Saturday, January 10, 2015

Newsday 9:53 (Amy) 
NYT 5:45 (Amy) 
LAT 4:31 (Amy) 
CS 11:27 (Ade) 

Schedule change! Andy and I are swapping weekend LA Times gigs, and I’ll be writing about the Saturday puzzle while Andy tackles the Sunday.

Joe Krozel’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 1 10 15, no. 0110

NY Times crossword solution, 1 10 15, no. 0110

This one struck me as a little bit easier than yesterday’s Berry, despite the length of time I went before I found a clue I could answer. It helps that my first answer in the grid was a 15 in one of the vertical triple-stacks—11d. [Per a 1942 song, “She’s making history, working for victory”], ROSIE THE RIVETER. I made good headway in the right side of the grid thanks to all those footholds, and then those crossings soon delivered the adjacent 15s. The vertical triple-stacks intersect an Across one at the bottom, and aren’t we all glad the top wasn’t also stacked 15s? (That mandated left/right symmetry or no symmetry, rather than rotational crossword symmetry.) Because the fill was pretty good and there was plenty to appreciate.

Things I liked:

  • 7a. [“My old lady”], THE MRS. It’s balanced nicely by “the Mr.” and “my old man.” It’s always troubled me that “old man” and “old lady” can mean either your spouse or your parent. We need a sharper demarcation here, people.
  • 16a. [Wraps around an island?], SARONGS. Cute clue. Comfy attire for men and women alike.
  • 17a. [City across the Rio Grande from McAllen, Tex.], REYNOSA. You know what? We don’t get a lot of REYN— names in the grid. I’ll take it.
  • 29a. [Scorer of the first double eagle in U.S. Open history, 1985], T.C. CHEN. Not the most famous golfer, no, but just try pronouncing his name as if it were a single word. It seems almost Georgian. The four consonants in a row looked implausible.
  • 57a. [Locale of five major U.S. volcanoes], WASHINGTON STATE. I cannot name all five. Can you, without looking this up?
  • 60a. [Big wave, e.g.], ATTENTION-GETTER. Nothing gets my attention quite like a tsunami.
  • 1d. [Fighting losses], CASUALTIES OF WAR. Also the title of a 1989 Michael J. Fox war movie. He hasn’t done a lot of war movies.
  • 7d. [“Such gall!”], “THE NERVE!”
  • 10d. [Masterpiece designated “quasi una fantasia”], MOONLIGHT SONATA.
  • 37d. [Frenchy portrayer in “Grease”], DIDI CONN. My go-to Didi Conn reference is the movie, You Light Up My Life. She lip-synced the title song on screen, but Debby Boone did the actual singing. Wikipedia tells me the critics hated it, but my mom and my sister and I? We liked it a lot.

Weird bits:

  • 54a. [How a champagne bottle may arrive], IN ICE. Yes, it’s technically placed in ice, but the common phrase for that set-up is “on ice.” This is why there will be people Googling 48d. [One with patches], PONTO, trying to figure out what the hell PONTO means. (PINTO, horse whose coat is patchy.)
  • 50d. [Settle a score, old-style], VENGE. So old-style, some dictionaries leave it on the cutting room floor.
  • 56d. [Good name for a chauffeur?], OTTO. I’ve seen punny clues like this before (good name for a mechanic, maybe?), and they always chafe. “Auto” is pronounced more like awe-toe, whereas OTTO is ah-toe. Different vowel sound entirely, per me and at least one dictionary.
  • 26a. [Vocalist’s warm-up run], LAS. Those aren’t la-la-las?
  • 45a. [Ugly ___], AS SIN. It looks peculiar in the grid, and I keep parsing it as ugly-assin’.
  • 56a. [Natural thing to feel], ONE G. Why go with the crosswordy spelled-out number when you could use the O-neg blood type?
  • 14d. [Many an old red giant], N-STAR. Snooze.
  • 9d. [Shoreline avifauna], ERNS. Crosswordese.
  • The IN zone, with IN ICE crossing WADING IN nearby INS.

Given the nine 15s, the grid’s got a lot of boring short fill. That, and the onesie REST ON ONE’S OARS, are pretty much par for the course when you’re looking at a stacked puzzle.

Aside from the PONTO moment, I didn’t encounter any real trouble spots in the grid. 3.9 stars from me.

Randolph Ross’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “It’s Greek to Me”—Ade’s write-up  

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 01.10.15: "It's Greek to Me"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 01.10.15: “It’s Greek to Me”

We’re already 10 days into the new year?!  Yikes!  Anyways, I hope you all are doing great to begin the weekend. Today’s crossword grid, brought to us by Mr. Randolph Ross, takes phrases/proper nouns and replaces one of the words in it with a homophone that also happens to be a Greek letter.

  • SHEPHERD’S PI (17A: [Greek meat and mashed potatoes concoction?]) – Last month, I had dinner with Angela Halsted (a.k.a. PuzzleGirl) in midtown Manhattan and we both had some of the best shepherd’s pie we’ve ever dined on! Mmmm, and then some!
  • HEAVING A PSI (52A: [Expressing relief like a Greek?])
  • SPANKING NU (11D: [Appearing to a Greek for the first time ever?]) – I guess if this grid needed a 15-letter theme entry, “Brand Spanking Nu” would have been perfect.
  • CANNERY RHO (27D: [Steinbeck story, to a Greek?])

With the clue for ABBA being something I haven’t seen before, I’m trying to guess how many different clues I have now seen for that entry, in terms of referencing the music group (25D: [“Chiquitita” quartet]). That number is probably somewhere around 40. By the way, who knew that a PORNO (15A: [Blue material]) could make you SAD (11A: [Blue])? Don’t you hate it when pornos have sad endings? Moving on, seeing —-TI threw me for a loop, but caught on quick enough parsing SHORT I from the clue (28A: [Hit sound?]). Initially put in “impish” instead of BOYISH, which I guess was similar enough to me when I first put it in (46A: [Like Peter Pan]). Probably my favorite entry in the puzzle was CAPSTONE (4D: [Most notable achievement]), with STOPGAP coming a close second (39D: [Makeshift]). Oops, almost forgot to give PERSONAS a shout out for being good fill as well (20A: [Public faces]). Coincidentally, I solved this puzzle at the same time a good friend of mine, A.S., who I believe has Greek ancestry, told me she was solving the puzzle! So I definitely hope this was to your liking, and thanks for the crossword camaraderie!

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: DIDI (50D: [Actress Conn of “Grease”]) – After the retirement of Derek Jeter, it appears that the person who will have the first crack at replacing the living legend at shortstop for the New York Yankees will be DIDI Gregorius, a Major League shortstop who was acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks by the Bronx Bombers in a three-team trade last month. Gregorius was born in Amsterdam and raised in Curaçao, where former Major League All-Star outfielder Andruw Jones was born and grew up. (And yes, that’s how his first name is spelled…Andruw.)

See you all for the Sunday Challenge, everyone!

Take care!

Ade/AOK

Alan DerKazarian’s Los Angeles Times crossword

LA Times crossword solution, 1 10 15

LA Times crossword solution, 1 10 15

Unusual themeless grid here—crossing 9s in two corners, a matrix of 10s and 12s meeting in the middle, only eight 3s.

Entries of note:

  • 21a. [Quantum theory pioneer], MAX PLANCK. He’s 7/9ths consonants.
  • 26a. [Heart part?], COCKLE. As in “that warms the cockles of my heart.”
  • 32a. [Facetious Appalachian portmanteau], PENNSYLTUCKY. A little off from the nickname of an Orange Is the New Black character, Pennsatucky.
  • 41a. [Smart alecks], WISENHEIMERS.
  • 53a. [Rare pro golf feat], GRAND SLAM. Like MAX PLANCK opposite it in the grid, not many vowels.
  • 33d. [Kind of telescope], NEWTONIAN. Don’t really know what this means, but I feel a little smarter for having it in the puzzle.
  • 38d. [1991 “Favorite Album – Country” American Music Award winner], REBA LIVE. We get REBA pretty often, but her 24-year-old album? Not so much.
  • 43d. [1998 “King Lear” Olivier Award winner], IAN HOLM, full name.

I did not know 39d. [1970 sci-fi film starring Joan Crawford in her last big-screen performance], TROG. Maybe she should have stopped a few years earlier and skipped both Berserk! and Trog?

Also was not familiar with the phrase in 16a. [Take __ at: try to wallop], A RIP. I’ve never taken a rip at anything except paper I’m tearing.

I took crosswordese attendance and unfortunately, the following students were not absent: SNEE, STELA, and ORT. Words like these should need a note from a doctor before they’re allowed to return to class.

Not keen on the clue for I HAD: 42d. [Start of a favorite-meal reminiscence]. Would have worked better as a FITB like [“If ___ a hammer …”].

3.5 stars from me.

Frank Longo’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper”

Newsday crossword solution, 1 10 15, "Saturday Stumper"

Newsday crossword solution, 1 10 15, “Saturday Stumper”

I nearly FLUNKed OUT of this puzzle thanks to the northeast quadrant. Another solver mentioned that the northwest was her Waterloo. Presumably others were bitten by the southern corners. Here’s what did me in:

  • 5a. [People playing in vehicles], MOVIE STARS. Trying DRAG RACERS really didn’t help with any of the crossings.
  • 6d. [Short-story award eponym], O. HENRY. Why, oh why did I fill in ELLERY? That’s so wrong.
  • 7d. [The world, figuratively], VALE. I don’t understand the connection here at all. Dictionary suggests that vale of tears means “the world regarded as a place of sorrow,” but it’s a stretch to lop off of tears.
  • 11d. [Fireballs], TIGERS. I tried COMETS.
  • 13d. [Fresh supply], REFIT. Say what? REFIT is a noun? Never knew it as anything but a verb.

I had a blank second word for URGENT NEED, and I figured 24a. [Guitar sequence] meant something musical (vs. physical parts of the instrument, FRETS). Between nothing feeding into that corner and finding none of the clues within to be gimmes, that was a big ol’ mess.

Likes:

  • 37a. [Neither foggy nor windy], CLEAR AND CONCISE. Not about weather.
  • 45a. [What flashing or swelling is symptomatic of], OP ART. Ask your doctor if symptoms last longer than four hours.
  • 49a. [Asian capital-list leader], ABU. Geography trivia—Abu Dhabi is the first alphabetically in a list of capitals in Asia.
  • 1d. [Major attitude adjustment], ABOUT-FACE. Imagine if that meant turning your face upside down.
  • 3d. [1999 biography subtitled ”Magician or Mystic?”], URI GELLER. So what’s the answer? Is it “Neither! He’s a hack”?
  • 10d. [Most common labor issue], SON. More boys than girls are born, but baby girls and old women seem to be more robust than their male counterparts. And yes, I had PAY here first.
  • 32d. [Bimonthly ”Magazine of Southern People”], Y’ALL. Who knew?
  • 35d. [Field where Arabic etymologies are common], ASTRONOMY. Azimuth, for example.

Dislikes:

  • 48d. [The __ day], OTHER / 31a. [What impatient people don’t have], ALL DAY. Too many days.
  • 54d. [School-__], AGER. Not at all familiar. But teen- was off limits because of EARLY TEENS (not that the day/DAY dupe caused a problem for the editor here).
  • Rather more short blah stuff in this 70-worder than I expect to see in a Stumper. AYR, EER, RHOS, ENID, AGER, ERGS

Overall 3.75 stars from me.

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34 Responses to Saturday, January 10, 2015

  1. Brucenm says:

    Shockingly easy, but enjoyable Joe Krozel, especially the entire East. Amazing grid which I don’t know if we’ve seen before. Must have been a wavelength thing for me. I’m close to the par time for once.

  2. Avg Solvr says:

    “Waiter, bring me some champagne in ice.”

    “In what?”

    “In ice.”

    “In ice!? Who do you think you are? Joe Krozel?”

    Things became a breeze when I turned it 90 degrees and felt at home with a MAS puzzle.

  3. sbmanion says:

    Just call me Mr. Negative. I wonder how many golfers did not realize that T.C. Chen had made a double eagle in the 1985 U.S. Open, but did remember that he had a four shot lead on the final day when he double hit a chip shot on one hole en route to a quadruple bogey to lose the tournament by I think one shot to Andy North. The double hit caused wags to nickname him Two Chips.

    Extremely easy puzzle. I also solved it E, S, W.

    Steve

    • Brucenm says:

      Steve, do you know if there has ever been a hole in one on a par 4 in a professional golf tournament?

      • sbmanion says:

        There was a hole in one (the only one ever) right here in Phoenix by a golfer named Andrew Magee, a decent journeyman golfer. The Phoenix Open is by far the most attended golf tournament on the PGA tour. It is a fun tournament especially if you are a serious student of eye candy.

        Andrew Magee double-bogeyed the sixteenth hole, which is the focal point of the entire tournament (all the corporate tents line the hole and as many as 50,000 or more drunks go crazy over every shot). The seventeenth hole is a 330 yard par 4 and Magee did not think he had any chance of reaching it, so he hit. The ball bounced off the putter of Tom Byrum, who was lining up his putt on the green, and caromed into the hole. There is no penalty for such a fluke.

        Steve

      • Mike D. says:

        @ Brucenm — The only hole-in-one ever on a par four in PGA Tour history came on the 17th hole at TPC Scottsdale during the 2001 FBR Open. Andrew Magee did not wait for the green to clear ahead of him, and his drive got to the green and caromed off of the putter of a player in the group ahead and into the hole. There is mediocre video of the shot, but for the most part it’s just part of pro golf lore.

        As I was only one at the time, I wasn’t aware of TC Chen’s double eagle at the 1985 US Open, though anyone who knows anything about golf knows about his double chip that led to him losing to Andy North by one stroke. I work as a golf rules official at times for my job, and unfortunately for Mr. Chen, one cannot think of rule 14-4 without uttering his name. It’s so common among avid golfers that his full name is actually used in golf circles as a verb when double-hitting a ball, as in “I just TC Chenned that chip.”

  4. Martin says:

    What a lovely looking grid! And the fill ain’t too shabby either ;)

    I believe this is a (published) crossword first, with three sets of triple-stacked 15s interlocked along three sides of the grid.

    As you might imagine, this is a tough trick to pull off, not just technically, but with decent fill too. I know this only too well, because I constructed a similar grid (flipped the other way up) for my Triple-Stack book several years ago. However, it ended up on the cutting room floor, because I felt some of the fill was too hard.

    Not here though… Joe makes it look easy!

    -MAS

  5. Linda says:

    For oneg, how about “party after services”? Oneg means joy, and maybe that’s what Krozel was getting at in his clue. ((*_*))

  6. ArtLvr says:

    I too started the NYT with Rosie the Riveter and Moonlight Sonata, and was pleasantly surprised at all the smoothness in the end! Also loved the Greek letter twists in the CS.

    • ArtLvr says:

      p.s. BOYISH? For theater buffs who also like mystery stories, don’t miss the zany tales of Jane Dentinger: “Who Dropped Peter Pan?” and “Dead Pan”.

  7. Brucenm says:

    There appear to be two clues missing in Nucky’s Stumper — 56 & 58d. Or am I doing something wrong?

    I’m having enough trouble with the bottom already (though the NW is easy) — I don’t need any additional help making it harder.

  8. David L says:

    Unlike most of you, I found today’s puzzle very slow going, and I finished with two errors because I stuck with ONICE and TONTO, plus the mysterious ETI. I think it’s flat-out wrong to say that champagne is served “in ice,” unless you’re in the habit of drinking champagne in that cheap dive down by the train station.

    Yesterday’s puzzle, on the other hand, was a piece of cake — fastest Friday ever, or close to it. Well, different strokes and all that.

    Belated happy new year to all, BTW. I was on vacation over the hols and then, as punishment, waylaid by this horrible flu that’s going around. Nasty.

  9. Gareth says:

    It’s rare for me to be able to drop 1A – CTEAMS – straight into the grid. Even more crazy I then dropped 1D CASUALTIESOFWAR in. That and ROSIETHERIVETER made the puzzle play might easily for a Saturday!

  10. Jen says:

    Question re NYT Saturday puzzle: Am I missing something? I don’t get the sense of the answer for 56 across “oneg”. What on earth does it mean? Thanks!

  11. Stephen says:

    The pdf of the Newsday puzzle was missing two clues. Proud of myself for solving with added difficulty.

  12. Jen says:

    Gee whiz! Thanks, Amy (and Pannonica)

    • Tuning Spork says:

      ONEG. Not to be confused with frustrated fashion designer Oneg Cassili. He feeds my dogs when I’m out of town.

  13. Josh says:

    “Most common labor issue” in the Stumper is one of my favorite clues in a while.

  14. roger says:

    should be THE NOIVE :)

  15. Greg says:

    Very enjoyable solving experience. There were so many intersecting opportunities with the three triple stacked 15s that it made the puzzle relatively easy to solve (for a Saturday). Great fun.

  16. Jenni Levy says:

    To answer your question – I could not name all five major volcanoes in Washington State. I got three of them. The resident geologist, of course, filled in the other two, added the one in California, and is now annoyed with himself for having to look up the one in between, in Oregon.

  17. Art Shapiro says:

    Slow going for me as well. Kept with “NATURALDISASTER” for the big wave clue for far too long. Appreciated the gimme clue for the Beethoven.

    Art

  18. Bob B says:

    LAT had way too many obscure defs and words for me. Gave up after 45 min. PENSYLTUCKY???? Give me a break!

  19. BRUCE GOLDMAN says:

    52A, Guarantor of financial accounts, is not the FDIC. The SIPC guarantees accounts; big difference and it threw my whole solving off kilter.

  20. CY Hollander says:
  21. William Fox says:

    Could someone explain the answer from cross synergy 1/10 28 across “hit sound”. I just don’t get how “short I ” is the solution

  22. Bob Kerfuffle says:

    @William Fox – The vowel sound in the word “hit” is a short I.

Comments are closed.