Crossword Kathy has been called in for hurricane duty on her reporting job, and since we can’t find a copy of the Sunday New York Times anywhere in Philadelphia anyway, we regret to inform you that there will be no blog post today. Please come back soon. -The assistant
New York Times crossword Aug. 21 / Constructed by Alan Arbesfeld
Glug-glug-glug. Pardon me while I dry off; I’ve been scuba diving in this “Underwater Search” to look for some clownfish.
As explained in an editor’s note, this clever two-in-one puzzle is a crossword first and a word search second. The theme is a “2003 Pixar film” — FINDING NEMO (37 Down) — and the goal is to find 17 occurrences of NEMO in the grid. (My immediate reaction, before completely digesting the editor’s note, was that we’d be looking for COUSTEAU, which would be much harder to hide.)
Nemo is a tricky little clownfish, hiding in several directions in the puzzle:
Forward: ONE MORE TIME (“Again,” 23 Across); MNEMONICS (“‘I before E except after C’ and others,” 25 Across); ENGINE MOUNTS (“Attachment points under the hood,” 38 Across); DIVINE MOTHER (“Part of the Hindu Godhead,” 83 Across); the aforementioned FINDING NEMO [different link]; UNEMOTIONAL (“Stoic,” 43 Down); and ONE MOMENT (“‘Just a sec’,” 119 Across).
Backward: ONE MOMENT (yes, it appears twice in 119 Across; pretty clever, huh?); OMEN (“Sign,” 3 Down); NO MEN (“Ladies’ club restriction,” 4 Down); NOT TO MENTION (“Also,” 57 Across); NOMENCLATURE (“Terminology,” 101 Across); and STATESWOMEN (“Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi,” 121 Across).
Diagonal: Starting with the N in OMNIVORE (“Human, e.g., foodwise,” 65 Across) and going southeast (if the top of the grid is North); starting with the N in ENDS (“Objectives,” 128 Across) and going northeast; starting with the N in SHORN (“Unlocked?” 131 Across) and going northwest; and starting with the third N in the previously noted ENGINE MOUNTS and going northeast.
It took me forever to find that 17th NEMO. I was about call on Capt. Nemo for help.
Close But No Cigar Dept.: I tried looking for NEMO in NEIMAN (“Big name in upscale retail,” 8 Down) and other entries with lots of N’s, E’s and M’s, like ONE NAME (“What Rihanna or Prince uses,” 10 Down); ANAEMIA (“Fatigue may be a symptom of it: Var.,” 95 Down); and EASEMENTS (“Rights of passage,” 92 Across). No luck.
Learn Something New Every Day Dept.: Never, ever heard of the word CONTEMNS (“Treats with scorn,” 90 Down).
First-Name Basis Dept.: Jane Austen would be appalled that I’m putting ELINOR (“‘Sense and Sensibility’ sister,” 85 Down) in the same sentence as IRON MIKE (“Tyson nickname,” 113 Across), but there you have it.
Just Nutty Dept.: ATTY (“Firm part: Abbr.,” 129 Across) crosses with ITTY (“Wee, informally,” 113 Down).
Viva La France Dept.: REUNION (“French island WSW of Mauritius,” 24 Down) and OUI (“Non’s opposite, 26 Down) were consecutive clues.
Philly Shout-Out Dept: The University of Pennsylvania’s ENIAC (“Pioneering computer,” 96 Across) makes one of its occasional appearances.
New York Times crossword Aug. 14 / Constructed by Paula Gamache
I never understood why old, tried-and-true saying were called saws. But knowing that synonym was helpful in solving today’s puzzle, which finished off well-known quotations with joke-like new endings. I say joke-like because they’re really not that funny — and that may be the point considering the “Hack Saws” title. These are saws a hack might offer up at a comedy club: “Where there’s a will, there’s …” GOING TO BE A RELATIVE (35 Across). Rim shot. Take my husband, please.
Others: “Where there’s smoke, there’s …” AIR POLLUTION (56 Across); “People who live in glass houses …” LET IT ALL HANG OUT (66 Across); “He who laughs last …” FINALLY GOT IT (80 Across); “If at first you don’t succeed …” REDEFINE THE MISSION (99 Across); “Don’t bite the hand …” THAT HASN’T BEEN WASHED (108 Across); and “A penny saved is …” NOT ENOUGH TO RETIRE ON (27 Across).
Philly Shout-Out Dept.: That last theme answer calls to mind our favorite son Ben Franklin, who is interred here in the Christ Church burial ground. His grave is often covered in pennies as visitors pay tribute to the actual words of his famous saw, “A penny saved is a penny earned.”
Can I Buy A Vowel? Dept.: “Entertainment providers at a sports bar” are LCD TVS (49 Across).
What Century Is This? Dept.: “E-mail alternative” is a FAX (45 Across) in this puzzle, but not in the world I live in.
The Other End Dept.: “Western terminus of I-90″ is SEATTLE (24 Down). I’m much more familiar with the eastern terminus in downtown Boston, where it’s known as the Mass Pike.
Hi-Ho Silver Dept.: Could it really be that TONTO means “Stupid, in Sonora” (127 Across)? Oy vey.
L.A. Story, The Sequel Dept.: Last week’s puzzle helped me tell a story about our vacation in California. While in L.A. — my original hometown — we actually spent quite a bit of time on PICO (“Boulevard where Fox Studios and the Los Angeles Convention Center are located,” 4 Down). But I have to point out that Fox and the Convention Center, while sharing a street name, are actually about 10 miles apart.
L.A. Story, Part III Dept.: Just off Pico Boulevard, Fox has an office tower better known in filmdom as Nakatomi Plaza. It’s the skyscraper that Bruce Willis saved from European terrorists in “Die Hard.” I love that movie for absolutely no good reason, but my husband had never seen it until I made him watch it while we were in L.A. He found the movie incredibly dumb (sigh), but was pleasantly surprised by the recognition he got from his Tweeple after checking in from there on FourSquare.
New York Times crossword Aug. 7 / Constructed by Tony Orbach and Jane Smulyan
Vacations are meant for sleeping in, but I find that nearly impossible when I’m on the West Coast. I woke up at 6:30 a.m. PDT and have been off and running ever since. I don’t think I’ve ever solved and blogged the puzzle this early.
Today’s theme is a literal interpretation of the title “Good to Go” — the word “good” is removed from common phrases to make jokes (or what passes for humor in crosswords). The best theme answer gives a nod to NOLA and the NYT with 23 Across, “Start-press order for a New York daily?”: LET THE TIMES ROLL.
Others: “Flippered animal that runs a maid service?” is a HOUSEKEEPING SEAL (39 Across); “Request for candy from a kid at camp?” is SHIP LOLLIPOP (48 Across); “Congratulatory phrase at a ‘Peanuts’ bar mitzvah?” is YOU’RE A MAN, CHARLIE BROWN! (68 Across); “Jaded comment from a constantly updated person?” is NO NEWS IS NEWS (88 Across); “1970s, to a schmaltzy wedding band?” is THE ERA OF FEELINGS (98 Across); and “Amnesiac’s vague recollection of having a hobby?” is I’M INTO SOMETHING (120 Across).
An L.A. Story Dept.: A few months ago, I got one of those EVITES (“Modern party planning aids,” 89 Down) for a junior high school reunion in Los Angeles. (Long story short: I had a very small 9th grade class that has stayed in touch over the years.) My JHS was actually in the Valley, where people — including me — actually said RAD (“Gnarly,” 65 Across) in the 1980s. My husband and I took a late-night flight to LAX, but since we were only in coach, we had no LEG RESTS (“Airplane amenities,” 1 Across). We went to the reunion, which was pretty fun, and are now spending some here before driving up to San Francisco to see some relatives. We’ll fly out of SFO (“W. Coast air hub,” 12 Down) in a few days. Awesome that Will Shortz knew what we were up to this week!
Serendipity Dept.: It just so happens that our beloved Phillies are playing in L.A. on Monday night — and we have tickets. We get to see Roy Halladay pitch and are looking forward to hearing the umps say “YER out!” (34 Down) to many a Dodger. Already the Phils have been racking up the WINS (“Sports column,” 90 Down) over the past week or so.
Tinsel Town Dept.: Since I’m in Hollywood (well, I’m having brunch there in a couple hours), I’ll note the many entertaiment references in today’s puzzle: “Keir of ’2001: A Space Odyssey‘” is DULLEA (78 Across); “Two-time Oscar nominee Joan” is CUSACK (10 Down); “‘The Producers’ character who sings ‘When You Got It, Flaunt It’” is ULLA (70 Down); “1981 German-language hit film” is DAS BOOT (93 Across); “Actor Rickman” is ALAN (72 Down); and “‘Broken Arrow’ co-star Michael” is ANSARA (79 Down). And, of course, a big Philly shout-out for “‘Rocky III’ co-star” MR. T (64 Across).
Seinfeld Dept.: “TV character who worked for Steinbrenner” is George COSTANZA (127 Across). And “When tripled, et cetera” is YADA (68 Down), as in the awesome “Yada Yada Yada” episode.
Omelet Dept.: There were two “___ eggs” in this puzzle — FABERGE (15 Down) and EASTER (101 Down).