Saturday, August 22, 2015

NYT 5:39 (joon—paper) 
LAT 6:58 (Derek) 
CS 9:03 (Ade) 
Newsday 16:30 (Derek) 

before i get to tonight’s post, here’s some breaking news from brian cimmet, co-director of lollapuzzoola. if you missed out on the lollapuzzoola puzzles before the at-home window closed last week, here’s your lucky break. if i (joon) may say so myself, i thought the puzzles were outstanding. i’m not impartial, mind you (i constructed one of them), but don’t take my word for it, anyway.

LOLLAPUZZOOLA UPDATE (8/21/15): We’re selling the puzzles again through Monday. BUY NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR WHATEVER! Price is the same ($10), and it includes seven tournament puzzles plus the Patrick Blindauer metapuzzle. Purchase via PayPal at Join us!

Barry C. Silk’s New York Times crossword (joon’s review)

nyt 8/22/15 silk 0822 solution

nyt 8/22/15 silk 0822 solution

barry silk scrabbles it up for this saturday offering. JAZZ QUARTET is the headliner, i guess (i was slowed down by JAZZ QUINTET for a while. didn’t benny goodman have 5? i could have sworn he did), but there are five more J’s in such entries as HJ HEINZ, GI JANE, and my favorite WHAT A JOKE!.

interesting clues:

  • {Spring performances?} IRISH JIGS. i, uh, don’t know what this clue means. does it have anything to do with that soap?
  • {1960s pop idol} is DAVY JONES, of locker fame. i don’t think he’s related to either of the mick joneses.
  • {J.F.K.’s U.N. ambassador} AES, as in adlai e stevenson. i have seen this exact clue in some other puzzle quite recently, and i was quite grateful for that because it was a nice toehold in the tough nw corner. i certainly didn’t have any of 1-, 2-, or 3-down off the clues {One may get carried out} IDEA, {Comedian once called the Female Bob Hope} martha RAYE, and {“A Little Bitty Tear” singer, 1962} burl IVES. that first clue could be anything, and the other two fall squarely one generation before my own (very tiny) pop culture wheelhouse.
  • {The Spanish word “nación” has two} ENES, sans tilde, meaning the plural of the letter n in spanish. not wild about this entry—the plural of a letter is bad enough as a fill answer even in our own alphabet. at least we don’t have to worry about tilde problems with this clue.
  • {New York Post headline writer, often} PUNNER. i prefer PUNSTER, but this is a word.
  • {One fixing flats?} TUNER. solid clue.
  • {Keep flipping on the couch?} CHANNEL SURF. i don’t understand the attempted wordplay here. i mean i get how the clue works for the answer, but usually a ? signifies some attempted deception, and that’s the part that eludes me here.
  • {Not pass the bar?} RUN AGROUND. very good—usually this kind of clue is referring to drunks, because the puzzle really loves to make fun of drunks.
  • {Sitcom teacher of Vinnie and Boom Boom} GABE. more older-than-me pop culture. pretty sure this is from welcome back, kotter. i can’t remember if it’s GABE kaplan or GABE kapler, because one of them was a character from that tv show and the other was briefly a fourth outfielder for the red sox, and i can never keep them straight.
  • {Aromatherapy option} JUNIPER OIL. i was not aware that this was a thing. juniper, yes. oil, of course. just not the two together. then again, i’m not exactly a leading authority on aromatherapy.
  • {Oliver of stage and screen} PLATT. i’m not sure why this name went right into the grid for me off of ___T_. i definitely don’t know who this is. for a while i was thinking it might be the male lead from love story, but no, that’s ryan o’neal (although his character is named oliver, i think oliver barrett).
  • {Old-fashioned letter opener} STEAM. yeah, this clue had me. i was thinking something along the lines of MESSRS or DEAR SIR.

that’s all i got. good puzzle, fun solve, 4 stars.

Barry C. Silk’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up

Screen Shot 2015-08-21 at 10.24.50 PMBarry is busy this weekend with both the NYT and Newsday Saturday head scratchers! Both good puzzles, and, as Joon mentioned, fun to solve. 70 word count I believe, and although there are a couple of obscure entries, plenty of fun ones as well. Here’s a few:

  • 16A [Its southeasternmost county is Bear Lake] IDAHO – This is gettable because it is five letters, but I just watched the Tour of Utah a few weeks ago since I recently bought a bicycle, and they actually went around Bear Lake!
  • 25A [“Live Well” retail chain] GNC – This I got immediately. Too much time in malls…
  • 38A [Muppet rat named for a movie character] RIZZO – This could be clued as [Cubs slugger Anthony]. Go Cubbies!!
  • 41A [___ Era: old name for Earth’s pre-life period] AZOIC – Yuck. Not my favorite, but once you figure out it ends in -ZOIC, what else can it be?
  • 47A [It became the TV Guide Channel in 1999] PREVUE – I used to watch this! Not sure why I did…
  • 51A [Mythological boundary] RIVER STYX – Nice. You see STYX in puzzles a lot, but not RIVER STYX. I liked it; it felt new to me.
  • 65A [Large, to some Southwesterners] TEXAS SIZE – Why reference Southwesterners? Everything is bigger in Texas! Or so they tell me; I’ve never been!
  • 7D [Johnny’s partner in the 2014 Olympic figure skating telecasts] TARA – As in Johnny Weir and TARA Lipinski. I’m not a big fan of figure skating, so it pains me a little that I knew this instantly! I must watch it more than I think!!
  • 11D [Napping] ADOZE – Another that isn’t my favorite, but easily gettable.
  • 14D [Charts featuring houses] HOROSCOPES – Where do the houses fit in? Are the various zodiac signs said to be in certain “houses” at different times?
  • 27D [“Moonshadow” singer] CAT STEVENS – Isn’t he Yusef Islam now?
  • 31D [Former White Sox manager Guillén] OZZIE – Would mentioning Anthony Rizzo mean too many baseball references?
  • 52D [USAF E-6] TSGT – This stands for Technical Sergeant. I had to look it up!

Again, a fun puzzle to solve. 3.9 stars from me.

Lester Ruff’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up

imageGot to this a little later than usual, as I went for a 21-mile bike ride this morning! Normally when I do this sort of thing, I wake up early and get this solved. Derek was BEAT this morning. Having said that, the ride seemed to wake up the “little gray cells,” as Hercule Poirot likes to say. (Mini-plug for Poirot, which streams on Netflix!) Time of 16:30 is pleasing to me, especially since I followed my usual pattern of sailing through a section (SE and middle), staring emptily for a period, erasing wrong entries and redoing them, and then finally finishing the puzzle! My last entry was EAU at 39A [“Brasserie” freebie]. I had EA? and knew it couldn’t be EAR, since that is at 46A! I blanked on the French clue for the longest time, so maybe the “little gray cells” were tuckered out after 15+ minutes of strenuous exercise!

Some notes:

  • 18A [Part of a clown costume] FRIGHT WIG – I have NEVER heard this term. I’ve also NEVER dressed as a clown. Unless you ask my mother, in which case I’ve been dressing like a clown my whole life!
  • 19A [Cleaner once having a nautical spokesperson] TY-D-BOL – Can you see him sailing around the toilet tank? I think that’s how I remember the commercials.
  • 21A [Only winner of six straight European Figure Skating titles besides Sonja] KATARINA – Sonja Henie, of course, indicating you only need KATARINA Witt’s first name. I DO remember watching tons of her skating when I was younger. Maybe I’m a bigger fan of figure skating than I think!
  • 30A [Brazen] BOLD-FACED – We may be on the same wavelength, Lester and I, since I got this one with no crossings!
  • 53A [Antihero of 19th-century sci fi] NEMO – Nice to have a reference to NEMO that is not Pixar-related! I think they’re making a Finding Nemo 2Finding Dory is coming next year!
  • 60A [Pressure principle of physics] BOYLE’S LAW – This I figured out was some sort of “law” fairly early on, although I had 55D wrong at first. I don’t remember what exactly this covers, but it was stuck in my brain somewhere.
  • 11D [Armstrong who invented FM] EDWIN – Why does it seem like there are a lot of Armstrongs in recent puzzles? ;-)
  • 23D [Faced up] DECAF – This must be diner-speak for decaffeinated coffee. Not familiar with this usage
  • 35D [Made a tangible show of displeasure] SUED – I had S?ED, as mentioned above, and I thought this might be SPED at first. EAP crossing made no sense, though. Great tricky cluing!
  • 47D [What the Romans called “Mare Rubrum”] RED SEA – Makes sense after I solved it! I was thinking some country or geographical land area at first. Great clue.
  • 49D [Physician who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in ’86] SABIN – Albert Sabin, the oral polio vaccine developer.
  • 55D [Snorkeling mecca] MAUI – I had REEF in there at first, which caused me all sorts of issues. “Mecca” does seem to denote a specific location.

Awesome puzzle. 4.1 stars.

Randall J. Hartman’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Spandex”—Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post solution, 08.22.15: "Spandex"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post solution, 08.22.15: “Spandex”

Good afternoon, everyone. I hope you all are doing well today. Our crossword puzzle for today, brought to us by Mr. Randall J. Hartman, was not a tough puzzle to do but, for a time, a tough theme to figure out. Thought it was just a way to have words that start with “EX” as the second word of the multiple-word theme answers. But reading the title once again finally got the light to turn on for me, as you have to read the word “spandex” as two words: Span Dex. The letters “DEX” run consecutively, but span the two words.

  • WEIRD EXPERIENCE (17A: [Déjà vu, for one]).”
  • MILD EXPLETIVE (28A: [Egad, for one])
  • FIELD EXPERIENCE (48A: [Mock warfare])
  • TIRED EXPRESSION (63A: [Cliché])

A tougher than expected start in the Northwest, and couldn’t get really going until, finally, I could remember ARNO and distinguish that, given its clue, from all of the other four-letter words that are rivers in Europe (5A: [River through Florence]). I’m now coming across that clue for PO BOX a lot lately, and I remember when I struggled with that the first time I saw it in a grid not too long ago (30D: [FedEx won’t deliver to it]). At least FedEx is getting a lot of pub in crosswords for every time that clue is used. Originally had “ovation” instead of PLAUDIT (44D: [Round of applause]), especially given that the “a” in SAO didn’t help in making me realize my error quickly enough (51A: [___ Paulo, Brazil]). I wish I could be in Sao Paulo right now!  Oh, well…

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: YAHOO (35A: [Cyberspace heavyweight]) – On October 25 of this year, the Buffalo Bills will play the Jacksonville Jaguars in London in what will be the first-ever live stream of a National Football League game to a global audience across multiple electronic devices (it will be free), as YAHOO! partnered with the NFL will deliver the game to millions of customers and devices. Well, maybe I shouldn’t say millions just yet…this is a game between two teams that haven’t been really good in the past five years.

Before I go, I can’t express enough the sadness that the crossword community at large is feeling over the sudden passing of crossword legend Merl Reagle. I am sure by now that you have read many tributes to him and the great life that he lived, the joy be brought to everyone who was around him and the immense talent for words and wordplay that he possessed. I knew of him when I watched Wordplay, knew of his work for the first time when first completing a puzzle of his at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, and, this past March, finally got a chance to introduce myself to him and spend a couple of hours around him. Even with the short amount of time I spent with him, I knew I was around greatness. I also knew I was standing next to such a gentle, warm-hearted, funny, erudite and pleasant man. For everything that you have done, and for everything that you will continue to do after leaving us with the way you’ve inspired so many, I thank you, Merl Reagle.

Have a good rest of your Saturday, and take care.


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

25 Responses to Saturday, August 22, 2015

  1. tom says:

    Davy Jones was a member of the Monkees.

  2. Howard B says:

    re: IRISH JIGS – “Spring” = “jump[ing]” performances? Very misdirective, if that is even a word.

  3. sbmanion says:

    East was easy. NW took me twice as long to finish as the rest of the puzzle, I still don’t get IRISH JIGS even with the key being SPRING as leaping. My first thoughts turned to trampoline or gymnastics, so I saw the leaping possibility, but I guess I never knew that an Irish Jig involved leaping.

    I had the INZ in HJHEINZ, which would normally make an answer with that odd a combination of letters easy to see, but I didn’t see it. I finally got EYE SHADOW, which opened that section.

    Gabe Kaplan is a big time poker player. I know he has cashed in World Series of Poker events, but I think he is primarily a high stakes cash game player.


  4. PJ Ward says:

    I thought 1A was referring to St. Patrick’s Day. An IRISH JIG or two may be seen then.

  5. klew archer says:

    Had also seen that same AES clue this past week. Had *AMES* instead of IVES from a second, as well as *REO* instead of GEO. Luckily knew Martha RAYE, whose name still came up once in a while during my pop culture heyday. Agree that *PUNSTER* is preferable PUNNER. David Bowie’s real last name is JONES, but he had to change it to avoid confusion with the other guy.

    And speaking of Spanish language entries, had *GITANA* for a while instead of GIJANE.

  6. Papa John says:

    I guess many of you have learned of the passing of Merl Reagle. Sad news, indeed.

    “Mayhap a funeral among men is a wedding feast among the angels.”

    • Rock says:

      No, I had not heard this. Terribly sad news for sure. I have always looked forward to his Sunday puzzles, and I miss him already. Prayers and warm thoughts to his family and friends. If this note was on paper, it would be tear stained. Rest easy Merlbaby

    • hmj says:

      I often chastised some of Merl’s puns. But I would rather have them, and him, than not.

  7. huda says:

    NYT: Well done, but… The puzzle is strikingly pre 1970’s. It jumps at me because I was not in this country until the last year of the 60’s and had only a vague sense of the people in the NW corner. I realize that most of you were not even born then, and admire the depth and breadth of your knowledge. But for me, in the pop culture arena, it has to be something that actually made it big when I was around. So, weirdly, I find puzzles by younger constructors somewhat easier.
    I’m guessing that for regular solvers who are younger than 50, this would not be in their wheelhouse…

  8. David L says:

    Huda, I’m sort of in the same boat. I came to the US in the early 80s, but since I grew up in England, some of the pop culture from earlier times is familiar, but not all. DAVYJONES and Burl IVES, yes. Martha RAYE, no. And while HJHEINZ brands were and are well known outside the US, the particular slogan used here was not. BORDEN makes me think of Lizzie and various glues, but the dairy connotation seems to be obsolete, if I am reading Wikipedia right.

    Still, a good puzzle for those of use who are, ahem, more well-established in years.

  9. klew archer says:

    Being born in this country in the early 60s (which puts me in my early 50s, yes) I guess I still got a reasonable dose of pre-rock culture on television. Plus Burl IVES was a voice in the animated “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” “Welcome Back, Kotter” was first aired during my prime viewing era and “The Monkees” was on in syndication.

    • klew archer says:

      But really came to say how much I enjoyed Barry Silk’s other, even scrabblier puzzle today.

    • Christopher Smith says:

      I’m a few years younger & that was all it took to ruin the NW. Too many 50 (or near 50)-year-old references in a concentrated area for me. Kudos to the younger solvers who slogged their way through.

  10. Gene says:

    Newsday – “Faced up” needs a question mark; it appears to be a cryptic crossword clue (interpret it literally)

    • Rock says:

      Thanks, you took the words right off my keyboard,but said it waaay better!

      Although it is Stan’s clue, it feels so much like a Merl clue and I like to think of it as Stan tipping his hat to one of the greatest. “Faced backwards” may have been too easy.

  11. hmj says:

    I often chastised some of Merl’s puns. But I would rather have them, and him, than not.

  12. Papa John says:

    I hope this works. Nancy Shack was nice enough to post photos of Merl on C/L. Here’s the url:

  13. Papa John says:

    …and while I’m here, how about an update on Amy? It’s been a while.

  14. Slow Stumper Solver says:

    For a les-ruff stumper, it was medium-stumpy. I was stuck with ALAMO instead of AZTEC in the center, which definitely slowed me down for awhile.
    My favorites:
    [Besides] for ONTOPOF. Just wow. That was 5 or 10 minutes for me alone, and I had ONTO___, trying ‘ontopic’ and similar with no luck until it hit.
    [Sign not to play] is fun for a sheet music REST.
    [Saws] is perfect stumperese for SAYINGS.
    [Faced up] fooled me too, as Derek mentioned. I love cryptics, but my mind doesn’t go there while doing standard us puzzles.
    [Prove a nuisance to] is divine for a rarely-used sense of HARRY.
    50 min. for me.

  15. CY Hollander says:

    IVES and RAYE seemed likelier names than IVE-/RAY-[other letters], and with AES as a tentative guess, I could hazard that the ambassador might have been Adlai E. Stevenson, being a famous politician of approximately that era, but none of those clues were in my wheelhouse at all. Tough section for a Millennial.

    Oh, and I happened to know Davy Jones from some old comic books my father had preserved from his youth (yes, the Monkees had their own series of comic books), otherwise the section would have been even harder.

  16. pannonica says:

    NYT: “didn’t benny goodman have 5? i could have sworn he did”

    He had a quintet as well, not to mention a sextet, a trio, an orchestra, and probably others. To be fair, during his 1930s heyday the primary working group was a quartet (with Teddy Wilson, Lionel Hampton, and Gene Krupa). Not really a good clue, in my opinion. Unfortunately, the prime candidate for a ‘definitive’ JAZZ QUARTET is probably the tautonymous MJQ – that’s the Modern Jazz Quartet.

    That NW was pretty tough. First try for “the female Bob Hope” was Imogene COCA. Later, with –AY– in place, I figured it was a disparaging moniker for Danny KAYE, reasoning that he was a lot prettier, and more nimble, than Hope. Incidentally, when I lived in that neighborhood I’d frequently walk past Hunter College’s Sylvia & Danny Kaye Playhouse. Another notable wrongfoot was JIVE rather than JINX for [Hoodoo].

  17. Shawn P says:

    LAT = this

Comments are closed.