Saturday, January 17, 2015

Newsday 10:36 (Amy) 
NYT 5:29 (Amy) 
LAT 5:12 (Amy) 
CS 8:33 (Ade) 

Josh Knapp’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 1 17 15, no. 0117

NY Times crossword solution, 1 17 15, no. 0117

Big ups for this puzzle. Or, you might say, many UPs. Four, to be exact: BUFFS UP crossing UP HERE, across from BACKS UP, which is above EATEN UP. What is up with that?!

Quick write-UP as I don’t want to stay UP too late tonight.

Ten things in this 70-worder:

  • 19a. [Book of ___], KELLS. Know your medieval Irish illuminated manuscripts, people. Or just this one. This one will suffice.
  • 29a. [“M*A*S*H” extra], ROK. Does this count as crosswordese to you? I’ve pretty much only encountered it in puzzles.
  • 39a. [Hip-hop’s ___ tha Kyd], SYD. Never heard of him; nor has my kid.
  • 40a. [Provider of shock value?], RICHTER SCALE. Cute clue.
  • 51a. [Figure also called the crux ansata], ANKH. Not familiar with the Latin term, but crux = cross and ansata and ANKH start with same two letters so I went with it.
  • 10d. [1983 Joel Schumacher film], DC CAB. It’s bizarre that an 80%-consonants thing won’t die in crosswords, especially when it’s a movie of no great distinction.
  • 30d. [Like one side of the Aral Sea], KAZAKH. Wikipedia describes the sea in the past tense.
  • 36d. [Blabber], BIGMOUTH. Blabber as in “one who blabs,” not the verb “blabber.”
  • 46d. [Jungle herbivores], TAPIRS. Never trust a tapir with its back to you. They can spray their pee 15 feet behind them, which is rather inconvenient when you are visiting the zoo on vacation and don’t have access to laundry machines for your sprayed clothes.
  • 52d. [Noted Greek officer], KOJAK. Not sure that “noted” can mean “fictional, from TV in the ’70s.” Anyone know how they came up with the surname Kojak for the fictional Greek-American cop?

3.5 stars from me.

Barry Silk’s Los Angeles Times crossword

LA Times crossword solution, 1 17 15

LA Times crossword solution, 1 17 15

Four stacks in this 70-worder, with a dozen 10-letter answers. The highlights:

  • 1a. [One is featured in the 1962 Ventures instrumental “The 2,000 Pound Bee”], FUZZ GUITAR. Don’t know what it is, mind you, and BUZZ goes with the sound of bees more than FUZZ, but whatever.
  • 15a. [He played the bandit Calvera in “The Magnificent Seven”], ELI WALLACH. So much ELI, ELI, ELI; hardly any full names for the famous ELIs. Nice change-up.
  • Edible corner—HERBIVORES over OVEREATERS having TEXAS TOAST. Probably not part of a LOW-FAT DIET, because you’re probably going to want butter or cheese with that Texas toast.
  • 28d. [Business where lines are short?], SINGLES BAR. Would rather not have the RELINING crossing with the “lines” clue, and I had LINE for 33a at first too. Would have prefered a tailoring clue for RELINING, as most of us don’t have chimney work done (39a. [Chimney repair job]).

ERIE COUNTY is uninspiring, and SAINT PETER looks weird with the “St.” spelled out.

Five more things:

  • 4d. [Literally, “twice-baked”], ZWIEBACK. The biscotti of Prussia.
  • 20a. [Kid’s cry], MAA. Again, I pretty much never encounter this as the goat’s sound outside of crosswords. Could’ve been MAS crossing TADS, though TA-DA is better than TADS.
  • 37a. [Massenet opera], THAIS. Ah, yes, the famous opera! Not really. It is bizarre that this isn’t clued as, say, [Bangkokians] or [Lard na eaters, often]. It’s as if a clue gets soldered into place in the 1970s and can never be dislodged.
  • 35d. [1983 Styx hit that begins in Japanese], MR. ROBOTO. This is both great and terrible.
  • 34d. [Greenside stroke], CHIP SHOT. I will assume this golf clue somehow misses the point until sbmanion (he who finds fault with a great many sports clues in crosswords) weighs in with his approval.

3.5 stars. MAA, BOAC, ETAS, ULNA, T-NUT, DELES, and MERS underwhelmed me.

Stan Newman’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” (Anna Stiga byline)

Newsday crossword solution, 1 17 15 "Saturday Stumper"

Newsday crossword solution, 1 17 15 “Saturday Stumper”

When you’re already feeling a little dyspeptic, you don’t want to hit an ESTER (13d. [Source of an ale’s fruity flavor]) in a Newsday puzzle. Who would have preferred an ASTER crossing MARA? (Hand raised here.) Did you know that The Social Network actress Rooney Mara’s grandfather and great-grandfather owned different NFL teams? Art Rooney, Steelers; Wellington Mara, Giants. Or! Just clue MARE as the horse rather than the Latinate word for some moon terrain.

Did you find this puzzle to be about twice as hard as the day’s other themelesses, or am I just off kilter?

Ten things:

  • 20a. [Gillette introduction of 1979], ERASERMATE. Who knew Papermate pens were a Gillette subsidiary? And why does more than one company make both razors and ballpoint pens?
  • 21a. [Mag with a Street Chic Daily web page], ELLE. The shortened “mag” is quite misleading. We don’t get a curtailed COSMO here, we get full-name ELLE. I don’t get it.
  • 32a. [Palm product], HULA SKIRT. Made from palm fronds.
  • 60a. [Sources of some scratches], HENS. Is this a literal or figurative thing?
  • 7d. [The Romans’ name for Turkey], ASIA. Neat clue. Asia Minor?
  • 10d. [A noticeable improvement], MORE LIKE IT. Don’t care for the clue here. The answer phrase also feels incomplete without “that’s.”
  • 18d. [Shipwreck divers’ mecca], ERIE. Lake Erie? I Googled a couple top-10 shipwreck dives list and the Great Lakes weren’t on either one. Maybe a mecca for Ohio shipwreck divers in particular?
  • 24d. [Dated, for short], OBS. Short for “obsolete.” Not keen on “for short” signaling a straight-up abbreviation rather than a more casual curtailment.
  • 25d. [Martha Stewart makes them with basil leaves and homemade mayo], BLTS. Now, that’s a fresh BLT clue.
  • 28d. [Reminder starter], NOTE TO SELF. My favorite entry in this grid. BUM’S RUSH a close second.

3.75 stars from me.

Tony Orbach’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Capital Women”—Ade’s write-up  

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 01.17.15: "Capital Women"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 01.17.15: “Capital Women”

Hello everybody! Sorry for being a little late to the Saturday crossword party, but where’s definitely a spot for the person that comes in fashionably late, right?! (Not that I meant to be fashionably late…far from it.) Today’s crossword, brought to us by our jazzy musician, Mr. Tony Orbach, includes famous women whose last names also happen to be state capitals. For this review, I’m changing my name to “Adesina Jefferson City.”

  • KATE JACKSON (17A: [“Charlie’s Angels” actress who should have been from Mississippi?])
  • ABBEY LINCOLN (28A: [Late jazz inger/actress who should have been from Nebraska?])
  • HOLLY MADISON (53A: [“The Girls Next Door” reality TV actress who should have been from Wisconsin?]) – Would have known who she was if it wasn’t for the fact that she’s a reality TV actress. I don’t do reality television at all.
  • TRACY AUSTIN (64A: [Former tennis champ who should have been from Texas]) – Not only does she remain the youngest woman to win the U.S. Open women’s singles title (16 years, 9 months when winning it in 1979), she beat Martina Navratilova in the semifinals and Chris Evert in the final to achieve it. What were you doing when you were 16???

Is everyone getting ready for OSCAR season, with the Academy Awards being next month (32A: [Award for many people honored on the Hollywood Walk of Fame])? Is there such a thing as “Oscar season?” Probably my favorite fill (along with its clue) today was, actually, HEY YOU (27A: [“Yo!”]). So a few days ago, I saw A-OKAY in a grid and mentioned how I believed it was rare to spell it a such, and now I see it again in a grid (7D: [Just perfect]). From this day forward, I declare that spelling of A-okay not rare. Actually, my second-favorite clue for the day was DROOPY, which has now made me think of the animated basset hound created by Tex Avery (58A: [Like a flop-eared pup’s ears]). The cartoons with Droopy and Spike are absolutely hilarious, if you ever get a chance to watch.


“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: L.A. RAM (26D: [Former West Coast NFLer]) – It’s possible that the “former” in the clue may be no longer in a couple of years. The L.A. RAM franchise, which first started in Cleveland, moved to St. Louis in 1995, where it remains to this day. But a recent reports are  that the owner of the Rams, Stan Kroenke, is seriously looking into a new stadium project in the City of Angels, with the hopes of moving the team back to Los Angeles. In response, the St. Louis mayor announced plans of possibly building a new stadium in St. Louis to be ready by 2020, in hopes of keeping the Rams. Honestly, these “new stadium wars” are such a detriment to sports. The new stadiums are great and generate a lot of attention and revenue, but the politics and the nickel-and-diming only hurts the fans/citizens at the expense of  gluttonous glitz and glamour.

See you all for the Sunday Challenge!

Take care!


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19 Responses to Saturday, January 17, 2015

  1. sbmanion says:

    There is a large community in Phoenix of Jews from Uzbekistan who emigrated to the U.S.when it became difficult for them to continue to live in their native land. I have always associated the Aral Sea with Uzbekistan.

    I struggled to get started on this one, but FORCEMAJEURE led to FIGLEAF and it fell pretty quickly after that.

    I thought this was a superb puzzle. I looked up KOJAK to see if there was any information on the origin of his name. I didn’t find anything. The character in the movie on which the TV character is based is called KOJACK. A humorous note is that KOJAK as a verb refers to finding the perfect parking place right in front of wherever you want to be, a recurring event for Kojak in the TV series.


    • Bencoe says:

      Another good 70s TV detective word is “Columbo”. The trick of pretending to walk away, then saying, “Oh, one more thing…” and using it to get information.
      DC CAB not a movie of great distinction? But Mr. T!

  2. ArtLvr says:

    I second that motion — superb! I got my foothold on the KLATCH and ANKH, then on the BOSPORUS… I especially liked the FORCE MAJEURE, but it was all outstanding and on the up and up, even the UPC CODE.

  3. huda says:

    NYT: even though I needed time to get a foothold (BOSPORUS was my first entry, the missing H always rankles) I thought this was a lovely puzzle. Each corner and the center are almost free standing puzzlettes, and they were each well constructed. FORCE MAJEURE was beautiful, and there were so many fantastic entries. So little garbage, minimal trivia (SYD the KYD notwithstanding). I’m learning that the power of an open grid design should not be underestimated (and of course the talent of the constructor to fill it with gems!)

  4. roger says:

    wouldn’t the person be a blabberer, not “he is a blabber”?

    • huda says:

      If I blab (reveal secrets) I am a blabber ( a bigmouth)
      If I blabber (talk excessively) I’m a blabberer (although maybe it would be best called a blabbermouth?)

      • roger says:

        I grew up with Ralph Kramden. I don’t think someone who reveals secrets would be known as a bigmouth, rather someone who has a big mouth

  5. Bit says:

    This is the second time that the Stumper PDF seems to be missing a number of Down clues (which would be the last on the page). Last time it was only two, but this week it is five–no Down clues for 49,50,51,52, and 53. My workaround is to enable Java, fire up the applet on the Newsday web page, and screengrab the missing clues and print them separately, but I’m sure there is just some bug in the PDF writing process… anyone else notice this, or has my Acrobat gone wonky :) ?

    • David L says:

      Same here. Last week I finished despite a couple of missing clues, but this week I’m stumped (har). I couldn’t figure the two last across clues in that corner without help from the downs.

  6. Matt says:

    Rather pleased with myself for being able to finish the NYT. Quite Scrabble-y, a lot of clues with less-common answers. Does a priori really mean ‘deductive’? I’ve always used it to mean ‘by assumption’.

    • Brucenm says:

      To an epistemologist, an a priori truth is one whose justification lies not in experience but rather in reason. The most obvious examples are “analytic” propositions, i.e. ones which are true simply by virtue of the meanings of the terms used. Most epistemologists would agree that mathematical propositions are known a priori. Similarly a proposition like “All bachelors are unmarried” is an analytic truth, known a priori, simply because of the meanings of the terms involved.

      It is no exaggeration to say that the principal, the most profound, the most divisive issue in modern philosophy, certainly since Kant’s reaction to Hume in his *Critique of Pure Reason* is the question of whether there are propositions which are not analytic but which are known with certainty to be true, not merely because of the meaning of the terms involved.

      That conundrum is often expressed in the form “Are there any synthetic a priori truths?” (or “synthetic necessary truths.”) In an oversimplified version, a synthetic proposition is one which states something about the world, which is not merely “about” the words or symbols used in the proposition.

      The best illustration of a proposition which generates the philosophical disagreement as to the existence of the synthetic a priori, is the proposition “Every event has a cause.” This does not appear to be an analytic truth, in the sense that it is merely a part of the meaning of the word “event” that it have a cause. (Though some would argue otherwise.) Kant and many Post-Kantian epistemologists would argue that this proposition is both synthetic and known with certainty to be true, but that the source of that certainty does not reside in experience; i.e. that it is a synthetic a priori truth, (or synthetic necessary truth.) It was Kant’s program in the First Critique, especially the ‘Transcendental Aesthetic’ and the derivation of the ‘Categories of the Understanding’ to explain the source and the basis for our knowledge of synthetic necessary truths, based to some extent on an examination of the nature of the rational mind of the knowing subject.

      But now this threatens to turn into an extended essay — perhaps a preface to a chapter in a textbook.

      • Matt says:

        Interesting. Note, e.g., that mathematical logic teaches us that there’s an intricate relationship between ‘true’ and ‘consistent’– there are statements in set theory whose truth is (formally) optional. So, the ‘deductive’ truth of a proposition can be quite conditional.

  7. Jim C says:

    Newsday PDF stopped at 48D. What are the remaining clues? And LAT still unavailable. Or is it just me?

    • Jim C says:

      Ignore my question above. I was able to get the LAT from the LAT website, but not from Cruciverb. Still need the Newsday clues after 48D.

  8. Gareth says:

    LAT: Wished 1a could anachronistically be a vuvuzela. Would [Bechuanaland neughbor] not be smoother than [Botswana neighbor, formerly]? A lot of fun answers, but some really tough crossers for me: ILEAC (vs. ILEAL) / BOAC / ZWIEBACK & DELIA/DOANS (so tempted by the C don’t know Ms. Ephron or whatever a DOANS is.

  9. sbmanion says:

    I am impressed with your understanding of Kant. I understood most of the great philosophers upon reading them,but totally whiffed on Kant,whose works I use to help my students understand the meaning of “abstruse.”

  10. Joan Macon says:

    Amy, I’m so glad you are feeling better as you must be or you wouldn’t be doing so many reviews. My husband was in the Korean war and he and his friends would talk about the ROKs, generally in fairly positive terms. I had no idea what they were talking about until he explained it to me.

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