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Byron Walden’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
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).
- 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
A 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!
- 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
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.
- 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
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!