Andrew Zhou’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Okay, solving and blogging the Saturday Times puzzle while watching Jurassic World: Go.
Likes in the fill: NIQAB, LATIN LOVERS, VANITY PRESS, “KICK ME” SIGNS, KIRSTEN Gillibrand, VIRILITY, BLANK CDS, BEDTIME STORY, ALPINE LAKE, and THE BEARS (we would also have accepted DA BEARS).
Dislikes: INURE, PART A, and –EROO, most acutely. The grossness of the creepy uncle action in 1d. [Two of Ferdinand VII’s wives, to Ferdinand VII], NIECES. And the combo of 35d AGE ONE and [Section one] as the PART A clue.
- Learned some Chicago Bears trivia I didn’t know: 11d. [N.F.L. record-holder for most retired jersey numbers].
- 23a. [Cosmopolitan place] is a great clue for BAR (referring to the pink cocktail called a Cosmo).
- 28a. [Course material, maybe], SOD—golf course, good clue.
- 27d. [“As elaborate a waste of human intelligence as you could find anywhere outside an advertising agency,” per Raymond Chandler], CHESS. Ha!
3.9 stars from me.
Barry C. Silk’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
Another good puzzle by Barry C. Silk this Saturday morning. He is fast becoming another constructor that I thoroughly enjoy. Good entries, fun clues, and yet just a touch of challenging words to test your vocabulary. My favorite entries are listed below. I will rate this one with 4 stars. I enjoyed a few entries in particular, as you will see:
- 1A [Mystery novel cover-up?] DUST JACKET – Great 1-Across entry. Both 10-letter stacks at the top and bottom are stellar.
- 37A [Aptly named sleep aid] ZZZQUIL – Great entry for the center, as well! Yes, I thought DayQuil at first until I got some of those Z’s in there!
- 40A [“No way!”] IXNAY – Ah, how handy is Pig Latin in constructing a crossword? At least a little, as evidenced here!
- 44A [Where the Irrawaddy flows] MYANMAR – The former Burma, of course. I knew this was in Asia somewhere, but that’s all I knew until some crossings appeared.
- 2D [Beverage nickname introduced in 1967] UNCOLA – I remember many 7-Up commercials from the 70s-80s like this one:
- 10D [Springsteen’s birthplace?] THE USA – Of course he is from Jersey, but this is a pun based on his most popular album, Born in the U.S.A.
- 24D [Seven-term Mexican president Porfirio ___] DIAZ – Definitely tougher than a clue about Cameron DIAZ! Especially since he was president of Mexico over 100 years ago!
- 28D [Food processors] ENZYMES – As in in your belly!
- 34D [Planned 2019 Pan American Games host] LIMA, PERU – This one was tough, until you realized it was two words! These games could literally be anywhere in the Americas!
- 35D [Open secret, e.g.] OXYMORON – A great clue, here. Great a-ha moment!
Kudos to a fun puzzle. Can’t wait until next Saturday!
Doug Peterson’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up
A time under 10 minutes this morning! That can only mean one thing: next week, we will be languishing in the thirty minute range! Got a good night’s sleep, so maybe that helped. Of the Stumper regular constructors, Doug may be on the easier side, or maybe he is more on my wavelength. Whatever the reason, I had very few snags in this puzzle. Next week will be torture!
A few observations:
- 15A [Typical traffic report time] FIVE THIRTY – A nice clue for a seemingly arbitrary time!
- 22A [Resident, e.g.] MEDICO – OK, I thought this meant resident as in someone who lives in a residence! Once I thought outside the box for a second, it became clear!
- 32A [Setting on high] AIRPLANE MODE – I just flew on a plane, and this one also stumped me for a while. Great clue.
- 43A [Dancer admired by Stewart in “Rear Window”] MISS TORSO – It has been ages since I have seen this movie, but if I remember correctly, he had nicknames for a few of the people he saw out of his window. This was evidently one of them. Another great clue that made me think.
- 50A [First rap group on MTV] RUN DMC – I figured this would be an easy one, but I had SPEC instead of ITEM at 41D, so I had ????CC at first for this entry. Once solved, it was like, “Duh!!”
- 64A [Certain security experts] DAY TRADERS – I got this one rather quickly. For some reason, I immediately thought of financial securities. Same wavelength at play here, I think!
- 10D [First song parodied by Weird Al] MY SHARONA – This one was also a gimme. At least after two or three letters were in there. For you LLamas out there, I am anxiously awaiting the One-Day on Weird Al coming up on November 3. Should get 12/12 on that one!
- 25D [Television array] INPUTS – Anymore, it’s all about how many HDMI inputs you have, for all of you game platforms, streaming services, and blu-ray players!
- 42D [Tennessee called her “the greatest living actress”] VANESSA – Pretty sure this is referring to Vanessa Redgrave; couldn’t verify the quote. Makes sense, though.
- 43D [Create a margin for] MARK UP – This lower corner is what I did last. (And not the upper left corner, like usual!) Several of these clues stymied me for a bit, especially this one. Until I realized what margin they were referring to!
- 52D [Azalea from Australia] IGGY – I think I mentioned before how she is replacing IGGY Pop in puzzles; you know you’re famous when you’re a crossword staple!
I will give this puzzle 4.1 stars. Nicely done, great clues, and I did well on it! Until next Saturday…
Gail Grabowski’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “It’s a Job”—Ade’s write-up
Happy Saturday, everyone! Hope all is well. About to celebrate a friend’s wedding, so can’t stay too long. Today’s crossword, brought to us by Ms. Gail Grabowski, include four multiple-word theme answers in which the last word in each is a synonym to the word “job.” Each of the four answers are common phrases and/or proper nouns standing alone, but the puns as clues give those answers a different meaning.
- CARRIAGE TRADE (20A: [Job in the buggy business?])
- DRAMATIC WORK (28A: [Job in the acting business?])
- WRIGLEY FIELD (44A: [Job in the chewing gum business?]) – “Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day – Eleven days ago, on Oct. 13, 2015, the Chicago Cubs won a series-clinching playoff game at WRIGLEY FIELD for the first time in the stadium’s 101-year existence when they defeated the St. Louis Cardinals, 6-4, in Game 4 of the National League Division series.
- POCKET CALLING (53A: [Job in the billiard table business?])
Interesting fill throughout the grid, and it started out with the first entry of the entire puzzle, ERISA (1A: [Pension law acronym]). Don’t think I’ve ever come across that entry in a puzzle, but definitely didn’t mind it at all. Also didn’t mind the full name of MARIO PUZO in the grid, and this reminds me that I have to read his books and not just continue to watch the movies based on his books (34D: [“The Sicilian” author]). Always like geography in a grid, and we have the intersecting answers of SAMOS (32A: [Greek island in the Aegean Sea]) and ALGIERS, with the latter always being a good entry in my book given the reference to Africa (5D: [North African seaport]). Fun solve.
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: WRIGLEY FIELD (44A: [Job in the chewing gum business]) – See WRIGLEY FIELD above.
See you all for the Sunday Challenge!
Heidi Moretta’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “M & M’s” — pannonica’s write-up
Familiar words or phrases respelled so that the junction of the constituent words repeat an m sound. That is, the first ends with an m and the second begins with one. Orthographically, the ms needn’t be consecutive. That is, there are some silent letters. The new, wackified versions are of course clued at face value.
- 23a. [Reaching through an invisible box?] MIME MISTAKE (my mistake).
- 25a. [Roomie’s rodent pet?] DORM MOUSE (dormouse).
- 37a. [Documentaries about skyscraper construction?] BEAM MOVIES (B movies).
- 40a. [Disguise worn while plotting?] SCHEME MASK (ski mask).
- 59a. [Monument equipped with radiators?] WARM MEMORIAL (war memorial). See also 104d [Radiator attachment] HOSE.
- 71a. [Thor, coordinating the thunder and lightning?] STORM MANAGER (store manager).
- 91a. [Cemetery caretaker?] TOMB MASTER (two-master). Ketch? Schooner? Yawl?
- 93a. [Name for a squad that does a lot of traveling?] TEAM MOBILE (T-Mobile).
- 107a. [Part of a florist’s model of the solar system?] BLOOM MOON (blue moon).
- 110a. [Gorgon working in a garment factory?] SEAM MONSTER (sea monster). Nifty, APT (1a) crossing: 89d [Company with a Medusa logo] VERSACE.
Cute theme. The m-sound always extends from the beginning of the second syllable to the end of the first. The originals might not be particularly exciting, but the wordplay is more than adequate.
The long non-theme entries are the downs TIME WARNER, TOURNAMENT, DIET SODA, COMEDIAN, DEFAMATORY, GERMINATES. Solid bunch. (3d, 14d, 34d, 62d, 69d, 74d)
- For 114a [Largest New Deal agcy.] I at first had TVA before WVA, which made for an amusing answer to 88d [Battleship that is now a Los Angeles maritime museum]: USS IOTA.
- 1d [“Summer and Smoke” heroine] ALMA. 15d [Rick’s flame] ILSA, 60d [Director Kazan] ELIA, 58d [Singing slave girl] AIDA. I feel like David Letterman here.
- Interesting factette: 87a [Airline begun in Key West] PAN-AM.
- A typical assortment of deft Shenkian clues. Here are a few: 30a [Senior moment?] PROM, 79a [One might serve a sentence] PHRASE, 103a [Clubs on diamonds] BATS, 7d [Class-conscious individual?] TEACHER.
- 86a/100a [Back] REAR, AFT. 56d [Hosp. areas] ORS, 65d [Hosp. workers] DRS. 5d [Merchandise Mart station stoppers] ELS, 102a [Commuter’s choice] RAIL (also one of many alliterative clues). There may be a few more.
- 82d [Bongo, for one] ANTELOPE.
Enjoyable Saturday outing.