Saturday, February 17, 2018

LAT 6:58 (Derek) 


Newsday 19:04 (Derek) 


NYT 5:42 (Amy) 


WSJ auto-solved (Amy) 


Peter Wentz’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 2 17 18, no 0217

Between Olympic figure skating and a headache, I don’t much remember the puzzle I solved over an hour ago. Let’s take a look.

Likes: BODY SPRAY as a crossword answer, not as a thing. ANTS ON A LOG as a crossword answer, not as food (I loathe raw celery). QUIET TIME. EYE STRAIN, gotcha right here. SHOPAHOLIC, I AM AMERICA. ERICA JONG. NBA GAMES crossing MBA DEGREE for a little echo. SAM ADAMS. G-STRINGS, though not keen on the clue, [Almost nothing on?], which surely does not scream “the answer is a plural noun.” TREFOIL, as it’s Girl Scout cookies season. LAB COAT, HAD A FEW, CRIPES.

SEA LION! You know how some people are inclined to derail a conversation by demanding that you focus on the thing they want you to talk about? That’s called sealioning, because of this cartoon.

Did not know: 12d. [Fixed cord for a paratrooper], STATIC LINE.

Don’t like: Crosswordese MOUE and the bizarre X’D IN right in the opening corner, crossing BMX.

This not your grandmother’s crossword: 36a. [Like a happening party, in slang], LIT.

Not sure about: 28d. [Tops in athletics], POLOS. In which sports are polo shirts actually worn? … Not in figure skating, at least.

Four stars from me. Good night!

Bruce Venzke’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up

I thought my time would have been better than it was, but I bogged down a bit at the end of this solve. I count 8 15-letter entries in here, which is obviously quite a feat of construction. Nothing too complicated in here, in typical LAT fashion, so that always helps! Let’s award a robust 4.4 stars for this one! I’m a tad rushed because I am attending a wedding today!

Some notes:

  • 14A [1966 N.L. batting champ Matty] ALOU – The crossword-famous ALOU family is always in puzzles. Perhaps someday there will be someone else with this surname to make it big!
  • 43A [Charter acquisition] TIME WARNER CABLE – Clever clue, but people in the Midwest have Comcast primarily. Why are cable companies, like other utilities, allowed to basically operate as a monopoly?
  • 48A [Markings on gridirons] MIDFIELD STRIPES – Slightly out of season, as baseball is around the corner and NASCAR starts Sunday!
  • 60A [Title derived from “Caesar”] TSAR – I actually knew this. “Kaiser” is another one derived from this word. Pretty sure there are other terms in other languages.
  • 9D [Land of Lincoln?] CORNHUSKER STATE – This phrase has appeared on Illinois license plates for years. Everybody wants to claim Honest Abe! But the Lincoln here is where the University of Nebraska is. Great clue!
  • 44D [ __ Chess: video game] WII – This seems untimely, but no more untimely than clues for NES or SEGA! Not sure ANY of these consoles are known for their chess games!
  • 49D [Victor Laszlo’s wife, in a classic film] ILSA – I think this is a Casablanca reference. A movie I actually saw!

It’s supposed to be in the 60s here on Monday! Enjoy your weekend!

Lars G. Doubleday’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up

Not a horrid solving experience, but certainly felt that feeling of angst while looking at an extremely empty grid for long stretches of time. The upper left was the first to go, and I had all but the SE corner before I succumbed and checked my answers, which resulted in the plethora of error squares you see in the grid! I will mention many of the wrong answers I had in the grid in the comments, but overall this one wasn’t too horrible after the first 5 minutes or so. A solid 4.6 stars for this one.

My many mistakes, among other things:

  • 9A [Rendered emphatically, maybe] ITALIC – I had STATED in here, since I thought this might be a word in the past tense. Tricky!
  • 37A [Latter-day “Good work!”] “YOU ROCK!” – I tried NICE ONE! but that quickly fizzled.
  • 45A [One of 60+ San Diego Zoo births] OKAPIS – Wow. I wrote PANDAS immediately. Not to sound harsh, but nobody cares about okapi births, and okapi births do not make the news. But then, for that matter, why should panda births? I know they’re nearly extinct, but my opinion is they are newsworthy only because they are cute!
  • 46A [Court player] JESTER – Another excellent misdirection. I had SETTER, as in volleyball, which has several letters in common. Didn’t get this until I had 25D KINKAJOU filled in.
  • 59A [Portraitist of Eisenhower and Abdul-Jabbar] AVEDON – Never heard of him. I’ll let you Google the Lew Alcindor photos, but I think this is the Eisenhower portrait. Yes, Richard Avedon is a photographer.
  • 65A [Literally, “remember”] SOUVENIR – My son just got back from a Caribbean cruise, and had plenty of “remember”s with him!
  • 7D [Mark of dojo achievement] DAN – I think this means “level” or something in Chinese, because the same term is used to describe Go players.
  • 9D [Longtime General Motors collaborator] ISUZU – With only the central U, I tried ACURA, since they are still made, while Isuzu I believe is now defunct.
  • 32D [Uriah Heep persona] SYCOPHANT – Defined as “a person who acts obsequiously toward someone important in order to gain advantage,” or a butt-kisser, to be kind. I actually have never read David Copperfield, the novel where this character exists. I’ll have to find the Cliff Notes version!

Everyone have a wonderful weekend, and hopefully I will see some of you in Stamford!

Gabriel Stone’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Opposition Leaders—Amy’s recap

WSJ crossword solution 2 17 18 “Opposition Leaders”

The theme adds the CON- prefix to familiar phrases. For example, 23a. [Sketch on the inside of a bowl?], CONCAVE DRAWING. Eight themers in all, including two Downs that each intersect a couple Across themers.

Didn’t solve the puzzle, so that’s about all I’ve got for you aside from the solution grid. Questions about any particular clues?

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14 Responses to Saturday, February 17, 2018

  1. CSC says:

    Re: POLOS…

    Tennis, golf, and polo, primarily. It was originally designed for tennis (called and sold as a tennis shirt!) until polo players adopted it as their own, and Ralph Lauren marketed it as a “polo shirt” in 1972.

  2. Paul Coulter says:

    I enjoyed Peter’s NYT a lot – it was rich with meaty entries (hmm, that could almost be meaty entrees, like BBQS) – but I agree that starting with BMX crossing MOUE/XDIN wasn’t ideal. It could have been easily fixed with BRO crossing ROUE/ODIN

  3. MattF says:

    Never heard of ANTSONALOG, which… I guess is the reason that quadrant was really hard for me. ANTS? LOG? Not so appetizing.

  4. arthur118 says:

    I don’t expect, (or even want), easy entry for a Saturday puzzles 1 across and today, with POUT seeming obvious for 2 Down and 3 Down a temporary poser, I finished the rest of this wonderful puzzle, leaving the NW for last.

    Then, first knowing that if the answer wasn’t POUT it must be MOUE, a quick run through the alphabet exposed the X of XDIN, which triggered a warm welcome for this clever entry. (Its sixth use since Rich Norris debuted it in 2003.)

  5. Steve Manion. says:

    I did not have a problem with the NW. I guessed BMX immediately and that lead to MOUE.

    I have known MOUE since high school, but I have never used it in speech because I do not know how to pronounce it. Does it rhyme with GO or COW or is it two syllables?

    Loved the blog post and cartoon about SEALION. Excellent puzzle.

    I hope you ice skating fans saw the short program of Yuzuru Hanyu. It was the most powerful elegant program I have ever seen. The long program was great and good enough to win gold, but seemed less forceful perhaps because Yuzuru’s injuries limited has practice schedule and maybe made him ever so slightly more cautious.


  6. Jim Peredo says:

    NYT: The SEA LION cartoon is spot on. But please, please, please scroll down to read some of the “better Olympics narratives” as alternatives to the usual “dedicated athlete proud to represent country with supportive family behind them.”

    Some that made me LOL:
    – Needs pure gold from medal to save dying spouse
    – Actually snowboarding to save community center from developers
    – Bionic sequined tutu has mind of its own
    – Chasing dream of starring in local furniture store commercial in ten years

  7. artlvr says:

    LAT — Here in Albany NY the company that was Time-Warner became SPECTRUM.
    What’s most annoying is the number of TV channels which were re-numbered…. without a clue on screen as to where to find them!

  8. Penguins says:

    Outside the DUMASPERE/AVEDON/NEREID cross the Stumper was a nice challenge as usual. Liked the look of the LAT grid.

  9. placematfan says:

    That LAT grid, naked, is so freagin beautiful.

  10. Burak says:

    I had never heard of “ants on a log” before, and when I read the clue the first thing I thought was “huh, is this like a symbolic definition for something disgusting?” Much to my chagrin it is not, apparently.

    I always give people a hard time for labeling food that they haven’t even tried yet “disgusting.” But oh boy, that ants on a log thing sounds and looks (I googled images) really, really bad.

  11. Harry Reasoner says:

    No WSJ Puzzle shown.

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