Saturday, 7/31/10

Newsday 9:03
NYT 7:43
LAT 4:27
CS untimed
WSJ Saturday Puzzle untimed—here’s the PDF of Hex’s cryptic

Barry Silk’s New York Times crossword

Region capture 37Omigod, really, Barry? TUZIGOOT? The [National monument near Flagstaff] (37d)? I had to play the alphabet game to get the Z (43a: [Word whose antonym is its own homophone] clues RAZE, which sounds like raise), and I couldn’t swear 64a was NOT NEW rather than, say, NON-NEW, what with TUZIGOOT being completely alien to me.

So 37d is my least favorite entry. Here are the brighter spots:

  • 1a. [It may measure 16″ x 16″ x 2″] clues a PIZZA BOX. I tried PIE and PAN before the BOX asserted itself. Gotta love a fresh 1a that is wickedly clued. And yes, I recognize that a 2″ thick pizza would be excessive even by Chicago stuffed pizza standards.
  • 9a. DOO-WOP is another fun answer. [It was sung in Rocky Balboa’s neighborhood], apparently.
  • 16a. ALBINO gets a non-obvious clue for the non-philatelists among us: [Accidentally uninked embossed stamp].
  • 20a. “SO SORRY!” [“My bad!”]
  • 26a, 27a. The C CUP, a bra’s [Measure of support?], is attached to bra STRAPS.
  • 34a, Why do I like JAVAN/[Like the rarest rhino]? I just do.
  • 54a. DR. SEUSS gets this clue: [One of his aliases was Theo. LeSieg], an anagram of his real surname, Geisel.
  • 65a. A TRASH CAN is a [Pitching target].
  • 8d. Medical terminology! XEROSIS is the [Possible result of vitamin A deficiency].
  • 12d. WIND CAVE is a [National park in South Dakota]. Went there on a family vacation when I was a kid.
  • 26d. [The Plame affair, informally] clues CIAGATE.
  • 42a. I like the EPEEIST clue for its misleading nature. [Jabber in a mask] puts me in mind of the verb jabber, not the roll-your-own noun meaning “one who jabs.”
  • 59d. [Have the best time, say] means the best finishing time: WIN.

Duplicate Duplication Department: I don’t know what the word septic is doing in the 15a clue when it’s the answer to 46d. An ANAEROBE is a [Septic tank resident] while SEPTIC is clued as [Infected].

I’m seeing some applet times that suggest a lot of folks found this puzzle challenging. Was it mainly the TUZIGOOT thing?

Timothy Meaker’s Los Angeles Times crossword

Region capture 36Is it just me or does this puzzle feel really nouny? Almost all of the long answers are nouns. Lots of ordinary things with plain names using common letters. See what I mean?

  • 5a. [Census bureau, essentially] is a DATA CENTER. Snooze.
  • 16a. [Sight from Sydney Harbour] is the famed OPERA HOUSE.
  • 18a. A WIND TUNNEL is an [Aerodynamics research tool]. Who doesn’t want to try out a wind tunnel?
  • 22a. [Servers with wheels] are apparently TEA WAGONS. I’ve heard of tea carts. I like to think tea wagons are red and bear the Radio Flyer brand.
  • 31a. [Pub employees] clues BARMAIDS. This word has outlived its usefulness, no?
  • 41a. [Hands and feet] is a tricky clue for MEASURES, meaning units of measure. A foot is 12 inches and a hand is one third of that.
  • 46a. [White Sands and others] are nuclear TEST SITES. Three Ss, three Ts, two Es, an I.
  • 53a. SCHOOLMARM! She’s an [Old-time educator]. Also a term that’s past its useful life.
  • 59a. [Where to find waiters] uses “waiters” to mean “people who wait around” at a TRAIN DEPOT rather than “people who wait tables.”
  • 4d. [Spar part] clues YARDARM. Yay, nauticality.
  • 7d. TENSORS are [Stretching muscles].
  • 11d. [Judgment for insufficient evidence] is something I’ve never heard of: NONSUIT.
  • 20d. [Oath taker] is a boring clue for the roll-your-own word SWEARER. Wouldn’t it be more fun to go with [One who says “%#*!”]?
  • 29d. [Nursery purchase] isn’t something for the baby’s room but something from the place that sells plants: TOPSOIL. Take some topsoil measures at your yardarm nonsuit test sites, why don’t you.
  • 40d. [Elvis sighting, e.g.] does not comport at all with my understanding of what a FACTOID is.
  • 41d. [Accidents] are MISHAPS.

Lots of people in today’s puzzle, too:

  • 15a. [Artist Bonheur] is named ROSA. I have a ton of respect for those few women who managed to persevere in predominantly male fields long ago.
  • 17a. [Harpsichordist Kipnis] is named IGOR. Whoa. I have not been following the harpsichordism field.
  • 44a. John MILTON is the [“Samson Agonistes” dramatist].
  • 49a. [Actress Van Devere] is named TRISH. This is one of those names I know mainly from puzzles.
  • 2d. Thesaurus maestro ROGET is the [Subject of Joshua Kendall’s “The Man Who Made Lists”].
  • 9d. [“Gremlins” actress] is Phoebe CATES. Who was the guy opposite her? Zach somebody? I’ve forgotten his name.
  • 10d. [Former Israeli prime minister Olmert] is one of two Israeli government EHUDs. The other is Ehud Barak.
  • 44d. [“Animal magnetism” coiner] is MESMER.
  • 48d. [Man of letters?] is game show host Pat SAJAK.
  • 55d. Then there’s HAL [Holbrook of “Evening Shade”].

Updated Saturday morning:

Randall J. Hartman’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, “Cluck of the Draw”—Janie’s review

Oh, man, we’re closin’ out the CS week here with what can only be described as some seriously fowl (word)play. So you know I’m smilin’. Randy’s three theme phrases all take the form “___ of the ___.” While the first blank is filled with a word representing one of our fine feathered friends, the phrases themselves use the terms only in the figurative sense. The fill is very fresh (all appear to be CS firsts) and is further distinguished by representing the male of the species, the female of the species and their offspring, which gives us:

  • 20A. COCK OF THE WALK [Leader with an attitude]. This’d be your serious alpha type (though not your ALFA type, which is a [Soviet submarine class]…).
  • 37A. CHICKEN OF THE SEA [Product with a mermaid in its logo]. Nice how that TUNA [37-Across product] sits right below it, too.
  • 48A. HEN OF THE WOODS [Edible mushroom]. This one was completely new to me, but take a look at these beauties. At forty to fifty pounds in some cases, these are amazing specimens!

Bonus fill comes by way of the real thing: [Eats like a sparrow] for PECKS.

You’ll find more traditional word play in some of Randy’s clues, like the alliterative [Bevy of bug-eyed believers] for CULT or the wonderful, non-aviation-based [Choose the window instead of the aisle?] for ELOPE. [Ready to serve] has nothing to do with meal prep but instead refers to one’s status with the military, so that’s ONE-A.

I also love the attitude in the clue for PASSÉ, [So last year]. [“There!”] is another clue with a point of view, yielding the lively “TAKE THAT!” Clue/fill combos like these animate the puzzle and add to the pleasure of solving.

Did you know that JELL-O is the [Dessert with a museum in Le Roy, New York]? Holy moly. That was new (and news…) to me, too, but it’s true. What makes me laugh is that this place is described as “the only Jell-O museum in the world…” Does the world need another Jell-O museum?! (Though, of course, I do love the mention of the Jell-O Brick Road…)

HOT TODDY and WEAK LINK make for terrific longer fill, and now I know you’re gonna tell me to “RELAX!” but I do have to point out two items that raised a flag for me today. One is the clue [British biscuit] for SCONE. This clue only works for me by adding “equivalent of an American” between the two words of the clue, and I don’t think that should be the solver’s job. I always thought a “British biscuit” was a cookie or cracker, no?

The other sticky wicket is the reappearance of ETOUFFÉE, clued today as [Crayfish dish]. We saw this juicy word two days ago clued as [Crawfish dish]. I’ve been really good about backing off of citing repeat fill (which tends to be of the 3- and 4-letter variety), but the same 8-letter word twice in the same week? That feels like a NO-NO to me. And a one letter difference in the clue? Sorry, but that has the appearance of an OWIE.

Stanley Newman’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper”

It’s a tough puzzle, ultimately fair (because I was able to finish it without mistakes) but not exactly fun.

Let’s walk through the clue list:

  • 7a. [Funshine or Grumpy, to tots] clues CARE BEAR. Care Bears fell into the timeline after my childhood and before my son’s arrival, and then I think a new generation of Care Bears hit the market after my son passed the age of interest.
  • 15a. ANGORA is a [Fabric named for a world capital]. Which world capital? Angora, of course. Never knew the historic name of Ankara, Turkey, was Angora.
  • 19a. [Source of sound advice] clues an ACOUSTICIAN, which is a job I’ve never heard of.
  • 22a. [What doctors call “eructation”] is a BURP. A gimme! My first answer in the grid.
  • 23a. [“The Morning Show Murders” author] is weatherman Al ROKER.
  • 24a. Worst clue/answer combo in the puzzle. [Class-conscious ones] are PTAS? Since when are PTAs considered “ones”? The individual people in a PTA could be “ones” but the plural-groups answer gets in the way of interpreting “ones” as individual people. But look at 40d: [One, with “a”] clues PERSON, lending credence to my critique.
  • 28a, 46d. Two award winners: [Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient of 1984] is Anwar SADAT and [1986 Nobel Prize name] is ELIE Wiesel.
  • 43a. To [Husband] your resources is to SAVE them.
  • 47a. [Bistro or café], either one is a LOAN WORD from another language.
  • 51a. [Literally, “way of adapting the spirit”] clues AIKIDO. My first guess, with the O in place, was SHINTO.
  • 42-180314064d. [On the ground] clues NOT UP. I’m not up on this answer.
  • 7d. [Hook-shaped architectural ornament] is a CROCKET. Never heard of it, but I’d like to put one above the tub.
  • 8d. [They put the “high” in hideaways] is an odd clue for AERIES.
  • 12d. Have you ever used the word EXACTION? It means [Wresting].
  • 24d. [Playful, in a way] clues PUNNY. If you went with FUNNY, that left you with FTAS for the class-conscious ones.
  • 27d. [Restraining order] clues the spoken command, “QUIET!”
  • 28d. [Bin’s big brothers] are SILOS. What, they’re big brothers and not big sisters? Is that because they’re phallic-shaped? I condemn this phallocratic clue.
  • 29d. A SPORTS FAN is a satellite [Dish buyer, quite possibly].
  • 32d. [Protein sources] clues RED MEATS. Not a fan of that plural. “Red meat,” no S, includes multiple types of red meat, does it not?
  • 37d. [Exploit anxiety, perhaps] would be a cool clue for STAGE FRIGHT, but that would be a different puzzle. Here it’s the verb COERCE.
  • 38d. A PATOIS is a subject of [Linguistic study].

Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon’s Wall Street Journal Saturday Puzzle, the variety cryptic “Board Meeting”

I paid no mind to the “seven members of a certain board” around the grid’s border until the end. My initial suspicion was that they’d be the six Clue characters plus Mr. Boddy, but it turned out that the “board members” are Monopoly avenues written in places roughly corresponding to their locations on the Monopoly board (VENTNOR bends around the corner to join PACIFIC in the final side, as neither Boardwalk nor Park Place is an avenue).

With enough of the cryptic answers filled in, the words around the border had some very suggestive patterns. NE*YORKK*NT*CK*? New York, Kentucky, no problem. Filling in the numbered squares revealed that the theme is MONOPOLY AVENUES rather than the states I was seeing first.

Here’s how I interpreted the cryptic clues:


  • a1. C(R)OS + S (center of SALESROOM)
  • a2. FAUX PAS sounds like foe pa
  • b1. IMPALED (anag. of LIP MADE)
  • b2. JE(S)T
  • c. ACTED (anag. of CADET)
  • d1. I.D. + 1 + OT (backwards TO)
  • d2. (tire)D + LATE anag. into DEALT
  • e1. C(AR)RIER
  • e2. RUSTLE (anag. of RUSTLE)
  • f. TO + PONY + M
  • g1. P(R)ESTO
  • g2. LINE(ME)N
  • h1. ROLLS sounds like roles
  • h2. PLUM + E
  • i. SHO(A)T
  • j1. KNAVE – K = NAVE
  • j2. WALL + A + BY
  • k1. TR(I.V.)IAL
  • k2. bigwIG LOOks


  • l1. ARMAD (anag. of DRAMA) + AS
  • l2. “OH!” + ARE
  • m1. LOP + E
  • m2. TEL AVIV (anag. of A LIVE TV)
  • n. PORTS (double definition)
  • o1. IS + LET
  • o2. SHEIK sounds like chic
  • p1. CLEAVE (double definition)
  • p2. POTOMAC (anag. of CAMP TOO)
  • q. COROLLA (anag. of COLOR AL)
  • r1. E (bit of “excitement) + ASTERN
  • r2. INTACT sounds like inn + tacked
  • s1. RU(L)ED
  • s2. PAL + IN
  • t. SMELT (double definition)
  • u1. O(P.E.)RATE
  • u2. BALK (odd letters in BeAr LaKe)
  • v1. NASA + L
  • v2. GEMS + B(O)K
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26 Responses to Saturday, 7/31/10

  1. Indeed, the TUZIGOOT “Z” was my last letter to be entered in the NYT. A whole lot of Western geography in the clues and answers tonight.

    Note for Joon: here’s tonight’s oblique Crossword Fiend soccer reference (via baseball)! In correctly entering DARRIN for former Expo catcher Fletcher at 9-down, I completely lucked out. I was thinking subconsciously of midfielder DARREN Fletcher of Manchester United.

  2. sbmanion says:


    I recall at least one scene in ROCKY where there are a bunch of DOO WOP singers on a street corner. I think they appear more than once.

    I usually read Rex’s blog, but seldom comment. Yesterday, he commented to the effect that he enjoyed reading people’s solving process. I thought I might share mine today. I found it to be pretty easy and even though CIAGATE was my last entry, I actually knew it pretty quickly, but not with certainty:


    If I left any out, it is because I didn’t really solve them, but got all the crossings. solving time: about 15 minutes, which is faster than normal for me.


  3. joon says:

    i navigated the crosses of TUZIGOOT okay (NON-NEW didn’t occur to me, luckily), but for some reason i thought JAPAN / WIND CAPE might be right. it, uh, wasn’t. i know JAPAN is an uncapitalized (improper?) noun meaning a kind of varnish, and you could kinda stretch it into an adjective if you’re talking about something like a japan tray or japanware, but … none of that has anything to do with rhinos.

    this was an odd puzzle, with a national park and national monument i’d never heard of, two former expos crossing each other (including one, DARRIN fletcher, who was not particularly noteworthy), and the weird SEPTIC dupe. full marks for PIZZA BOX, though.

  4. Jeffrey says:

    Crossing EXPOS – DARRIN/RAINES! Downhill from there for me.

  5. Jeffrey says:

    joon – DARRIN Fletcher was the catcher for the ’94 Expos, the most noteworthy version ever, winners of the World Series That Never Was.

  6. Karen says:

    I’ve been to TUZIGOOT (it’s not far from Montezuma’s Castle) so that wasn’t too hard with a few crossings, but I stumbled around WIND CAVE, trying Badlands and Rushmore first. I lost lots of traction in the NE, with the stamp clue, the movie clue (I’ve yet to see Rocky in full), the sports clue, the Shakespeare clue, and the bra clue. Several areas I’m weak in, I guess. But Arizona landmarks? Got them covered.

  7. Gareth says:

    NYT: Very easy to get into for a Saturday, not so easy to get out though!
    TUZIGOOT/RAZE was my last letter too. Didn’t help I misspelled AMARILLO with an O, there are no RO?E words whose antonym is their homonym! Anyone else want BLACK where JAVAN was – sorted itself quick enough though. DIAGATE made as much sense as CIAGATE or BIAGATE so… Came here and twigged: C.I.A. The EPEEIST clue put me in mind of Jason… I’d like to think SEPTIC would have been the least likely word to ever end up being repeated in a crossword… apparently not! Follows on from NECROSED yesterday!

    LAT: “Nouny” is still to make it’s crossword debut… Wonder if the BARMAID and the SCHOOLMARM are friends? YARDARM were used to hang nautical criminals from once, I think?

  8. Matt says:

    My downfall was the intersection between ILOILO and TUZIGOOT. I suppose I should have known ILOILO, but I didn’t feel guilty about looking up TUZIGOOT

  9. pannonica says:

    In my case, I just couldn’t get past WINE CAVE. I figured those Seventies EST fanatics were forward thinking (even though the clue specified an occasion). Winecavewinecavewinecave!

  10. Zulema says:

    What kept me back was AHAB for IAGO. I was so sure it had to be a pirate or a tar at least. But the whole puzzle I found easier than yesterday’s somehow.

  11. Zulema says:

    My avatar was changed. I haven’t chosen any, so we’ll see what comes after this one. And I keep having to log in again, but that’s no problem.

  12. Dan F says:

    I also had JAPAN, rationalizing it like Joon did. And figured FIB might be an obscure definition of [Whit]. Because TUZIBOOT is a much more logical “word” than TUZIGOOT, of course. Had to play the alphabet game several times to come up with RAZE!

  13. Jeffrey/”Youppi”…are you from Montreal? I visited there during the offseason between the Expos’ final year and the Nationals’ inaugural one…and it was a weird sight to see the Expos sign still displayed along Rue Sherbrooke near Olympic Stadium, knowing they’d never be back. The 1994 Expos team was awesome, and I often wonder whether the Expos would still exist if the strike hadn’t occurred.

  14. Howard B says:

    TUZIGOOT / RAZE / ILOILO / (and for me, also FIG which I did not understand) was borderline cruel, and the WIND CAVE / JAVAN cross was almost as rough. Double unknown National Park trivia hell. Nice puzzle that I mostly enjoyed, but those two spots took up most of my solve time and really soured the experience. If you have TU_IGOOT, then it’s up to solving the RAZE clue, which is fun. If you have TU_I_O_T, though, that is evil :). Remembering ILOILO gets you to TU_I_OOT, which is better but not reassuring.
    Again, that’s my lack of knowledge and not a constructing thing, but I really didn’t like the Stumper-esque trivia much.

    On its own, I really liked the riddle clue for RAZE, but it was placed in a very unfortunate grid position.

  15. Fern says:

    Over 200 stalwarts submitted times for today’s puzzle. Since I was stuck at the dreaded TU_I_O_T, I was not among them. So….my question is: how many of these folks consider googling to be fair play? I know the top solvers would not stoop so low, but I would wager that more than a few of the group would. Of course, they are spending the day congratulating themselves on having completed a challenging puzzle, while I am ruing a DNF. Thank goodness tomorrow is a Sunday puzzle.

  16. John Haber says:

    I couldn’t decide whether to read the clue as meaning one sets the clock that way at the end of EST or at the start of EDT, and I thus had to guess between Wine Cave and WIND CAVE. I realize I’m being too ingenious, but that and the more or less symmetrically placed geography didn’t sit all that great with me. I must have reread my crossings for TUZIGOOT a dozen times hoping something would look wrong so that the fill would seem halfway reasonable. As Howard says, ILO ILO only added to the geographical cruelty.

    I finished the NE last between that, the unusual meaning of ALBINO, and the two sports figures DARRIN and RAINES. I’m pleased I got it right, and it was a fast Saturday overall for me, even if not my fave. I had WARE as window-shopping purchase for a while, since “straws” is a real word. Once I did get C CUP, the puzzle there fixed itself, and I did like discovering the meaning of the clue for PATENTS.

  17. John Haber says:

    Amy, thanks for including at top the link to Hex’s cryptic. I know it’s monthly, but it’s one of those things that appears infrequently enough that I don’t know when and where to find it if someone isn’t looking out for us.

  18. Howard: The only thing I can say about [Whit] and FIG is that one of my former bosses, a fifth-generation Floridian versed in the “cracker” vernacular of that state’s early white settlers, loved to say “whit” a lot, as in “Not worth a whit.” Having also heard the phrase “I don’t give a fig,” and surmising that in both cases the word meant something of infinitesimal substance, I guessed the connection. And on WIND CAVE, growing up a South Dakotan was helpful. The state has another eight-letter national park: BADLANDS, which I entered first. Mount RUSHMORE is officially a national monument, like TUZIGOOT.

    Fern: My rule is that if I have to Google an answer, I won’t submit the puzzle. I will play the “alphabet game” and re-submit a puzzle in error if I suspect I have only one wrong letter and that changing it with every available option will make at least one of them, and thus the puzzle, correct. (That said, Z was my first guess on TUZIGOOT today.) Where your justifiable anger matters most of course, in Brooklyn in the late winter, even the alphabet game option cannot fix a previously submitted mistake. :-)

  19. joon says:

    after my WIND CAPE error last night, i was somewhat startled to see a front-page article about cape wind in the boston globe today.

  20. Fern says:

    Thanks, Brent. I really ought to include Brooklyn in my travel plans; I’m sure it’s a blast. I am starting to think there are indeed googlers among us (well, not on this site, of course). I use the same rules you do….and take many times longer to solve, alas. And invariably have one incorrect letter, double alas. I’m not all that angry, really, just in a bit of a pet :)

  21. John Haber says:

    Joon, I thought of Japan/Cape, too, but Javan seemed a more likely part of speech.

    An irony of the puzzle is that the one thing everyone hates in their stereotype Maleska is geography. (And they’re right.) Oh, well.

  22. Amy Reynaldo says:

    Now, what nobody’s mentioning is the implausibility of South Dakota having any kind of CAPE, given its dearth of large bodies of water.

  23. Jeffrey says:

    Brent: Yes I grew up in Montreal. The Expos arrived when I was six. I got back to a game the last week of the last year…very sad.

  24. The largest body of water in South Dakota would make a terrific word for a puzzle, though — the name is shared by the lake and the dam north of Pierre on the Missouri River that created it:


    And no, I didn’t misspell that…

  25. Jan says:

    [LAT] I also questioned FACTOID for “Elvis sighting, e.g.” but I just looked it up at and found this: “Something fictitious or unsubstantiated that is presented as fact, devised esp. to gain publicity and accepted because of constant repetition.” That sounds about right!

  26. Peter Biddlecombe says:

    WSJ puzzle: just one suggested alteration: I think D1 is (TO, I.D. (verb), 1) all reversed. Enjoyable puzzle, though the clues seem a bit watered down for the WSJ folks not used to cryptics.

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