Alan Arbesfeld’s New York Times crossword (joon’s review)
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
I 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 Fortune, of 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!
Alan 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
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!