Saturday, December 12, 2015

CS 7:57 (Ade) 


LAT 6:07 (Derek) 


Newsday 26:37 (Derek) 


NYT 4:46 (Amy) 


WSJ untimed (pannonica) 


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

NY Times crossword solution, 12 12 15, no 1212

NY Times crossword solution, 12 12 15, no 1212

Hey! The Friday puzzle was harder than the Saturday puzzle. Flip-flop weekend!

If you have ever heard MY HUMPS, or just read the lyrics, it is indelible. Good gravy, it won a Grammy? (For Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, certainly not Record of the Year.)

Favorite fill includes JUNGLE GYM (thought we called ’em monkey bars where I grew up), JOHN MCENROE, SCAMPER AWAY plus SLUMP OVER (try to do both at the same time), the erstwhile IRISH POUND, JOLIE-PITT (as credited in By the Sea), MS MAGAZINE, and SHAGGY.

Did not know: 9d. [In a sauce of browned butter, capers, parsley and lemon], GRENOBLOISE. What an ungainly-looking word. Also not familiar with the mattress OPEN COILS or POST-SALES service as a term.

Not keen on: STENO, NENE, -IST, -MENT, U PENN (people just call it Penn for short, no?). Not much dross for a 66-worder.

Top clues:

  • 6a. [Bars where swingers hang out?], JUNGLE GYM. At the playground, silly. Not that sort of swinging.
  • 17a. [Skilled forger], SMITH. Forging metal, not signatures or art.
  • 31a. [Go a few rounds?] SPIRAL. Getting dizzy?
  • 46a. [Lead-in to drop or roll], EGG. See also: “stop, drop, and roll.”
  • 4d. [Job tester], SATAN. That’s biblical Job with a veiled capital letter, not a career gig.
  • 28d. [It has issues with feminism], MS. MAGAZINE.
  • 41d. [Beaches, in two senses], STRANDS. The verb, and the noun that’s a literary sort of word. (In German, der Strand means the beach; that plural is die Strände, though.)

4.25 stars from me.

Jeffrey Wechsler’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up

LAT 121215I solved this puzzle after I tackled the Newsday, and I must have been mentally limbered up as I tackled this in just over 6 minutes! But alas, it is not that difficult, since there is actually a THEME this Saturday:

  • 1A [8-Across member born 12/12/1915] SINATRA
  • 8A [Group formed in the ’50s] RAT PACK
  • 26A [1-Across hit] THAT’S LIFE
  • 52A [1-Across hit] HIGH HOPES

My main takeaway? He would be 100 today! And also he is between the ages of my grandmothers; my maternal grandmother passed away at 99 in 2006, and my paternal just this year at 97! I think I will find some Sinatra on Spotify later today! Here are a few comments on the puzzle:

  • 17A [Super Bowl XXXIII team] FALCONS – And they haven’t been there since! Four teams have still not even appeared in a Super Bowl: The lowly Lions, the hapless Browns, and the relatively new Jaguars and Texans. And the Texans are the ONLY NFL team to not at least appear in a conference championship game. Now you are ready for next month’s playoffs!
  • 22A [Youngest of the musical Gibb brothers] ANDY – Got this immediately. Showing my age. He actually died at 30 year of age.
  • 23A [Antarctica’s ___ Sea] ROSS – Got this fast too. Isn’t there a Ross Ice Shelf down there somewhere?
  • 36A [Longtime CBS journalist Charles] KURALT – Showing my age again. I remember him well.
  • 64A [Innocent-looking] and 65A [Dusk] DOE-EYED & DAY’S END – I thought there might actually be another theme entry or two down here. As it is, don’t these look a little to similar?
  • 27D [“___ Kitchen”: Gordon Ramsay show] HELL’S – One of my favorite shows! Hoping to crash one of his restaurants one of these days!
  • 34D [Activisit Medgar] EVERS – If you don’t know who this is, read up on him. Did a lot for blacks in this country, and was a martyr similar to MLKjr.
  • 51D [Early PC system] MS-DOS – MAC OS appears in the Newsday Stumper; HERE is the time for MS-DOS!!

A great puzzle, made even better by a theme! 4.5 stars today from me!

Frank Longo’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up

imageTrying a new tactic this week: I went for a long run! Mind clear, muscles sore, workout over, I reopened the Longo torture device that I started at 6:00 am while still in a fog. And my tactic worked! Time around 25 minutes, and I will admit that I did not use one Google search! Also put on some headphones, to block out distractions, and that seemed to help as well. I tried headphones last year at Stamford, and I am unsure if I will try that this year. Probably would only help on Puzzle 5!

If you read me regularly, you know that Frank Longo Stumpers are among the hardest. This one is no exception. So hard, in fact, that I am not sure I agree/understand with a couple of entries! Tons of misdirection in this one, including what I think is the best I have seen in a long time. Here are my notes:

  • 16A [Singer’s surname chosen for its pecuniary pig-Latin meaning] O’DAY – I had to look up pecuniary, but it means monetary, and according to her Wikipedia page, that’s exactly why she chose this stage name! Awesome clue.
  • 17A [Height of the Snake River drainage basin] GRAND TETON – Yes, I thought about an actual number at first!
  • 18A [Toy imported from China] PEKE – Of course “toy” in this sense means the dog…
  • 22A [“Atlas Shrugged” theme] EGOISM – On Netflix, there are some installments of this novel in movie form. Some of the most awful viewing you will ever see. I made it through Part 1 a few years ago, and found no desire to watch the rest!
  • 44A [Surfaces, say] TABLET PCS – This is the great clue I mentioned earlier. I had TABLETOPS in there for the longest time. I don’t know PROWSE of Star Wars fame, and PORKER would work instead of CORKER at 46D! In a weird way, at least! Bravo!!
  • 55A [Supporting Actor Oscar nominee for 2014] ETHAN HAWKE – I believe this is for Boyhood, which I have seen and highly recommend. To add insult to injury, I believe her co-star Patricia Arquette DID win the Supporting Actor Oscar!
  • 60A [“Build the real-life way” sloganeer] ERECTOR SET – I thought this might be correct, but I had ELL instead of ARM at 58D. Do they still make these things?
  • 62A [Blasts with minimal damage] SOLO HOMERS – Like we will see from new Cubs players Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward! Go Cubbies!!
  • 3D [Olympics canoeing event] SLALOM – If you say so. I thought slalom was a skiing term only. Here is proof that it is an actual thing!
  • 11D [What Houston was] POP DIVA – OK, come on! This one was just mean! I was poring over the city, Sam Houston himself, and everything else BUT the late Whitney Houston!!
  • 21D [High-tech kitchen accessory company] IDEVICES – Appears as iDevices, like all other Apple peripheral companies and accessories. Never heard of them. I must not be that “high-tech!”
  • 24D [Not flip] STAY CALM – I had KEEP CALM. Figured out the sense of this clue pretty quickly, I am proud to say!
  • 25D [Desktop debut of 1984]  MAC OS – Yes, I had MS-DOS in there also! I know you did too….
  • 33D [Guy in the NATO phonetic alphabet] PAPA – I knew this! Why was I trying to think of an actual proper name??
  • 37D [Broadcast about a runner, maybe] APB – Shouldn’t this have an “abbr.” tag? And why was a thinking about a marathon documentary??
  • 52D [Spanish word for “wadding”] TACO – I guessed this might be right. Just had a coffee from there this morning!

Awesome challenge for a nice, relaxing, and seasonably warm Saturday morning! 4.6 stars for a virtuoso performance!

Andrew J. Ries’ Wall Street Journal crossword, “Share the Wealth” — pannonica’s write-up

WSJ • 12/12/15 • "Share the Wealth" • Ries •  solution

WSJ • 12/12/15 • “Share the Wealth” • Ries • solution

The longest fill aren’t the theme answers in this offering. Instead, five pairs of across entries are overlappingly linked (shared) by downs all clued as [Some wealth] and which are slang terms for money. I’ve circled the spanning entries for convenience. As you can see, their relative positions form a rough quincunx, which in turn reminds me of a favorite slang term for money, spondulix. Needless to say, there’s no place for spondulix in this crossword.

  • 1a. [Stack component] FLAP{JACK}
    5d. [Some wealth] JACK.
    28a. [Street noisemaker] {JACK}HAMMER.
  • 20a. [It shared a Grammy for Song of the Year award with “You Light Up My Life”] EVER{GREEN}.
    21d. GREEN.
    42a. [Special Forces member, familiarly] {GREEN} BERET.
  • 49a. [It’s hard to make out] CHICKEN {SCRATCH}.
    51d. —
    88a. [Better-than-average drivers] {SCRATCH} GOLFERS.
  • 100a. [Take courses?] BRAKE {BREAD}.
    102d. —
    124a. [Great Depression formation] {BREAD} LINE.
  • 114a. [Singer who had a June wedding] JOHNNY {CASH}. Nifty clue, as his first wife was June Carter.
    116d. —
    130a. [Pricey sweater makeup] {CASH}MERE.

So that’s fun.

Here are the long answers:

  • 23a [Leave at home] STAYCATION. Another recent portmanteau is 61a [Hybrid treat of the 2010s] CRONUT.
  • 30a [Quaint stereo components] TAPE DECKS.
  • 112a. [Introduced, as a new era] USHERED IN.
  • 121a. [Pays attention] LENDS AN EAR.
  • 6d. [“Miss You Like Crazy” singer] NATALIE COLE.
  • 11d. [First lady who died in office] EVITA PERÓN. I thought the single-name ‘Evita’ substituted for the full-name ‘Eva Perón’, but there seems to be sufficient representation for ‘Evita Perón’.
  • 15d [Flashy weather] ELECTRIC STORM.
  • 59d [Contest with a list] SCAVENGER HUNT.
  • 74d [Accommodating like some hotels] KID PET FRIENDLY.
  • 77d [Captain’s underling] LIEUTENANT.

Here is some money:

  • 44a [Second-most traded currency worldwide] EURO.
  • 47d [Not worth a __ ] SOU.
  • 82d [Letters on a returned check] NSF.

Here’s another list:

  • 65d [Prayer starter] O GOD, 109a [Old oath] EGAD. Ay yaiyai.
  • 119a [Series of battling spots] AD WAR, 73a [Spot makers] SPONSORS.
  • 101d [Forward, as a package] RESHIP, 83a [Improve on, as a gift ribbon] RETIE.
  • 57d [Brother of Isis] OSIRIS. Good on this. Let’s reclaim Isis in its various earlier connotations from the terrorist group. Da’ish/Daesh seems to work well enough.
  • Nope, still don’t care for ODOR implicitly connoting something unpleasant: 95a [Olfactory offense]; not even if directly follows FOUL, 93d [It’s not fair].
  • goldsworthycairns50d [Underdog’s retort] I CAN TOO, 113d [Gloater’s boast] I WIN, 70a [Resigner’s cry] I’M A GONER.
  • Sneaky hidden-capital clues (I’ve forgotten the name we use for them): 66a [Power of the movies] TYRONE, 56d [Job divisions] VERSES, 90d [Caress in the bathroom] SOAP, 115d [Subway fare] HERO.
  • 26a [No longer in the outbox] SENT. I believe that most e-mail interfaces have either a Sent folder or, less commonly, an Outbox folder. So this probably refers to the physical world.
  • Least favorite clue: 111a [Feature of many Monets] POND. It just feels so lifeless.
  • 41d [Cairn composition] STONES.

Might have had more to write, but other events intervened and now it’s well into the afternoon. Clever theme, good crossword.

Todd McClary’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Regifting”—Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 12.12.15: "Regifting"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 12.12.15: “Regifting”

Happy Saturday, everybody! I hope you’re doing well, and my apologies this post is up late, which is due to more “sporps” reporting. But it was an absolute awesome Christmas gift of a puzzle that we all got to do today, which was constructed by Mr. Todd McClary. Each of the four theme answers are puns, and the answers formed are portmanteaus using two separate features from the Twelve Days of Christmas song. The accompanying amount of gifts that the “true love” gave in the song is in parenthesis in the clue.

  • FRENCH MAIDS (17A: [Servants known for provocative uniforms (3 & 8)]) – From “three French hens” and eights maids a milking.”
  • PATRIDGE LADIES (28A: [Shirley and Laurie on a 1970s musical sitcom (1 & 9)]) – From “a partridge in a pear tree” and “10 ladies dancing.”
  • DRUMMERS CALLING (44A: [Vocational inspiration received by Keith Moon and Ringo Starr (12 & 4)]) – From “12 drummers drumming” and “four calling birds”.
  • GOLDEN GEESE (57A: [Legendary creatures that are steady sources of wealth (5 & 6)]) – From “five golden rings” and six “geese-a-laying.”

Fun crossword to do, especially if you’re in the Christmas spirit and/or know the song and gifts by heart. Kudos to the rarely-used HECTORS in the grid, especially if it hung you up if you happened to type in “heckles,” like I did (5D: [Nags]). Have to leave you here as they just announced the Heisman Trophy winner and the media room is astir, getting ready for the winner (Derrick Henry of Alabama to come into the room).

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: U.S. OPEN (46D: [Ashe stadium Tournament]) – Three months ago, we also got to see history made at the US OPEN, as Serena Williams was looking to become the first singles player to win the Grand Slam since Steffi Graf back in 1988. She made it all the way to the semifinals, where she lost to Roberta Vinci in the semifinals. (Fellow Italian Flavia Pennetta won the women’s singles title.) Oh, and here was our view for one of the days we were at the tournament: floor level, through the photographer cut-outs behind the players. Hello, Roger Federer…


See you all for the Sunday Challenge!

Take care!


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

20 Responses to Saturday, December 12, 2015

  1. steveo says:

    I’d never heard of GRENOBLOISE, either. Apparently it’s French for “from Grenoble”; I guess that makes sense. Perhaps it is also a good gravy.

    • Karen Ralston says:

      Having just returned from Grenoble, my adopted home in France for more years than I care to admit, that was fun to see in a puzzle. I am an unofficial Grenobloise! Question to data researchers: has this ever been used before? And by the way, as some of you know, I left Paris two days before the attacks. I thought the puzzle was excellent, and not as hard as I expected. Thanks, Byron!

      • Bruce N. Morton says:

        Hi Karen

        Interesting synchronicity. Close friends of mine whom I just saw today are planning on a trip to New Mexico in a couple months. Jim is a wonderful painter. Ann is a poet and translator — Italian and French, though I think her Italian is the stronger of the two. I mentioned that I had a friend who was a docent at the Georgia O’Keeffe museum. At any rate, if you’re interested perhaps you and they could get together. I probably have it, but could you email me your email address at:

        Brucenm [at] aol. [dot] com?

        Bruce N. Morton

      • steveo says:

        Hi Karen.

        How wonderful. It seems like a perfectly charming alpine town, judging by the photos I found online (and on Google Maps).

        GRENOBLOISE has never been in the NYT crossword before.

        (GRENOBLE has appeared several times, often clued related to its having hosted the winter olympics.)

  2. pannonica says:

    Cups. Of. Cocoa.

  3. Bruce N. Morton says:

    I’ve made sole Grenobloise several times. Excellent dish.

    I thought it was the Irish *punt*, but I guess it is called “pound” too.

  4. sbmanion says:

    I found Saturday’s to be significantly harder than Friday’s. Only the NW was easy and I did not know any of the letters of GRENOBLOISE.

    Excellent challenge anyway.


    • Zulema says:

      Since I could not work Friday’s NYT at all, the Saturday I found much easier and also a delight to spend my time on.

      • Zulema says:

        Strange doings. In my previous post I mistyped my e-mail address, so tried to change that and couldn’t. That sentence about the “request” remaining I do not understand. Sorry!

        Well, previous post was deleted. Thank you.

    • Zulema says:

      Steve, I could not work Friday’s at all, so found today’s much more doable and enjoyed the whole solving experience.

  5. huda says:

    NYT: I thought of aerial hammock yoga before JUNGLEGYM. My daughter tells me it’s all the rage. I want to try it out. As Maxine says, you’re never too old to really hurt yourself doing something new…

    And having not heard of MY HUMPS, I put down my HUMan and thought it was an interesting title. But definitely less interesting that humps.

    The SW was not my favorite corner– and whoever invented ASPICS should be ashamed, but the rest was great and totally doable even for us regular folks.

  6. Brad says:

    I jumped the gun on the CHE hiatus announcement yesterday. There will be a Dec. 18 puzzle, by Ed Sessa, and THEN we will be off until Jan. 8.

  7. Karen says:

    He did it his way…..

  8. Stribbs says:

    The alumni of Penn that I’ve met most often will say that they went to “U Penn”, so I’d give it a pass!

    • dave glasser says:

      I feel like I hear Penn more often than UPenn, but is the domain name, which i think alone makes it legit…

    • Amy L says:

      No, no, no! It’s called Penn. The t-shirts, mugs, notebooks, and sweatshirts say Penn. I’m an alumna and I have worked at Penn.

      Unfortunately, the email addresses usually have upenn, probably because there are so many other things named Penn all over the state.

  9. Linda says:

    Re: college names: The University of Rochester, my old school, is verbalized by the cognoscenti as the U of R, but spelled out as the UR. You can tell someone who didn’t actually go there by the way they mangle either.
    Also I love that the Sunday NY Times puzzle is available on their xinfo url on Saturday evening. Just took a look at it–lots to like and not difficult to figure out.

    • Bruce N. Morton says:

      Linda, I too went to the U of R, for grad school, many years ago, when the philosophy department was in the basement of Lovejoy dorm. I lived in the GLC. Surprisingly fond memories.

Comments are closed.