Saturday, 7/28/12

NYT 5:59 
Newsday 5:21 
LAT 4:43 
CS 5:47 (Sam) 

Victor Fleming and Sam Ezersky’s New York Times crossword

NYT crossword solution, 7 28 12 0728

Seasoned vet Vic teams up with newbie Sam (teenager? I think yes) to bring us this 70-worder.

Listen, I’m watching the Parade of Nations and we’re still in the R’s, so I’m going to make this snappy.

Faves: Trekkie STARDATE; the IDITAROD; empty CALORIES from a vending machine; CHICK LIT (not to be confused with Chiclets); WET BARS; SHIRAZ (a cool-sounding word, an Iranian city, a wine, and a college classmate of mine), MONOGAMY IN CLUMPS (what? that’s not how it’s best served?); the verb SPIFF; GOOGLE EARTH; Hall & Oates’ “SHE’S GONE” (which is not the Hall & Oates song that served as Sam and Shelly’s wedding recessional; that was “You Make My Dreams Come True,” if I recall correctly, and the happy couple boogied their butts off); PHOTOBUCKET (which is spelled too properly; has it learned nothing from Flickr and Imgur?); and OBAMA clued prefixually as [Start to care?].

Unfaves: Old appliance brand TAPPAN; crosswordese geography MT OSSA ([Landmark also known as Kissavos] is a tough clue, no?); boring OATERS, ATRA, NEAP, SOLI, CEIL; unfamiliar ELYSE [Knox, costar of Lon Chaney in “The Mummy’s Tomb”].

Unusualest answer: 38a: SEA CALF, a [Certain seal], perhaps a harbor seal. Not at all the offspring of a sea cow, which is a manatee or other sirenian. Seals are a good bit sleeker than your average sirenian.

We are now up to Tajikistan in the parade. I’ll sign off here with a rating of 3.5 stars.

Updated Saturday morning:

Sarah Keller’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Boston Market” – Sam Donaldson’s review

CS solution, July 28

Today’s puzzle features five terms that meet two criteria: (1) they can follow the word “Boston,” and (2) they either are or feature something comestible:

  • 18-Across: The [Barbecue side] is (Boston) BAKED BEANS.
  • 23-Across: The [Harbor protest against British taxes] is known as the (Boston) TEA PARTY.
  • 39-Across: The [Salad leaves] are (Boston) LETTUCE. I’ve never heard this term. Quick research indicates it’s another name for Bibb lettuce or butterhead lettuce. I like “butterhead”–sounds like a great name with which to insult someone. “Wrong again, butterhead!
  • 51-Across: The [Dessert choice] that works here is (Boston) CREAM PIE.
  • 56-Across: The [18-Across accompaniment] is (Boston) BROWN BREAD. Never heard of this one, either. Wikipedia, says it’s “a type of dark, slightly sweet bread (usually a quick bread) popular in New England. It is cooked by steam in a can or cylindrical pan.”

Two problems with the theme. First, the TEA PARTY stands out as the only non-food item in the group. Having TEA in the name is not enough to put it in the same group with the others, all of which are actually things you can put in your mouth. Second, only the last theme entry contains a clue that cross-references another theme entry. It should have its own stand-alone clue like the others.

That said, the triple 7’s along each side of the grid are a lovely touch. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a NEWS LAB, the [Journalists’ think tank], but that was the only entry that gave me much pause. Well, that’s not entirely true. I did pause for a little while with VITALS as the answer to [Heart, liver, and lungs]. I really wanted that to be ORGANS. To me, “vitals” is short for “vital signs,” like pulse and blood pressure. But maybe that’s the effect of watching too much Emergency! as a kid.

There’s a few too many abbreviations and word parts here for my taste (OLA, ARD, TRA, STS, ITES, and TRIN, short for “trinity” I s’pose), but it’s nice to see the full-name shout out to TINA FEY and the appearance of AFRO-POP, [Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s music].

Favorite entry = GOBLIN, the [Mischievous folklore creature]. Favorite clue = [Artist with a “code”] for DAVINCI.

Julian Lim’s Los Angeles Times crossword

LA Times crossword answers, 7 28 12

Lots of zippy fill in this 70-worder. Among the highlights:

  • 15a. [Angry Birds, originally], iPHONE APP.
  • 20a. [Line from one with no match], “GOT A LIGHT?”
  • 28a. [Intercalary event], LEAP DAY. I don’t recall seeing the word intercalary before 2012’s Leap Day.
  • 51a. [2010 Grammy winner for “Just the Way You Are”], BRUNO MARS. I like him.
  • 60a. [RealPlayer alternative], Apple’s QUICKTIME.
  • 23d. [Sailor’s concern], DEAD CALM. Also the name of a movie with, if memory serves, Sam Neill and Nicole Kidman. Lurid!
  • 27d. [The Fab Five of ’80s rock], DURAN DURAN. I know many of you share my disappointment that Duran Duran didn’t play a role in the Olympic opening ceremonies last night.
  • 30d. [Respect, in slang], PROPS. The best props to receive, of course, are mad props.
  • 53d. [Zombie bases], RUMS. Cocktails, not the living dead come back to eat your brains. Okay, so this is semi-lame fill and it’s the clue that I liked.

These are offset by the clunkier stuff:

  • 10a. APPAL, variant spelling.
  • 16a. SALT I, which may be fading into a historical footnote four decades later.
  • 40a. [Kodak film brand], TMAX. Never heard of it. Haven’t bought film since the ’90s.
  • 62a. [Playwright Bernard who created “The Partridge Family”] as a clue for SLADE. Don’t know that I’ve ever seen his name before. There’s an old British rock band and former senator Slade Gorton.
  • REI, SHAR, MEM, NANG, DONEE, ASTA, etc. Snoozy stuff.
  • 13d. AT THAT RATE, [If things continue as they’re going]. “At this rate” feels much more familiar to me.
  • 25d. [Somewhat lacking], NOT THE BEST. Not the best fill, as it doesn’t feel at all like a lexical chunk to me.

Pet peeve: Hearing people mispronounce 64a: TENET ([Article of faith]) as “tenent.” I believe these are the same people who enjoy “sherbert.” In both cases, the word is easier to pronounce correctly, so I don’t know why the inserted consonants happen.

3.25 stars.

Barry Silk’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper”

Newsday crossword solution, 7 28 12 "Saturday Stumper"

Easier than most Stumpers, if you ask me, and less zippy than the NYT and LAT puzzles today owing to a grid densely packed with 7s and barely anything longer.


  • 1a. [Motional game show], CASH CAB. Canceled by the Discovery channel but still airing in syndicated reruns.
  • 28a. [Jason wears one in “The Bourne Identity”], SEIKO watch. Great clue.
  • 51a. [Jim Broadbent, in “The Iron Lady”], DENIS Thatcher. I’ve selected this one because when I reached this clue, I had *ENIS in place and wondered if the phallic bridge would be crossed today. Alas, no.
  • 66a. [French word for “workshop”], ATELIER. As in “This crossword comes from the atelier of Barry Silk.”
  • 68a. [Ray’s employer on “Everybody Loves Raymond], NEWSDAY. I always like it when a newspaper crossword gets the paper’s name into the grid.
  • 40d. [Sci-fi stock character], CAVE MAN. I like the answer but am not sure what the clue has to do with it.
  • 46d. [Essential element of dot-com transactions], ZIP CODE. I like the answer but am not sure what the clue has to do with it. You can buy a lot of virtual stuff (subscriptions to the Fireball crossword, registration for crossword tournaments) via PayPal, and your ZIP code is utterly beside the point. It’s essential only if you’re having something shipped.
  • 60d. [Name meaning “born again”], RENÉ.

Parts that left me cold:

  • 8a. [Newfangled transmission], WEBCAST. This is not a word I encounter often.
  • 25a. [Liz Claiborne brand], RUSS. It’s not a particularly famous brand. The Russes Feingold, Tamblyn, and Meyer are probably more familiar to most people.
  • 5d. [“Double Indemnity” author], CAIN. I’m not up on my 1940s crime novelists. I do like the lurid cover of this paperback, though.
  • 8d. [Parting declaration], WE MUST GO. Sounds clunky.
  • 13d. [Voice], SONANCE. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary doesn’t include this word.
  • 29d. [“The bird is on the wing” source], OMAR. Since when do we call him just “Omar” rather than Omar Khayyam?
  • 42d. [Disperse], BESTREW. This word doesn’t do much that “strew” can’t do.

Lots of proper nouns in this one. Too many? 3.5 stars.

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20 Responses to Saturday, 7/28/12

  1. Martin says:

    pannonica and SEA,

    I added some info to your discussion of French roadways in the Thursday thread.

  2. Stan Newman says:

    Rather sultry actress ELYSE Knox was the wife of football star Tom Harmon, and the mother of actors Mark Harmon and Kristin Harmon, who married Rick Nelson.

  3. Huda says:


    MONOGAMY– IN CLUMPS–CELL MATE is a funny pile up with a sense of containment, to contrast with the wide open spaces evoked by STARDATE and IDITAROD in the opposite corner.

    Good Saturday

  4. RK says:

    Thought calories was a clever clue. Screwed up wetbars early with wetnaps which hurt me at the very end. Thought it was Tippan and Bizet had no idea.

    One hit is a bad answer because a no-hitter is not sufficient in itself to make perfect game. A perfect game is one where no batters get on base in any way.

    Too many proper names in this puzzle maybe?

    LATimes is down unfortunately.

  5. Amy Reynaldo says:

    @RK: You can get the LA Times puzzle from (in Across Lite format), as well as solving online or printing it out at the Chicago Tribune site.

  6. Martin says:

    Yes, RK. A one-hiiter is almost a perfect game like Al Gore almost won Florida.

    There have been 22 perfect games in history, including the nineteenth-century period that’s often not counted because the rules were so different. There were 26 one-hitters in 1986.

  7. Erik says:

    you’re wrong, sam. i’m having a TEA PARTY in my mouth right now. and you’re invited.

  8. john farmer says:

    Al Gore won Florida in 2000 like Armando Galarraga threw a perfect game in 2010. But they wuz robbed by the umps.

    Is DA VINCI now the name of the artist? Has Dan Brown won the argument?

    Add pundint (for pundit) to tenent and sherbert. I hear that one too.

  9. RK says:

    Thanks for the link Amy!

    Had trouble with the LAtimes’ northeast corner. Toric and shar-pei never heard of, and Western US seems a tad unfair given that the clue doesn’t have any abbreviations, not that I knew where the Great Basin was.

    Galarraga was indeed robbed.

  10. Howard B says:

    Liked the WEBCAST inclusion in the Newsday, I’ve heard it enough to pass the validity test.

    However, as personal preference, I’m really not into the style of specific film/TV trivia clues (such as for NEWSDAY, SEIKO, etc.) because honestly, if you haven’t seen the programs in question and have a very good memory for minutiae, you just need lots of crossing letters. Especially SEIKO, for which the clue hides the brand name tipoff, for XXtra difficulty. And there’s plenty of these kinds of clues to go around. You do have to know going into a Stumper puzzle that this is the style to expect. It’s just not my style :).

  11. Greg says:

    The Lim puzzle is one of the lamest I have seen. Galarraga was robbed but Gore is a tool.

  12. sbmanion says:

    I don’t know if anyone pitched a “worse” no hitter than A.J. Burnett who had nine walks and two hit batters. I know there have been several losing no hitters where there were several errors and some walks.

    As much as I love sports, when I think of one hit, I think of a pop singer who had exactly one hit. At the top of the list is Los Del Rio. Anyone know the song without googling? Hint: I can’t blame you if you have blocked it out of your mind.


  13. Martin says:

    I love that song, maybe because I first saw it on Telemundo, being danced by a slew of the scantily-clad lovelies that make Telemundo variety shows worth watching, even though you don’t understand a word.

    Actually, I’m sure that’s why I love that song.


    Then add a hit and you know why that clue bother me as much as it does.

  14. Huda says:

    Martin!! That’s a whole new side of you! Watching Telemundo’s scantily-clad lovelies while making Misoshiru!

  15. ArtLvr says:

    So glad CAIN wasn’t clued with Herman… The hammering out of the party platforms will be telecast, and I expect the GOP participants to plunk down the same planks as 28 years ago – (haven’t watched the potty process since!) Personhood of womb contents etc. always a staple, TEA PARTY on steroids and fully unleashed…

  16. sbmanion says:

    And a new word for the GOP nominee: WAZZOCK. Is everyone in England familiar with this word? I had never heard it before.


  17. Gareth says:

    Late to comments. Traveled 1000km today and where i am doesn’t have a great gprs signal… Thought it was great how both ny and lat had much more contemporary answers than usual. Not sure what’s wrong with neap, standard vocab if you’re on the coast.

  18. Tuning Spork says:

    ArtLvr, if you “haven’t watched the process” in 28 years, then you’re either a disgruntled old coot, or my hero. (I’m eight years and counting.)

    A person in the womb is, indeed, a person, by the way. (I’m not looking for an argument about it. You brought it up, you old coot, so I may be excused for responding to it. You see what happens when you discuss politics and religion in broad company? :-P )

  19. Rob says:

    RichGirl was a 1977 hit for H&O, also fits the cross of imaGed, and yes, I went down that wrong road.

  20. Bonekrusher says:

    brilliant brilliant NYT. Fun answers, clever cluing. That is all.

Comments are closed.