David Phillips’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Cursory write-up tonight, as I’m still getting my new Mac set up just right … and I only started the process at the same time the puzzle came out. Downloading apps, customizing the display, finding the mysterious place my grid screenshot was hiding (Dropbox!), realizing I was hungry … yeah, bonkers.
Highlights in the fill include AVALANCHE, NINE HOLES, NBA FINALS, TJ MAXX, HATERS GONNA HATE (it’s what they do, tautologically, isn’t it?), TAKE A DIVE, SKIN-TIGHT, POWER GRAB, RAISINETS, ALLSPICE, TORQUE, RIESEN, LEFT TURN, J.S. BACH, and HAIRLINE. That’s 15 nifty entries, pretty impressive. The trade-off is blah bits like NESSES, ARIE (first time I’ve seen this clued as the German word for aria), SRO, HST, COS, ANAS, INIT.
Did not know: 34d. [Roman consul who captured Syracuse in A.D. 211], MARCELLUS. Wasn’t that the name of Ving Rhames’ character in Pulp Fiction?
Let’s call it four stars. Good night!
Barry C. Silk’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
Only a tad slower than normal; perhaps due to the haze of the new year, which is messing up my sleep schedule? It was worth a try!
A few obscure terms in this Saturday challenger, but that’s OK for a tougher puzzle. Especially since some of the harder entries have easier crossings.
- 21A [“Wedding Bell Blues” songwriter] NYRO – As in Laura Nyro. From this bio, this song is her most famous, at least to me.
- 23A [eBay feature] UPPER CASE B – Favorite of the puzzle! Elicited a big smile from me!
- 52A [Dogfish Head sellers] ALEHOUSES – Does anyone use this term? I suppose it is used in a few restaurant names, but here in Indiana, I never hear it.
- 13D [Mythological sea nymph] OCEANID – If I have heard of these mythological creatures, it’s been a long time. Good slightly obscure word!
- 32D [“The Little Mermaid” composer Alan] MENKEN – I believe he is also the composer of this year’s edition of Galavant, which starts Sunday on ABC. If it is like last year’s season, it is highly campy, but fun to watch!
- 38D [Site of Truman’s winter White House] KEY WEST – Smart man….!
- 46D [1971 title detective] KLUTE – This is a little before my time; I had KOJAK in there at first. Oops!
- 50D [WWI French marshal] FOCH – This is really obscure. He was a major player in the war, but unless you’re a real historian, would you know this fellow?
All in all, a fun puzzle. A great way to start the new year! 3.8 stars. Until next Saturday!
Brad Wilber’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up
Well, the euphoria from last week’s fast time faded quickly today. Pretty much as soon as I saw the byline! Brad’s puzzles always give me fits, and this one was not exception. But I took a break at the 20 minute mark or so, and went for a nice ten mile run! That seemed to clear the cobwebs, and then the rest of the puzzle fell rather quickly. But it was nothing short of a battle!
At the twenty minute mark, my puzzle was sailing along nicely, but then hit a hard snag in the lower left corner. The grid looked like this:
I didn’t know what DRU?E was, along with several other holes in the puzzle. I will explain a few of them in my list in a moment, but one of my favorite clues in the puzzle is for 59A [One of a storied English sextet] BOLEYN. Once I figured out what the “sextet” was, it was easy! I think the run jolted this free from my gray cells!
At any rate, I think I am more and more ready for Stamford! Did you see the registration is now open? Discounted price if registered before 3/28! Hope to see all of you there!
Here are a few observations:
- 1A [Common dust-ruffle feature] BOX PLEAT – We call that a bedskirt here in the Midwest. No wonder it stumped me!
- 15A [Nibble on a toothpick] CANAPE – Nibble is a noun here! A canapé is an hors d’oeuvre. Clever!
- 16A [Tasmanian icebreaker] G’DAY MATE! – I thought for a split second what the Tasmanian Devil cartoon character would say/do, but then got the reality. One of the first entries I filled in.
- 19A [Frontier town] OUTPOST – This got easier when I realized it wasn’t an actual town name!
- 31A [People skip its stones] DRUPE – OK, a peach is a type of drupe! The more I think about this clue, the more I like it!
- 38A [Soviet dissidents’ self-publishing] SAMIZDAT – I have seen this term before, but evidently it has been too long!
- 7D [When the Anvil Chorus is heard] ACT TWO – This is evidently from Il trovatore, an opera by Verdi. You have heard this music before. Slightly obscure, but then I am highly uncultured…
- 32D [Its logo is made from 44 of its products] PEZ – It is true. I counted!
A fun puzzle. Hope to actually meet Brad in CT. We have passed in corridors, but that is about it! 4.6 stars for great Stumper puzzle!
Amy Johnson’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Bank Statements” — pannonica’s write-up
Dry theme, but an appropriate one for the financially-oriented WSJ. Concepts associated with banks and banking reinterpreted for different contexts. That is, with wacky definitions.
- 22a. [Yogi’s shift from one leg to the other?] BALANCE TRANSFER.
- 32a. [Verizon remittance?] MOBILE PAYMENT.
- 51a. [Bonsai practitioner?] BRANCH MANAGER.
- 72a. [Battalion’s victory song?] ROUTING NUMBER.
- 88a. [Silt on the other side of a really wide river?] REMOTE DEPOSIT.
- 105a. [Chess champion’s chronicle?] CHECKING ACCOUNT.
- 15d. [Editor’s recognition to a freelancer?] LINE OF CREDIT.
- 57d. [Measure of curiosity?] INTEREST RATE.
Had some patches of resistance which definitely extended the solve time. Basically in the bottom center and along the upper right-hand side. Stuff like 88d [Call good, as a tennis shot] RULE IN, 83d [Directly] SMACK, 84d [Frisky] COLTISH, 97a [Draft choice] SELECTEE (see also 111a [Brewpub array] ALES), 99d [Science fiction author Greg] EGAN, 31a [Air] MELODY, 41a [Children’s book illustrator Howard] PYLE, 42a [Batch file extension] CMD, 31d [One might wear a crown] MOLAR, 64a [Da Vinci hobby] ROBOTICS, and some others.
- Typical WSJ flavor, with financial and economic spins to many clues. Examples just from the northwest: 1a [Kind of crisis] DEBT, 3d [Start-of-trading signal] BELL, 23d [Not binding] NULL, 6d [Bill word] DUE, 32d [Many a Wharton grad] MBA, 5d [Grow over time] ACCRUE.
- 44d [Childish comeback] DOES SO, 70a [Childish comeback] ARE TOO, 100a [Bullying words] OR ELSE.
- 10a [Punch ingredient?] FIST, 21a [Kickboxing weapons] SHINS (not SHOES), and the beat goes on, with 55d [Attacks] SETS ON.
- 113a [Jam accompaniment?] HONKS, 4d [Late excuse, often] TRAFFIC.
- Took a while to see the aforementioned 5d ACCRUE, kept trying for the too-long ACCRETE instead.
- 75a [“Ariel guides you __ the sea”: Shelley] OER. Not to be confused with 46d [One of the archangels] URIEL.
- 60a [Golf’s “Big Easy”] Full name ERNIE ELS.
- 94a [“Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way” in the Capitol, e.g.] Perhaps it’s better in person?
- Favorite clue: 48d [Remove from power] UNPLUG, crossing least-favorite fill (SMACK dab in the center), 63a [Magic on scoreboards] ORL.
Happy to say 114a [“Toodles!”] TATA to this one. Not my cup of tea, SCONE or no scone (83a).
Bruce Venzke’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Storm Chasers”—Ade’s write-up
Good afternoon, everyone! There’s some beautiful, yet nippy, weather outside here in New York, and there’s no storm in sight…unless you get to do today’s crossword, brought to us by Mr. Bruce Venzke. In it, each of the four theme answers are multiple-word entries in which the second word could also immediately follow the word “storm.”
- FALSE FRONT (17A: [Deceptive appearance])
- POWER SURGE (30A: [Unexpected electrical variance])
- DEAD CENTER (48A: [Precisely in the middle])
- TAX SHELTER (64A: [Investment strategy that reduces government assessments])
There’s a lot of love given to the Silver State in this grid, with both NEVADA (49D: [Carson City’s state]) and RENO both in the puzzle (55D: [City on the Truckee]). Stupidly thought that “Saud” was a word, and placed that in instead of ARAB to start, which slowed me up in the Northwest (14A: [Riyadh native]). I guess OH, ME is better than “ah, me,” the eyesore we see a lot of times in puzzles (51A: [Words of woe]). Not much better. Actually, not at all better. Here’s an idea: how about the BAFTA awards being presented ABAFT on a cruise ship (5A: [Sternward])? Time to head out, but not before I give you all the V-SIGN as I depart (26D: [Memorable WWII gesture]). Peace out, Churchill!
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: PICAYUNE (10D: [Petty]) – Also a town in the state of Mississippi, PICAYUNE is where Jonathan Bender, the fifth overall pick of the 1999 NBA Draft by the Toronto Raptors, is from, where he attended Picayune Memorial High School before forgoing college altogether to enter the pros.
See you all for the Sunday Challenge!