Friday, October 28, 2022

LAT untimed (pannonica) 


The New Yorker tk (Matt) 


NYT 5:19 (Amy) 


Universal 4:24 (Jim P) 


USA Today 4:23 (Darby) 


Will Nediger’s New York Times crossword–Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 10 28 22, no. 1028

Lovely stair-step stack in the middle of this 70-worder, with a BURNER ACCOUNT, CINNAMON TOAST (don’t burn it), and a ROOKIE MISTAKE intersecting good fill like AMATEUR NIGHT and DISCO ANTHEMS.

Other fave fill: “I CAN’T LOOK,” LIFE HACKS (here’s one for you: If your banana resists peeling from the stem end, just poke a thumbnail in the other end and peel it from there–Americans are weird in insisting on the stem end), RUBBISH, Carl LINNAEUS, and BLOW A FUSE.

New to me: 16A. [Symbolic hand gesture in Hinduism], MUDRA. Looking it up … Oh! That’s familiar enough, just never knew the term for it.

Four stars from me.

Wendy L Brandes’ Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up

LAT • 10/28/22 • Fri • Brandes • solution • 20221028

  • 59aR [Favorite time of the school day for some teachers and students, or a two-word hint for the answers to the starred clues] DISMISSAL, or DISMISS AL. That is, the bigram AL is dropped from the original phrases, leading to wacky new ones.
  • 17a. [*Desire to dress in Victorian era garb and sip tea daintily?] PRIM URGES (primal urges).
  • 23a. [*One who helps fix a banged-up car?] DENT ASSISTANT (dental assistant).
  • 49a. [*Fine print about a knee replacement?] LEG DISCLAIMER (legal disclaimer).

In each case the AL would appear as the suffix of the first word—an adjective—in the phrases.

  • 1a [The “sheet” in “three sheets to the wind”] ROPE. I had mistakenly, apparently, assumed it was a SAIL. But I have heard of a sheet bend, which is used to join two lines of differing diameter.
  • 9a [Daily crossword review sites, e.g.] BLOGS. Hey!
    30d [Copies, briefly] DUPES. We sometimes talk about those on this blog.
  • 15a [One who tweets a lot] BIRD. Ugh, troubling news from yesterday.
  • 28a [Spin] TWIRL.
  • 32a [Hummus and baba ghanouj] DIPS. I think of them more as spreads.
  • 9d [Heathcliff creator] BRONTË. Not the cat.
  • 11d [“__ Melancholy”] ODE ON. Not a theater.
  • Not theme-related: 19a [“Inside the NBA” analyst] O’NEAL, 54a [Fish that spawns in fresh water] SALMON, 55a [“Don’t move!”] HALT, 48d [Without panicking] CALMLY.

Solid crossword. Liked but didn’t love it.

David Tuffs’s Universal crossword, “My Treat!”—Jim P’s review

Theme: DRINKS ARE ON ME (36a, [“I’m paying for this round!” … or a literal interpretation of 16-, 23-, 49- and 59-Across[).

Universal crossword solution · “My Treat!” · David Tuffs · Fri., 10.28.22

  • 16a. [Containers that might be stemmed] WINE GLASSES.
  • 23a. [Region spanning much of Northeastern Europe] VODKA BELT. Hadn’t heard this term, but I guess it makes sense.
  • 49a. [Keg attachments] BEER PUMPS. Again, not a phrase I’m familiar with, but they must exist.
  • 59a. [Grant-era tax scandal] WHISKEY RING. If ever I knew this one, I must have shed those particular little gray cells a long time ago.

Welp, the revealer doesn’t state exactly what’s going on here. My first interpretation was that the drinks in the entries would be above the letters ME in the grid. And lo and behold, exactly centered under WINE in the first entry is the ME in MERRY. But where are the rest of them? Is there another way to have “me” in the grid? Should I be looking for DAVID TUFFS somewhere? Ultimately, this turned out to be a red herring.

It took me a little while post-solve, but I eventually realized the second words in each phrase can also be items you might wear: glasses, a belt, pumps, and a ring. So that’s my best guess to the the theme: we have an alcoholic drink paired with an article of clothing (i.e. something you might have “on”).

I generally like this kind of theme because it’s very tightly constrained. And the fact that the drinks are all alcoholic is a an apt and elegant touch. But a little more help in grasping the full theme would not have been unwelcome. And in my case, lack of familiarity with most of the phrases made it less fun.

Looking to the fill, the long stacks in the NW and SE are quite nice: ANIMATED with INNER EAR and MEDICINE with ELEMENTS. The other shorter stacks aren’t bad either with highlights ON HOLD, COYOTE, Stacey ABRAMS, and PEEPER.

Clues of note:

  • 66a. [Brand of printer]. EPSON. If you’re like me, you have to make a small effort to differentiate EPSON (the brand) from EPSOM (the English town of salt and horse-racing fame). Let’s try this: EPSON has an N and so does “priNter.” If the clue is about priNters, the answer is EPSON…unless it’s CANON.
  • 31d. [Person who’s hot on the trail, maybe?]. HIKER. Make sure you hydrate out there, people!
  • 54d. [Bit of ammo for Hawkeye]. ARROW. Works for either the Marvel superhero or the protagonist of The Last of the Mohicans, but not for the character on M*A*S*H.

Nice theme, but I had to work for it. 3.75 stars.

Zhouqin Burnikel’s USA Today crossword, “Wander Aimlessly”–Darby’s review

Theme: Each theme answer’s second word is an anagram of WANDER.

Theme Answers

Zhouqin Burnikel's USA Today crossword, "Wander Aimlessly" solution for 10/28/2022

Zhouqin Burnikel’s USA Today crossword, “Wander Aimlessly” solution for 10/28/2022

  • 16a [“Conservation officer”] GAME WARDEN
  • 28a [“Patron of Barbados”] SAINT ANDREW
  • 63a [“Forbidding, foreboding phrase”] YOU’VE BEEN WARNED

I really liked this theme. The amount of anagrams for WANDER is kind of incredible. I got GAME WARDEN mostly on the crosses, as with the end of SAINT ANDREW. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED was a fun spanner to fill in, especially as we approach Halloween.

The Down clues were my key to this puzzle. I almost immediately switched to Down answers since I felt like I could sail through those particularly fast. I really enjoyed GOOD DOG, DIAPER BAG, and TIME SHARE. 55d [“Ho-hum feeling”] was a good one for ENNUI. For a word like ENNUI, which appears more regularly in crosswords and less in my day-to-day life, “ho-hum” feels like a great synonym.

This puzzle is asymmetric, and the upside-down L in the upper right corner I think allowed for answers like GOOD DOG and DIAPER BAG. However, overall, the puzzle felt really balanced and clean. It, unlike its title, did not wander aimlessly.

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25 Responses to Friday, October 28, 2022

  1. Dallas says:

    Fun NYT; loved Ohm’s law. I got stuck a little when I put “open mic night” in for 5D, and “soul” instead of funk… really nice Friday.

    • Eric H says:

      Same here on “soul” for FUNK; after I had to change it, I was kicking myself because I should know better.

      Fun puzzle.

      • Gary R says:

        Eric – curious why you should know better. Wasn’t James Brown known as the “Godfather of Soul?”

        I don’t dispute FUNK, but “soul” seems like a pretty reasonable answer, too.

        • pannonica says:

          Know better than to enter an answer when there’s an equally valid one of the same length. That was my approach, fighting the reflexive instinct.

          • Eric H says:

            Oh, I know that. Today’s error was simply not thinking long enough to realize another four-letter genre made as much sense.

        • Eric H says:

          I was just reminded that “Godfather of Soul” was one of Mr. Brown’s honorific nicknames, and I’m no longer kicking myself over my original answer.

          I’m no expert on either soul or funk, but I do enjoy Southern soul (Otis Redding, Percy Sledge, et al.).

    • marciem says:

      Same here for Soul instead of funk… & because he WAS called “Godfather of Soul” I was loath to give it up :( but finally had to. I had dropped in Soho where Noho goes, and that was my last kicker when I didn’t get Happy Pencil in NYT. Those two New York neighborhoods are a mystery to me.

      Yes a nice Friday, harder than some Saturdays have been for me, but doable in the end.

        • marciem says:

          Best laugh all week, THANK YOU!!

          color me unconfused ;p

        • sanfranman59 says:

          lol! … gee, I wonder why I can’t keep track of all of that?

          • JohnH says:

            Don’t worry. No one does. Some of the names aren’t exactly in use, for that matter.

            Notice how some are nested in others? (And New Yorkers would notice that there are often changes.) That’s because this is the age of branding and rebranding, and the real-estate business has taken that to heart.

            Some time ago, NOHO (meaning north of Houston) didn’t exist. Or rather, the part closest to the Bowery was just the Bowery with still a dangerous rep, although CBGB helped make that darn near chic. The part further west was just the central Village or, in time, simply NYU, which was buying it up like crazy. Edward Hopper, who lived on Washington Square actually wrote Robert Moses to say the city should block that, but Moses wasn’t sympathetic (as indeed the famous urban planner was not sympathetic to, well, urbanism). He wrote back that surely NYU would be in the past position to protect the old ways. Yeah, right.

            Of course, that’s long before even my my time, but anyhow Soho’s success thanks to pioneering art galleries made a similar name change too good an idea to pass up. And some even use it, even apart from real-estate agents. As for where they are relative to one another, it’s not hard: north is north of south.

            For an example closer to home, they’ve never convinced anyone to use Rose Hill, where there isn’t even a hill. But the neighborhood lacked a distinct name, and the appeal of rebranding to be closer to Murray Hill, with higher prices, was to them worth a shot. Besides, Murray Hill’s bar scene is moving in!

  2. marciem says:

    UC: Jim, double thanks… I could not decipher the theme meaning especially after Wine was directly on top of ME. There were other MEs in the puzzle, but they were two or three lines down from the drinks, if even close. So are we to assume the constructor wears glasses since “drinks are ON ME”? :D.

    Second thank for a hint how to de-confuse epson and epsom. I have an Epson printer but I still don’t know which it is… is it the Epson Salt or the Epson Down model ?? :D :D …. priNter and epsoN is a good memory jog.

  3. sanfranman59 says:

    Uni … Thanks for the theme explanation Jim. It went completely over my head (though not “literally”). I didn’t recognize three of the four theme answers either and I don’t really get how the revealer is a “literal interpretation” of the themers. Then again, with the way people throw around the words “literal” and “literally” these days, I don’t seem to know what it means anymore.

  4. sanfranman59 says:

    LAT … I’ve done some reading about the origin of “three sheets to the wind” and, as usual with these things, it’s a little confusing, somewhat uncertain and there are multiple explanations out there. Most of the sources I read suggest that the phrase is nautical in origin and the sheets are sails, not ROPEs. Yes, ROPE is involved in that it’s used to trim the sails and keep them from flopping around in the wind. But the sheets are the sails.

    That answer really held me up at the start of this solve. I stubbornly held onto ‘sail’ as the answer, even when though I couldn’t make any of the crosses work. Oh well. All’s fair in love, war and crossword constructing, I suppose.

    • Jack2 says:

      Not sure where you are reading, but “sheets” are lines (ropes, chains, etc) used to control the corners of sails.

  5. Eric H says:

    Universal: Jim P’s interpretation of the theme makes more sense than anything I can come up with.

    Of the theme answers, only WINEGLASSES is familiar-sounding. VODKA BELT makes sense, but if my long-ago history classes covered the WHISKEY RING scandal, I must’ve been out sick that day.

    I’ve been corrupted by reading crossword blogs: I hesitated to enter DOC given the clue “M.D. holder.” (And then there’s MEDICINE lower in the grid.) But those are minor nits that didn’t detract from an otherwise pleasant puzzle.

  6. marciem says:

    TNY: Took me several look-overs to figure out how the “theme” related to the answers… good one!

    I’m sorry, I was not familiar with Mone Davis or Little League Champs from 2014, I probably missed that newsfeed.

  7. Tony says:

    I enjoyed the NYT. Only not is the clue for Rookie Mistake. IMO, it’s a veteran who makes those. We expect rookies to make mistakes early on, but once they’re veterans, they shouldn’t. It’s like a veteran ball player who forgets how many outs there are and makes a base running error.

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