Saturday, July 18, 2015

NYT 4:24 (Amy) 
Newsday 28:34 (Derek) 
LAT 9:13 (Derek) 
CS 12:36 (Ade) 

Joe Krozel’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 7 18 15, no 0718

NY Times crossword solution, 7 18 15, no 0718

Did this play like a Friday puzzle for you folks, too, or did I just manage to skate past the insane clues somehow? There were many clues that felt hostile, and yet they didn’t derail me. Did you have trouble getting the fill to flow past the tight ILLIN/O’CLOCK strait?

I didn’t figure out what the grid image was supposed to be till I reached 24d. [Setting depicted by this puzzle’s grid], ONE THIRTY. See the short hour hand and the long minute hand? The overall grid shape is round, with 4 blocks marking 9, 12, and 3 O’CLOCK.

Weirdest clues in this 56-worder:

  • 5a. [Monte Palatino locale], ROMA. “Monte Palatino” is new to me.
  • 20a. [___ Hassan, “Arabian Nights” figure], ABOU. ABOU/Abu is Arabic, guessed right.
  • 21a. [Spanish city that’s home to the country’s oldest university], SALAMANCA. Not among the three best-known Spanish cities.
  • 46a. [Something studied by a caliologist], NEST. I hadn’t known “caliologist.”
  • 5d. [Title heroine of an 1884 Helen Hunt Jackson novel], RAMONA. Beverly Cleary’s kidlit Ramona is more broadly familiar.
  • 33d. [What “/ / /” may represent], SPARES. On a bowling scoresheet.


Worst fill: DAST, TESTINGS (!), AT REAR, RESP. And also OLD BATS/[Biddies], negative language aimed at women.

3.7 stars from me.

Anna Stiga’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up

imageOuch.  This one was hard.  Did not have total peace and quiet while I was solving, so that affected the time a little, but no references used.  You will see TONS of corrected error marks in the puzzle, though.  I had SNOW TIRE instead of SNOW PLOW, ADDS TO instead of ADDS IN, and I had RONALD REEVES before I finally figured out the puzzle was referring to RONALD REAGAN! Having said all that, this is a very good puzzle.  My new oxymoronic phrase I use to describe solving hard puzzles is Joyful Agony!  I even learned a few things solving this puzzle.  Some notes:

  • 14A [Penalty symbol in soccer] YELLOW CARD – First entry filled in.  Thankfully it was correct…
  • 20A [“Star Trek” catchword] ENERGIZE – I am NOT a Trekkie, but I’ve certainly seen enough Star Trek in my day to realize I should know this.  I had STARDATE in incorrectly here, as well.
  • 25A [Staples alternative] W. B. MASON – Not an alternative here in Indiana!  I pretty much only know this company from seeing it’s ads on the outfield walls of Yankee Stadium!  This was one of the last entries I filled in.
  • 41A [It might be repurposed as a trellis] CD TOWER – This actually is a really good clue.  I’m thinking of an outdoor trellis! I think this clue refers to a house plant that may be used with an outdated CD tower. (Because we all just download MP3s, right??
  • 56A [Minneapolis citywide freebie since 2009] WI-FI – That would be nice where I live…
  • 57A [Some “Skeptical Inquirer” readers] UFOLOGISTS – I had the U from EURO in there pretty early, but for some reason I had the UTNE Reader in my mind, and it took a while to shake that thought.  Great entry!
  • 4D [Southwest New York city] OLEAN – This is the New York Newsday crossword, so refs to things actually in New York should fly easier than here.  I almost would have rather seen a reference to Olestra.  Wikipedia says there is actually an Olean, Indiana, but it looks like it may be literally just a street corner!
  • 5D [Store-window enticement] LOW LOW PRICES! – Awesome.  This also was filled in towards the end.  I believe I had LOWEST PRICES in there at some point.  Nicely done.
  • 12D [Locale of the first Apple Store outside the US] GINZA – What?? Apparently this is in Japan.  I would have guessed PARIS before this.  Not even sure if I’ve ever HEARD of Ginza, Japan.
  • 33D [Baltimore Ravens mascot] POE – Yes, the Ravens are named after his poem.
  • 35D [Rorschach card complement] TEN – I quickly wrote in INK, since the inkblot was what I thought of first.  Quickly saw that wasn’t right either.
  • 55D [Letter takers, for short] POS – As in Post Offices! Another shout our to my postmistress sister! Yet another misdirectional clue, as I was thinking of some sort of dictation taker.

So the theme for me for this puzzle was: I was fooled early and often.  I will try to seek some higher level of peace and quiet next Saturday, but I am slated to run a 5k, so we will see.  4.5 stars.


Roland Huget’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up

LAT 071815A triple-stack themeless!  Always ambitious, and well done by Roland Huget.  I got stumped in the upper left corner; BROUHAHAS took a while to come to me.  Otherwise solving time would have been in the 7-8 minute range. Lots of great fill in this puzzle, and great cluing as well.  Isn’t it nice how a good clue can change a trite (!) entry into a lively brain exercise?  Some examples follow in the puzzle notes:

  • 16A [Eponymous WWII flying ace Edward] O’HARE – As in the airport, once the world’s busiest.  Gettable with a few crosses, but a nice challenging clue.  Nobody knows who this is.  At least I don’t, and I’m originally FROM Chicago!
  • 23A [Spoiler of a perfect GPA] ONE B – A great clue.  Turns the otherwise worthless ONEB sequence into a lively entry.
  • 33A [Best Picture of 1965] THE SOUND OF MUSIC
  • 40A [Mario Lanza classic] ARRIVEDERCI ROMA
  • 41A [Winner] LAST ONE STANDING – The three stacked 15s are all great entries, acceptable phrases, and stack seemingly effortlessly.  Very well done.
  • 10D [Theater for Beckett?] THE ABSURD – Another great clue/entry.  The “Theater of the Absurd” is what is being mentioned here.  I do not know theater that well, even though that’s my best category on Learned League! (After one season…!)
  • 12D [Wheelchair-bound “Glee” character] ARTIE – Much nicer than seeing  Artie Shaw mentioned again!
  • 28D [Funny Car org.] NHRA – National Hot Rod Association.  Drag racing, basically.  Usually a big national championship can be seen over Labor Day weekend.  I know this because it’s in Indianapolis.  Always wanted to go; I’m told it’s something you have to see live to appreciate.  With proper ear protection, of course!
  • 30A [“The Neverending Story” author] ENDE – Most are more familiar with the movie than with the novel by Michael Ende.  I didn’t know this answer, but it goes in the learn-something-new-everyday category!

Again, an enjoyable puzzle.  Not familiar with this constructor, but I like his style.  4.5 stars for this brilliant construction!

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

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 07.18.15: "Fault Line"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 07.18.15: “Fault Line”

Good day, everyone! Hope all is well with you. Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Mr. Patrick Jordan, is the type of crossword puzzle that always gives me trouble: the line/saying/adage that takes up the entire theme. This one was no different, as I had to piece together what the saying might be, especially with the second line, with the lack of a stop punctuation and having to imagine it between “brother” and there’s.” Anyways, it got done. 

  • I SURE WISH I HAD A BROTHER; THERE’S ONLY SO MUCH I CAN BLAME ON THE DOG (20A, 31A, 40A, and 52A: [Part one of a single child’s lament; Part 2 of the lament; Part 3 of the lament; End of the lament])

The down answers needed to be lay-ups for me to make sure the theme could get completed, and, for the most part, they were not too hard. Getting TABOO was a little tough, given its clue, and it took me a while to catch on (24D: [Simply not done]). Speaking of tough to get, who in the world still uses BETROTH (5D: [Pledge to tie the knot with])? Is there anyone that didn’t know that BMOC stands for “Big Man on Campus,” a.k.a. something I definitely was not while I was in school (52D: [Collegiate QB, for one])? Have lost some pounds over the past couple of weeks, so definitely have been laying off of the TWIX bars (54D: [Candy bars packaged by the pair]). They’re so good, though! I might cheat tomorrow and grab a Twix tonight! There was some geography scattered across the grid, like with  MACON (56A: [“The Heart of Georgia” city]) and OJAI, something that I had forgotten about the television show referenced in the clue (55D: [California home of TV’s Bionic Woman]). But another city gets the “sports…smarter” treatment right now…

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: ÁVILA (16A: [Walled city near Madrid]) – Major League Baseball player Alex AVILA is currently the starting catcher for the Detroit Tigers. In 2011, Avila had his best season as a Major League player, hitting .295 with 19 home runs and 82 runs batted in.

See you all for the Sunday Challenge!

Take care!


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28 Responses to Saturday, July 18, 2015

  1. Avg Solvr says:

    ANATOLIANS, DAST, VENAE, and SALAMANCA were unknown to me. Being they crossed each other (poor construction I think it’d be fair to say) the NYT was impossible to finish. On another note, I thought a symmetrical grid was an ironclad rule but that’s evidently not the case.

    • John says:

      I’m not sure it’s fair to say poor construction just because you didn’t know them. They might have been relatively easy for others. That said, this was a tale of 2 sides for me as I ran through the west side of this puzzle and had a bad time with the east, even though “ILLIN” and “OCLOCK” came pretty quickly. I think I gave up too soon on this one, which has nothing at all to do with the late hour and any wine I may have consumed.

    • just sayin' says:

      Saturday is supposed to be unsolvable for an average solver. (Right?)

      • Avg Solvr says:

        I think those answers I didn’t know are generally uncommon enough that grouping them together is poor construction. Many puzzles, even easy ones, can have generally obscure answers and references but are purposely crossed by more general ones (which doesn’t mean gimmes) that allow for their solution. I’m well aware of my limited knowledge base, but I can’t remember the last NYT puzzle that resisted completion due to a swath that was entirely dependent on that weakness.

  2. Christopher Smith says:

    NYT: Death of a Salesman is a great play that has also given puzzle-makers the right to pretend that DAST is a word people actually use, apparently.

  3. Lloyd Mazer says:

    Yes – I found this one fell quickly for Saturday. 17 minutes – which is better than usual for me. Nice gimmick for a Saturday.

  4. ArtLvr says:

    I liked the NYT — probably because I filled in the lower right quadrant first, with O’CLOCK on top of it. I CAN RELATE made me smile…The Palatine is one of the Seven Hills of Rome, so ROMA was obvious in the NE, though a MOOD isn’t necessarily “sullen”. Considered “old cats” before OLD BATS, wanting a kind of “call” in tennis before any BALL. The left side of the puzzle went more slowly, with Villa lurking before DACHA and Strange before STELLAR, but SHETLAND ISLANDS helped a lot to keep me on track, along with ANATOLIANS & AGAS.
    I didn’t care for AT REAR, since it seems more natural to say “at the rear”. But all in all, it was a very enjoyable puzzle! And DYER was a personal bonus, because I’d spent much time in recent months acquiring a painting of Venice by Charles Gifford Dyer for my brother , who’d discovered that this ex-pat artist was a great-grand-uncle of ours!

  5. David L says:

    This was harder than a typical Saturday for me — the left hand side went pretty quickly, despite the horrible DAST and TESTINGS, and I thought the three long downs were very good. But the right hand side was slow. No particular reason, just a lot of things that took me a while to figure out. The NE was the last to go. I don’t like the clues for MOOD (can be good or bad) and AVOID (dictionaries might brand some words and usages as archaic or slang or iffy in other ways, but they don’t generally issue instructions like ‘avoid.’)

    Fun fact: I have never bowled in an actual bowling alley, but last Christmas I played Wii bowling with friends one evening, and despite many patient attempts I could not make sense of the scoring. Which is my excuse for not knowing that /// means spares. Not that I really understand what a ‘spare’ is anyway…

  6. sbmanion says:

    I find it funny how often my experience is opposite to that of many of you. I found the E easy and the W hard.

    SPARES was a gimme. For David, if you knock all the pins down on the first shot, it is a strike If you fail to knock all the pins down on the first shot, on your second shot you attempt to knock down all the pins you failed to knock down on your first shot. If you succeed, it is a spare.

    The only clue/answer that bothered me was that telephone numbers are TRACED. I am not sure if that is correct, incorrect, idiomatic or non-idiomatic, but I have always thought that it was telephone calls that are traced. I suppose you could trace the name of the person who is registered to a telephone number, but somehow, I do not see that particular process as tracing.

    There is a small city or town near Buffalo called SALAMANCA, but I did not know there was a Spanish city by that name. I wanted to put some 10-letter version of KURDISH in for the Asian Turks, so I did not see (or know) ANATOLIANS until late in the solve

    In general, I am a fan of puzzles that have limited connections between quadrants. I felt like I got four puzzles for the price of one today.


    • Norm says:

      If you ever have the misfortune to have a stalker, you will be glad that the phone company can trace the number.

  7. huda says:

    NYT: I liked it and it did not feel very hard, which is a shock to me on a Saturday. Somehow, I quickly eliminated VILLA in favor of DACHA, and SALINE, AURICLE were very helpful. I even got ILLIN! I had CaudAl instead of ATREAR (I like mine better) and AS agreED instead of AS STATED, and that slowed me down some but this still felt easy for Saturday.

    STROPHE: Did not know that. I wonder how Apostrophe relates to it.

    Can’t take the time to figure out the Greek. Grandkids are coming from NY to visit for a couple of weeks.

  8. dbs says:

    Friday’s Washington Post crossword is the wrong day

  9. Martin says:

    Re: “OLD BATS/[Biddies], negative language aimed at women.”

    Shortz-era puzzles include:
    COOT, 22 times, clued as “Codger” eight times, “Geezer” six times, “Old geezer”(2), “Old fool” (2), “Foolish fellow,” “Crotchety one” and other endearing terms. Three more COOTS with similar clues. Eleven for GEEZER, with equally endearing clues. Six for CODGER. One GEEZERS, one CODGERS. An OLDCODGER. Three OLDGEEZERs. 26 FOGY, FOGYISH and OLDFOGYs plus two FOGIES.

    I might have missed objections to some of these. I hope so.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Until men are treated as second-class citizens and make up a minority of political and corporate leaders, no, I’m not going to complain about those words (other than from an ageist perspective). Come on, you know better.

      • Martin says:

        Nope. I’m afraid I don’t know better. Objecting to single-gender insults of only one gender because discrimination doesn’t seem like taking the high road to me.

        • Amy Reynaldo says:

          Note that OLD BAT connotes “unattractive” (per the Oxford lexicographers) while your three terms for old men don’t emphasize appearance at all. They’re not equivalent. The men’s terms are just ageist, while OLD BAT is both ageist and sexist.

          • Martin says:


            None of those terms, fogy, coot, codger, geezer are said of women. Because they’re not about appearance they’re not sexist? That’s a pretty sexist take on sexism.

          • Amy Reynaldo says:

            Thanks for deciding that I am sexist. Maybe you could start your own blog to police those who aren’t policing all the words you would like policed?

            P.S. Men are not oppressed as a class. This is a distinction that matters. Insisting that men need special protections is sort of a “men’s rights activist” thing that is utterly anathema to me. Please take it elsewhere.

          • e.a. says:

            “Because they’re not about appearance they’re not sexist?”

            no. they’re not sexist because they don’t reflect a system of discrimination that oppresses an entire gender by, say, tying their worth as people to their physical appearance.

            (amy basically already said all this, but maybe, since i’m a man, you won’t find my “takes” as “sexist.”)

          • Martin says:

            We’re not talking about “special rights.” We’re talking about condoning insults. I’m not fond of them in any form. But you seem to be saying that the (undisputed) unfairness of patriarchal society means it’s ok to insult men, or at least makes it not as bad as insulting women. Being rude to one who is perceived a member of no oppressed class does not strike me as less repugnant.

            Arguing about which kind of insult is more hurtful seems besides the point. It’s not a contest as to whether “You old coot!” or “You old biddy!” is nastier and why. Is non-appearance based disparaging of women, say calling them “shrews,” any better? Of course not.

            I just disagree that insulting a male human is any more justifiable than insulting a female human. That’s far from asking for special rights.

          • e.a. says:

            “Arguing about which kind of insult is more hurtful seems besides the point.”

            you derailed a conversation on negative language aimed at women by pointing out instances of negative language aimed at (old) men. but you don’t want us to contrast the two. oh.

            martin, if you insist on being gender-blind (and thus context-blind) in your condemnation of insults, then how about this: when you see insults directed at men, call them out. when you see insults directed at women, call those out too. and, importantly, support the voices of those who are doing the same.

            because, to paraphrase some recent words from an american hero: if you really believe that all insults are bad, then there’s no reason for you to feel offended, oppressed, or low-roaded by someone speaking out against insults towards women.

          • CY Hollander says:

            you derailed a conversation on negative language aimed at women by pointing out instances of negative language aimed at (old) men. but you don’t want us to contrast the two. oh.

            martin, if you insist on being gender-blind (and thus context-blind) in your condemnation of insults, then how about this: when you see insults directed at men, call them out. when you see insults directed at women, call those out too. and, importantly, support the voices of those who are doing the same.

            You are missing the point badly here. Martin wasn’t calling out the insults, he was calling out the double standard (that Amy freely admits to) of criticizing insulting terms for one sex but not another. But, naturally, any time someone makes a point that someone like you doesn’t want to deal with, he’s “derailing the conversation” (from the points you want to make).

          • e.a. says:

            “Martin wasn’t calling out the insults, he was calling out the double standard … of criticizing insulting terms for one sex but not another.”

            he was doing both and i was responding to both. but thanks for the ‘splanation.

            to clarify: if you see gendered language against men in a crossword and you are genuinely offended, by all means use this space to voice your opposition. but if you only ever bring it up as a knee-jerk reaction to someone calling out gendered language against women, that, CY, is derailing the conversation.

  10. Slow Stumper Solver says:

    Rather easy Stumper today. Had the entire left side in less than 10 minutes, which is crazy fast for me. Right side was slower, where I had CONNECTS at first instead of CONDEMNS for “knocks hard”. Was also stuck on UFO DENIERS at first, and took forever trying to think of any monarch that would fit _N_E.
    Despite the quick solve, I did really like:
    “Not unbiased” for COLORED
    “Two sides of a certain triangle” for RIVALS in a ‘love triangle’, very nice.
    “On again” for RELIT
    “Opposite of ‘fades'” for NEARS
    And I did learn that there are apparently just 10 Rorschach cards, which I did not know.

  11. Avg Solvr says:

    “Ouch. This one was hard.” The N and mid-east gave me the most trouble. Can’t say if I finish the NW if I don’t know YellowCard and ElieWiesel.

  12. Gene says:

    The Ginza is a neighborhood of Tokyo, famous for many things, including electronics stores.

  13. CY Hollander says:

    Anyone have any idea what was up with the NYT? Seemed like a pretty random “theme” to depart from symmetry for. Does 1:30 have some special significance that I’m just missing?

Comments are closed.