Saturday, May 23, 2015

NYT 4:46 (Amy) 
Newsday 20:42 (Derek) 
LAT 21:37 (Derek) 
CS 8:19 (Ade) 

Peter Wentz’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 5 23 15, no 0523

NY Times crossword solution, 5 23 15, no 0523

Well, the Friday puzzle played like a Wednesday for me, so it makes sense that the Saturday feels like a Friday. I tend to be on Peter’s wavelength and like his themeless style. My top 10 list from this grid:

  • 1a. [Reputation ruiner], HATCHET JOB. Great way to start the puzzle.
  • 17a. [Touching of noses], ESKIMO KISS. (Note: Eskimo is not a derogatory term in American English, but you might want to watch it north of the border.)
  • 20a. [Deep-fried pub dish], SCOTCH EGG. Great answer, though horrifying. I don’t like my eggs unscrambled, and lurking inside a deep-fried crust? It’s just wrong.
  • 28a. [“False, false, false!”], “YOU LIE!” I plan to shout this a few times over the weekend.
  • 43a. [Certain gofer], OFFICE BOY. Hey, how often do we get infantilizing terms that aren’t female-specific? It’s refreshing (so long as it isn’t racist infantilizing).
  • 60a. [Form of xeriscaping], ROCK GARDEN.
  • 12d. [Ascent without assistance], FREE CLIMB. Like what those two guys did in the Rockies in Yosemite on that crazy rock face some months back. (Thanks to Martin in Charlottesville for the correction on where El Capitan is.)
  • 21d. [Hollowed-out comedic prop], CLOWN CAR. Who doesn’t love a clown car? I suppose coulrophobes don’t.
  • 23d. [County of Lewis Carroll’s birth], CHESHIRE. You’re thinking, “What the hell sort of obscure trivia is this that I’m expected to know?” and then it hits you.
  • 42d. [“Friday I’m in Love” band, 1992], THE CURE. Would you believe “Love Cats” never charted in the US? Nor did “The Walk.”
  • 46d. [Gobbles], SNARFS.

That might be 11.

Don’t know why I struggled with 51a. [Swedish coins], KRONOR, and why I had KRONER. There’s a Swedish restaurant in Chicago called Tre Kronor, “three crowns.” I should’ve nailed that one.

Worst entry in the puzzle, by far: 53d. [Common show time: Abbr.], ONE HR. So wrong. If you are going to abbreviate “hour,” you’re probably going to use the numeral rather than spelling out the number’s name. TKOD as a past-tense verb is also pretty ugly.

Three more notes:

  • 31d. [___ fields], STEM. That’s science, technology, engineering, and math.
  • 39d. [Word repeated before “here,” in song], OINK. In “Old MacDonald Had a Farm,” by the Cure.
  • 34d. [“That’s gotta hurt”], OOF. I love OOF.

4.25 stars from me.


Todd McClary’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Four Score”—Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 05.23.15: "Four Score"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 05.23.15: “Four Score”

Hello, weekend! I hope you’re doing great, and my apologies this is up a little late. Just arrived in Philadelphia for the lacrosse Final Four, and going to have fun watching the best of college lacrosse play, including the Notre Dame Fighting IRISH (53D: [St. Patrick’s people]). Today’s grid, brought to us by Mr. Todd McClary, is very apropos for me, given that I’m currently at a sporting event. Each of the four theme answers are multiple-word entries in which the first word is also a unit of scoring in each of the four different major American sports. (In this case, ‘point’ will refer to football only, though basketball also utilizes the word in its nomenclature.)

  • RUN THE GAMUT (17A: [Go from A to Z])
  • GOAL ORIENTED (28A: [Focused on an objective]) – Or, as a Spanish-language play-by-play soccer commentator might say, “Gooooooooooool oriented!”
  • BASKET WEAVER (48A: [One who works with wicker])
  • POINT OF VIEW (63A: [Perspective])

As far as earworms go, you can’t get too much better than having PEGGY LEE‘s voice in your head with her amazing “He’s a Tramp” number (6D: [Singer on the soundtrack of Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp”]). It took a while to get BIG LOVE, as I saw the ads and posters for the show in my mind but couldn’t come up with the name immediately (27D: [HBO drama set in Utah]). I knew it was about Mormons and a Mormon family. I’m almost certain that this is the first time I’ve seen WAPITI in a grid, and it definitely is a nice change of pace from seeing ‘elk’ a lot of times in a grid (49D: [Antlered animal]). You know, one of these days, I’m going to fill in OUZO in a grid, then go out and buy some ouzo on the same day, and not ever having it before is definitely motivating me to do just that (56D: [Drink served in a taverna]). We’ll see where tonight takes me…might be having some ouzo to cap off my night of reporting.

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: REEVES (50D: [Keanu of “The Matrix”]) – As a player, former Dallas Cowboys running back Dan Reeves was known as one of the most versatile running backs, known for his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield as much as running the football. As a head coach, Reeves was one of the winningest coach pro football, taking his teams to four Super Bowls. Unfortunately, Reeves went 0-4 in the Big Game. Three of those Super Bowl losses came as head coach of the Denver Broncos, who were led by quarterback John Elway. Reeves’ fourth Super Bowl loss came as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, with the Denver Broncos defeating the Falcons in Elway’s last game as a Bronco and as an NFL player. What a cruel world.

See you all for the Sunday Challenge!

Take care!


Tim Croce and Alex Vratsanos’s LA Times crossword

Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 8.26.26 AM
I feel I need to defend my time: I was watching TV while I solved this…

…but it still was difficult.  This was a nice puzzle.  I had forgotten that the LA Times had a nice challenging Saturday puzzle.  Struggled mightily with the upper left area.  These 15×15 difficult level puzzles are pretty much my favorites. I’m told they can be a little easier to make in a way; there is no need for a snappy theme.  And I realize a puzzle is only as hard as it’s clues.  But as in any puzzle, clever, interesting entries always make for a delightful solving experience.  Some examples:

  •  7A [One giving you a pointer?] UNCLE SAM – GREAT clue!
  • 18A [Skiing maneuver] STEM TURN – New to me.  I do NOT ski.
  • 53A [Pal of Beegle Beagle] GRAPE APE – This one made me smile.  Used to watch this as a kid.  Don’t necessarily remember Beegle Beagle, but on a cartoon named Grape Ape, it makes perfect sense even if you’d never seen it.
  • 3D [Eagle touchdown site] TRANQUILITY BASE – Before my time. But great long entry.
  • 7D [It carried FDR to a 1943 “Big Three” meeting] USS IOWA – Another awesome clue.  Especially when you only have three or four of the letters.  Great a-ha moment solving this clue
  • 12D [It might make you comfortable]  SOUND INVESTMENT – Again, another wonderful, interesting, and well clued long entry.
  • 30D [“Building a healthier world” sloganeer] AETNA – I’ve had Aetna insurance.  This isn’t what they’re trying to do…
  • 37D [Christiaan who invented the pendulum clock] HUYGENS – This goes under the you-learn-something-new-everyday category!
  • 49D [Quite a run] TEN K – Surprised this doesn’t appear more in crosswords.  Perhaps because of the plethora of consonants? ;-) Nicely clued, as well.
  • 51D [“A temporary insanity curable by marriage,” per Ambrose Bierce] LOVE – If this didn’t make you chuckle at least a little bit, then you’re either smarter than me or doing crosswords for the wrong reason!

A solid 4.5 stars from me. Loved it.

Brad Wilber’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper”

Whew! This was TOUGH…

…and I loved every minute of it! Very challenging Stumper this week. If you look closely, you can see all of my corrected squares in the screen shot! In addition to the brutal clues, there were more than a few answers I had to Google, and several I have NEVER heard of. But that’s what you want in a tough puzzle, right??

Some observations:

  • 16A [Furtive, maybe] RATLIKE – Am I the only one who had CATLIKE filled in? Are rats “Furtive??”
  • 17A [Poetic motif of transience] UBI SUNT – Totally new one on me. And even after reading up on it, still seems odd. Maybe because it’s early Saturday morning…
  • 39A [French hors d’oeuvre pastry] VOL-AU-VENT – Another new word. Maybe I’m not cultured enough….
  • 52A [Goldfinger served as it’s treasurer] SMERSH – Seen the movie several times, don’t remember this at all.  But you usually don’t remember minute details from Bond movies, do you? It’s usually other things….
  • 15D [Former college football all-star game] HULA BOWL – I actually had BLUE GRAY in here at first. Showing my age…
  • 43D [Designer tabbies] TOYGERS – Another new term. Google this too. They’re kinda cute.

Very difficult. But still 4 stars. Hard fill, but still good quality. Still enjoy learning new words.

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

11 Responses to Saturday, May 23, 2015

  1. Matt says:

    Great posts! I need a respite from other, more negative, sites. And it’s great you post the night before!

  2. huda says:

    NYT: Excellent!
    And not too difficult (although I’m still blown away by Amy’s times. Less than 5 minutes on a Saturday!)

    I did not know SCENE SHOP. And ONE PM instead of ONEHR (!) was hard to fix. I love Phillipics– It echoes HATCHET JOB which is fabulous.

    And JUICE made me chuckle. I told my grandson my phone needed some juice and he generously donated some of his OJ to pour on it…

  3. sbmanion says:

    I recently watched the show American Ninja. The strongest (in relation to body mass) and most extraordinarily gifted contestants were almost all rock climbers. It was interesting to see FREE CLIMB in today’s puzzle in light of the recent death of climbing icon Dean Potter. Potter pushed the limits of the sport in two areas FREE SOLO (alone with no ropes) and FREE BASE (jumping off a cliff with only a minimal parachute). The man was the iconic climber of his generation.

    I had a lot of difficulty with this puzzle because I did not know ETSY, SCOTCH EGG and SCENESHOP.

    Fun puzzle anyway.


  4. Martin from C. says:

    Great time, Amy!

    Lots of good words in this CW. Favorites are JUICE, SCOTCH EGGS, EN BLOC, CLOWN CAR, and CHESHIRE.

  5. Jenni Levy says:

    I learned the word “philippic” from Paul Simon’s song “A Simple Desultory Philippic, or How I Was Robert McNamara’d into Submission”. It doesn’t come up very often. I found both the Friday and Saturday NYT puzzles much easier than usual and even did slighter better than my average on the Stumper, although I missed the GAS/UBISUNT crossing. I’d like to say it was unfair, but GAS is not all that unusual and I should have gotten it by running the alphabet, at least.

    A nice puzzle day to go with the lovely weather day we’re having. I’ll take it.

  6. Martin says:

    Vol-au-vents are easy to make if you have puff pastry (frozen pre-made works fine). With a big cookie cutter you cut two discs. With a small cookie cutter you cut out the center of one. Put the ring on the disc. Bake. You get a puff-pastry cylinder for filling with anything. Little ones make great hors d’oeuvres filled with creamed mushrooms, lobster salad, shrimp, anything.

    It means “flying in the wind” (windblown) and is that lovely French poetic way of saying “light.” Another example is the little dessert puff called a pet de nonne (“nun’s fart”). You gotta love the French.

  7. bob says:

    BUFF= FIEND – er, not in degree! SHORT PRAYER= MANTIS – er, the mantis is quite LONG in the insect world. Silly, silly, silly effort in LAT this week.

  8. Greg says:

    Perfect for a Saturday puzzle, in my opinion. My initial gimme was “Lerner” and it went smoothly and entertainingly from there.

  9. Martin from C. says:

    Re the Newsday CW, 52A [Goldfinger served as it’s treasurer] SMERSH. Derek: “Seen the movie several times, don’t remember this at all.”

    I don’t remember it either. The Wikipedia entry for the book mentions the treasurer role; the Wikipedia entry for the movie omits it. I don’t think it is in the movie.

  10. Joan Macon says:

    Amy! Oof is one of my favorite words; it helps me get out of my chair when I have been sitting a long time. And we first had Scotch eggs at the Empress Hotel in Victoria. My daughter liked them so much she makes them often and we had them at brunch on Mothers’ Day. Do you want the recipe?

Comments are closed.