Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Jonesin' 4:23 (Derek) 


LAT 3:18 (Derek) 


NYT 3:35 (Amy) 


Universal tk (Jim Q) 


WSJ 5:27 (Jim P) 


Xword Nation untimed (Ade) 


Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Crsswrd Nation puzzle (Week 482), “Dancing Around the Issues”—Ade’s take

Crossword Nation puzzle solution, Week 482: “Dancing Around the Issues”

Good day, everyone! Hope you’re all doing well and stayed patient on here while we did a little maintenance on the site. At this time next week, we’ll be getting ready to bring on September. One month closer to ending this wretched year, right?!

We may very well be dancing in celebration of leaving 2020 behind, and this puzzle involves some dancing, in a way. Each of the theme entries feature circles at the beginning and end of the entries, and the letters combined form a type of dance move/style.

  • HIPPETY HOP (17A: [Move like a bunny rabbit])
  • TALKED NONSTOP (23A: [Jabbered endlessly])
  • CHARLES LAUGHTON (38A: [Oscar-winning portrayer of Henry VIII on screen])
  • BALL-AND-SOCKET (49A: [Joint type associated with the hip])
  • HORSE OPERA (61A: [Cowboy movie])

The only entry that threw me for a loop was MOIRA, as I could not come up with the name and needed all the crosses..and that was after I had to correct “hoppety-hop” to “hippety-hop” afterward (2D: [Kelly of “One Tree Hill”]). I will admit that I invested in some stretchy leggings for running in the cooler temperatures that appear to look like YOGA PANTS (11D: [Attire for folks who do lots of legwork?]). I’m sure it was coincidence, but I just read in the news last night about Justin Townes Earle, the son of Steve EARLE, passing away at 38 and now I’m seeing Earle mentioned today (54D: [Grammy-winning “Guitar Town” singer Steve]). Rest in power, Justin.

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: TUDOR (21A: [House style fit for a king?]) – Who was the last pitcher in Major League Baseball to record 10 shutouts in a season? The answer is former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher John Tudor, who accomplished the feat in one of the strangest yet amazing single-season pitching feats in recent memory. In that 1985 season, a year where the Cardinals made the World Series and lost in seven games to the Kansas City Royals, Tudor started the year 1-7 in the season’s first two months. From June on, Tudor went an astounding 20-1 with an ERA of 1.37 and finished with an overall ERA of under two (1.93). Though Tudor was amazing throughout the entire postseason, he crumbled in the biggest game of all: Tudor allowed five runs in less than three innings in Game 7 of the World Series as the underdog Royals went on to win the Fall Classic. Tudor did win a World Series as a member of the 1988 Los Angeles Dodgers.

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

Take care!


Dave Bardolph’s New York Times crossword—Amys’ write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 8 25 20, no. 0825

Shakespeare goes to a cookout, that’s the theme:

  • 17a. [16-ounce sirloin that Shylock brought to the cookout?], THE POUND OF FLESH. That “THE” felt wrong, but it’s in one of phrasings in the courtroom scene in The Merchant of Venice.
  • 27a. [Mark Antony’s request to the farmer when he realized he didn’t have enough corn for the cookout?], LEND ME YOUR EARS. “Sure thing, Mark—just give them back when you’re done.”
  • 48a. [Cry from Hamlet when he spotted his favorite spice mix at the cookout?], AY, THERE’S THE RUB. Grillmaster Hamlet!
  • 64a. [Lady Macbeth’s declaration upon checking the steaks at the cookout?], WHAT’S DONE IS DONE. “Hey, I ordered mine rare!”

Three quarters of the theme relates to meat. Where is the coleslaw, the potato salad, the watermelon slices? I blame Shakespeare.

Five more things:

  • 57a. [Things guitarists and prospectors both use], PICKS. Word to the wise—don’t use a mining pick on your guitar. Learned that one the hard way.
  • 13d. [Like a fireplace the morning after, say], ASHY. Well, not if it moisturized properly the night before.
  • 29d. [Fish with no pelvic fins], EEL. Speaking of pelvises and eels, did you read that New Yorker book review about Freud and eel sex? It was fascinating and you must peruse it!
  • 30d. [First Nobel laureate from Ireland], YEATS. I know I was an English major in college, but could someone please provide a handy way to remember which one is Yeats and which is Keats?
  • 34d. [Old isle of exile], ELBA. Wow, really? The old crosswordese island (amid ETNA and a smattering of other dusty old fill) in a Tuesday puzzle, when we have Idris Elba on hand?

3½ stars from me.

Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ Crossword, “Mental Blocks” – Derek’s write-up

Jonesin’ 08/25/2020

We are going back to November of 2004 this week, and a clever theme was executed here that is still fairly relevant! There are really only the two theme entries:

  • 19A [Set of which all seven elements are fittingly hidden in the grid] TETRIS PIECES 
  • 55A [What you should hear in the background as you’re solving/playing] RUSSIAN MUSIC 

So where are the pieces? There are hidden clumps of the letters O, Z, L, J, I, T & S, which are the names of the pieces! This is a nice little feat of construction, especially since it couldn’t be easy squeezing all of those J’s and Z’s together. Has someone duplicated this feat with pentominoes? Is that even possible? Did I just say a theme idea out loud, even though it is very much a copycat?? Nicely done, and yes, I still play Tetris from time to time even today! 4.3 stars for this particular stroll down the Jonesin’ memory lane.

A few more things:

  • 13A [Cookie with a Thin Crisps variety] OREO – Hard to clue freshly even in 2004!
  • 27A [Problem for a valet] FULL LOT – I need to make sure this is in my word list …
  • 47A [She played Ferris Bueller’s girlfriend] MIA SARA – A slightly dated entry, but what a crossword name!
  • 65A [Gore, as distinguished from his father] AL, JR. – This is working aroung the J shape, but I also need to make sure this is in my word list!
  • 4D [They may show actors’ or doctors’ names] DOOR PLATES – Is it just me, or is this evoking a vivid mental picture?
  • 9D [Fix a botched job at Baskin-Robbins, e.g.] RESCOOP – A bit contrived, perhaps, but now I want some ice cream!
  • 28D [Pertaining to a radioactive element] URANIC – This is not great. Useful to constructors, but not great.
  • 43D [The ___ Dolls (cabaret/punk band)] DRESDEN – An early example of obscure pop culture from Matt!

Another Jonesin’ oldie coming next week!

Tetris Piece Chart

Gary Larson’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up

LAT 08/25/2020

There are some sneaky theme entries in today’s puzzle. Here is the list of themers and then I will explain:

  • 17A [Crowdfunding website] KICKSTARTER
  • 25A [Recliner part] ARMREST 
  • 49A [Sprint rival] T-MOBILE – I just switched from this merged company to AT&T. My signal is now worse!
  • 59A [“The Silence of the Lambs” Oscar-winning actress] JODIE FOSTER 
  • 35A [Civilian activity site during wartime … and what the end of 17-, 25-, 49- and 59-Across can be] HOME FRONT

So we are referencing the phrases starter home, rest home, mobile home, and foster home. Very nice execution of the theme, which includes two 7-letter entries. Usually the theme entries are the longest entries in the grid; technically this is the case, but there are SIXTEEN other 7-letter entries! I certainly didn’t realize where they all were until I got to the blatant revealer, and with it being in the center of the grid there isn’t much confusion as to what is going on. A scan in CrossFire show virtually the entire edge of the grid is made up of these other 7-letter entries. This is not a complaint, after all that, just an observation! Nice puzzle, Gary! 4.3 stars.

Just a couple of things:

  • 4A [Hungarian stew] GOULASH – I haven’t had a good goulash in years. Now I am hungry …
  • 23A [“__ here”: “The place is empty”] NO ONE’S – I need to make sure this is in my word list!
  • 34A [Sinclair Lewis preacher Elmer __] GANTRY – A dated literary reference, but still something you should know. I think I know this mainly from puzzles!
  • 58A [“Mork & Mindy” planet] ORK – This is also slightly dated. I miss Robin Williams!
  • 38D [“Let’s tip our caps (to) … “] HATS OFF – Great casual phrase, albeit a partial one!
  • 40D [Item a hotel guest might forget to return on leaving] ROOM KEY – I do this all the time. At least I did back when we used to stay at hotels and go places …
  • 50D [Eccentric] LOOPY – I feel this way all the time, and I don’t think I am eccentric!

Have a safe and healthy week!

Matthew Sewell’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “On the Surface”—Jim P’s review

The revealer is WOOD / WORK (67a, [With 68-Across, a hint to the ends of 21-, 25-, 45- and 52-Across]. The other theme answers succinctly describe the process of refinishing a piece of wood furniture.

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “On the Surface” · Matthew Sewell · Tue., 8.25.20

  • 21a. [Home to many Los Angeles rock clubs] SUNSET STRIP
  • 25a. [Metaphorical cutoff point] LINE IN THE SAND
  • 45a. [2000 Philip Roth novel] THE HUMAN STAIN
  • 52a. [Really close outcome in a race] PHOTO FINISH

Good set of theme answers. I’m not so sure about that revealer though which feels a little awkward, especially broken up as it is. WOODWORKING would feel more natural, but obviously would take up a lot more real estate.

Also, those nine-letter Across answers (“IS THAT ALL?” and the Portuguese SENHORITA) are very nice, but they sure look like theme answers at first glance.

The rest of the grid feels workmanlike, but I do like the SATURN/PLANET stack and “HUT ONE” is fun with its clue [Words before snapping].

I would never have known HERO clued with [Leander loved her]. Maybe Greek myths just aren’t in my knowledge base, but that seems uncharacteristically tough for a Tuesday.

Nice theme. Not so much sparkle in the fill, but it works. 3.6 stars.

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14 Responses to Tuesday, August 25, 2020

  1. Gary R says:

    I know I was an English major in college, but could someone please provide a handy way to remember which one is Yeats and which is Keats?

    Yes!! I was a chemistry major – I feel vindicated!

    • Mark Abe says:

      OK, how about a hint from a mathematics major who liked geography:
      Keats was English and wrote about 200 years ago.
      Yeats was Irish and wrote about 100 years ago

    • pannonica says:

      I found a blog post critical of Yeats’ and other Modernists’ disdain for Keats and other Romantics.

      It’s titled “Yeats Hates Keats”, which strikes me as a decent mnemonic. Subject and verb rhyme, and the object is perforce the earlier poet.

      As for sorting out nationalities, perhaps Irish soda bread is made with yeast?

      addendum: I’ve been informed that soda bread (duh) is made with baking soda rather than yeast. In my defense I’ve never had an interest in making it (as opposed to other breads, which I’m rather proficient at).

      • Gary R says:

        I like “Yeats hates Keats” – but will I be able to remember it’s not Keats who hates Yeats?

        Definitely no yeast in soda bread – it’s the soda that provides the leavening ;-)

      • cyco says:

        To get nice and pedantic, “Yeats” is pronounced like “Yates,” so the two names unfortunately do not rhyme.

        Perhaps that’s a helpful way to distinguish – Yeats is the Irish one, so his name is pronounced in the Irish way.

        • pannonica says:

          “Subject and verb rhyme, and the object is perforce the earlier poet.”

          (corrected my accidental repetition of noun (≈subject) when I meant verb)

      • Zulema says:

        I’ve had fantastic Soda Bread made with whole wheat flour. Home made, a guest brought it once. Also soda bread rolls at a pub in Yonkers (I could just keep eating them, never mind food).

    • JohnH says:

      If it helps, Yeats was in the news last week at the DNC, where Biden, in touting is identification with his Irish heritage, said he often returned to a poem, Easter 1916, about ordinary men and women who rose the occasion, often fatally, in a failed rebellion on behalf of independence. He was thinking of the ending: “All’s changed, changed utterly. / A terrible beauty is born.”

      Or get to know them better. Keats comes at the climax of a typical course in English Romantic poetry, after Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, and Shelley. (There’s a Spoonerism, sheets and Kelly. And yeah, I know it’s a male list, but women sure dominated the century in fiction. Yea!) He died sadly young (of TB). He’s most famous for odes. (Think of “what’s a Grecian urn”?) Lines like “Beauty is truth, truth beauty.”

      Yeats is taught as the first in a course of modern English poetry, although of course he’s Irish and wrote often as a patriot. But he had to work himself out of Romanticism, after some gorgeous lyrics that could induce tears (“all disheveled wandering stars”). He had a mystic side and produced his own mythology to back his late poetry, which grew more and more tough minded and always quotable. (“How can we know the dancer from the dance?”) For haters of the Trump years, “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” “And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?”

    • PJ says:

      Foolproof – See which one I enter. Enter the other.

  2. Bryan says:

    NYT: A rare grammatical error in the clue for 16a (“Image in an sonogram”). I solve in the NYT crossword app. I wonder if the clue originally said “an ultrasound,” but got changed to “sonogram” without “an” being updated to “a.” Well, anyway, I thought this was a fairly clever theme. And now I’m craving a good steak!

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