Saturday, March 29, 2014

Newsday 10:20 (Amy) 
NYT 7:27 (Amy) 
LAT 3:59 (Andy) 
CS 6:12 (Dave) 

Barry Silk’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 3 29 14

NY Times crossword solution, 3 29 14

Migraine rules in effect: Sentence fragments galore!


Clues I like:

  • 1a. [It’s made from an ear and put in the mouth], CORNCOB PIPE. Thought it would be edible corn.
  • 54a. [It’s between Buda and Pest], DANUBE RIVER. If only Bucha and Rest were divided by a river.
  • 8d. [Himalayan production], PURR. Himalayan cats? Fine. I had Himalayan SALT on my eggs tonight. It’s pink.
  • 10d. [Ayn Rand, e.g.], PEN NAME. OBJECTIVIST, LIBERTARIAN, and HYPOCRITE (she took government aid, people) were too long.
  • 13d. [Every second], ALTERNATE (the adjective, not the verb). Thought it meant “every second” as in ALL TH’ TIME.
  • 28d. [Locals call it the “Big O”], OKEECHOBEE. Did not know that.
  • 30d. [Where spades may be laid down], SHED. Shovel spades, not playing-card spades.
  • 50d. [Highlander of old], INCA. Andean highlands, not Scottish.

Blahs: KTS, AMAH, ELSA clued as that damned lion again, AT. NO., ISAO.

Never heard of: 15a. [1967 hit by the Hollies], ON A CAROUSEL. Got all excited with ONAC in place and thought it was that song we sang in grade-school music class, “On a Clear Day.” (Had no idea that one was from a musical. Horrors!)

Four stars. Lots of solid clues, good 11-stacks.

Updated Saturday morning:

Bruce Venzke’s CrosSynergy / Washington Post crossword, “To Your Stations” – Dave Sullivan’s review

Four theme entries that end with a word that is a type of station:

CrosSynergy / Washington Post crossword solution - 03/29/14

CrosSynergy / Washington Post crossword solution – 03/29/14

  • [Banana cream, e.g.] clued PIE FILLING – a “filling station” is another name for a “gas station,” but do people still call them that? Seems like a long time since I’ve heard that term. One might also call a dentist’s chair this, I suppose.
  • [1979 Cheap Trick hit album] was DREAM POLICE – here’s the title track; I had thought Surrender was on this album, but it was on the one that preceded this. I remember reading they were very popular in Japan.
  • [It follows a gal down the aisle] clued BRIDAL TRAIN – remember this one?
  • [Loud part of the “1812 Overture”] was CANNON FIRE – a “fire station” is where dalmatians hang out.

Pretty straightforward theme; I wonder if an entry like LOST IN SPACE was considered? I enjoyed the R-LY* parallel between RELY UPON and ROLY-POLY, and the triple-X action found in ROLEX, EXPEL and NON-TOXIC (and their shorter crossers, of course). [Old Bailey occurrence] or TRIAL reminded me of John Mortimer’s Rumpole character. My father was a lawyer and would take on all sorts of clients and cases as well.

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

LAT Puzzle 3.29.14 by Julian Lim

LAT Puzzle 3.29.14 by Julian Lim

Can you believe there are only 64 words in this grid? Looks like a lot more, but those quadruple-stacks in the NW and SE really pack a punch. My favorite of those eight is SOUS VIDE [Slow cooking method involving plastic bags]. In the era of the cooking show, it’s high time this showed up. REQUITAL [Payback] is also very nice, and I like the symmetry of AT A SLANT and IN A SENSE. In the NW, I like that all four entries break up in a sort of 4/4 way: STARKIST (not exactly 4/4, but close enough), COME INTO, ROAD TRIP, and ANTI-HERO.

Then in the middle, three two-word answers: TWITTER FEED, SUNNI MUSLIM, and MINUTE STEAK. All really great entries, and impressively stacked. I like that RIN TIN TIN, REIKI, and EPIC POEM run through them.

Is there some unpleasantness in the grid? Sure. TMS, NOT A, REDI- are probably the worst entries. But a surprisingly low count, especially compared to how nice the rest of this grid is. I think the hardest section for newbies is going to be the NE, especially where CREMA, TREPAN, and ANSELM intersect. Compare that section with the SW, where every entry is something you’ve heard of (okay, maybe not APER, but still).

I definitely appreciate this one a lot more post-solve than during the solve. 4.1 stars from me. Until next week!

Brad Wilber’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper”

Newsday crossword solution, 3 29 14 "Saturday Stumper" by Brad Wilber

Newsday crossword solution, 3 29 14 “Saturday Stumper” by Brad Wilber

Ah, yes. A solo themeless by Brad Wilber. At the ACPT, Brad was told by nine different people that his solo puzzles are “impossible” but that they love his co-constructed puzzles. I wouldn’t say that Brad’s puzzles are easy but they’re pretty much always within one standard deviation of mean Stumper difficulty for me. Was this puzzle hard? Sure. But not the toughest Stumper of 2014 by any stretch. Is Brad your cruciverbal nemesis?

In other Brad Wilber news, he’s going to be taking over the editor position for the weekly Chronicle of Higher Education crossword. Given that Brad’s a college librarian, it’s apt that he’s assuming the crossword curator position for CHE. Congrats, Brad!


Jimmy Carter rocks.

Jimmy Carter rocks.

Toughest and/or favorite clues:

  • 18a. [El Al no-show?], BLT. Bacon isn’t kosher.
  • 24a. [James Monroe’s opposition in 1820], NOONE. You may have been saying to yourself, “Why should I remember the name of an also-ran from almost 200 years ago? Who is this Noone guy, anyway?” But the answer is two words: NO ONE. The Federalists got a few votes in one region, but mostly he ran for reelection unopposed. (He beat Rufus King in 1816.)
  • 30a. [Bagel flavor], OAT. Say what?? I don’t think the oat bagel has made significant inroads in Chicago.
  • 41a. [Cello bottom], END PIN. Of course that doodad at the end of a cello has a name. I just never knew what it was.
  • 56a. [Beast known by its genus name], BOA. Whereas Bos gets a bunch of specific names (such as cow, zebu, and yak).
  • 57a. [Legendary forger], VULCAN. Greek mythology, forging metal things in fire. Not forging signatures or documents. Although I’m thinking of going into business as a Jimmy Carter forger now that I have his signature in a copy of his latest book.
  • 3d. [Heat, for example], NBA TEAM. Not physics here.
  • 39d. [Not especially edgy], VANILLA. Great clue!
  • 45d. [Stand on more than two feet], TRIVET. I felt so clever when I figured out that this had to be TRIPOD, but it was its cognate TRIVET instead.

Blahs: OTHO, variant ENROL.

Four stars from me.

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17 Responses to Saturday, March 29, 2014

  1. Martin says:

    “Horrors!,” indeed.

    One 15-year old boy fell in love with Barbara Harris singing “On a Clear Day.” New Yorkers had something special in those days with Broadway musicals. My parents took me to a matinee performance of “The Music Man” when I was seven and I was off running.

    I even fondly remember the “highlights” show that ran on TV’s “Bell Telephone Hour” when “On a Clear Day” opened on Broadway. How fast culture changes.

  2. Matt says:

    DNF NYT. I got everything but the NW corner– and then googled ‘Wales herder’. I was amused to see that the first several hits were all direct references to the NYT puzzle.

  3. Huda says:

    NYT: Excellent puzzle, even though it made me suffer. The NW killed me, had to google ISAO to get moving. Other parts flowed remarkably smoothly, but some of the cluing was evil.

    Junior SEAU is such as sad reminder.

  4. sbmanion says:

    ISAO was my first entry and SEAU was my second. I found both weekend puzzles to be pretty easy. I solved today’s west to east. My first long entry was RAN AN ERRAND, which, ironically, was my least favorite long entry in an otherwise superb puzzle.

    I know AYN RAND’s real name was a long Russian name, but do not know what it was. I read the Fountain Head and thought it was great, prompting me to find out who John Galt was. As I was half way through Atlas Shrugged, I read a short work by Ayn Rand called Anthem, which prompted me to become disenchanted. I wonder how many college kids had similar experiences of thinking she was great and then realizing she wasn’t. I can’t imagine someone remaining a fan into their 40’s as a prominent political figure who lies about his marathon time has.


    • Avg Solvr says:

      “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.” John Rogers

    • dochank says:

      Ayn Rand, nee Alisa Zino’yevna Rosenbaum, Feb. 2, 1905 in St, Petersburg, Russian Empire. So sayeth Wikipedia, and news to me – I thought she was English and tho’ I dunno why, it never occurred to me that it was a pen name… I guess Anthem was a fairly dark “anthill mentality” piece of writing, but given the political and socioeconomic trends in our country over the past couple of decades it may look a little more prescient now. I didn’t get around to reading Fountainhead and Atlas until very recently (some time at last in retirement!), surprisingly perhaps, since I was a Libertarian for 15 years, but for folks of my age and NE Yankee independent nature these books really resonated. I thought the recent movies were pretty well done, as well.

    • Bencoe says:

      In political discussions, we used to call the right-wing libertarians “Randroids” because of their lack of deviation from her philosophy and the homogeneity of their views. For people who supposedly prized creative independence above all else, they sure didn’t show much.

  5. Gareth says:

    Both LAT & NYT had some excellent answers today. Was particularly impressed by the centre of Lim’s grid! Very stylish!

    • Gareth says:

      P.S., I want to thank Piers Anthony for my knowing Okeechobee – he has a Lake Ogre Chobee in his fantasy version of Florida.

  6. David L says:

    NYT was good and easier than usual (I thought) until I came unstuck in the NW. I was very pleased with myself for putting in EMIGREE for Ayn Rand, off the last E. Eventually I got ONAIR, which gave me GIGA, then CORGI, then all became clear.

    But I have a couple of science-y quibbles. BETARAY is not wrong, but very antiquated. Once physicists figured out that the mysterious beta radiation was actually electrons (or positrons), they began to refer to beta particles.

    More seriously, it took me a while to figure out that “Rush target” for ORE refers (I presume) to a gold rush. But that’s not really correct. Gold is almost always found as the native metal, and that’s certainly what all those panhandlers in California and Yukon were after. There are (so saith Wikipedia) a few gold ores — that is, minerals with a chemical composition including gold — but they are scarce and of no great commercial value.

    Other metals are found as ores, but I’ve never heard of an Iron Rush or an Aluminum Rush…

    • Gary R says:

      I think there were several silver rushes in the U.S. in the mid- or late-1800’s (but I don’t know if silver is found in native form or is extracted from an ore).

      • David L says:

        You’re right — I didn’t know there had been silver rushes, and silver is indeed extracted from an ore. So the clue is fine.

  7. Bill from FL says:

    Newsday: DNF, because of the PRMAN/REO cross–PRMAN was fairly clued, but REO meant nothing to me. I stared at it and rejected it. After reading the Wikipedia entry, though, I see it was fairly clued as well. Great puzzle, despite the disappointing finish.

  8. pannonica says:

    Stumper: “57a. [Legendary forger], VULCAN. Greek mythology, forging metal things in fire.”

    Small correction: Vulcan is the Roman equivalent of the Greek Hephaestus.

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