Saturday, November 22, 2014

Newsday 8:04 (Amy) 
NYT 5:11 (Amy) 
LAT untimed (Andy) 
CS 16:58, while multi-talking (Ade) 

Have you had zero to 10 of your crosswords published? Would you dig making a tournament puzzle? Does $500 sound good to you? The Indie 500 team (Peter Broda, Neville Fogarty, Evan Birnholz, Erik Agard, Andy Kravis) invite you to enter your creation into their contest to choose the final constructor for next May’s Indie 500 tournament. They especially encourage women, people of color, LGBT folks, and members of other underrepresented groups to submit their work. Click through for the details.

David Steinberg’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 11 22 14, no. 1122

NY Times crossword solution, 11 22 14, no. 1122

Looks like David challenged himself to include as many Z’s as possible. There’s FO SHIZZLE in its second 2014 NYT appearance, crossing ZENDA and ZYGOTE. BOZ/SNEEZED in the next quadrant, ZEPPO MARX/DMZ and DROID RAZR/PFIZER in the southeast, and BREZHNEV/CRAZE in the final corner.

Just for shizzles and giggles, let’s count the number of entries that predate David’s birth: FO SHIZZLE (1981, sort of), SUSIE Q (1957-68), BOZ (1800s), EERO Saarinen (d. 1961), BREZHNEV (d. 1982), RIO LOBO (1970), the TRIO Destiny’s Child (group formed in ’90, took that name in ’96), EDWIN Moses (last Olympic medal in ’88), TYPEE (1846 … possibly crosswordese since the 1920s?), ZEPPO MARX, HUME, ZENDA of 1937, LOESSER (d. 1969), KESEY (in a ’68 book), DRED, and MAMET‘s ’82 script. I’ll bet a lot of you figured FO SHIZZLE and that TRIO clue were super-modern things you’d most likely find in a young constructor’s puzzle, but really these things are of a sub-TYPEE oldness.

Clue I really could have done without: 49d. [String bean’s opposite], BLIMP. Yes, let’s go ahead and be bullies who call people names based on their body types. Ya know … it wouldn’t have hurt anyone to try to come up with a good clue relating to actual airships. I think a lot of us look down on the fairly regular crossword clues that engage in fat-shaming.

Top fill: “EXCUSE YOU,” WARM ONGER (…what?), FRACAS (such a neat word), BREZHNEV (always a sucker for a ZH), DROID RAZR, ZEPPO MARX, REDDI-WIP (35d. [Grocery product with a multiply misspelled name] totally gave it away for me—for 6 letters, I’d have gone with TYDBOL). Nice to see OSSO BUCO get its full name in the grid, not just the overused OSSO portion.

Did not know: 16a. [Cosmetics dye], EOSIN. I know eosin is a dye, and I know it’s used in pathology’s hematoxylin-eosin staining, but I didn’t know it was in cosmetics. Also in chemistry not-knowing: 2d. [___ acid (bleach ingredient)], OXALIC. I know it’s in sorrel and spinach, but bleach? Not chlorine bleach; other sorts of bleaches.

Worst fill: 36d. [Hematology prefix], SERO-. It’s a legitimate prefix, but … if it were good crossword fill, wouldn’t we see it all the time with those friendly letters? Just three appearances in the Cruciverb database (NYT, 1998 and 2010). There are other dreadful little prefixes we see more of. Odd.

3.9 stars for this 72-worder.

Brad Wilber’s Los Angeles Times crossword—Andy’s review

LAT Puzzle 11.22.14 by Brad Wilber

LAT Puzzle 11.22.14 by Brad Wilber

Not the usual LAT themeless grid — looks more like a Saturday Stumper grid with very relaxed clues. I liked it! Bullets:

  • 17a, SERIALLY [How Dickens’ novels were first published]. The NW corner must have been challenging to fill, and as a result there’s not many “wow” entries. But this one jumped out at me, mostly because I’ve been listening to Serial (a podcast that, like Dickens’ novels, is being published serially).
  • 10d, RODRIGUEZ [Five-time A.L. home run champ]. Alex, to be specific. I had ROD______ for a long time, and kept wanting it to be ROD CAREW. Spoiler alert: it is not ROD CAREW.
  • 49a, JAZZMAN [1974 top ten hit for Carole King]. Carole King was pretty good at music. 
  • 42d, GABBLE [Unintelligible talk]. This one was new to me, but isn’t it funny how words that mean this all tend to sound the same (e.g., babble, blabber, gibber, blab, prattle)?

Lots of fun clues in this one, too:

  • 45a, GUARD DUTY [Gig at the brig]
  • 26d, PERSIAN [Blofeld’s cat, in Bond films]
  • 25a, BIG DIPPER [Highly visible septet]
  • 38a, FAA [Hot air ballooning watchdog: Abbr.]
  • 7d, GOLF BAGS [Drivers can be seen in them]
  • 9d, FRAUD [Mountebank] (Mountebank is such a fun word)

Some closing thoughts: I always forget about BUZ Sawyer. GRAND JETE is a very nice entry. EVE ARDEN was very good in Grease. 3.75 stars from me. Off to go look up some vegan marzipan recipes. Until next week!

Brad Wilber and Doug Peterson’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” (Lars Doubleday byline)

Newsday crossword solution, 11 22 14 "Saturday Stumper"

Newsday crossword solution, 11 22 14 “Saturday Stumper”

Forgot to do the puzzle earlier. Biscuits needed to be made and eaten.

Standard Stumper difficulty level, meaning significantly harder than the Saturday NYT but not a supreme killer like last weekend’s.

Highlights in the grid include Gaga’s BAD ROMANCE, a SNAIL’S PACE, the WOMEN’S ARMY CORPS, the BETSY WETSY doll, TIM TEBOW, ROPE BURN, tasty PROSECCO, and “STOP THAT!”

Clues of note:

  • 1a. [Literally, “sense of touch”], TACT. Didn’t know it and yet it quickly emerged as obvious.
  • 55a. [Queequeg et al.], HARPOONERS. I bet Doug and Brad both managed to finish Moby-Dick in summer 2013 … I lost the thread myself.
  • 61a. [Demure drinker of the Baby Boomer era], BETSY WETSY. Sounds like she’s sipping cocktails.
  • 6d. [Chicago Luvabulls, for instance], DANCE TEAM. I bet the Luvabulls make peanuts despite being expected to practice, work, make unpaid public appearances, avoid weight gain, and pay for hair/makeup/tan maintenance. NFL cheerleaders end up making less than minimum wage.
  • 28d. [Academic position], THESIS. As in “taking a position on the issue,” the core of your thesis.

Clue I don’t get: 14d. [They may be crying], NEEDS. As in “there’s a crying … need”? Ah, yes, that’s a phrase.

Unfavorites: The awkward BLOTS AT (“dabs at” works for me, but I think you just blot things, no “blotting at”), crosswordese ARA, AM SO, SRO, TSAR, LOEW, KAT.

3.75 stars from me.

Patrick Jordan’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Lariat King”—Ade’s write-up  

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 11.22.14: "Lariat King"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 11.22.14: “Lariat King”

Happy Saturday, everybody! Here at Harvard University taking in some rivalry football with Yale and Harvard, but just wanted to check in and tell you about our puzzle, authored by Mr. Patrick Jordan. Each of the theme answers start with the same four letters, R-O-P-E, but positioned differently with each answer. The reveal, ROPE TRICKS, is included as the final theme (59A: [Will Rogers’s vaudeville stunts (and what the first four letters of 17-, 27-, and 44-Across are doing?)]).

  • REPORT CARD: (17A: [Education evaluation])
  • PEORIA, ILLINOIS: (27A: [City famed as a test market])
  • PEROXIDE BLONDE: (44A: [Woman with artificially lightened hair])

I’ve never been too enamored with the WAX WORKS when I come across them at the Times Square location of the place mentioned in the clue (38D: [Figures at Madame Tussauds]). Love to learn something new, and I definitely got to do that with the clue to GAZEBO (10D: [Open-sided garden shelter]). Did I know off the top of my head that OPIE owned a lizard on The Andy Griffith Show (51D: [1960 sitcom kid with a lizard named Oscar])? I think I did, but definitely did not remember its name. We have the presence of ULEE (15A: [Cinematic beekeeper whose “gold” is honey]), but we make up for that very common entry by the crossing, NUCLEI, with is a pretty sightly entry (6D: [Cell centers]). Any grid that includes information and/or trivia about Africa and African geography always gets an extra star from me, so this grid earned that extra rating point with RWANDA (45D: [It borders Burundi]).

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: MAYO (49D: [Sandwich spread, for short]) – It’s a good thing I’m giving this entry a sports slant, because talking about the condiment would make me puke, literally. However, O.J. MAYO, current professional basketball player for the Milwaukee Bucks, doesn’t make me puke. Receiving media hype almost rivaling LeBron James out of high school, as well as even elementary school, Mayo played one season at the University of Southern California before turning pro, and was drafted with the third overall pick of the 2008 NBA Draft by the Memphis Grizzlies. By the way, O.J. stands for “Ovinton J’Anthony,” which makes my full first name, Adesina, sound so pedestrian.

See you all for the Sunday Challenge!

Take care!


This entry was posted in Daily Puzzles and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Saturday, November 22, 2014

  1. Hi Amy, Somehow I’ve managed to make it to late middle age without ever having heard the term “FO_SHIZZLE” (it was in a New York Times puzzle earlier this year). I did know most of the rest of the words in your second paragraph, though most took a lot of effort to retrieve from long-term memory. However, the very first word that I filled in, with a mixture of confidence and trepidation, was WAR_MONGER (I believe that to be a single word, but have intentionally parsed it as shown to emphasize the connection to “war” rather than “warm”). I will leave political editorializing to others, but was pleased with the biology (ZYGOTE, GENOME) and chemistry (OXALIC, EOSIN) buzz. To add to the latter, Steinberg/Shortz could have replaced the admittedly interesting Reaganesque clue for BORAX with an allusion to a fun chemistry demo, i.e., the making of slime. Practical tip picked up as a graduate student in a New York City dorm during the mid-70’s, BORAX from the lab makes for a pretty good cockroach repellent.

    • huda says:

      I’m with you on FO SHIZZLE. After the fact, it vaguely rang a bell. But I think I had the wrong meaning… I thought some game show host would say it after people had given up on the challenge to take what they had in hand, but the host still wanted to uncover the answer (and make the poor slob feel bad about having given up the chance at a million bucks). So, I thought it meant: Just for the heck of it…
      In spite of that, the top just fell like a Wednesday. I was actually formally a SCRIBE at meeting once, the most exciting meeting I ever attended, in fact. And my dad made me read the Prisoner of ZENDA, in Damascus, as a way to improve my English (and as a prelude to reading Crime and Punishment. I was a compliant teenager). But the Southeast seemed impenetrable. DROID RAZR is not on my radar screen. But actually noticing the proclivity for Z helped me get some stuff.
      Fun puzzle. And FRACAS is a great word-

    • sbmanion says:

      I know that most of you now intend to make FO’ SHIZZLE part of your everyday vocabulary, but if you do, make sure that the word that follows does not begin with N, because that is the N word. FOSHIZZLE my SIZZLE means “for sure, my sister.” I always associate the basic expression with Snoop Dog.

      I put in Pats off instead of PATS DRY, but otherwise was on the right wavelength.

      I thought it was an excellent puzzle.


      • sbmanion says:

        By the way, a thought for our young constructor: David Letterman, upon hearing the expression, said “I don’t know what the fizzuck it means.”


    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Holy cow, George! Did you honestly think I didn’t know the word and thought it was the nonsensical WARM ONGER and still singled it out as being among my favorite fill?

      • It was indeed funny, Amy … I guess I don’t know your sense of humor well enough! I’ve observed a lot more chicken hawks than cow hawks, but they all seem holier than thou.

  2. Brucenm says:

    There was much to like about this puzzle, notwithstanding 1a, which I had no idea how to parse, even with most of the letters. I could either slap in random guesses at squares 5 and 3, or just suffer a dnf. (fosh ezzle? fosh ozzly?) It also focuses on one of *my* pet peeves, which no one else seems to comment on. (I’m *much* less concerned about “dupes” and “repetitions” than everyone else seems to be.) But I can’t stand mysterious abbreviations. USD for EUR??? I assume eur is Europe. USD? University of San Diego? United States of Djibouti? Uninteresting Series of Dates? ———– WAIT ————— Maybe I just got it. United States Dollar and Euro ? ? Is Eur *really* an abbreviation for Euro? It hardly seems necessary to gain one letter.

    I would have preferred to see 19a clued as {composer Siegmeister} rather than some obscure fashion designer, but that wouldn’t have helped with 1a. And then there is the annoying 57a. So the diagonal from the SW to the NE flew onto the page, then slowed, finally running into a stone wall in the NW, as I said.

    But after all that ranting, I liked pretty much everything else about the puzzle, and have great respect for David. Funny how quickly a young kid becomes a seasoned, respected pro (or both.)

    • Brucenm says:

      squares 5 and 9, I meant.

    • Gareth says:

      Mol. in chemistry is the abbreviation for mole, so maybe. I wouldn’t put it past some groups to abbreviate a four letter word down to three…

      • Point well taken, Gareth, but technically (a) a five-letter word “moles” is taken down to three letters; (b) “mol” never has a period at the end; (c) there is always a number in front of it, as in “NaCl (17.5 g, 0.3 mol).” I’m beginning to realize that the crossword pages are not necessarily the best place to get a cutting-edge chemistry lesson.

      • Jonesy says:

        the EUR / USD abbreviations are best known in the financial / foreign currency worlds — with GBP being for pounds sterling, JPY for yen etc. not that i’m defending EUR or encouraging JPY to be put in grids… but i, for one, encounter EUR on a daily basis. All currencies are given a TLA (potential for an overstatement but i doubt it! DKK being danish krone with an extra ‘k’ for good measure).

  3. David L says:

    Nice puzzle, although according to wikipedia, DEIMOS is dread and Phobos is terror. Did someone google too hastily and get them mixed up?

    Bruce — I’ve seen USD as a common abbreviation for US dollar, and although I agree with you that EUR for Euro seems silly, this site uses it.

    • ArtLvr says:

      The stock market likes to translate monetary terms with 3-letter abbreviations: I like CAD for the Canadian dollar.

  4. Bob says:

    LAT- too many archaic defs – no fun, tiresome!

Comments are closed.