Monday, June 27, 2016

Monday, June 27, 2016, Kevan Choset


RWE (Riddled With Errors)

Maybe I shouldn't solve a puzzle late at night on the sedation side of a couple of cocktails. I "finished" the puzzle rather quickly, but did not get congratulated. I ran through the puzzle and fixed dumb mistake after dumb mistake and was still met with silence. I didn't find the final mistake until I looked at the puzzle again in the morning. It was good night IRENe, good morning IRENA. :|

The theme answers were entered per decree merely met the letter E. Kind of cool for those three people. I wonder if they ever think about it. ELLEN might.

While the clues were pretty straightforward, the fill was solid. DEVILEDEGG and LITTERBUG are both nice. Well, they're nice words. I'm less fond of the things they represent, especially LITTERBUG. Who does that? JEWELER, REGALIA, and RETWEET are also strong. I often consider words in puzzles with a "RE" prefix to be a bit of a stretch (for example: puts on clothing again /*redresses), but RETWEET has the distinction of being a legitimate word because it's a thing people actually do with some regularity.

Mr. TEBOW showed up for work again today. And ONEL was back! I am beginning to get a little homesick for ELHI.

~ Frannie.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Sunday, June 26, 2016, Priscilla Clark and Jeff Chen

Sports Page Headlines

Great Sunday theme! The answers are funny because they are true. And by true, I mean because they seem like they *could* appear on a sports page. Well, I'm not actually sure about that. I know a fair amount about sports as concerns the rules of play and the teams involved, but I know very little about  leagues, subdivisions, and so forth. So, maybe the Mariners can never play the Pirates due to some obscure geographical, financial, or random circumstance, but, if they could, and did, this would be a nice headline: MARINERSBATTLEPIRATES. Ha! I think all the theme answers are pretty damn good, but PADRESBOWTOCARDINALS might be my favorite. It's also where I got a little hung up. I guessed 'nod' in place of BOW, and refused to recognize my mistake. Horace showed me the error of my ways.

There's a lot of good material in this grid. I love OHBOOHOO (20A. Unsympathetic response to a complainer) and vow to incorporate it into my everyday vocabulary. Maybe I'll also incorporate HOTPANTS into my wardrobe. Ha! The ADOBE/ABODE pairing at 15 & 80A is nice. I noticed four queens in the grid: BEE, BEY, DRAMA, and SHEBA (admitted, that last is somewhat oblique).  And speaking of counting, maybe Huygens enjoyed the math involved in 65A, Eight days after the nones (IDES).

I learned that UCLA is the most-applied-to sch. in the U.S. And that a BIALY is a kind of savory baked good. Who knew?

I know the question mark clues are somewhat controversial with this crowd - although I think that's less the case on a Sunday - but I, for one, welcome today's interrobang overlords. To wit:
Dear one? at 100A (DIARY).
22A. Italian vessel? (CRUET) - excellent clue and answer.
131A. Faulty connections? (BADDATES) - nice double DD in this one, eh?
And how about 84D. Gets fitted for a suit? (LAWYERSUP). Now that's legit. :)

In short, I am straight liking this puzzle. GTG.

~ Frannie.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Saturday, June 25, 2016, Kameron Austin Collins


Of the six tens in today's puzzle, I am most familiar with two of them: DONTSASSME - I say that at work all the time - and HEADSTONES - a hard thing to avoid. I had to look up OLIVERREED. I recognized him from the photos I found on the World Wide Web, but I couldn't have picked him out of a lineup ten minutes ago.

But, enough about the tens, what about the elevens? SHOEADDICTS had a tricky clue, but the shoe addict would have to have a very serious problem if they literally had only wedge issues. I've never heard of a SCREENERDVD, but it was definitely gettable from the crosses.

I thought 34A. Point of computer technology? (PIXEL) was good. I liked that YOOHOO crossed with OHOH at the O. And how about the appearance of SOCLE? You definitely do not see that every day. My favorite might have been 16A. Short pants? (TROU). Ha!

It's been a long day today, so I am going to put on my ALOHASHIRT and say goodnight.

~ Frannie.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Friday, June 24, 2016, Patrick Berry


Horace again. Maybe you'll get Frannie for a couple days in July in return. Maybe not.

Did anybody else find it poignant that Elizabeth REGINA appears on the very day of the Brexit vote? One wonders what her stance on the whole thing was. Well, this one wonders, anyway. Perhaps it was made public, I don't know. I don't follow the news. Unless, of course, there's been a tremendously important piece of news like there was this morning. Will her land now be seen by the rest of the E.U. as an AGGRESSORNATION? This ain't no TRIALRUN, Redcoats, this is "End of EMPIRE" stuff we're talking about. How will you GETBY? And already we're hearing rumbling from the capital on the AMSTEL about a "Nexit," and from the nation that makes BRIE of a "Frexit." Will BLADES be drawn? Will there be WARS? Or will a sense of unity and togetherness be REAWOKEN in the rest of the E.U., and indeed, the world at large? Will the OVAL Office help put the LIE to the NAYSAYS of the horde, the GANG? Will the ignorance of the majority be LAID BARE? Will Europe ever again rise to meet the BELL, to usher in the LONGEST peaceful era EVA?

OK... that's probably enough of that. Besides, I had OLMOS run out of material! OK, ok, I'll YIELD... Even the SNOOTiest ETONIANS will have tired of this trick by now...

Still, the E.U. is NEARTO my heart, and I'm sad to see it compromised in this way. And by England, of all places. The same England that tried to keep together another union separated by an Ocean, never mind a Channel. What have they become?

BLADES (1A: Fan group?) - A-. Decent clue, decent answer. Question mark doesn't bother me.

Overall, I enjoyed it. As Frannie said - "Funny thing about this puzzle, I did better on it once I realized it was a Patrick Berry." He hardly ever ANNOYS us.

- Horace

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Thursday, June 23, 2016, Megan Amram and David Kwong

0:26:31 (F.W.O.E.)

Greetings, Dear Reader, it is I, Horace, filling in for Frannie today.

I quite enjoyed this "formal" Thursday theme. Four familiar phrases expanded as if their first word were a nickname. "Bob for apples" (17A: Play a game on Halloween, formally?) becomes ROBERTFORAPPLES. Heh. "25A: Be exceedingly frugal, formally?" isn't to "penny pinch," but PENELOPEPINCH. Hah! It's more common in my experience to hear that as a noun (penny-pincher) instead of a verb, but I'll let it pass because Penelope is such a lovely name. Just ask Odysseus! My favorite of the theme answer, though, (and Frannie's she just tells me) is DOROTHYMATRIX (40A: Kind of printer, formally?). That's a quality theme!

So that's good, what about the rest? PEDI (1A: Half of a salon job) gets a C-. It's a partial of a partial (of sorts), and it's something we see a lot in puzzles. I did enjoy 14A: Writer Waugh, (ALEC), however, even though I've never heard of him, because it made me think right off the bat that there was going to be a rebus. How else were they going to fit "Evelyn" in there? Nice misdirection that could really only work on a Thursday.

HELENMIRREN (23D: Winner of the Triple Crown of Acting (Oscar, Tony and Emmy)) is, of course, fantastic. And yes, I'm mentioning her in the review even though I posted a photo of her... and another thing, it's not a bad way to spend several minutes, scrolling down the Google images that appear when her name is the search string. But where was I?...

LEFTTORIGHT (6D: Phrase in a group photo caption) was unexpected, but brought a chuckle. 27D: Hero of New Orleans (POBOY) also brought a smile. ARMADA, HELIX, SIPHON, ENTREATS, and ENTAIL are all solid fill. I wasn't familiar with LEONA (59A: "Bleeding Love" singer Lewis, 2007), and I can't remember hearing the word "Whilom" (ERST) before, but those aren't really complaints, I'm just exposing my weaknesses. Overall I give this puzzle a hearty thumbs up. Great start to The Turn™. I hope you enjoyed it as well.

- Horace

p.s. My one error was at the intersection of POLIS and OHYES. I'm pretty sure I entered "aHYES" and never looked back.

p.p.s. This is Ms. Amram's debut puzzle! Congratulations to her on such a good one.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Wednesday, June 22, 2016, Fred Piscop


I solved this puzzle at an all-day staff retreat. I thought I'd have plenty of time to work on it while the bigwigs talked at us, but it turned out that we were supposed to participate and contribute the whole time - like animals! On the upside, I learned that our director is also a NYTX solver. Maybe I'll get a raise. :)

The anagram clues had me wondering for a minute or two. I wasn't sure how an eight-letter word could anagram into an 11-letter word, but it soon became clear that it could anagram easily into two shorter words joined by "and." GINANDTONIC and KISSANDTELL might be my favorites. Maybe those two even kinda go together. :)

I wasn't super sure how to spell LAMOUR (24A. Dorothy of "Road" movies). I had LAMaUR in there because my first thought for Sired, biblically (39A) was BEGaT, but that looked a little funny, so I fixed it up, and then it wasn't funny. It was correct.

I was intrigued by PANAM's "flying boats" from the thirties and forties (1A: B- (clue too explain-y)), so I looked them up. Pan Am had a series of planes called Clippers. According to the Wikipedia, a Boeing 314 flying boat flew from LaGuardia to Lisbon in 29 hours 30 minutes. A direct flight from JFK to LIS now takes 7 hours. I was happy to see Cribbage mentioned in the puzzle - a favorite game from days gone by. I also liked MOT for witty rejoinder, even though I rarely see it without its 'bon' companion.

I found EMBED as a noun a little UGLI. I hope no one gives me the EVILEYE for this, but I started to wonder if any EMBEDs had ever taken PANAM to see the EBOLA river. But I suppose that's MOOT.

 ~ Frannie.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Tuesday, June 21, 2016, Julie Bérubé


Nice puzzle today. As I completed the grid, I perceived a fair amount of what might be termed "foreign" fill, if that didn't make it sound vaguely negative. :) I mean entries such as NURMI, GOBI, HUN, TAMALE, and PESTO. But, in the new world where everything is global, maybe it's all just LINGUA franca now.

I am not normally a fan of puzzles with circled letters, but I thought today's circled result (SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS) added a little extra SASSY fun to an already well-formed puzzle.

I liked 44D. Way up or down (STAIRS) - I mis-parsed this clue with "Way" meaning extremely. I always like it when I have to rethink a first impression to get the right answer. Speaking of mis-parsing, it took me longer than it should have to figure out why AVES was correct at 49D. I kept reading it as if it were an ungainly plural of the Latin Ave. I guess all the foreign material in the puzzle had gone to my head. :) And P.s., speaking of ungainly plurals, 62A. Correspondent's afterthoughts, briefly (PSS) is a little awkward. P.p.s. I did like the clue for another three, 56D. Promising letters, IOU. Ho ho!

I was happy to see 63A. L'eggs shade (TAUPE) more for the clue than for the answer. Nothing beats a great pair of L'eggs. The l' gives it a little overseas flair, n'est ce pas?

Surprise bonus: no ONEL today!

BASTA così.

~ Frannie.