Saturday, February 24, 2018

LAT 5:32 (Derek) 


Newsday 13:54 (Derek) 


NYT 4:27 (Amy) 


WSJ  untimed (Jenni) 


John Guzzetta’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 2 24 18, no 0224

Was this one easier for you than yesterday’s? It worked out that way for me. I was surprised, since I bypassed the entire northwest chunk until the rest of the puzzle was done.

Good flow throughout the grid, no? At least through that big diagonal swath of openness.


Did not know, despite surely seeing it in prior crosswords: 9d. [Fuel for planes], AV GAS. I think I’ve seen 33a. [Socket for setting a gem], COLLET in other puzzles, because I pieced it together but have no recollection of learning that word in metalsmithing class.

Six more things:

  • 1a. [Blogs, social media and other nontraditional outlets], FIFTH ESTATE. I feel like this term is not much used.
  • 36a. [Dolphinfish, informally], MAHI. *scowl* If you’re not calling a yo-yo a “yo,” don’t call mahi mahi “mahi.” (Anyone else hearing an echo of “Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!” now?)
  • 2d. [“Go, me!”], I RULE. As the arbiter, I rule that this phrase isn’t firmly “in the language” enough to pass muster as a crossword entry.
  • 5d. [Start of a start of a menu?], HORS. I … can’t say any of the restaurants I go to include hors d’oeuvres on the menu. Maybe a wedding menu?
  • 10d. [Follower of four or six, but not five], TEEN. Oneteen, twoteen, threeteen, fiveteen. You know they make sense. Let’s make this happen.
  • 39d. [Ice cream choice], SWIRL. There are actual ice creams with, say, fudge or caramel swirls mixed in. But a swirl of chocolate and vanilla soft-serve … is that real ice cream? Wikipedia says that soft-serve is ice cream, but with more air mixed in and typically less milkfat. Wikipedia also says that—are you sitting down?—soft-serve is called “American ice cream” in much of Europe. I’m insulted. The US has so much good premium ice cream of the non-soft variety!

Four stars from me.

Matthew Sewell’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up

More iPad solving this morning! It’s easier sometimes to solve this way, especially early in the morning while everyone is still asleep and I have not gotten up yet! I am not a morning person, but I do like quiet mornings. Maybe I am getting old; I will hit the big 50 in 2019!! Yikes!!

Great puzzle my Matt today. Just a tad easier than the normal Stumper torture chambers, but still difficult. Again, I gauge the level of difficulty by how upset I get when I get stuck, and this one didn’t raise my ire much at all. That means look out next week! 4.6 stars for this one.

Some observations:

  • 15A [Maker of monitors and monorails] HITACHI – I thought it might be this, but I couldn’t help thinking that HIBACHI was also a brand name!
  • 38A [Collector’s credo] DON’T BREAK UP A SET – I like this a lot, probably since I am probably too obsessed with set in this way!
  • 57A [Italian city where Dante and Byron lived] RAVENNA – Not too familiar with this town. I should travel to Italy and research it …
  • 63A [Destination for many Buddha Air passengers] EVEREST – I guessed on this one, and I was right! You had to figure Buddha Air would be near Nepal or something in that area.
  • 64A [Series opener] PART ONE – I had GAME ONE. Sports are always on my mind, it seems!
  • 12D [One in the driest state] NEVADAN – Best clue in the puzzle, at least to me. I had thoughts of someone as sober as possible until I had nearly every letter in this!
  • 35D [Line on a basset hound T-shirt] I’M ALL EARS – This does exist!
  • 39D [John Waters film gimmick inspired by Smell-O-Vision] ODORAMAThis site explains it better, but his was used in Polyester, which I have never seen. I wonder if you can order the card still … !

Everyone have a great weekend!

Neville Fogarty & Doug Peterson’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up

An unusual yet talented collaboration for today’s LAT Saturday challenge. I wonder if this is the first time these two have worked together on a puzzle? They have created a fine 72-worder that isn’t too hard, yet still has some fun entries in it, and I will mention a few of those below. This was a quick solve, but I have been getting plenty of sleep lately, so that helps! A solid 4.4 stars for this one.

A few highlights:

  • 1A [Arcing “American Ninja Warriow” obstacle] WARPED WALL – One of my favorite summer shows, actually! And Chase seems to like to watch it as well, especially since there are people falling into water nearly constantly. I don’t know who won this last year, but the year before the finale was so hard NOBODY won! (Just checked: nobody won last year either! But they DO have a taping in Indy at the end of April …)
  • 25A [“Whispers of Immortality” poet] T. S. ELIOT – My favorite of his works. Just kidding. Never heard of this work! But I am uncultured, as you well know.
  • 58A [Producer Rhimes’ TV production company] SHONDALAND – If you have ever seen Scandal or one of her other shows, you have seen this image at the end:
  • 63A [Sci-fi franchise since 1984] TERMINATOR – Tricky! I guess this is sci-fi, although it doesn’t seem like it at times. Comes across as more dystopian-Armageddon type fiction. Which I suppose is still science fiction …
  • 23D [It has a torch and two brances on its back] DIME – I carry cash so infrequently now this one stumped me!
  • 34D [Payments for hands] ANTES – This one I think is meant to be tricky, but it didn’t seem that way at all. Is there a list for most used crossword words? This has to be high on it!
  • 44D [“Alias Grace” author] ATWOOD – This is adapted on Netflix, and she also wrote The Handmaid’s Tale which appears on Hulu. In the middle of watching/reading both of these.

Still severe flooding here, but hopefully the waters recede this coming week. Have a nice weekend everyone!

Tracey Gordimer’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Patter Up!” — Jenni’s review

Belated note about Saturday’s WSJ. It’s a P-for-B replacement theme.

WSJ 2/24, solution grid

  • 23a [Sleeveless dress in pastel colors?] is PALE JUMPER (bail jumper).
  • 25a [Inspection preceding a pirate punishment?] is PLANK CHECK (blank check).
  • 35a [Results of inventories at the Employee of the Month Award factory?] is PLAQUE LIST (blacklist).
  • 51a [Willingness to try riskier skateboarding tricks, perhaps?] is PAD INFLUENCE (bad influence).
  • 65a [Vegetable patch tended by nobles?] is PEER GARDEN (beer garden).
  • 67a [Leader in a footrace?] is PACE RUNNER (base runner).
  • 85a [Wolf hunter’s activity?] is PACK TRACKING (backtracking).
  • 96a [Nest boxes in a henhouse?] is PULLET HOLES (bullet holes).
  • 110a [Masonry material for some Australian homes?] is PERTH STONES (birth stones).
  • 113a [Recliner in a yellowish-pink color?] is PEACH CHAIR (beach chair).

Sometimes the spelling of the b-to-word was changed, which struck me as slightly inconsistent. I know that’s picky.

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20 Responses to Saturday, February 24, 2018

  1. huda says:

    NYT: Very smooth, with a lot of cool fill–I love BINGE WATCHING and SLIPPERY SLOPE.
    I found it easier than most Thursdays. I’m not complaining, mind you. It makes me feel smarter ( a paper in SCIENCE can also do that).

    • Zulema says:

      Huda, I agree totally and I am also not complaining. On the contrary, beautiful puzzle, terrific fill. Thanks to whomever thanks are due.

  2. Puff says:

    LA Times – 4 Down is a wonderful clue. Orca consideration.

  3. Steve Manion. says:

    I thought yesterday’s was easier. Only the SE fell quickly, Superb puzzle.

    I and my jock friends will use I RULE to express our complete domination of our hopelessly inferior totally outclassed opponent whom we have just beaten in an extremely close game.

  4. Norm says:

    Ir seems like it should have been easy to avoid the ARC dupe in the LAT of 1A clue & 21A answer.

    • Martin says:

      The “rule” against such dupes is mostly found here, and not in the regular activities of editors. (It’s true that different editors have varying tolerances for them.)

      A careful editor will avoid a clue that telegraphs the answer to an entry in the same grid. For this example to be a flaw, for instance, one has to feel that “Arcing ‘American Ninja Warrior’ obstacle” will spoil the solving experience for “Extended narratives” — that ARCS came to mind because the former clue placed it front-and-center in the solver’s consciousness. Since I got ARCS largely from crossings, it certainly wasn’t the case for this solver.

      It’s good that this dupe rule is not a hard-and-fast thing. Imagine the chaos that an entry like THE (“French hot drink”) would cause.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      I can’t imagine Martin’s got a defense for the crossing of FLEW and FLYROD in the LAT.

  5. Christopher Smith says:

    Maybe we’re going to need to stop walking into Parisian cafes demanding French Toast before we start complaining about what Europeans call soft-serve ice cream.

  6. David L says:

    Maybe I’m unusually cranky this week, but I have yet another nit to pick about a science-y clue. An EDDY is any kind of rotatory motion in a fluid, and it’s not true that they go one way in the northern hemisphere and the other way in the south. There is a certain kind of large-scale oceanic circulation called an eddy, and those do indeed behave as the clue says. But the clue isn’t correct, IMO, unless it makes clear somehow that it’s referring to a specific kind of eddy.

    • Pat says:

      Thank you very much, David L, for the explanation. So happy to hear that I’m not nuts.

    • Martin says:

      Earlier in the week I’d agree with you and would have complained about the clue too. But on Saturday if a clue is correct in any context, it’s legit. Leaving out the extra contextual information is a mark of a good Saturday clue.

      In fact, a clue that’s correct in even one case is correct clue any day of the week. It’s just that it may be a bad clue on Monday but a good one on Saturday.

      • David L says:

        We’ve had this discussion before. What you advocate seems like a strange philosophy to me. The example I proposed last time was a clue that said ‘place to store your shoes,’ with the intended answer OVEN, because I once saw an episode of House Hunters with a guy in a small apartment in NYC who never cooked and kept his shoes in the oven.

        • Martin says:

          If that guy had gone viral and a significant number of people knew about it, then yeah I guess that would be an OK clue for the right kind of audience (BEQ or AVX maybe?) . But he didn’t, so no.

          On the other hand, an academic treatment of “eddies,” including words about their rotation with respect to the equator would seem to elevate this to non-fake factoid status.

          At the end of the day, it’s an editorial decision. I’m not advocating a philosophy. I’m noting what I’ve observed about this editor’s approach to making weekend clues knotty.

          You’re certainly within your rights to disagree with his approach. I’m less sure about asserting it’s incorrect. I would never mind “I think the clue is lousy.” But “that clue is not correct” is controversial, in my opinion.

  7. Burak says:

    NYT’s long words were outstanding. All fresh, some clued brilliantly. If the corners were better, this would have been an all-time great puzzle.

    What a solid week for NYT. Let’s hope the streak continues tomorrow. I love the new set of constructors that are starting to make more frequent appearances. If they also fix the Sunday puzzle (not asking for a lot, I’m more than OK with 3.25-star puzzles), voila.

  8. Jules says:

    Hi all, I was going to comment yesterday but the CHE puzzle wasn’t
    posted so I thought I’d stop by today. A big thank you to Brad
    for giving my puzzle a home, and for some great
    editing work on it. Hope you enjoyed it.

  9. sandra stark says:

    Where’s the WSJ write up for Saturday?

  10. Penguins says:

    “Just a tad easier than the normal Stumper torture chambers, but still difficult.”

    One of my faster solves but it’s always a challenge.

    Nice round of Saturday puzzles.

Comments are closed.