Saturday, May 18, 2013

NYT 13:31 w/4 Googles & 1 spoiler 
Newsday 4:57 
LAT 3:34 (Andy) 
CS 6:15 (Dave) 

Martin Ashwood-Smith’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 5 18 13, no. 0518

Wow! I … have not found a puzzle this unpleasant to work through in at least a year. Martin, you’re a nice guy, but this puzzle kept hitting me over the head with a hammer. Crosswordese! Awkward fill! Frightfully obscure cluing approaches! At 8 minutes and change, I had the top quad stack filled in but hardly anything else. Eventually I caved in and started Googling. Plus, a friend who didn’t know I wasn’t done yet accidentally revealed one of the bottom 15s. Despite four Google look-ups and a give-away 15, it still took me 13 1/2 unpleasant minutes. Here are the four things I Googled:

  • 37a. [Title gambler in a 1943 Cary Grant film], MR. LUCKY. Doesn’t ring a bell. Hey! My mom was born that year, so it’s a little before her time too.
  • 42a. [Eagles tight end Igwenagu], EMIL. Never heard of him. And you?
  • 27d. [Org. that publishes Advocacy Update], AMA. You know what a Google search will tell you? That lots of groups publish an Advocacy Update! This clue was standing in the way rather than serving as an aid to the solver.
  • 25d. [“The Inspector General” star, 1949], KAYE. Would it have killed you, Shortz, to include the name Danny? My husband has seen this; I never have.

And my friend revealed this one:

  • 54a. [Tone poem that calls for four taxi horns, with “An”], AMERICAN IN PARIS. May I just say that 15s that are “with ‘The'” or “with ‘An'” feel like kind of a cheat for the constructor?

In the category of Other Things Amy Sure as Hell Didn’t Get Right Off the Bat, we have these:

  • 16a. [Indicator of how accurate a numerical guess is], PERCENTAGE ERROR. Is this a standard statistical term? It doesn’t feel familiar.
  • 17a. [Bringer of peace], ENTENTE CORDIALE. Faintly familiar. Appeared in a 2010 Krozel puzzle. Has also appeared in NYT puzzles in 1997 (that one coauthored by … Martin Ashwood-Smith!), 2005, and 2006. I’m OK with never seeing it again, since I don’t ever see it outside of crosswords.
  • 24a. [“The Chronicles of Clovis” author], SAKI. Got it from the crossings.
  • 45a. [Much commercial production], SPOT TV. This is a thing?
  • 52a. [Post-W.W. II fed. agcy.], AEC. Tell me it’s the NRC’s predecessor and I’ll nail it. Vague “fed. agcy. from 70 years ago” clue? Not a chance.
  • 64a. [Packing it in], FEEDING ONE’S FACE. Stuffing your face is way more familiar, no? This is one of two onesies; 18a is STARS IN ONE’S EYES, and I really do not care for two ONE’S phrases in a single puzzle. Does anyone?
  • 7d. [1930s bomber], B-TEN. Which, of course, was always called the B-10 and not spelled out, no? Not a favorite fill category. (See also: 47a. ONE-D.)
  • 29d. [“Revolver” Grammy winner Voormann], KLAUS. Who?? So he won a Grammy for designing the cover of a Beatles album? They gave Grammys for that??
  • 31d. [“Deirdre” playwright], YEATS. Whoa. I checked Cruciverb. The 38 clues for 60 appearances of YEATS have never mentioned that play. The play lacks its own Wikipedia article and isn’t mentioned in Yeats’ Wikipedia write-up. Raise your hand if you’ve read it.
  • 43d. [Chandra, in Hindu belief], MOON GOD. Any relation to Chandra Levy?
  • 53d. [___-foot jelly], CALF’S. I started with NEAT’S. Neat’s-foot oil is made by boiling cattle feet. So baby cattle feet get you calf’s-foot jelly? Wikipedia redirects to the edible aspic, whereas the neat’s-foot oil is used in leather processing. Are you as grossed out as I am?
  • 56d. [Hohenberg’s river], EGER. Clue it as a Hungarian city or a river that feeds the Elbe, and I might have gotten this. Never heard of Hohenberg. Oh! Here’s why: Hohenberg an der Eger has a population of 1,464. Really, Martin and Will? Really?
  • 61d. [Thomas H. ___, the Father of the Western], INCE. He was last in a John Farmer puzzle in 2009. A Monday puzzle! Betcha a dollar I blogged that this is not Monday fill. Yep: “This one’s tough.”

Things I liked: The 1a it’s-not-AMERICANEXPRESS trap; the NSA clue [Intel processor?]; [Northern game preceder] as a clue for O CANADA (I was pondering ALASKAN and thinking of game animals), [Information information] as the clue for the ridiculously un-Scrabbly STREET ADDRESSES[Not just another face in the crowd?] cluing WALDO (which is the name I almost shouted out the car window yesterday when passing a man wearing a shirt with red and white stripes); the [Quarter of …] foreign-language number clues.

Bearing in mind the various unpleasantnesses, though, not to mention that plural EGONS, two stars. I hope you had a better time with it than I did.

Updated Saturday morning:

Alan Arbesfeld’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Family Ties” – Dave Sullivan’s review

A family reunion is depicted in today’s CrosSynergy puzzle:

CS solution – 05/18/13

  • Your eccentric Uncle Leroy who wears those loud Hawaiian print shirts lurks amid GUN CLEANING. Though the clue tries to be cute ([Activity that may put you over a barrel]), the less I see anything about guns in my puzzle, the better.
  • Typically, Mom is the one holding the THERMOMETER.
  • Your “intrepid” Aunt Mabel can be found eating potato salad and within UNDAUNTED.
  • Dad’s ready to bolt, anxious to watch pro football in the solitude of his basement man cave and SKEDADDLE.
  • Oh, and there’s your brother, wearing that sweater Aunt Mabel knit him (the only time of the year he wears it): EMBROIDERED.
  • Finally, it’s your sister, recently emigrated from your native Herzegovina, just back from ELLIS ISLAND.

This is the rare puzzle in which I think there is too much theme material–the 6 long entries made for a very choppy solve, with a bunch of short entries and compromises in the fill. I did have a FAVE entry, though, and that was being reminded of my fondness for Armistead MAUPIN‘s Tales of the City, which ran in daily installments in the San Francisco Chronicle. My UNFAVE was EAD, clued as [The same, on prescriptions]. It comes from the Latin eādem, and should’ve stayed there.

Julian Lim’s Los Angeles Times crossword—Andy’s review

LAT Puzzle 05.18.13 by Julian Lim

Looking back at this one, there are a lot of really fresh long entries. Phrases that feel very “in the language.” And I think that, solving this one most other Saturdays, I would really have relished this solve. But while I was solving this one, I kept thinking about yesterday’s truly excellent NYT puzzle by Josh Knapp. Maybe it’s an unfair comparison to make, but looking at the two side-by-side really brings out how much short fill this one needs to make the long fill happen. This one’s practically bereft of medium length fill (four 6s, two 7s, no 8s).

Let’s run down the highlights (of which there were many), and throw some factoids in there:

  • 2d, LOCAL COLOR [Regional asset]. Can you think of a longer phrase using only the letters A, C, L, O, and R? CORAL, COLLAR, CORRAL, ROCOCO, COROLLA, and COCA-COLA all spring to mind. And no, LA LA LA LA LA LA LA doesn’t count.
  • 3d, EXURBANITE [One with a long commute, probably]. I think Will Nediger and I used almost exactly the same clue for the entry EARLY RISER, so my brain tried to pull some tomfoolery on me here. Fortunately, I was pretty sure about XOXO by the time I got to this one.
  • 15a, CASHES IN ON [Exploits]. The verb, not the noun.
  • 18a, ETHNIC JOKE [It’s more acceptable when it’s self-mocking]. B.J. Sokol has some interesting things to say about this self-mocking ethnic jokes in Shakespeare.
  • 26a, I CAN HARDLY WAIT! [Impatient cry]. My mom once told my brother’s English teacher she “couldn’t wait” to chaperone a field trip. The English teacher’s response? “Well, you’ll have to. It’s not until next week.”
  • 30d, TRICKED OUT [Covered in bling, say].It’s a phrase I’ve most commonly heard applied to cars, but I guess other things could be “tricked out” as well.

    A tricked out car.

  • 42a, REACH FOR THE SKY! [Order in an oater]. Cutely phrased clue. Makes me think of Woody from Toy Story.
  • 58a, BUSY SIGNAL [Conversation barrier]. Who knew the busy tones in North America and the UK were different? In North America, the busy signal consists two tones of 480 and 620 Hz, with equal 0.5-second on/off periods. In the United Kingdom, the busy signal consists of a single 400 Hz tone with equal 0.375-sec. on/off periods.
  • 7d, I SHUDDER TO THINK [Words of dread]. I shudder to think how difficult this puzzle might have been without all the gettable crossings.
  • 34d, EASY AS PIE! [“No sweat!”]. What this puzzle was, thanks to all the gettable crossings.

As you can see, the long fill offered one hit after another. The only long entry I actively didn’t like was IN HOSPITAL [Recuperating at the Royal London]. But certainly not inexcusable by any means. And EXCLAIMED [Hollered] was a nice long entry as well. Most of the short fill wasn’t bad, though there were a lot of abbrevs. (ELEC, ENER, THU, ELIM, IN RE), acronyms (OSHA, BHT, ADHD, FGS), and foreign stuff (DEI, DIA, ALTE, ALLO [clued as a prefix, but still]). Wasn’t too keen on AHN, HAP, ALB, or SEEDAGE either.

Ultimately, I think the good outweighs the bad on this one — 4 stars from me. Until next week!

Stan Newman’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” credited to “Lester Ruff”

Newsday crossword answers, 5 18 13 “Saturday Stumper”

With a maximum word length of 7 letters, this puzzle lacks the shiny, long fill of today’s LA Times (and I do appreciate lively long answers). But on the plus side, all the short fill that grated on me in the NYT and Andy in the LAT is absent here. The worst it gets is IAN clued as a suffix and the plural abbreviation TDS, which is mighty familiar to anyone who pays attention to American football. Every entry in this puzzle is likely to be familiar to most solvers. Well, okay, NECTARY (40d. [Pollinator’s destination]) is weird, not nearly as familiar as nectar, but inferrable.

Top 10 clues making easy(ish) words trickier to see:

  • 17a. [Toasted], DRANK TO. I read the clue word as an adjective and as the browned-bread verb first.
  • 20a. [”The First Tip-Off” subject], NBA. The term tip-off is used in a number of ways, and the little “aha, basketball!” light went off when I completed the [Dragonfly prey] BEE (same clue doubles for ANT).
  • 24a. [Mongoose cousin], HYENA. You don’t say. Is this taxonomically true, pannonica?
  • 33a. [Small French town with 200+ hotels], LOURDES. Nifty trivia.
  • 45a. [Japanese word for ”round”], YEN. Did not know that.
  • 5d. [Contents of some reservoirs], INKS. Could only think of water reservoirs.
  • 7d. [Seattle and Vancouver], EPONYMS. Seattle was the leader of the Suquamish and Duwamish tribes, and George Vancouver was an English navigator in the late 1700s who mapped out much of the West Coast from Alaska down to California.
  • 12d. [Polo player’s wear], KNEEPAD. I confess I have never paid much attention to what polo players wear while playing.
  • 44d. [Straight nature], HONESTY.
  • 50d. [1000], TEN A.M.

I liked 42d. [What some spoons are made for], ICED TEA. When I made the switch from first-thing-in-the-morning Diet Coke to iced tea, I found myself in need of some long-handled iced tea spoons, which were part of the set of stainless flatware my parents had when I was a kid. Do you know how hard it is to find iced tea spoons in stores these days?? Target had none, some websites had none, and the saleswoman at Macy’s went into the back storeroom to dig up a couple long-unsold spoons for me. If you want iced tea spoons, try Amazon.

There were a couple traps to fall into in this puzzle. 8d: [Hand sanitizer ingredient], ETHANOL, shares the last two letters with alcohOL. And 62a: [Doctor’s order], LAB TEST, ends with three letters of bed rEST.

Could have done without related words BYPASS and PAST in the same grid, much less crossing each other.

Four stars overall for this smooth themeless.

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54 Responses to Saturday, May 18, 2013

  1. john farmer says:

    I suppose I had a better time with it. I thought it was an awesome puzzle, maybe the best quad yet. Top section took the longest, with lots of missteps (TIRE for VENT, ORDEAL for CEREAL, CUBS for REDS, CREE for ERIE). Fwiw, SPOT TV is a thing, and KLAUS Voormann is a big name in Beatles lore, one of the first things for me in the grid. It’s been a long, hard week, and this was just what I needed. TY, MAS.

  2. Martin says:

    What can I say? It’s a tough puzzle… although by the time Will had got through editing it, it went from hard to super-hard (“double-secret hard”?) In my defence, I will say that I think the grid was completely fair. That is, it could have been (theoretically) reclued at a Wednesday level of difficulty without any bad Naticks.

    -Martin Ashwood-Smith

    • bananarchy says:

      I agree re the grid, Martin. Puzzle destroyed me and I was left feeling kind of cheated by the cluing, but I enjoyed the grid and I don’t think there are any unfair crossings in there. I appreciate wide-open spaces and feats of word-weaving like this, too, and you never disappoint!

  3. Bencoe says:

    I agree that with easier cluing there wouldn’t have been any impossible crossings, but still there was a lot of tough fill. Definitely didn’t know INCE, but definitely did know ENTENTE CORDIALE.
    Honestly, if I hadn’t gone with my gut and kind of ignored the clues I didn’t know, filling in with crossword terms that seemed logical, I don’t know if I would have finished, either.

  4. RK says:

    Bottom I did and some of the rest but, wow, waaaayyy too much trivia I didn’t know. Is SPOTTV part of the Dick and Jane Network?

  5. sbmanion says:

    I thought Friday’s was much harder than Saturday’s. In the last few quad stack puzzles, I seem to recall that I had a portion of the stack and did not know the expression without additional fill. Today, except for PERCENTAGE ERROR, I knew the long entry as soon as I knew any one word.

    FWIW from a sports fanatic, I did know Igwenagu when the EM appeared, but not before. It was not a gimme.

    My first entry was LACONIC, which I have defined hundreds of times in the past few years for my SAT students. Number who know it: about 5%


  6. Yankskick1 says:

    I’ve done every puzzle in the NYT archive, and this may have been the single worst. An unpleasant experience from beginning to end, relying on profoundly obscure, uninteresting esoterica and banal fill. Maleska would be proud.

  7. Gareth says:

    Weird. I found the puzzle rather flat but not unpleasant. And not all that hard. Admittedly I took a flying guess at MRLUCKY off ???UCKY and was right. (That was after my initial opening of ABEAM/ABIT didn’t pan out). I also got ENTENTECORDIALE off the E and the T (confirmed with further crossings) although I found the clue was oddly vague for something I know in the specific sense of the treaty between England and France: it played a major role in how WWI occured… FEEDINGYOURFACE sounds perfectly idiomatic to me too. As does CALFS foot jelly – maybe it’s a Commonwealth English thing. On the other hand I had no idea about SPOTTV: ended with SMOTTV, but realised that that couldn’t be right. ATRIM sounded like plausible nautical-ese to me!

    • Bencoe says:

      I did the same thing, Gareth, guessing MRLUCKY off the last couple of letters. The clue was about a gambler, after all.
      I had a few mistakes due to my rampant guessing, though, and had to look at the crosses to see which clues were plausible. Particularly:
      Had “tire” instead of VENT (blowout location).
      Had “unit” instead of ONED (flat, making the British connection). As some on Rex’s site have noted, wouldn’t “twoD” be more accurately “flat”?
      A couple of more boring mistakes as well. But it worked out.

  8. Gareth says:

    LAT: Wonderful long entries – especially ISHUDDERTOTHINK, REACHFORTHESKY and ICANHARDLYWAIT. Short fill felt a bit stickier than normal, but I’ll take it for those long entries and others Andy mentioned! Don’t understand the clue or Andy’s commentary for INHOSPITAL at all. Are you saying Americans don’t say INHOSPITAL. How do you tell someone you’re INHOSPITAL without the words INHOSPITAL??????????????????????????? I give up. Please illuminate.

    • HH says:

      We say, “He’s in the hospital.”

      • Gareth says:

        Thank you!

        That makes some sense. I think you’re all weird, but that’s beside the point…

        • HH says:

          “I think you’re all weird, …”

          No argument here.

          And come to think of it, it probably should be “He’s in a hospital.” “The” implies there’s only one.

    • Katherine says:

      Don’t know if the language isn’t a bit “white-coat”, but there’s also ‘I’ve been admitted’.

  9. Brucenm says:

    Divisive, controversial NYT, I see. I love the ado (not to be confused with Freddy Adu) they generate. 5 Stars, in my eyes; very enjoyable. The biggest problem seems to be that people found it really tough. Well, that happens to me more often than to many of them. Bottom easy, with the American in Paris and Regular Gasoline gimmes, middle pretty smooth, top, quite difficult. I have run into Egon Wellesz (barely), though I think of him more as a musicologist than a composer. I changed “Cree” to Erie, and made the leap of faith that 1a would end in “credit” and 16a in “error” and when I slapped my head and entered “apes” for 1d, I had it in pretty decent time. Don’t understand “Reds”, though.

    • RK says:

      Cincinnati Reds the baseball team I believe. Their caps have a “C” on them.

      Whatever happened to Freddy Adu? I have to look him up.

  10. Matt says:

    I found it tough but doable in about twice the usual time for a Saturday. Fought my way through the bottom strip and middle, then spent most of the time trying various things with the top strip. Main problem was wrong guesses for a lot of the down clues. Like TIRE/VENT, ZERO/SPAD/BTEN and also got somewhat stuck on the idea that 1A was STATICELECTRICITY.

    @Bruce. ‘Reds’ is Cincinnati Reds baseball team.

    • Brucenm says:

      OH– thanks. I know that, but didn’t know about the funny ‘R’ and didn’t make the connection.

  11. Howard B says:

    It’s not a fair puzzle by current standards. This is not a result of the constructor (whose style I enjoy, by the way), or the editor, but a combination of fill and clue difficulty.
    It’s subtle. Here, simply providing a more accessible clue to EMIL, and and few less misdirective clues would have made it a very different experience. More enjoyable and a bit smoother.

    As this is not an exact science, I would prefer that they err on the side of tougher, at least on a Saturday.
    That said, this one messed me up pretty harshly :).

  12. dook says:

    Wow – nasty NYT comments. I really enjoyed it. Top section was not too difficult. Bottom section much harder because of a few errors. I’d venture that Amy was just not in the mood. If you know anything about the Beatles, then you know Klaus Voorman, easiest answer of the day for me. I liked all the 15s. One comment of Amy’s bothers me. Wasn’t Chandra Levy murdered? Ah – the joke doesn’t seem appropriate.

    • Howard B says:

      It’s funny, KLAUS was a saving grace for me in this one, as I’m reading “Can’t Buy Me Love – The Beatles, Britain, and America” by Jonathan Gould right now – so his name was fresh in my mind during the solve. I was not familiar with his name before this (as with many people associated with the Beatles, but not directly tied to the music).

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      I’m with Howard—I have always known plenty about the Beatles, but only recently (in doing this puzzle) did I learn of Voormann. Perhaps it’s a factor of not having bought a bunch of Beatles albums on vinyl back in the day?

      Dook, the only Chandra I’ve heard of is Chandra Levy. Didn’t know she shared her name with a Hindu moon god. I wouldn’t call it a “joke,” exactly.

      • pannonica says:

        KLAUS Voorman was one of the few super-gimmes in the puzzle for me, and his design for Revolver is famous. He’s also a bass guitarist.

        And on the subject of music and Chandra: Sheila Chandra.

        • Papa John says:

          That’s the thing about names in puzzles, isn’t it? Either you know it and its spelling or you don’t.

          With the current trend of spelling names in uncommon, personalized ways, future solvers will have it even more difficult. I’m running into that, already, with those crazy, misspelled rap/gangsta names.

      • Papa John says:

        Amy, I had the impression that you’re a reality show fan. Wasn’t there a Chandra who won some MTV show?

        • Amy Reynaldo says:

          I haven’t really watched MTV since the 1980s, so I wouldn’t know. And I don’t watch much reality TV, aside from the hoarders and medical ones on cable. Not interested in reality competition shows.

    • RK says:

      I think I know a decent bit about the Beatles and names around them like Stuart Sutcliffe, Pete Best, Brian Epstein, Linda Eastman, Billy Shears, Sexy Sadie, Magill, who called herself Nil, but everyone knew as Nancy, and had no idea about Klaus Voorman, none.

  13. Animalheart says:

    I actually found the NYT to be of average difficulty for a Saturday. Still not sure what ATRIP means, though. (Can’t see other comments, for some reason, so sorry if someone explained already.) I thought Friday’S NW was harder. And since when is Regular gasoline a “past” pump preference? I think I just bought some yesterday.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      ATRIP is nauticalese. Have I ever mentioned how little I care for nautical terminology in my crosswords?

      No, you’re buying unleaded regular (as opposed to unleaded silver or premium gas). Regular gasoline was the leaded stuff. Except nobody calls it unleaded anymore. But surely you remember “Regular or unleaded?”?

  14. HH says:

    “May I just say that 15s that are “with ‘The’” or “with ‘An’” feel like kind of a cheat for the constructor?”

    Not just 15s.
    Y’know when I realized how goofy “With A/An/The” is? When WS used it in a clue in an NPR quiz. It comes across a lot goofier to the ear than to the eye.

  15. John from Chicago says:

    Congratulations, Martin. I’m not sure my comment to you the other day was ever published but I encouraged more stacked quads and you came through. These, of course, drive Rex beserk and this one really did the trick. Unlike Amy, I never Google. But I make frequent and abundant use of Ms. Check when confronted with no other choice. She was very helpful. For instance, when HAND HELD didn’t work for bazookas, ANTI TANK was my second choice. MR. LUCKY was a gimme. It was also a TV series. I think that was it. That Eagles clue was very amusing. Not sure what model of Porsche Will drives but most people still prefer REGULAR GASOLINE. It’s cheaper. In any event I didn’t think this was any harder than yesterday’s. Rex and Amy loved that one, so in my non-professional point of view this was just fine. However, there was a lot of obscure stuff crammed into those four letter words. But I’ll never forget that US Open final between Stan Smith and Ilie Nastase.

  16. pannonica says:

    Sooo … anyone else for 10d [Life is one] –––EAL as ORDEAL?


  17. David L says:

    I agree that a lot of the fill was clunky, but I found the puzzle doable in a reasonable time. I was saved by remembering ATRIP from a previous puzzle — a silly word that got burned into the old memory cells. Googling SPOTTV produces a variety of different usages, none of which quite seem to fit the clue.

    But there’s one error, I would say: How is ONED ‘flat’? A line is one-dimensional, a plane is two-dimensional, so if you’re thinking of a flat surface it’s TWOD. In any case, a 2-d surface doesn’t have to be flat — think of the surface of the earth, for example.

    • Bencoe says:

      I’m not sure about that. The earth’s surface is 3D, that’s why it isn’t flat. If you had a curved 2dimensional space, the surface would be completely flat.

      • Euclid says:

        The surface of a sphere (with radius, in the case of the earth approx 4000 miles, is parametrized by
        x = 4000*cos(theta)*cos(omega),
        y = 4000*cos(theta)*sin(omega),
        z = 4000*sin(theta),
        -Pi/2 <= omega <= Pi/2,
        0 <= theta <= 2*Pi.

        The surface of the earth is two dimensional, the dimensions being theta and omega.

        • bencoe says:

          Euclid, surely you know the earth isn’t a sphere! Also that its surface isn’t 2 dimensional! look around you…Ancient Greece is covered with mountains, hills, valleys…there is height as well as depth and breadth…3 dimensions!

          • bencoe says:

            I see now that you mean it as an infinitely thin abstraction that is folded and creased. But the surface of the earth is not an abstraction. I feel like this is getting into metaphysical territory…

    • Davis says:

      How is ONED ‘flat’?

      It’s not. This is an instance of making the cluing harder by making it wrong.

  18. Jamie says:

    Fantastic LAT! Some bad short entries, but only a bit above average for most themed puzzles.

  19. Noam D. Elkies says:

    The NPL wordlist contains nothing longer than LOCAL COLOR with letter bank CAROL, but there’s roll call, O’Carroll, coll’arco [instruction to a string player to resume using the bow after a pizzicato passage], and something called a roll collar or collar roll, which is the same length as “local color” but less, well, colorful. There’s also Caracalla (as in the Baths of ____), whose name reaches 9 letters without even resorting to the O.

  20. John from Chicago says:

    Amy, I’m a trifle disappointed that you didn’t stick up for our hometown. In my entire life I have never seen or heard Chicago referred to as just plain Chi (38D). Chitown, yes, never Chi. Bad clue.

  21. Daniel Myers says:

    Sorry I’m late to the party. I loved Martin’s NYT …SAVE FOR ONE GLARING ERROR. I’m quite familiar with the 31D play, and its title is Deirdre of the Sorrows. Its author is John Millington Synge. Yeats and Synge’s fiancée, Molly Allgood, merely completed the manuscript after Synge’s untimely death in 1909.

    Some, including Martin I presume, might maintain that such dodgy clues are acceptable for a Saturday. But this one is simply erroneous.

    • Andy says:

      Daniel, while you’re quite right about the existence of the 1909/1910 Deirdre of the Sorrows by Synge and Yeats’s involvement with that play, I believe Martin and Will’s clue refers to an entirely different play, this 1907 Deirdre, written by Yeats alone. Certainly if there’s an error in this puzzle, it’s the ONE-D gaffe rather than this accurate (albeit obscure) literature clue.

  22. Amy L says:

    Amy nailed it for the NYT puzzle. I had to google like mad to finish. My only gimmes were CALF”S foot jelly and Danny KAYE (my mom was born in 1923 and Danny Kaye was one of her favorites). Monday’s puzzle should restore my confidence.

  23. Rock says:

    If you follow Amy’s link to “this one’s tough”, scroll down to that day’s La Times, and “Reach for the sky” was used that day also, and on a Monday!! (With a mention of Toy Story)

  24. Zulema says:

    Very tough but certainly not unpleasant, the NYT; however wrong clues do make things more difficult in a gratuitous sort of way. The bottom stack took no time at all, and the top took forever.

  25. Jamie says:

    Actually INCE was last seen in a NYT puzzle December 21 , 2012

  26. Greg says:

    I actually got this one, on paper, with a few educated guesses that turned out to be correct. But it took me probably an aggregate of two hours, punctuated with numerous walkways and returns.

    The first (for me) was that both Amy and Rex struggled with this one. To complete even one puzzle that these speed superstars failed to finish cleanly is kind of like a club golfer managing to beat Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus: possible for maybe a lucky hole or two; a thrill for the hacker, even if an unlikely-to-be-repeated fluke.

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