Peter Wentz’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
It has been a long day and a long week, hasn’t it? And don’t come at me with “Hey, it was a four-day week.” It felt like six. So, quick post—
Likes: SPIFFED UP, PHNOM PENH, TITLE GAME, disgusting TOE JAM (clue seems off base, though—[It’s around a foot]?), “You’re soaking in it” PALMOLIVE (the only dish soap whose name is two trees), MAC USER (which also was a long-running magazine, MacUser), fMRI (that’s functional MRI), PHONE TAG, KOHLER plumbing fixtures, WIGGLE ROOM, JOY RIDE (anyone else see the movie?), DUM DUMS (make mine cream soda, please), and MAE WEST.
“Is that really a thing?” category: GET ME, BE MAD, ONE LEG. And this 38d. [Light carriage], DOGCART—that’s a thing? Apparently it is, and drawn by horses, not dogs.
INPUT, ICE IN, and IN EXILE are all IN this grid.
Four more things:
- 45d. [Everywhere], AL LOVER. Who doesn’t love Al Sanders? Or perhaps Roker, Franken, or Weird Yankovic? Okay, so the answer is ALL OVER. Whatever.
- 48d. [Rapper with the 1995 hit “I Wish”]. SKEE-LO. He had one hit song 21 years ago. You are forgiven if you needed every crossing to put this together. And I hope you know your foreign currencies for that RIELS crossing.
- 26a. [Breakfast offering], MELON. If it’s cantaloupe or honeydew, keep it off my plate, will you? Yuck.
- 42d. [Rarer than rare], TARTARE. Mmm, tomatoes tartare.
4.1 stars from me for this Saturday puzzle (which was not Friday-level as I’d half expected). How’d it treat you?
Debbie Ellerin’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
Breezed through this one without too much difficulty. Which is not all bad since the Newsday Stumper whupped me up and down! NW corner was the easiest; finished up where the cursor is. As usual, I didn’t have to dig out a dictionary, so nothing wonky at all. 72 words? If my count is right, I would have guessed it was higher. But that allows for clean fill! 3.9 stars.
- 17A [Enjoy all the seasons] BINGE WATCH – A distinctively millennial habit. I can stomach 2-3 hours of a riveting show, but then I get exhausted!
- 19A [‘This American Life” host] IRA GLASS – I don’t know what this chap looks like! Let’s google a pic:
- 33A [Longtime CBS head] PALEY – OK, I didn’t need a dictionary, but I do need Wikipedia to figure out who this is! Totally not familiar with him. Maybe because he’s been dead for nearly 30 years!
- 55A [Eclipses, to some] OMENS – I believe there is a major eclipse scheduled for next year across the middle of this country. Planning on tentatively driving to St. Louis to see it!
- 7D [Boston park, with “The”] FENS – I assume this is talking about Fenway Park. It’s on my Bucket List of places to visit!
- 15D [“You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” singer Leo] SAYER – For your annoyance:
- 49D [“Rattle and ___”: U2 album] HUM – One of their many classics.
That’s it for today: a new Panda Magazine comes out today at noon! Have a great weekend!
Frank Longo’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up
I need a band-aid after this one; I feel like I have been through a wood chipper! EXTREMELY tough today. But that’s what makes finishing these monsters so rewarding! Even if you do need painkillers and a shower afterwards! As you well know, in Across Lite when you check incorrect letters, it shows a black triangle in the puzzle for the duration if a square is wrong. Note the plethora of black triangles in the image! SW corner actually fell pretty quick, then progress came to a screeching halt, with many fits and starts until the solve was done. I think I was literally out of breath. Frank, keep ’em comin’! 4.6 stars for another tour de force from a master.
- 19A [Apollo twosome, originally] LAMBDAS – I think I actually slapped my forehead after getting this one. One of the best clues in the puzzle!
- 22A [Campus organization once sponsored by B’nai B’rith] HILLEL – I am not Jewish, and have never gone to a brick and mortar university, so I didn’t know this one. Now I do, thanks to their Wikipedia page!
- 33A [Wheelhouse] AREA OF EXPERTISE – Nicely done!
- 41A [Three-legged five-footers] BABY GRANDS – Another awesome clue! Yes, I was thinking, “What animal has three legs???”
- 50A [Pope during Elizabeth I’s reign] ST PIUS V – I had ST PAUL I in there at first. I don’t know my Pope’s that well, because I am not Catholic either! With my incorrect entry, I wonder why he wasn’t referencing this:
- 24D [Perform, in some SeaWorld shows] WATER SKI – I had the concluding I early on, and couldn’t come up with what a killer whale or dolphin would do that ends in I!!
- 36D [Drive, e.g.] I/O DEVICE – As in a hard drive, which is an input/output device. Looks like an original entry, with no NYT occurrences. Very well done!
- 41D [“The Economist” basis of world purchasing-power comparison] BIG MAC – Interesting. McDonald’s doesn’t make me hungry anymore!
- 57D [Genre influenced by Fats Domino] SKA – A great piece of trivia. I need to maybe listen to some SKA since it is always found in puzzles!
Leonard Williams’ Wall Street Journal crossword, “To Wit” — pannonica’s write-up
Ye olde letter insertion theme. Today’s is a bigram: IE. That’s i.e., that is, that’s “that is”.
- 22a. [Republican’s finger tattoo?] PINKIE ELEPHANT.
- 47a. [Addictive source of a sugar rush?] JUNKIE FOOD.
- 69a. [Feast for the eyes in a lingerie catalog?] NIGHTIE VISION.
- 87a. [Cause of a melee on stage?] ROADIE RAGE.
- 118a. [Like many Instagram posters?] SELFIE-CONSCIOUS.
- 15d. [Craigslist, at times?] ROOMIE SERVICE.
- 54d. [Problem for a heavy sleeper at summer camp?] SHARPIE TONGUE.
I’m underwhelmed by the theme. Didn’t find especially entertaining or clever. And some of the entries are just … kinda dumb.
The good news is that the clues are commendably free of the i.e. abbreviation, which—let’s face it—is not uncommon in crosswords. The clues? Two instances: 25a [One of the fire signs] ARIES and, aptly, 119d [Quaint reproach] FIE!
- 112d [Chamois’s home] ALPS.
- Last square to fill: crossing of 113a [Billionaire Andy] BEAL and 114d [Duke’s conf.] ACC.
- 37a [Jargon ending] -ESE. Status report: all these years on I still chuckle to myself when quoting to myself ‘jargonese’.
- Not a dupe: 38d [Half of hex-] TRI- and 95d [Activewear fabrics] TRICOT. The latter’s etymology, PER (63d [According to] m-w.com: French, from tricoter to move the legs rapidly, knit, from Middle French, to run, skip, ultimately from Old French estriquier to stroke, of Germanic origin; akin to Old English strīcan to stroke — more at strike.
- 91d [Cantonese chicken] GAI. As in “moo goo gai pan”, i.e., mòhgū gāi pin (“button mushroom-chicken-slices”).
- Visually liked the intersection of 20d [Target with a pass] THROW TO and 39a [Double description] TWO BASE, that forward-backward TWO-OWT.
- Superlatives! FAIREST, BAREST, SAGEST. 2d, 16d, 51d
- Least favorite entry: 75a [Musical increase in vol.] CRESC. I’m sure it’s a standard annotation but it looks clunky, especially sitting right there nearly dead-center.
- Also not a dupe: 97a [Statistical compilation] DATASET, 127a [When a drive-in begins] AT SUNSET.
And on that note, with that image, I bid farewell. Even though it’s only early afternoon.