Times, November 11, 2019, # 1111, solution grid

  • 17a [*Hustler with a cue stick] is a POOL SHARK.
  • 24a [*Showy basketball two-pointer] is a WINDMILL DUNK.
  • 40a [*Riot dispersal weapon] is TEAR GAS.
  • 51a [*1960s-’70s teen idol with the hit “Julie, Do Ya Love Me”] is BOBBY SHERMAN. Oh, Bobby Sherman. Swoon.

And the revealer: 64a [Research institute … or, when read as a direction, a hint to the ends of the answers to the starred clues], THINK TANKSHARK TANKDUNK TANKGAS TANK, and SHERMAN TANK. Nice.

I have to wonder about the “breakfast test” when I see CYSTIC fibrosis and TEAR GAS in a puzzle. Neither is pleasant.

A few other things:

  • 31a [“___ sure about that?”] is YOURE, which feels a bit roll-your-own.
  • This is at least the third time this week I’ve seen NAPE clued with reference to a cat being picked up.
  • 41d [One with a first-person narrative?] is ADAM, which seems a bit tricky for a Monday.
  • We have BAKER and COOKS. Now I’m hungry.

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that General Mills has been making KIX cereal since 1937, and that the RHINE arises in Switzerland.

Jake Halperin’s Universal crossword, “Last Word”—Rebecca’s review

THEME: The last word of each theme answer is a synonym for SAY

Universal crossword solution · Jake Halperin · “Last Word” · Mon., 11.11.19


  • 17A [*Like a certain Israeli-Palestinian peace solution] TWO STATE
  • 24A [*Finish strong] END ON A HIGH NOTE
  • 38A [*2004 Christmas film] THE POLAR EXPRESS
  • 47A [*You might file one after a fire] INSURANCE CLAIM
  • 60A [Ultimate authority, or a hint to the starred answers] FINAL SAY

This was fun, easy puzzle that was enjoyable to solve from start to finish. Some nice long theme answers and a reveal that fit everything together really nicely.

Some great bonus fill as well ME PROBLEM was hands down my favorite – but this was a really solid grid all around. I was able to smoothly glide around the puzzle from one section to the next with those themers combined with nice long fill allowing for a lot of breathing room to let the puzzle sing.

Favorite clue goes to REFLEX [Thoughtless action?] – and as a pink-haired person, I appreciated the clue for DYED [Like pink hair].

Some MOANA to start the week off right

3.5 Stars

Anna Shechtman’s New Yorker puzzle – Rachel’s writeup

We’ve got a fantastic offering from Anna Shechtman this morning! The marquee entries are fun, the grid construction is interesting, and the fill is mostly pretty solid. The only part of the puzzle that put up any significant resistance was the NW corner (more on that below), while the rest of the grid fell into place pretty smoothly.

The New Yorker crossword solution • Anna Shechtman • Monday, November 11, 2019

The marquee entries of CRYPTOCURRENCY and DOUBLE NEGATIVE were both pretty fabulous. First of all, who knew there were so many kinds of CRYPTOCURRENCY? I’ve heard of bitcoin, and one made out of pictures of cats (?!), but I’d never heard of Dash or Ethereum, and initially I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what united those two seemingly unrelated words. The clue on DOUBLE NEGATIVE was also great (This isn’t not one)

I also loved the construction of this grid; having six (!) black squares chunking off the NE and SW corners is highly unusual, and gave Shechtman an opportunity to show off her fill-skills. The three-letter entries that made up those corners are largely great (STD and ROG being two exceptions), and it just looks cool.

I did not particularly enjoy the NW corner, largely due to the unnecessary Trumping at 1A. CHAPIN, while certainly an unusual word, could have been clued entirely without reference to a Trump of any kind. Mary ___ Carpenter comes to mind. I also had never heard of an A-LINER, but now that I’ve googled them, I realize they are kind of adorable and whimsical?? I am now ok with that entry.

A few other things:

  • In the “Very New Yorker” category: IRONISTS (Proust and Nabokov, according to Richard Rorty); ERASMUS (So-called Prince of the Humanists)
  • Enjoyed the Nirvana clue on IN UTERO
  • Personal plug for “Are You the ONE” (cult MTV show), of which I am a cultmember. Season 8 of this weird logic game/dating show hybrid featured an entirely queer cast and it was downright DELIGHTFUL. Truly cracked the code of what I want from my reality tv: attractive queer people and math.

Overall, loved it. Many stars from me.

Gary Larson’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Reading Between the Lines”—Jim P’s review

The revealing clue for DOUBLE SPACE [Word processing option, and a hint to what can follow the words of the starred answers] indicates that the word “space” can follow each of the words of the theme answers.

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Reading Between the Lines” · Gary Larson · Mon., 11.11.19

  • 18a [*One corner on a Monopoly board] FREE PARKING. Free space. Parking space.
  • 39a [*Like some markets and concerts] OPEN-AIR. Open space. Airspace.
  • 3d [*Dating option] PERSONAL AD. Personal space. Ad space.
  • 29d [*Zombies] LIVING DEAD. Living space. Dead space.

Works for me. Simple and clean. All of the theme answers are solid, and all of the “space” phrases are valid.

Nice fill all around with the likes of AL FRESCOSIDE BET, TWEEZES, and plenty of strong 6’s: ABRUPT, NASCAR, COWARD, EDIBLE, NELSON, SECANT. In all the fill, only RABE [Broccoli ___ (leafy vegetable)] strikes me as on the more challenging side for a Monday.

One clue of note: SINGLE is [Unmarried], but the new term, coined by actress Emma Watson, is “self-partnered.” Look for it coming soon to a crossword near you.

3.6 stars.

Kevin Christian’s LA Times crossword – Jenni’s write-up

Either I’m missing something or this is a very thin theme. It appears to be three-word phrases where the middle word rhyme.

Los Angeles Times, November 11, 2019, Kevin Christian, solution grid

  • 20a [Sheepless nursery rhyme character] is LITTLE BO PEEP.
  • 34a [Irish allegiance shout] is ERIN GO BRAGH.
  • 41a [End of a proverb embodied by three monkeys] is SPEAK NO EVIL.
  • 51a [“Why are you laughing?”] is WHATS SO FUNNY?

BOGONOSO. So what?

A few other things:

  • 4d [Sarcastic “Could that be more obvious?”] is YOU THINK? I always hear it in my head as YA THINK.
  • AH SO should be retired. Even when clued innocuously as it is here – [“I understand now”] – it’s trading on a nasty old stereotype. Be better.
  • Letters before and after kappa appear: IOTA and LAMBA, respectively.
  • 28a [Usain Bolt race pace] is SPRINT. Isn’t that the kind of race? The pace is “wicked fast.”
  • I WISH this puzzle had a better theme.

What I didn’t now before I did this puzzle: I got nothing. I am amused to have finished the 11/11 puzzle in 2:22. Maybe I should play the lottery.

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13 Responses to Monday, November 11, 2019

  1. RSP64 says:

    NYT – I was so sure that 24A was WINDMILL JAM that it took me a minute to notice that it was a letter short. Duh! I thought this was a really nice Monday puzzle.

  2. Stephen B. Manion says:

    As to CRYPTOCURRENCY, there is a looming irony. Two of the major investors in Bitcoin, the most successful cryptocurrency to date, are the Winkelvoss twins, whom you will know if you saw The Social Network, about the creation of Facebook. The irony is that Facebook is creating a new cryptocurrency called Libra, which threatens to be a game changer.


  3. JohnH says:

    The NW in TNY was a killer for me. But I agree that the two longest entries are terrific (and the two currencies were new to me, too).

    Can someone explain ZERO BARS? Thanks.

  4. dj says:

    NYT – I thought we were kind of done with “what the ends of…” puzzles, but what do I know?

  5. Crotchety Doug says:

    New Yorker was entertaining. I too finished up in the NW. Had heard of Ethereum and worked up from there. Interesting tid-bit about Home Ec’s original name, and so was forced into Chapin. So looked up Jacqueline B. Kennedy O. and found sure enough that the went to Chapin Elementary school! So what was Aliner? Googled it and saw a whole bunch of camper trailers that looked just like Hershey Kisses! But I have never seen a real one.

  6. lk says:

    Atrocious fill in the New Yorker puzzle today.

  7. Billy Boy says:

    Decent puzzle. Double negative clue and IS I right up my grammatical alley.
    All is well with the New Yorker. I had entered SALESMEN but had to change to SALES REP.
    All is, indeed, well.
    well …
    Well, I *do* spell OOH LA LA with an ‘H”, but that’s a real nit.

  8. Joan Macon says:

    Alas, again no LAT.

    • Jenni Levy says:

      Alas, we have lives. Mine, at the moment, includes helping my husband get ready for his mother’s funeral on Friday. This means that I need to see more patients each day so I can travel to and attend said funeral. Did I mention that my patients are mostly at the ends of their lives? Or that I drive at least 60 and often 100 miles each day to see them?

      So alas, a service we provide at no cost doesn’t always happen as you would wish. Alas. Alas.

  9. Noam D. Elkies says:

    I too was surprised to see CYSTIC fibrosis in the NYTimes crossword — I thought that such words were verboten, and if you had to put CANCER in the grid it must be clued via the zodiac sign or the geographical “Tropic”, never the dread disease. xwordinfo corroborates: CANCER has appeared only 8 times, only the first of these (back in 1950!) as “Target of the Damon Runyon fund”; and while CYSTIC has appeared before (2002 and 2003) it was clued as “saclike” or “capsular, biologically” which is tougher but not fraught.

    Yes, 40A: TEAR_GAS is unwelcome too, especially as the central theme entry and with the Hong Kong protests in the news. That one’s surprisingly common, appearing almost once a year during the “Shortz Era”.


  10. PJ says:

    NYT 57a – COOKS ≠ Chefs. At least to me. I can cook. Pretty well. But can I begin to operate a kitchen as a business? Emphatically no. Confusing the terms contributes to the high failure rate for new restaurants.

Comments are closed.