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Posts Tagged ‘NYT puzzle’

NYT Crossword Puzzle – Monday, May 6, 2013

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Interesting theme in today’s puzzle, we have 5 phrases that begin with a one-letter vowel:

NYT solution - 05/06/13

  • A ROOM WITH A VIEW
  • E FOR EFFORT
  • I WON’T LET YOU DOWN
  • O HOLY NIGHT
  • U CAN’T TOUCH THIS – thanks to MC Hammer’s misspelling, this theme was made possible.

Did you notice all 5 entries? This one was hard to catch with 2 of the 5 theme entries being in the down positions. It’s also elegant to have those down entries cross two other across theme entires, that’s a fancy construction!

Did you notice too that some of the fill felt contemporary? This is due to Joel Fagliano’s relatively younger age. I’m talking about MEME, HOODOO and AW, MAN! among others. Hope you enjoyed this one as much as I did.

NYT Crossword Puzzle – Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

Today we have another “rebus” puzzle, which means some squares have more than one letter in them.

NYT solution - 05/05/13

The gimmick is hinted at by the puzzle’s title “Crunch Time” (remember only the larger Sunday puzzles in the NY Times have titles, the others are either themeless or, if they are themed, there is a revealer or the solver is on his/her own to figure it out without any help from a title). Today, the 3-letter abbreviations of the 7 days of a week are “crunched” into one square each:

  • LE[MON]ADE STANDS, crossing AL[MON]DINE (a variant of the much more common amandine).
  • STA[TUE] OF DAVID, crossing VIR[TUE]S.
  • STE[WED] PRUNES, crossing BO[WED] OUT.
  • BUDAPES[T, HU]NGARY, crossing GREEN [THU]MB.
  • BETTY [FRI]EDAN, crossing A[FRI]CA.
  • CATCHE[S A T]RAIN, crossing U[S AT]LAS.
  • GOE[S UN]DERCOVER, crossing ETAT[S UN]IS.

I liked that they were position MON through SUN from the top down in the grid. Other than that, it seemed like a theme that we’ve seen before, and perhaps with even more interesting entries. (“Catches a train” for SAT seemed particularly uninspired.) One clue/entry pair I’ll mention is 59-Across, [Priest, in an Ogden Nash poem] or a ONE-L LAMA. Regular crossword solvers should be familiar with his “The Llama”:

The one-l lama,
He’s a priest.
The two-l llama,
He’s a beast.
And I will bet
A silk pajama
There isn’t any
Three-l lllama.

Unless it’s chili that’s a three-alarmer! :)

NYT Crossword Puzzle – Saturday, May 4, 2013

Saturday, May 4th, 2013

Pretty quick workout for a Saturday–good thing since I’m on my way to sign up for my “Green Up Vermont” assignment in a few minutes.

NYT solution - 05/04/13

Liked the long pair of fictional characters–RIP VAN WINKLE and NURSE RATCHED, the latter from 1975′s “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.” I had “that” before “this” in THIS IS TRUE, which gave me some trouble in the upper left. Didn’t help that I had LYCRA before HANES for [Waistband brand].

One last quick point, HOOSIER is a term for someone living in Indiana; the clue [Resident of Angola, Brazil or Lebanon] refers to places in that state and not the countries. Welcome to Saturday-level clues!

Hope to see you out on the byways of Woodstock this morning helping to make our town a beautiful place to live!

NYT Crossword Puzzle – Friday, May 3, 2013

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Pretty nice themeless today with an interesting grid–four 15-letter phrases span the grid, each a nice find:

NYT solution - 05/03/13

  • [Autobiographical book by Carrie Fisher] was WISHFUL DRINKING – Princess Leia and lesser-known as the daughter of Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds
  • [Unit of online popularity] was TWITTER FOLLOWER – very contemporary phrase there, wonder if this entry if solved 20 years from now will hold up?
  • [First card played in the game parliament] was SEVEN OF DIAMONDS – anyone know why?
  • [Oscar nominated Woody Allen film] was MIDNIGHT IN PARIS – even after seeing this, I put in “One Night In Paris” first. D’oh!

It might be helpful to talk today about how I started this one–often on a Friday or Saturday, it’s important to get any toehold you can and build out from there. My first entry was in the upper right quadrant with DAG Hammarskjöld. That should be a household name, and though only 3 letters, it helped me find both the crossing I LIED and RENTA-. Don’t always start in the upper left–sometimes the easiest entries are somewhere else.

One last explanation–the clue [Singer's language] or YIDDISH refers to Isaac Singer, the man who invented the modern sewing machine. Proper names are often hidden in clues by the convention to capitalize the first letter of the first word of any clue. Be careful for that trap!

NYT Crossword Puzzle – Thursday, May 2, 2013

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Interesting theme today, the phrase NEITHER HERE NOR THERE is taken literally by removing HERE or THERE from common phrases:

NYT solution - 05/03/13

  • [THERE] WILL BE BLOOD – can’t say I’ve seen that movie
  • [HERE] GOES NOTHING
  • [HERE] COMES THE SUN
  • [THERE] WAS AN OLD MAN … who lived in a shoe, or was that an old woman?

Liked how the missing HERE and THERE began each phrase and there were 2 of each. Also enjoyed them being removed from the revealing central phrase as well. And did you notice that the grid was 1 square wider as a 16×15 grid? Perhaps that’s why it took a bit longer than normal–15 more squares to fill! The constructor did that to fit an even length entry in the central position–NEITHER NOR is 10 letters long and for it to be in the middle needed the same number of squares (3 in this case) left and right of it.

NYT Crossword Puzzle – Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Happy May Day! Today’s New York Times celebrates it by creating a LEI necklace, which commemorates how I’m guessing Hawaiians celebrate today as LEI DAY.

NYT solution - 05/01/13

I’ve never heard of LEI DAY, so that spoiled the appreciation of this puzzle quite a bit. Also, there was a preponderance of entries that one only sees in crosswords…I’m looking at you SCH, IER, AFLOW, A PLOT and the odd French SERIE and ESSAI. Puh-leeze!

One clue I will explain is [Gray head?] for LEE. In the Civil War, the North wore blue uniforms and the South gray, so they were referred to as the blue vs. the gray. Head implies the person leading that group, so that was Robert E. LEE.

Anyway, back to work and enjoy this lovely first day of May!

NYT Crossword Puzzle – Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Today’s constructor, Lynn Lempel, is a name regular solvers of the New York Times crossword puzzle should be familiar with. She is affectionately referred to as the “queen of early week puzzles,” and her grids are characterized by super-smooth fill and straightforward themes, well-suited to early week (easier) puzzles. Beginning solvers would do well to seek out her oeuvre to get a good start on solving the daily puzzle.

NYT solution - 04/30/13

Today’s puzzle highlights a quirk of the English language; i.e., words that end in OSE don’t all sound alike:

  • WINS BY A NOSE (ohz)
  • SAN JOSE (oh-say)
  • LOW DOSE (os)
  • YOU CAN’T LOSE (ooz)

Did you notice the asterisks in front of these clues? The reason why they are there is to highlight the 7-letter theme entries (SAN JOSE and LOW DOSE), which, due to their shorter length, might be missed as theme entries. It’s easier to refer to “starred clues” in the middle revealer as opposed to a laundry list of clue numbers as well. Frankly, I’m not a big fan of starred clues as it takes a bit of the fun away from a solver trying to figure out which entries fit the theme pattern, but that’s just me.

Great long down entries–PEJORATIVE and NAUTRE WALK look great don’t they? And I liked that Q in the middle crossing SQUAT and TEQUILA. (Doesn’t take much to get me excited, does it?) Enjoy the rest of your day!

NYT Crossword Puzzle – Monday, April 29, 2013

Monday, April 29th, 2013

Not one of my favorite themes in today’s New York Times puzzle. The idea is to take a famous person’s last name, add the possessive and then add a food that rhymes with that.

NYT solution - 04/29/13

  • SHEEN’S BEANS
  • SWANK’S FRANKS
  • LAKE’S CAKES (I thought she might like SHAKES at first, but then I realized I didn’t have enough letters for that.)
  • PITT’S GRITS
  • MOORE’S S’MORES (Two apostrophes there!)
  • HAWN’S PRAWNS (If she’s not Cajun, wouldn’t she call them shrimp like the rest of us?)

I will say this puzzle has two things going for it: theme density (6 is definitely above average for a weekday puzzle) and the two unrelated long down entries–WAGON TRAIN and the very colloquial I KID YOU NOT!. Good stuff there, but I wish the theme were tighter.

NYT Crossword Puzzle – Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

I’ve mentioned before that today’s constructor, Patrick Berry, is one of my favorites, and today’s New York Times puzzle, “Soft T’s,” is another example of why. It’s not so much that the theme idea is that innovative (switching words with a hard “T” sound to a softer “TH” sound, kind of like a lisp I guess), but that the puzzle itself is ultra-smooth with lots of interesting entries that hold the theme in place.

NYT solution - 04/28/13

Let’s first look at the theme entries themselves:

  • CREATIVE WRITHING from “creative writing.” Is it a flaw that the hard “T” in creative isn’t also changed?
  • THE LEATHER OF THE LAW from “the letter of the law.”
  • GETS OFF LITHELY from “gets off lightly.”
  • LATHE BLOOMERS from “late bloomers.” Weird phrase here.
  • BATHE AND SWITCH from “bait and switch.”
  • A SCYTHE FOR SORE EYES from “a sight for sore eyes.” Wouldn’t this make them sorer?
  • “NO LAUGHING, MATHER!” from “no laughing matter.” Cotton Mather, I’m thinking.

These entries are pretty funny in general, which is about all one can ask with this type of wordplay. But the gems here are hidden in the nicks and crannies–the Greek ARACHNE crossing ICHOR is beautiful, as well as the long down pairings: ORVILLE, TOENAIL and SCRAWNY; UMBRELLAS, PAROLEES and FREAKISH; DESOLATE, ASK AFTER and TAILFINS; and finally, BEARING, ALSO-RAN and TOCCATA. Man, that’s some great work.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday, it looks like it will be a beautiful day!

NYT Crossword Puzzle – Saturday, April 27, 2013

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

Tough Saturday for me…I don’t usually have to Google an answer, but when I saw the crossing of ["Bless ___" (1941 hit song)] and [Ed whose entire 18-year career was with the Mets], I knew I’d have to look up one or the other. Turns out the latter was Ed KRANEPOOL, not a household name in this household anyway, but perhaps known to you, gentle solver! And I’m thinking the EMALL answer to the former is parsed ‘EM ALL. (Often this is clued as online vendor or E-MALL, which makes me think of the SkyMall magazines found in airplane seat pockets.)

NYT solution - 04/27/13

Got everything else, but not without a real struggle. Made the most headway in the upper right with the crossing of MAJOR IN and MODEL, the latter clued cutely as [One paid to get shot], which didn’t fool me! Then EXTRA LARGE and the layer of these eggs, and EMU helped break open the upper left. ULLA (["The Producers" sex kitten]) is just one of those names you have to know–there’s only one ULLA out there and she was in that Mel Brooks musical. ALAN-A-DALE is another vowel-rich name that shows up a lot in middle long entries as it did today, helping to bind SOBERED UP, PENINSULA, and SADDLE BAG.

I’m guessing the “bill” in [Bill starter] for OPENING ACT is the playbill or program you get when seeing a show. NOSY PARKER is a faintly-remembered phrase, I wonder who the original Parker was? ORDO for [Great Seal word] comes from the Latin “Novus Ordo Seclorum” or “new order for the ages” that is found under the pyramid in the US seal. Never heard of a MIDDY blouse, but probably stands for a mid-shipman who inspired the blouse with the sailor’s collar. Had GERM for a long time for [Sanitization target] but finally realized it was SMUT. That G in GERM led me to GOOSE EGGS for [0-0] but was suspicious in that eggs were used in the clue for EMU and came up with POINTLESS instead.