Chronicle of Higher Education Review: Initial Finishes

Chronicle of Higher Education Review : “Initial Finishes” (2017-09-22)

CHE-20170922-Initial-Finishes
Constructed By: Randall J. Hartman
Edited By: Brad Wilber
Source: CHE Website.

Theme: Initial Finishes
Each theme answer has a phrase in the beginning and a phonetic word at the end that initializes the previous two words.

    • 17-A. [Award won by a documentary about volcanologists in Sicily?] – MT ETNA EMMY
    • 26-A. [Wedding-reception hiree who hits on the bride?] – DON JUAN DEEJAY
    • 42-A. [Navy engineer who bellyaches about his job?] – CRY BABY SEABEE
    • 55-A. [Harvard, when it’s hot?] – IN VOGUE IVY

Glenn’s Time: 48 minutes (paper).
Glenn’s Errors: DNF, 2 errors. Spelt 27-D wrong (OPIE), guessed wrong on 28-D (NIEL). Couldn’t hazard a spelling on 41-D, couldn’t guess on 45-A or 50-A.

(Quality) Rating: 3.5 stars/5 stars.
Review:
The Chronicle of Higher Education features a weekly puzzle throughout the fall and spring semesters and a biweekly puzzle throughout the summer semester. They often feature academic knowledge or technical topics to a greater degree than the average puzzle, and often are far more technically clued than the average puzzle. This is consistent with the target audience of the CHE – college administrators and professors. While these puzzles are often well constructed, the knowledge required will frustrate beginning or medium solvers. To that end, a degree of patience or a willingness to look up some things often required to fill in these puzzles.

This particular puzzle is an fair example of a CHE puzzle. We have an interesting theme, which must have taken a little work to obtain, but a little loopy in parts (though most theme entries involving strange constructions of words are like that). The fill is mostly interesting, though a bit stilted in parts. Overall, this grid is a pretty decent solve.

Unfamiliar/Interesting Stuff To Me:

30-A. [Vessel included in the so-called “Plan Z”] – UBOAT. Plan Z is the German plan for reconstruction of the navy in the run-up to World War II.

50-A. [England’s Newcastle upon _____] – TYNE. Most of these are pure guesses.

12-D. [When Juliet asks “Wherefore thou art Romeo?”] – ACT II. Typically a throw-away clue/answer in grids.

13-D. [Cumberland Gap trailblazer] – BOONE. This would be Daniel Boone and this would be his trailblazing ground.

27-D. [Officer who busts Arlo for littering in “Alice’s Restaurant”] – OBIE. Read all about it. While it’s famous and all that, it’s really more spoken word than a song. Interesting though.

28-D. [Writer who turned down an invitation to play the title role in 1962’s “Dr. No”] – NOEL COWARD. This is he. Never heard of him.

41-D. [“The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” co-star] – DENEUVE. This would be her.

45-D. [Save-the-theater animated film of 2016] – SING. Never heard of it.


In the meantime, feel free to leave a comment on any of the posts made or any suggestions on puzzles to look at or topics to handle. Until later!

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Jonesin’ Crosswords Review: Grid Expectations

Jonesin’ Crosswords Review : “Grid Expectations” (2017-09-19)

Jonesin-20170919-Grid-Expectations

Constructed By: Matt Jones
Edited By: Matt Jones
Source: Play Online. PUZ File here.
Theme: None
Glenn’s Time: 39 minutes (paper).
Glenn’s Errors: 0

(Quality) Rating: 3.5 stars/5 stars.
Review:
I am aware of Matt Jones only through some of the other lists out there. He puts a puzzle of varying difficulty out on Tuesday on his site, and I’m guessing other places possibly too. I’ve done a number of them and always found them quite entertaining. Jones’ puzzles have a good amount of pop culture, often some pretty slick references. Even though, there’s often no idea of what is in the offering each week as far as difficulty goes.

In this puzzle, Matt Jones provides one of his occasional themeless grids (Difficulty 4/6). The construction is very clean, with a fair number of decent entries. While some of it is contrived, most of what is presented is pretty easy to figure out, and the trivia/proper names doesn’t overwhelm the grid as it does in many cases. A pleasant enjoyable solve.

Unfamiliar/Interesting Stuff To Me:
17-A. [Fisher-Price toy that teaches animal noises] – SEENSAY. Most of us will remember the See ‘n Say from our childhoods. For whatever animal it was pointed at, you would pull the cord and then get a recording back (“The cow says… moooo”).

34-A. [Bygone brand of “flavor bits”] – BACOS. This was a brand of salad topping (and other things) made out of cooked bacon that was chopped up and dried.

41-A. [Old Dead Sea Kingdom] – EDOM. In the course of the Bible we find that Edom is the country that was founded by the descendants of Jacob’s brother Esau. The territory involved is now separated between Israel and Jordan.

4-D. [Old detergent brand with a self-descriptive name] – RINSO. Rinso was one of the first mass-marketed soap powders for use with washing machines.

23-D. [Dr. of old pajamas] – DENTON. This is a well-known brand of blanket sleepers or footie pajamas.

24-D. [Series gaps] – LACUNAS. A lacuna is a missing portion or gap.

31-D. [Author Christoper whose writing inspired “Cabaret”] – ISHERWOOD. This is he.

33-D. [French Revolution radical] – JACOBIN. This is a member of a political movement during the French Revolution.

34-D. [Ricky Ricardo’s theme song] – BABALU.

36-D. [“Possession” actress Isabelle] – ADJANI. This is her.


Until next time!

Chronicle of Higher Education Review: United Nations

Chronicle of Higher Education Review : “United Nations” (2017-09-15)

CHE-20170915-United Nations
Constructed By: Gordon Johnson
Edited By: Brad Wilber
Source: CHE Website.

We have a note with this one: Constructor Gordon Johnson has worked for the United Nations for almost 25 years and currently is based in Bangkok as the environment team leader for the UN Development Program in the Asia-Pacific region.

Theme: Common Ground
Each theme answer mates two countries together.

  • 17-A. [[A central Asian and an African find common ground]] – TAJIKISTANZANIA (Tajikistan and Tanzania)
  • 26-A. [[An African and a European find common ground]] – NIGERMANY (Niger and Germany)
  • 48-A. [[A Micronesian and a South American find common ground]] – NAURUGUAY (Nauru and Uruguay)
  • 62-A. [[Two Central Americans find common ground]] – NICARAGUATEMALA (Nicaragua and Guatemala)

Glenn’s Time: 30 minutes (paper).
Glenn’s Errors: 2 dumb errors.

(Quality) Rating: 3.0 stars/5 stars.
Review:
The Chronicle of Higher Education features a weekly puzzle throughout the fall and spring semesters and a biweekly puzzle throughout the summer semester. They often feature academic knowledge or technical topics to a greater degree than the average puzzle, and often are far more technically clued than the average puzzle. This is consistent with the target audience of the CHE – college administrators and professors. While these puzzles are often well constructed, the knowledge required will frustrate beginning or medium solvers. To that end, a degree of patience or a willingness to look up some things often required to fill in these puzzles.

This particular puzzle is an atypical example. We have a puzzle with a theme that’s been pretty shopworn over the years – to the point that a lot of this puzzle was deja-vu. And it was (Wall Street Journal, New York Times) – these are puzzles I found with these entries. As I don’t have access to a crossword catalog, I’m sure there’s many more with this theme – but many more answers. The fill leaves something to be desired as well.

Given that (again) I don’t know entirely how experienced this constructor is (He shows 2 NYT puzzles), I can’t say too much. But overall, this grid is a pretty serviceable one, although not too interesting in very many facets. My reaction to this is “Meh” on about every level.

Unfamiliar/Interesting Stuff To Me:

29-D. [Spiral-horned African antelope] – NYALA. This is a nyala.

59-D. [Like goji berry plants] – CANY. An adjective of the word CANE, like sugar cane.

In the meantime, feel free to leave a comment on any of the posts made or any suggestions on puzzles to look at or topics to handle. Until later!

Washington Post Crossword Review: Named Names

Washington Post Crossword Review : “Named Names” (2017-09-09)

WaPo-20170910-NamedNames
Constructed By: Evan Birnholz
Edited By: Evan Birnholz
Source: Play Online. PUZ File here.
Theme: Verbal First Names
For all the theme answers, a famous name of reality or story is turned into a verb.

  • 23-A. [Actor with a buff physique?] – JACKED NICHOLSON (Jack Nicholson)
  • 35-A. [Film director whose money was stolen?] – ROBBED REINER (Rob Reiner)
  • 53-A. [Famed martial artist, after he gets thrown out?] – CHUCKED NORRIS (Chuck Norris)
  • 64-A. [Stage character with a pale face?] – BLANCHED DUBOIS (Blanche Dubois)
  • 72-A. [Former NBC newsman, when he gets high?] – STONED PHILLIPS (Stone Phillips)
  • 87-A. [Former variety show host, when he gets tossed in the air?] – FLIPPED WILSON (Flip Wilson)
  • 101-A. [Gemini 12 astronaut, after he’s had a few beers?] – BUZZED ALDRIN (Buzz Aldrin)
  • 116-A. [Literary character who also has a buff physique?] – RIPPED VAN WINKLE (Rip Van Winkle)

Glenn’s Time: 30 minutes (paper).
Glenn’s Errors: 0.

(Quality) Rating: 2.5 stars/5 stars.
Review:
The Washington Post offers an original 21×21 puzzle on Sundays as written by Evan Birnholz. Often, these can contain more current pop culture references and occasionally some other different things.

This provides an average example, if a bit pedestrian. We have a theme where a famous figure has a first name turned into a verb in reference to the puzzle. 21×21 puzzles often have a certain sloggish quality to them, and this theme has a certain boring quality – albeit pretty straight forward when it was figured out. The clues were very clearly written and a lot of the fill was pretty straightforward. While boring in content, the quick solve mitigated the chance to get bored over this one.

Unfamiliar/Interesting Stuff To Me:

21-A. [Action film?] – PORNO. Probably the best clue of the bunch.


Until next time, whenever that happens!

Wall Street Journal Crossword Review: A Higher Power

Wall Street Journal Crossword Review : “A Higher Power” (2017-09-08)

WSJ-20170908-A Higher Power
Constructed By:
Marie Kelly (Mike Shenk)
Edited By: Mike Shenk
Source: Play Online. PUZ File here.
Theme: This is a meta puzzle, so none…Mostly.
For this meta puzzle, we are given the task of coming up with a school subject. Given the title, “A Higher Power”, we can guess that maybe arithmetic powers have something to do with this. 34-A & 37-A jump out at us indicating a parallel plan: Perfect Squares, which are integers squared. We start with 1 and look at the positions throughout the grid and get ALGEBRA as our answer.

Glenn’s Time: 44 minutes (paper). About 2-3 minutes on the meta.
Glenn’s Errors: 0.

(Quality) Rating: 3.5 stars/5 stars.
Review:
The Wall Street Journal has offered puzzles six days a week since late 2015, progressing in difficulty from Monday to Thursday, a meta puzzle on Friday, and then a 21×21 on Saturday. There is a typically level degree of difficulty for each day, with a few occasional interesting surprises. This makes it an excellent puzzle set to consider doing if you are looking for something that will occasionally get beyond the typical USA Today or Los Angeles Times puzzle.

This provides a good typical example of a Friday puzzle. On Fridays, the WSJ runs meta puzzles, which has a item that is requested. The solver then uses some property of either the puzzle or the clues in order to come up with the answer. Usually, determining any theme can be useful to solve the meta.

Otherwise, this puzzle functions as a themeless grid. While it has a few interesting entries, a few others are on the dishwater dull side, especially from the cluing perspective. While I appreciate that meta grids have a certain number of constraints, there really aren’t too many here where some more interesting entries could have been used. Overall, this was a relatively decent solve, but not an overly entertaining one.

Unfamiliar/Interesting Stuff To Me:

22-A. [Funny fellow] – WIT. It turns out it can describe the person with such qualities. So, “the wit has wit” seems to be a perfectly good sentence. Ah, the vagaries of English.

38-A. [Stage direction] – EXEUNT. This is a word that is used in written plays to indicate the exit of multiple characters off of stage.

39-A. [Dutch town known for its pottery] – DELFT. Delft is a town known for many things, including pottery. The pottery produced in Delft is known as Delftware or Delft Blue. While I’m sure there’s imitations, chances are anything you see that is white/ceramic with blue inscriptions or patterns, it probably has some origin in Delft.

3-D. [Sixth in line of succession to the British throne] – ANDREW. This would be Prince Andrew, the Duke of York. An example of a throw-away clue to a dishwater dull answer with no constraint, and a pure guess for most of us.

11-D. [“City juice,” in diner lingo] – TAP WATER. Another one that struck me as odd. A fill-in and “well okay?”.

28-D. [49ers wide receiver Taylor] – TRENT. Another throw-away clue that could have been much more interesting than this, and again a pure guess for the most of us I’m sure (I never heard of him). Beyond the wide receiver and some rivers and place names, we could have stuck to football and went with Trent Dilfer, or Trent Green (both far more known). Or go with Trent Lott the politician. Or Trent Reznor the musician. Or the Council of Trent.

33-D. [Database programming lang.] – SQL. Good technical clue, though I’m a bit surprised something like this would show up in a mainstream crossword in most cases. A bit forgiven though for the constraint of the Q in the meta reveal, though I wonder how many would know of this?

34-D. [Pakistani city near the end of the Khyber Pass] – PESHAWAR. This is Peshawar, which came into consciousness with all the conflicts in Afghanistan as it is a border town.


Until next time, whenever that happens!

Wall Street Journal Crossword Review: Literary Surroundings

Wall Street Journal Crossword Review : “Literary Surroundings” (2017-09-09)

WSJ-20170909-LiterarySurroundings
Constructed By: Roger & Kathy Wienberg
Edited By: Mike Shenk
Source: Play Online. PUZ File here.
Theme: Book Ends
For all the starred (*) theme answers, as indicated in 102-A, BOOK can precede or follow each half of the answer.

  • 27-A. [Golf ball striker] – CLUB FACE (Book Club and Facebook)
  • 29-A. [Magazine lead] – COVER STORY (Book Cover and Story Book)
  • 42-A. [Galaxy, e.g.] – SMART PHONE (Book Smart and Phone Book)
  • 45-A. [Task for TSA agents] – BAG CHECK (Book Bag and Check Book)
  • 63-A. [Envelope inscription] – RETURN ADDRESS (Book Return and Address Book)
  • 83-A. [Good sport’s forte] – FAIR PLAY (Book Fair and Play Book)
  • 85-A. [Wimbledon highlight] – TITLE MATCH (Book Title and Match Book)
  • 100-A. [“And that’s that”] – CASE CLOSED (Book Case and Closed Book)

Glenn’s Time: 41 minutes (paper).
Glenn’s Errors: 0.

(Quality) Rating: 2.5 stars/5 stars.
Review:
The Wall Street Journal has offered puzzles six days a week since late 2015, progressing in difficulty from Monday to Thursday, a meta puzzle on Friday, and then a 21×21 on Saturday. There is a typically level degree of difficulty for each day, with a few occasional interesting surprises. This makes it an excellent puzzle set to consider doing if you are looking for something that will occasionally get beyond the typical USA Today or Los Angeles Times puzzle.

This provides a good typical example of a Saturday puzzle. We have the potential of a tricker theme on this day along with harder clues and we get that here, mostly. In this one, we have theme entries which are compound words. Each part can be taken to mean another thing with the addition of BOOK to either the beginning or end. The theme entries are very consistent, although lacking in flair. The fill is mostly good here, but pedestrian. There is a distinctly small amount of junk in the fill as usually expected for 21×21 grids, but a little questionable in spots. Given that 21×21 grids can be a slog to solve in a lot of ways by themselves, this one leaves little incentive to solve it, although the lower difficulty of this one compensates for any potential boredom.

Unfamiliar/Interesting Stuff To Me:

19-A. [Projecting bay window] – ORIEL. New to me.

33-A. [Filbert trees] – HAZELS. A filbert is the nut produced by certain kinds of hazel trees.

52-A. [Hebrew for “to the skies”] – EL AL. Most of us know this as the Israeli airline. This was painted on the plane that took the first Israeli president somewhere, and was considered the inaugural flight. The word means upwards (towards up).

82-A. [Fray] – SET-TO. The word means a brief or sharp fight or argument.

90-A. [Chef’s topper] – TOQUE. A toque is a hat with either a narrow brim or none at all.

87-D. [Pieces for coloraturas] – ARIOSOS. Coloratura (literally Italian for “coloring”) is a word used to describe elaborate melody in vocal singing. Arioso is a vocal piece that occurs in an opera.


Until next time, whenever that happens!

BEQ Crossword #984 Review: THE BRADY BUNCH

BEQ Crossword #984: THE BRADY BUNCH (09/07/2017)

BEQ-20170907-THEBRADYBUNCH
Constructed By: Brendan Emmett Quigley
Edited By: Brendan Emmett Quigley
Source: Obtain and Play This Puzzle Here
Theme: The Patriots …
The Patriots played tonight, hence the reference. (Edited)

  • 18-A. [Mystical kneecap?] – PATELLA ENCHANTED (Ella Enchanted)
  • 29-A & 35-A. [Drinker’s periodical] – BAR PATRONS MAGAZINE (Barron’s Magazine)
  • 54-A. [Drink made by steeping Indian bread?] – CHAPATI TEA (chai tea)
  • 64-A. [Axiom that emphasizes your male friends over pity?] – BROS BEFORE PATHOS (Bros before hos)

Glenn’s Time: 35 minutes (paper).
Glenn’s Errors: 3 dumb errors.

(Quality) Rating: 3.0 stars/5 stars.
Review:
Brendan Emmett Quigley puts out a lot of good content in a number of places, including his own web site, and this one is no exception. Quigley also provides a number of more contemporary and less formal references than the norm in these puzzles. While crosswords have proved that I am probably sheltered compared to most in what I have to guess, most of the references here are usually interesting in what I didn’t know, if not always entirely fresh and exciting.

This is not a must-play in the sense that the theme entries are a little underwhelming in the hilarity that ensues, as well as some of the fill. But as his other puzzles, it provides an interesting crossword trip for the time it lasts and fits the level of challenge that he advertises.

For all the puzzles I’ve done from this site, it is definitely a recommended source in case you are looking for a good puzzle to do on Monday (themeless) and Thursday (themed).

Unfamiliar/Interesting Stuff To Me:
1-A. [Bridge to Notre Dame] – PONT. This is the bridge in question.

24-A. [Art Spiegelman masterwork] – MAUS. This is Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel as published in 1991.

41-A. [Super Bowl III winning coach Weeb] – EWBANK. He was the head coach of the New York Jets, who won Super Bowl III.

68-A. [“Modern Family” actor Gould and namesakes] – NOLANS. This refers to Nolan Gould. Can’t say I ever heard of him (the pop culture issue that plagued a clue in the previous puzzle), nor I watch Modern Family. Evidently this is the only thing he is known for. A little unwieldly, and a pure guess on my part.

12-D. [When the office scenes of “Glengarry Glen Ross” occur] – ACT II. A throwaway clue/answer, and one of my peeves. At least you always know what it’s going to be without too much trouble.

25-D. [Grp. that can lower your Sprint bill] – AAA. The American Automobile Association offers a number of discounts and rewards with membership, including probably a discount on your phone bill with Sprint. Again a odd throwaway.

33-D & 36-A. [Showstopper?] – TIVO BOX. Again a little weird, by including the BOX there (instead of maybe DVR).


Until later!

Wall Street Journal Crossword Review: e-Mobility

Wall Street Journal Crossword Review : “e-Mobility” (2017-09-07)

WSJ-20170907-e-Mobility

Constructed By: Mark MacLachan
Edited By: Mike Shenk
Source: Play Online. PUZ File here.
Theme: E Mobility
For all the theme answers, an initial E is moved two characters ahead in the phrase to make what we have today.

  • 18-A. [Banana without a peel?] – BARE FRUIT (bear fruit)
  • 23-A. [Croquet and badminton?] – TAME SPORTS (team sports)
  • 55-A. [Salon request for My Little Pony?] – MANE STREAK (mean streak)
  • 60-A. [Despise greetings from the queen?] – HATE WAVES (heat waves)
  • 5-D. [Challenge St. Nick to go down a chimney?] – DARE SANTA (dear Santa)
  • 34-D. [Perform some pruning?] – PARE TREES (pear trees)

Glenn’s Time: 39 minutes (paper).
Glenn’s Errors: 2. (very dumb ones)

(Quality) Rating: 3.5 stars/5 stars.
Review:
The Wall Street Journal has offered puzzles six days a week since late 2015, progressing in difficulty from Monday to Thursday, a meta puzzle on Friday, and then a 21×21 on Saturday. There is a typically level degree of difficulty for each day, with a few occasional interesting surprises. This makes it an excellent puzzle set to consider doing if you are looking for something that will occasionally get beyond the typical USA Today or Los Angeles Times puzzle.

This provides a good typical example of a Thursday puzzle. We have the potential of a tricker theme on this day along with harder clues and we get that here, mostly. In this one, we have six theme entries where the first E is moved ahead 2 characters. The theme entries are very consistent, although lacking in the supposed hillarity that ensues by these entries. The fill is mostly good here with a distinctly small amount of junk in the fill, but a little questionable in spots. Overall, there is very little that is confusing once revealed. A decent solve.

Unfamiliar/Interesting Stuff To Me:

6-A. [Plays in the street] – BUSKED. A primarily British term.

30-A [Big pistachio producer] – IRAN. Who would really know this, other than to play Hangman with the crosses?

35-A [Like some larcenies] – PETIT. A perfectly cromulent word, though I definitely wanted PETTY here initially. Didn’t you?

1-D [Orders at the diner] – HAS. Perhaps the most questionable entry of the grid. For the point of ordering, ASK would be more fitting. To actually have something would be to actually eat whatever it is.

12-D [Gillian Jacob’s “Community” character] – BRITTA. I happened to watch the show and remember enough to get this one (she’s the blonde headed one). But as with a lot of grids (especially NYT), the pop culture can have a way of getting too specific on a lot of clues, and if you never watched the show, it’s inevitably a crosser.

Until next time (very soon!).

Fireball Crosswords Review: Themeless 109

Fireball Crosswords Review : “Themeless 109” (2017-09-07)

Fireball-20170907-Themeless 109
Constructed By: Peter Gordon
Edited By: Peter Gordon
Source: By Subscription Only: See page here.
Theme: None.
Glenn’s Time: 49 minutes (paper).
Glenn’s Errors: 3. The results of guessing between 39-A, 43-A, and 28-D. “I’LL BE TRASH” seemed reasonable enough at the time given the crossings. Guess “I LOVE TRASH” is more reasonable on hindsight. Of course, a sort of dumb error resulted as well.

(Quality) Rating: 4.5 stars/5 stars.
Review:
Fireball Crosswords is a by subscription-only crossword service provided by Peter Gordon, that features puzzles either constructed or edited by him. They often feature unique and creative things. However, the primary pitch is the difficulty as indicated on the website’s pitch: “The puzzles are hard. How hard? If you have to ask, too hard for you.” One will indeed find difficulty in these puzzles, often due to the cluing which is generally far more oblique than the norm, though not as difficult as some other examples people can find, such as the Newsday Saturday Stumper or some of the New York Times Friday or Saturday puzzles.

This puzzle provides a fairly typical example of the themeless grids offered on Fireball Crosswords. There were a number of fairly interesting deceptive clues, though a fair amount that turned into educated guesses due to the trivia involved. While this was a challenging puzzle, it kept my attention throughout, especially with some of the ways the clues were written. This was one of the more enjoyable themeless grids I’ve done in a long time.

As one of my goals of this blog in doing these reviews is awareness and accessibility to enable newer solvers. While I can’t freely provide examples of this puzzle, I will note that most of the themeless offerings parallel what you might expect on the Friday or Saturday New York Times grids.

Unfamiliar/Interesting Stuff To Me:

1-A. [Foot in “the door”] – IAMB. A good example of having to read the clue carefully for as many meanings as you can get.

5-A. [1947 Dennis O’Keefe film] – TMEN. T-Men is a movie with two treasury agents hunting a counterfeiting ring. In seeing this in many crosswords as crosswordese, I wonder where the phrase came about and how. Nearest I can find, it got started in 1935-1940, but I have to wonder what happened that caused it to get popular. Perhaps they were in charge of the rationing that happened in the US in World War II?

19-A. [Ketch pair] – MASTS. A ketch is a two-masted sailboat.

20-A. [Advertising character who once said “I’m thick and rich”] – MRS. BUTTERWORTH. How many wanted to put an S after BUTTER like I did?

23-A. [The Sakmara feeds it] – URAL. The Sakmara River is a river in Russia that feeds into the Ural River.

27-A. [New York county whose seat is Utica] – ONEIDA. One of the more frustrating entries here due to Northeastern local geographical references.

35-A. [Florsheim designation] – EEE. Florsheim is a brand of shoes.

43-A. [Eponym of an Australian Open arena] – LAVER. This would be the Rod Laver Arena. Rod Laver was a famous Australian tennis star of the 1960’s.

2-D. [Literally (literally, “in strictness”)] – A LA RIGUEUR. This is French.

3-D. [Future resident, maybe] – MED STUDENT. Another good fun clue.

7-D. [Big name in serigraphy] – ERTE. This would be the person. A serigraph is a method used to reproduce an original work of art.

8-D. [Indira Gandhi’s maiden name] – NEHRU. Indira Gandhi is not related to the famous Gandhi we know. Her father is the notable namesake of the Nehru jacket that we see in crosswords.

10-D. [River under the Harvard bridge] – CHARLES. This is the river separating Boston and Cambridge Massachusetts. Again, a specific Northeastern geographical reference.

13-D. [Deg. for someone who’s studied calculus] – DDS. This would be a dentist. Calculus is the scientific term used to refer to tartar as deposited on teeth. Again a good clue.

28-D. [Oscar’s best song?] – I LOVE TRASH. This is referring to Oscar the Grouch of Sesame Street fame.

29-D. [Show for which Bernadette Peters won her first Drama Desk Award] – DAMES AT SEA. This is a musical play.

37-D. [“______ Comes Mary” (1966 hit for the Association)] – ALONG.

48-D. [National park of Israel] – MASADA. Masada is a mesa where a number of historical figures have built a number of fortresses and plays a number of roles in the history of the area.


Until next time! Feedback about what to consider looking at or talking about, or questions (if I can answer them) are always welcome!

Chronicle of Higher Education Review: Leading (W)edge

Chronicle of Higher Education Review : “Leading (W)edge” (2017-09-08)

CHE-20170908-Leading (W)edge
Constructed By: Jacob Stulberg
Edited By: Brad Wilber
Source: CHE Website.
Theme: Research Triangle Universities
The gimmick present here according to 7-A and 66-A includes rebuses featuring the North Carolina schools in the area known as the “Research Triangle”.

  • 1-A. [Fictional canine owned by the Winslows] – MARMADUKE
  • 6-D. [“Black, Brown, and Beige” composer] – DUKE ELLINGTON
  • 29-A. [Numskull] – DUNCE
  • 23-D. [Post-office scale unit] – OUNCE
  • 42-A. [Compound formerly known as “white vitriol”] – ZINC SULFATE
  • 31-D. [Surveyor who established the Iowa-Missouri border] – JOHN C SULLIVAN

Glenn’s Time: 81 minutes (paper).
Glenn’s Errors: 7 errors, I didn’t see the gimmick at all on this one.

(Quality) Rating: 4.0 stars/5 stars.
Review:
The Chronicle of Higher Education features a weekly puzzle throughout the fall and spring semesters and a biweekly puzzle throughout the summer semester. They often feature academic knowledge or technical topics to a greater degree than the average puzzle, and often are far more technically clued than the average puzzle. This is consistent with the target audience of the CHE – college administrators and professors. While these puzzles are often well constructed, the knowledge required will frustrate beginning or medium solvers. To that end, a degree of patience or a willingness to look up some things often required to fill in these puzzles.

This provides an example in many respects. In this one, we have a list of clues featuring rebuses of Research Triangle universities. There is often there is very challenging fill offered in these puzzles. Thankfully this puzzle offers a minimum of strange esoteric fill. Overall, while I have been able to complete few of these puzzles, they have often provided both challenge and a diversion.

Unfamiliar/Interesting Stuff To Me:

Research-triangle-north-carolina
The Research Triangle as depicted on a map (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

7-A & 66-A. [With 66-Across, nickname for the Piedmont region whose points are marked by academic institutions … as depicted in this puzzle] – RESEARCH TRIANGLE. This is the area of North Carolina marked by the schools and denoted by the towns of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. The name came in the 1950’s by the establishment of Research Triangle Park, hope to several high tech companies and other enterprises. Interestingly, enough the setter positioned them in the same general configuration that they appear on the map.

17-A. [Gompers or Goldwyn] – SAMUEL. Samuel Gompers founded the American Federation of Labor. Samuel Goldwyn is a famous filmmaker.

42-A. [Compound formerly known as “white vitriol”] – ZINC SULFATE. Zinc Sulfate is used as a supplement for zinc deficiency, along with other industrial uses. “Vitriol” is an arcane name for a Sulfate compound. Zinc sulfate is white in color.

31-D. [Surveyor who established the Iowa-Missouri border] – JOHN C. SULLIVAN. This would be him.

38-D. [U.S. Open champ who lost to Federer in the 2017 Wimbledon final] – CILIC. This would be the guy. One of the handful of strange guesses that are usual for me to make in these puzzles. How many really know who this is?

41-D. [They know the score] – MAESTRI. An arcane plural of maestro. Most of the rest of us use maestros. More chicanery that often exists in crosswords…

51-D. [“Fiddler on the Roof” role] – YENTE. One of the roles there. Got on crosses.

63-D. [It was taken by the Merry Pranksters] – LSD. This would be the Merry Pranksters.

In the meantime, feel free to leave a comment on any of the posts made or any suggestions on puzzles to look at or topics to handle. Until later!