Saturday, September 5, 2015

NYT 7:29 (Amy) 
LAT 10:10 (Derek) 
CS 10:31 (Ade) 
Newsday 20:21 (Derek) 

Do you crave Rows Garden puzzles? How about other types of variety puzzles? Were you bummed when Will Shortz’s Wordplay magazine went under? Joon Pahk is starting up Outside the Box Puzzles (great name!). A Rows Garden puzzle every Tuesday, crafted by Joon, is a $20 subscription. The Variety subscription gets you a variety puzzle, by a rotating coterie of constructors, every other Monday for $15 a year. Or get both for $30 a year. Or! Buy any individual puzzle for a buck. All the details are here.

Byron Walden’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 9 5 15, no 0905

NY Times crossword solution, 9 5 15, no 0905

Long day, and I am tuckered out, so this will be shortish.

Least familiar words: 21a. [Bribe money], BOODLE, and 26a. [Pool house?], BAPTISTERY. Illinois requires “emissions testing” for cars, not a SMOG TEST.

Fave fill: HOP ON POP, “I’M ON FIRE,” four-word PUT TO AN END, GNOMON (love that word), RY COODER (love his soundtrack to Paris, Texas), BOBBY RIGGS (didn’t realize he was that old when he played Billie Jean King), “ARE YOU DONE?,” PERRY MASON, KUMBAYA, and TOPONYM.

Least fave fill: OMOO, OREL RUSSIA.

Good flow in the grid (compare to the Friday NYT, which was split into more segregated chunks of grid).

Top clues:

  • 9a. [Non-primates with remarkably humanlike fingerprints], KOALAS. Anyone try COATIS with a few crossings? Before I had the crossings, I suspected LEMURS, which are not non-primates at all.
  • 13d. [Like Grenada, but not Granada], ANGLOPHONE. The former’s in the Caribbean, the latter in Spain.
  • 45d. [Our kind of people?], HOMO. Homo sapiens and other Homo varieties, such as erectus and habilis, who are not really our kind of people at all.
  • 47d. [Tapering hairdo], FADE. Do you know this do? Here are a bunch of examples. FADE is almost always clued as a verb or as the film effect; nice switch-up here.

Four stars from me for this 66-worder.

Alex Vratsanos and Jeff Chen’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up

Screen Shot 2015-09-04 at 9.30.52 PMA collaborative edition of the Saturday LA Times puzzle today. These two evidently got together to ramp up the difficulty! As you can see in my screen shot, I had to use the check answer function, and I had several errors. Full disclosure: it’s been a long week! But this is an awesome feat of construction, with 4 10-letter stacks in the grid, not to mention a wide open center section. i have constructed a few puzzles in my day, and I know full well how difficult this is, especially making it with lively fill. Great job, guys!

Some notes:

  • 1A [Eggy dessert] ZABAGLIONE – If I’ve heard of this, I still don’t remember. I certainly have never had it. I will try to look for it the next time I’m in an Italian restaurant. It can’t be too bad; it has wine in it!
  • 11A [La Salle of “ER”] ERIQ – It has been forever since I’ve seen this crossword-famous fellow in a grid!
  • 34A [University of Miami mascot Sebastian the ___] IBIS – This one took a minute. I watch TONS of football, and I knew he was a bird of some sort…
  • 38A [Slap target, informally] SKEETER – We slap a lot of these in the midwest!
  • 62A [Secretary of Education Duncan] ARNE – Another person being made more famous in crosswords! Did you know he is actually a great basketball player? He played college ball at Harvard, and he has played pretty well in a few NBA All-Star Weekend celebrity games.
  • 63A [Like pen pals’ relationships] EPISTOLARY – Difficult. According to the dictionary, “carried on by letters” is one definition. I saw the word “epistle” in there, as in Paul’s biblical letters to Galatia, Ephesus, etc, but I didn’t figure out the correct suffix until late.
  • 5D [1814 Treaty site] GHENT – School pays off! Somehow I remember this from 8th grade!!
  • 14D [Its capital was Xianyang] QIN DYNASTY – Great entry. What else could it be with that Q from ERIQ?
  • 27D [“Pink Friday” rapper]  NICKI MINAJ – Also difficult, referencing a more obscure song of hers, at least to me. Fairly popular entertainer these days.
  • 42D [“The Banquet of Cleopatra” painter] TIEPOLO – There was a hockey player years ago named TIE DOMI, and this letter pattern got his name stuck in my head. And I don’t know art very well at all….

Again, fun puzzle. 4.3 stars for the flawless construction!

Doug Peterson’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up

Newsday • 9/5/15 • Sat • Peterson • Stumper • solution

Newsday • 9/5/15 • Sat • Peterson • Stumper • solution

Woke up early this Saturday morning, and as usual, one of the first things I tackle is the Saturday Stumper. It held up its end of the bargain, as I was STUMPED for a good 5-7 minutes in the middle of this solve. Today’s theme? Wrong answers entered! Once those were fixed, the puzzle finally fell. I did actually complete this one with no references used, and no answer check function used, but rather good old fashioned brain wrenching! Fun the whole time, though! As usual, there is nothing icky in this puzzle at all. 4.3 stars for a great puzzle.

Some highlights:

  • 12A [Swells] FASHION PLATES – I don’t know this clue at all. Someone will have to explain this to me.
  • 30A [“The rest is silence” speaker] HAMLET – I had OPHELIA at 41D already in the grid, but with wrong answers in this section, I had TYBALT in there at first! Wrong Shakespeare play!
  • 36A [Product sold by K2] SKI POLE – This seems like it had to be some outdoor sport item. My first thought was something mountain climbing related. Great clue.
  • 46A [Florida Aquarium locale] TAMPA – Another wrong answer here; I put in EPCOT at first. I’m sure there’s an aquarium in the Epcot Center somewhere, but perhaps not THE Florida Aquarium!
  • 54A [Do some gerrymandering] REDRAW – I had REZONE in here for the longest. Totally fooled.
  • 60A [Pirate outfit, for example]  BASEBALL UNIFORM – I laughed out loud when I finally got this! GREAT clue. My favorite of the puzzle.
  • 63A [Desktop craft] MODEL AIRPLANE – I actually typed in at first SHIP IN A BOTTLE! Oops! It did fit, though….
  • 1D [Tore] MADE TIME – I was thinking PASSED BY, or ?????? BY, since I had that incorrect TYBALT in there. Good tricky clue.
  • 11D [Thrifty customer] RENTER – I have been looking to rent a car this week, so this one came rather quick. Or, put another way, my hasty premature guess was right!
  • 33D [Picnic portmanteau] SPORK – Or [Fast food staple]. I like to say, when going out to eat, do you want to eat with silverware, or a spork?! That helps decide where to go!
  • 37D [Increasingly rare drivers] ONE IRONS – I thought that this might be a golf reference to “drivers,” but I was hesitant to enter it at first. Another great tricky clue.
  • 47D [Southeastern Conference charter member] AUBURN – This seems like a hard clue, but I believe there are no other 6-letter SEC members! It’s hard if you don’t know the conference members, though.

Great fun. Awesome puzzle. Off to the Pacific Northwest for a few days. Watch my Facebook page for pics!

Donna S. Levin’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Rolling Acres”—Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 09.05.15: "Rolling Acres"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 09.05.15: “Rolling Acres”

Good day, everyone! Hope you all are doing great and starting your Labor Day weekend in grand fashion. Today’s crossword, brought to us by Ms. Donna S. Levin, features theme answers in which the first words, all five letters in length, also happen to be anagrams of the word “acres.”

  • CESAR CHAVEZ (20A: [Farm workers’ hero honored on March 31])
  • RACES THE WIND (34A: [Speeds, and then some])
  • CARES AND WOES (41A: [They’re what ails you])
  • SCARE TACTIC (57A: [Strategy of intimidation])

To start the grid, I liked the uniqueness of the clue to ARFS since it doesn’t overtly mention a type of dog in the clue, just the name of a famous one (1A: [Sandy’s lines, in “Annie”]). Speaking of fictional characters in clues, how about the ones included in the clue for COWLS, with the ultimate superhero and ultimate super villain (26D: [Items in Batman’s and Doctor Doom’s wardrobes]). One of my good friends is having her wedding next month, and it will be the first BLACK-TIE affair that I’ve been to in a little while (11D: [Formal indication]). Wasn’t alert immediately that “formal” was referring to the social outing, so took a little while to get that. Oh, and Please tell me that you had The Sugarhill Gang’s APACHE in your head when solving for its clue (1D: [Geronimo, for one]). “Tonto…jump on it, jump on it, jump on it…”

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: YOGI (18A: [Boo Boo’s buddy])  – It’s time to leave you with a “Yogism,” from the incomparable Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra: “Why buy good luggage? You only use it when you travel.”

See you all for the Sunday Challenge!

Take care!


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

26 Responses to Saturday, September 5, 2015

  1. Christopher Smith says:

    NYT: Bobby Riggs was more of a huckster & publicity hound by the time he played against Margaret Court (whom he beat) & BJK (whom he didn’t), when he was in his mid-50’s. Did a great guest star appearance on The Odd Couple (BJK did a cameo) after that match.
    Never knew BAPTISTERY was the proper spelling of the word but it is; the Var. spelling omits the E.

  2. ArtLvr says:

    NYT: Nearly got me at GNOMON. Note: that’s BOBBY Riggs, not BOOBY! Otherwise, congrats on a stellar write-up… There was a bitter-sweet special on Althea Gibson on PBS last night — First Afro-American to win at Wimbledon, yes, before Arthus Ashe. Catch it if you can.

  3. Jamie says:

    The NYT was a DNF for me. Not the kind of DNF where I say, okay, puzzle, you beat me because you’re a winner. More like, okay, constructor or editor, wtf … Orgeats? That is a word that I sincerely never hope to see in a crossword again.

  4. Matt says:

    For me, getting 1 Across took as long as the rest of the puzzle. Got it by basically trying every reasonable variation of HOPONxxP. Not really fun.

  5. David L says:

    Puzzle had kind of an old-timey vibe to it, which in this case helped because my entry into the NW was ORGEATS — a word I know only from its use in old-timey crosswords. I was stuck on KHAKIS for CHINOS, but apart from that it was a slow, steady solve.

    Do people really say CREEPIES? Creepy-crawlies is in my vocabulary. And BAPTISTERY with an extra E looks strange to me, but it googles, therefore it exists.

    Nice to see RYCOODER. Truly a great guitarist, and also notable because he has recorded a lot with this guy, my namesake!

  6. Jeff says:

    NYT: was this a Eugene Maleska puzzle? ORELRUSSIA? ORGEAT? BOBBYRIGGS? GNOMON? BAPTISTERY?

    No thank you. Southwest was impossible.

    • Jamie says:

      Amen, Jeff. Totally Maleska-ly.

    • Art Shapiro says:

      GNOMON was one of the few words I could put in on the first pass.

      I too didn’t realize Mr. Riggs was that old; I can remember seeing the famed match on TV.

      There was an awful lot of obscurity in this guy; I needed a search engine to finish. Never heard of the guitar guy (probably not classical) or the NY tribe, and the Babtistery was completely foreign although charmingly strange.


  7. Papa John says:

    The NYT beat me up, too. It’s been a very long time since I was so lost in a sea of white squares! I told you guys I wasn’t allowed to read Dr. Seuss, so HOPONPOP made no sense, even after I filled in the last square. I can’t say I’ve ever seen BAPSTISTERY with an E and the word does pop up in Art History books, so I have run across it more that few times. Where did the much unexpected pun ERRORCODE come from? Well I’m at it, does anyone actually call potatoes IDAHOS? Seneca, Mohawks, Oneida and even Cayuga, yes — but ONONDGA?!?! The least known of the Iroquois Nation, for sure. All I can say is “Wow!”

    • Jamie says:

      15-year resident of NYS and a history lover. Never heard of the ONONDGA people. This might explain why:

      From Wiki:
      In 1816, there were 450 Onondaga living in New York, 210 of which lived on Buffalo Creek Reservation. I had as much chance of meeting one in the 21st c. as I do of meeting a four-lettered sloe from the Amazon.

      This was just a bad and very dated puzzle. When a constructor or editor has to reach that far, (not to go all Rex Parker on it), they should just decide to throw it out.

      Seriously, NYT?

      • pannonica says:

        Was familiar to this NYC’er. Part of the Iroquois Confederacy, we learn about this stuff in grade school, and see artifacts and such in museums. There’s a namesake county, not to mention state parks, geographic features, towns, US Navy ships, and more. Seems fair to me for a NYT Saturday.

        Knew ORGEAT from baking and cocktails. nb: some people get annoyed when you play it in Scrabble or Lexulous. GNOMON was an odd vocabulary word that’s stuck with me since I was quite young. I’m old enough to have been vaguely aware of BOBBY RIGGS as showman/gadfly in the ’70s, with Court, King, and Canon camera commercials (?). “The Battle of the Sexes” in various manifestations was hyped all over the place, and the tennis match-ups were just one.

        BAPTISTERY was unfamiliar but gettable.

        Bottom line—and this is no startling revelation—different people have different experiences and stores of information, and Saturday crosswords are supposed to be challenging.

        addendum: No disputing that OREL, RUSSIA is nasty fill.

        • David L says:

          I’m American by naturalization and have never lived in NYS, and yet I did know ONONDAGA — not immediately, but after I got a couple of letters it popped into my head. How come? Beats me.

        • Papa John says:

          I”m glad you enjoyed it.

        • Syntactic Milieu says:

          “Bottom line—and this is no startling revelation—different people have different experiences and store of information, and Saturday crosswords are supposed to be challenging.”

          Challenging based on one’s store of information? I would sincerely hope not. And if that were the case, a grid then becomes superfluous.

  8. Mr. Grumpy says:

    NYT: One of the worst puzzles of the year. BW couldn’t even get his idioms straight: “put to an end” might mean “killed”; it does not mean “halted” to me. He wanted “put an end to.” I’m not persuaded it’s even grammatical. You can put to a vote or put to a test: put to an end? No. Little known syrups next to some aria? An effing 1978 book? The most obscure clues possible for “Bobby Riggs” and Uncle Miltie? Yes, knowledge sets can differ, but there was just too much bad fill & bad cluing in this puzzle. There was some good stuff but I flat out hated it.

  9. SlowStumperSolver says:

    Nice stumper today. Took a vexing amount of time to get a foothold, then the a-has! and grumblings came one after the other. The fill is impeccable, with nary an obscurity, yet enough uniqueness to make it uplifting. I would quibble with ASI and RMS if I were petty, but they are fine by me here, and I can find no other lame combinations.
    Like Derek I thought the clue for BASEBALLUNIFORM was inventive misdirection — would you believe, having ‘-luniform’ in place, I kept both CARNIVAL- and FESTIVAL- in front for awhile each before the crossings brought the a-ha. All those answers fit and work with the clue …
    CREDO is great for [Personal guide]
    LEAN is fantastic for [Maintain a list], seriously, that’s awesome cluing.
    ODE is great for [Elevated lines] … c’mon, everyone has ELS in here at first, right?
    ENLACED was misdirection for [Wound up together], as I kept wanting the “fated to be matched” meaning … I ‘ugh-ed’ at this when it fell.
    ETAIL was cleverly clued as [Virtually done deals], which had me trying several things ending in S. The fact that this crossed LEAN at the L made this exact box the lynchpin of my puzzle — after sussing that L, I was smiling and giddy to finish, whereas before it, I was perplexed and miffed.
    The few clues/entries that were less-than-satisfying for me:
    EERIE for [Hard to account for]
    [Reel people] … why is this FOLKDANCERS?
    THEM …. why is this [Unmentionables], is it because using the imprecise ‘them’ saves one from “mentioning” the actual name of whoever it is? That’s a stretch, I say.
    [Increasingly rare drivers] for ONEIRONS, as Derek mentioned it smelled like a golf clue, but the truer answer in golf would be WOODWOODS or something like that. 1-irons would be ‘increasingly rare bag components’, yes. Their use on the tee I think was a short-lived phenomenon when they were still in bags but also when typical metal 3-woods were already too long for the ‘controlled’ driving needed. I’m saying that to me, the use of 1-irons on tees has always been rare if you look at the broad history of the game. Anyway, minor quibble on club usage. Who doesn’t love to nitpick topics that are also personal hobbies? (sorry)
    Anyway, great stumper. Also loved the dual-clue [Best of anything] as well. 39 min. for me.

  10. Dude says:

    Unpleasant NYT (NW area being the worst offender) and LAT. Pretty enjoyable Stumper though it put up no resistance to speak of.

  11. DGKelly says:

    Agree with the negative commenters on NYT. No fun for me anywhere in the puzzle.

  12. Lorraine says:

    I don’t know if Joon will see this, but the link above to his new venture “Outside the Box Puzzles” doesn’t work, at least not for me, on either Safari or Firefox. And, in fact, on Firefox I got a “This Connection is Untrusted” message. I don’t know if there’s a problem or not for anyone else, but I just wanted to point it out.

  13. Amy Reynaldo says:

    Attention, person who posts as “Dude” and as “Syntactic Milieu”: Would it kill you to pick just one screen name to use here? Using two different names to post comments on the same day (and just 10 minutes apart!) is just plain weird. (See also: “Sarah” who has used various names and email addresses.) Bloggers don’t like it when commenters muck around like that.

  14. CoffeeLover says:

    Among the Merriam Webster noun definitions for swell you will find 4(b):
    a person dressed in the height of fashion.

    The Oxford dictionary provides this as the 4th definition:
    informal, dated A person of wealth or high social position, typically one perceived as fashionable or stylish.

    The “dated” appellation fits with the rest of the puzzle.

  15. Bob says:

    If the object of the LAT effort today was to use such silly or esoteric defs that veteran puzzlers get stumped – they did a fine job. I guess their object is to NOT allow us to solve the puzzles, right???? Do they get extra kudos for impossibility???

Comments are closed.