Saturday, August 8, 2015

NYT 8:08* (joon—across lite) 
Newsday 17:10 (Derek) 
LAT 7:49 (Derek) 
CS 7:30 (Ade) 

Alan Arbesfeld’s New York Times crossword (joon’s review)

nyt 8/8/15 arbesfeld 0808 solution

nyt 8/8/15 arbesfeld 0808 solution

this is a crossword, all right. it has some 15-letter answers in triple stacks, of which all but six were interesting, lively entries. it also has some real garbage fill. the SE corner should probably be singled out for a scowl (CIE ORU NON-U IRONIST), but there’s also the corner with ALG ORLE RESAT. and let’s talk about the middle, shall we? did everybody know the crossing of ETAMINE crossing AMICE? i had to run the alphabet for that one (hence the * in my solving time). GANNETS is no gimme, either. PATERNO was a gimme, but not exactly a pleasant reminder.

sorry, alan. i just didn’t have much fun solving this. the silver lining is that i can put this puzzle aside and forget about it, because lollapuzzoola starts in a few short hours. hope to see many of you there!

Frank Longo’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up

imageI spoke too soon! Solving times were getting faster on the tougher puzzles for me recently….until I saw Frank Longo’s byline early Saturday morning as the Stumper constructor. But no worries! We dive into the grid, and the puzzle takes shape quickly, and just as I am saying to myself, “I am gonna crush this!”, reality sets in. Had all but the SE quarter, then ground to a halt. But after a deep breath, some head scratching, and maybe a silent prayer, I finally broke through. To pour salt in the wound, the final across answer was ESPN, easily my favorite cable channel, clued in probably the hardest way I have ever seen! (60A [Setting for play analysis]) So after a mental slap on the forehead, I figuratively tip my cap to Frank for amother awesome Saturday Stumper and fun solving experience. 4.6 stars. As I have come to expect from Frank’s genius, AWESOME fill in this one, and brilliant cluing. Here’s a taste:

  • 5A [Cook wear] APPLE WATCH – As in Apple CEO Tim Cook.  Marvelous.
  • 15A [Chain associated with links] IHOP – I actually figured this one out with no crossings.  I must be hungry for pancakes…
  • 26A [Recommendation for a must]  AIR FRESHENER – As the solving progressed, I thought, “The only thing that fits is AIR FRESHENER…Oh! THAT kind of must!”
  • 42A [Key features] BEACH RESORTS – I figured he meant “key” as in “island,” but had no clue until I had enough letters to come up with RESORTS.  Very clever.
  • 57A [Its rules are usually followed] LINED PAPER – Excellent misdirection.  Wonderfully done.
  • 59A [Juice processors] AC ADAPTERS – This one fooled me good.  That’s all I can say.
  • 24D [$250 TV buy since ’75] AN O – This made me smile big.  This to me is the most clever way to clue this popular crossword crutch that I have seen. Bravo! (Refers to Wheel of Fortuneof course!)
  • 26D [With 27 Down, Big-12 school site] AMES, IOWA – Proud to say I figured this out with no crossings. Took a second, though!
  • 36D [Rid of a harmful factor] EXORCISE – This one fooled me good as well. And then what to do with the X! The crossing PRICE FIXING at 38A also could be on this list.
  • 54D [Cell addition] APP – Thought immediately of some suffix.  Stumped again.

I said a taste. Many, many other gems in this puzzle.  I will be in a good mood today, not just because of starting out the day with an enjoyable puzzle.  Tons more puzzles in store at Lollopuzzoola 8.  See you all soon!

imageAlan Olschwang’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up

Another stellar LAT entry.  With Lollapuzzoola on Saturday, I think I’ve gotten better as a solver; my times for these Saturday puzzles are now hovering between 7-12 minutes usually, with a total stumper lagging around 20 minutes or so.  I type this before I have attempted Saturday’s Newsday Stumper, so it will probably take all morning!  See you all at Lollapuzzoola!!

As for this puzzle, I believe I have seen BREAKING BAD in crosswords quite a bit.  Someone can check this I’m sure; not quite sure myself which website tracks these things.  But it is still a fine entry; I haven’t seen it all yet!  Only on Season 1 Episode 4 on Netflix!

This solve, at least for me, went smoothly.  Lots of other great entries:

  • 19A [Vous ___ ici] ETES – Has anybody actually been to France and actually seen a sign that says, “You Are Here” in French?
  • 27A [AMPAS’ London counterpart] BAFTA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is equalled by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.  New one on me.
  • 44A [Interstate H-1 locale] OAHU – I HAVE been to Hawaii and seen this sign!
  • 51A [Lets have it]  LOWERS THE BOOM ON – My favorite clue/entry in the puzzle.  The other long entry is good, but this one made me smile.
  • 56A [Pressure tactic]  SQUEEZE PLAY – I’m sure if Ade was blogging this puzzle, this would be a prime moment for a “sports can make you smarter moment!” A nice reference to a bunt play with a runner on third would surely follow!
  • 7D [Convention handouts] NAME BADGES – I was thinking pamphlets, but of course that wouldn’t fit.  Great clue.
  • 8D [“Burn Notice” actress] GLESS – I will admit – I thought of ANWAR first!
  • 13D [Corroborates] ATTESTS TO – In light of yesterday’s NYT, I believe this is the only “___ TO” in this puzzle!
  • 26D [West African cuisine]  SENEGALESE – Trickly cluing as “cuisine” instead of “nationality” or something similar.

A 4.4 rating from me. Hope everybody attending Lollapuzzoola or solving at home enjoys the puzzles!

Gail Grabowski’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Straight Shooting”—Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 08.08.15: "Straight Shooting"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 08.08.15: “Straight Shooting”

It’s Lollapuzzoola Day! How are you all today?! (No, I didn’t mean to rhyme, but that’s just how it came out!) Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Ms. Gail Grabowski, includes four theme answers in which the first words are synonyms of each other, all meaning to be straight, in terms of manner and behavior.

  • BLUNT INSTRUMENT (17A: [Weapon without a sharp edge])
  • FRANK CAPRA (25A: [“Mr. Deeds Goes to Town” director])
  • OPEN STANCE (42A: [Batting position])
  • DIRECT QUOTATION (54A: [It’s repeated verbatim])

The ONSET of Lollapuzzoola is nigh, so I definitely have to get to this review in pretty quick (23D: [Initial stage]). Had some trouble breaking in in the Northwest, as DELVE didn’t come to me quickly (1A: [Examine closely, with “into”]). So jumped around until I could get comfortable, and that didn’t happen until I got the FRANK CAPRA clue, which was a gimme. I liked how DEBT (1D: [Plastic user’s concern]) and E-LOAN intersect, given that I’m sure a good number of people found themselves in debt after acquiring an E-loan (14A: [Online finance company]). I’m guessing the “Target” referenced in AISLE is referring to the retailing giant (37A: [Target path]). Pretty smooth solve once I got my teeth into it.

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: EARFLAP (9D: [Winter cap feature]) – Though it is customary to see all Major League Baseball players wearing a batting helmet with an EARFLAP, that was not the case even 40 years ago. In 1941, Chicago White Sox player Jackie Hayes became the first known player to wear a batting helmet, and it featured some ear covering, but now what we’re accustomed to seeing today. In 1964, Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Tony Gonzalez wears what is believed to be the first pre-molded earflap helmet, one that looks like the modern-day batting helmets in use today. Click here for a chronicled history of the batting helmet in Major League Baseball!

See you all for the Sunday Challenge!

Take care!


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30 Responses to Saturday, August 8, 2015

  1. Martin says:

    “it has some 15-letter answers in triple stacks, of which all but six were interesting, lively entries.”

    I’ll admit I get a bit lost without caps, but I can’t figure this one out. There are six 15’s. Are you saying none are interesting? I don’t think that’s your snarky style. (Rex maybe.)

    Or am I missing something?

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Guessing he meant “all six” rather than “all but six.”

      • Gary R says:

        “… all but six” seemed a little harsh to me, but given the rest of joon’s writeup, it seems more likely that’s what he meant than “all six.” For my part, I thought all of those stacked 15’s were okay, but none of them was anything to jump up and down about.

        The middle section caused some trouble for me, like it did for others – ETAMINE, AMICE and GANNETS were all unfamiliar, but I guessed right.

  2. sbmanion says:

    I was surprised to see PATERNO. I knew that a bunch of his wins were taken away and then restored. I think they were restored this year and I wonder if that was the reason for the clue. There is a team called St. John’s in one of the lower divisions that has or had a fabulous coach who has a lot of wins. I am not sure if he has a chance to catch Paterno and if it would count (because of his division) if he did.

    I knew AMICE, but I was not sure of the N in GANNETS and ETAMINE.

    I must admit that ORLE was my entry into the S. I thought the puzzle was tough and held it my interest so my review is much more positive than Joon’s.


    • sbmanion says:

      The coach’s name is John Gagliardi and he has 489 wins, many more than Paterno. Apparently, they don’t count:

      Martin, can you rescue the clue or is this just a mistake? The clue does not limit itself to Div. I

      • Martin says:

        Just wrong. I assumed FBS, I guess, but it doesn’t say that.

        I wonder if we’ll see NORWOOD or TEAGUE in a puzzle anytime soon.

    • sbmanion says:

      When I played football in high school, we routinely had to run the gauntlet in practice and scrimmaged almost every day. If you got dinged (suffered an injury that may or may not have been a concussion), the coach popped these ammonia salts called rosebuds under your nose to revive you so that you could continue to play.

      I had forgotten Gagliardi’s name, but I remember reading about his amazing record many years ago and more importantly, his practice methods: he believed that teams should never scrimmage in practice. With today’s bigger, stronger, faster players, I think he has a point if football is to survive.


  3. klew archer says:

    Did exactly the same as Joon at AMICE/ETAMINE

  4. Mark says:

    ETAMINE/AMICE were two pretty obscure crosses. Also, did everyone (else) know that NES couldn’t be NSS? It was CORONAS, not CORONAE, after all, so AREOLAS seemed plausible.

  5. huda says:

    NYT: a tough one, partly because of the fill and partly because of cluing. I guess that’s Saturday. But oddly enough, the center fell readily. I think it helped to know ETAMINE, mostly because of Etamine embroidery. That along with CROCHET gave it craftsy vibe for me. Some of the long answers, as clued, seemed arbitrary– ACROSS THE STREET could have been AROUND THE CORNER- And there are some short answers I still don’t get -e.g. DET?
    But I liked the bottom stack, especially BREAK OUT IN A RASH…

  6. David L says:

    I don’t see how running the alphabet on ETA_INE/A_ICE helps that much. Too many possibilities: L (unlikely), M, N, P, V, even Z at a stretch. So that was a DNF for me.

    But hey, I knew GANNET! Tried CAMPARI before COCAINE. Neither cocktail sounds appealing.

    I wouldn’t say than an IRONIST is full of surprises, exactly. Not in the sense of a writer employing irony, at any rate. Maybe the clue refers to some other meaning, but I don’t know what it would be.

    • CY Hollander says:

      It helps if it’s the only letter you’re unsure of and you’re solving the crossword on an app that automatically tells you if your solution is correct.

  7. Papa John says:

    I felt I had to share this with this group, especially Amy, in hopes it will cheer her up:

    Dear Cecil [on the online site, The Straight Dope]:

    Would like some enlightenment on the following:

    (1) Which is the mountain depicted in the logo of Paramount Pictures?
    (2) Why do women laugh hysterically? — Rajeev Balakrishnan, Hyderabad, India

    Cecil replies:
    I turned this one over to my assistant Jill, thinking to hone her skills on a couple softballs. She riposted as follows:

    (1) Mount Everest.
    (2) Because of men.

    “Now, Jill,” I said, “millions rely on the Straight Dope as their primary information resource. We mustn’t settle for the cheap laugh. Are you sure you’ve thoroughly explored these answers?”

    “Well,” she said, “I could be wrong about Mount Everest.”

  8. David L says:

    I mostly liked the Stumper but some clues have me perplexed:

    Form of brine = SEAICE: brine is by definition a solution of salt in water, i.e. a liquid.

    “Common courtesy __” = ISNT: Huh?
    Takes for granted = BEGS: Huh?

    • pannonica says:
      • That’s the sense in the logical fallacy “begging the question”. (See the sub-entry at
      • For “common courtesy isn’t” (a phrase I haven’t actually encountered all that much), it’s a reflexive construction, with the observation that common courtesy isn’t common only partially implied. Same can be and is said of common sense.
      • The formation of sea-ice causes the salt to be exuded in a process called brine rejection, which causes the surrounding waters to become highly salinated, i.e. briny. Can’t say I’m thrilled with the syntax of the clue.
      • Martin says:

        I think the intended parsing is “sea ice brine is a form of brine.” It’s a semi-autonomous sea anemone clue.

      • David L says:

        Thanks. I don’t really see that the first clue works, because BEGS isn’t any sort of abbreviated form for ‘begs the question.’ To put in another way, you might clue BEGSTHEQUESTION with ‘takes for granted.’

        Seawater is already brine, so I don’t see that the formation of ice makes it significantly more briny.

        “Common courtesy isn’t” makes sense, but (evidently!) it’s not a phrase that leaps to my mind.

        • pannonica says:

          In the locution “begs the question” the verb begs has the sense “to take for granted”; that’s what it means, it doesn’t need to be an abbreviated form of the contextual phrase. Perhaps begging the question is the only familiar context for the relict definition.

          The brackishness regarding mutual understanding of brine might be due to the estuarine miscibility of scientific and vernacular senses, which so often causes trouble.

          • Syntactic Milieu says:

            “The brackishness regarding mutual understanding of brine might be due to the estuarine miscibility of scientific and vernacular senses, which so often causes trouble.”

            To state the obvious.

        • Gary R says:


          Re: brine/sea ice – whether freezing makes it brinier or not doesn’t matter. If you would accept the answer “ice” to the clue “Form of water,” there should be no problem. If not, you’re right – it doesn’t work.

  9. Gareth says:

    Failure for me at ETAMINE/PATERNO. Plumped for an ‘L’. Shrug.

  10. Syntactic Milieu says:

    ETAMINE, AMICE and GANNETS oh my!!! Nice Stumpa, LAT. Be well, Miss Fiend.

  11. CoffeeLover says:

    Well, I suppose the really wicked crossing in the NYT is justified, since it appears the clerical garment could be made of light cotton fabric.

    Also, big DNF in the SE – for all the reasons Joon elucidated.

    I will console myself with a perfect Saturday Stumper. MOTOR NEURON was great. Tough but fair.

  12. dr. fancypants says:

    Am I the only one who was reminded of Monty Python’s Bookshop Sketch when GANNET appeared in this grid?

    “They wet their nests!”

  13. Bob says:

    LATe start on LAT -busy all day. Some real WEIRD Defs … and still don’t understand NW “ATO”???

  14. CY Hollander says:

    I knew that amice was a word, but had no idea what it meant. That was enough to let me guess right on ETAMINE/AMICE, but really, that was a pretty lousy crossing.

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