Saturday, May 14, 2016

CS 9:00 (Ade) 


LAT 12:15 (Derek) 


Newsday 14:00 (Derek) 


NYT 5:34 (Amy) 


WSJ untimed (Jim) 


Jeff Chen’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 5 14 16, no 0514

NY Times crossword solution, 5 14 16, no 0514

Hey! This puzzle took me exactly as long as last Saturday’s NYT. Which is too bad, because I was thoroughly enjoying the fill and clues, and wouldn’t have minded a little more time with the puzzle. (Note: Speed solvers finish puzzles in exactly how long it takes them to work through the grid. We are not avoiding “savoring” the way Joey Chestnut doesn’t take time to really enjoy his hot dogs.)

Highlights in the fill: While I prefer the more common snowcone spelling, I’m OK with SNO-CONES. And I like LOCAVORE, AVE MARIA, RWANDAN, JOE TORRE, SNOOZED, SAWZALL, WAGES WAR, PLAYPENS, “I PROMISE,” BEE VENOM (is that still being used for multiple sclerosis?), MR. PEANUT, CAMAROS, LOAN WORD, JAZZ AGE, and old polish SHINOLA (I wanted WOJTYLA when I had the LA in place).

Worst thing: 12d. [Hillbilly sorts], REDNECKS. If you’re gonna have REDNECKS in the puzzle (and I wish you wouldn’t), you need to clue it from more of an insider angle, such as with a (dated) Jeff Foxworthy comedy reference. I looked up both redneck and hillbilly in an Oxford dictionary. Both are tagged “derogatory.” This was a definite SOUR, or [Off-key], note.

Five more things:

  • 17a. [Moldable kitchen stuff], GELATIN. Have you ever seen those horrifying photos of beige molded gelatin entrées with seafood from 40+ years ago? If any of you have prepared or been served these things, please tell us about your experience.
  • 27a. [Terminal giant, once], IBM. Did we all try TWA first?
  • 35a. [Bucks, e.g.], NBA TEAM. The ballers that made Milwaukee great.
  • 16d. [Lures with music], TWEEDLES. I’ve never tweedled, have you?
  • 43d. [Pickup line?], “GET IN.” As in when you pull up to the curb to pick someone up.

4.5 stars for everything but that gross REDNECKS/hillbilly combo, which is –10.

John Lampkin’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 10.07.29 PMThis one was a struggle. I am not familiar with the constructor, but that shouldn’t matter too much. I normally get these Saturday LAT puzzles done in under 10 minutes, but I stared at this one for a while. Each corner took forever to fall, and I had a slight error because I don’t know if I have ever eaten COTTAGE PIE! But that error is inexcusable because I also have never tasted COTTAPE PIE!!

We will rate this a solid 4 stars. Some trite crosswordy entries in here this week, but a nice challenge; I think I like the slightly harder puzzle, if that is indeed what this one is.

Just a few notes:

  • 1A [What separates the gulls from the buoys?] WEBBED FEET – Right off the bat, the best clue in the puzzle!
  • 16A [20 fins] ONE C – This seems contrived. Who calls a hundred a C?
  • 38A [Eponymous Seminole leader] OSCEOLA – There is an Osceola, IN, right near Elkhart!
  • 41A [Kiwi genus] APTERYX – I clench up when I see the word “genus” in a clue, but this one wasn’t as bad as I thought!
  • 14D [Homeowner’s burden] SCHOOL TAX – Some are worse than others. We used to live in an area that had super low taxes because the township didn’t support the local library!
  • 31D [Short putt] TWO-FOOTER – I am glad the clue didn’t say [Gimme putt]. I miss these too often!
  • 33D [Generally gluten-free snacks] RICE CAKES – I am most notably NOT getting hungry from this entry!

That’s all for this week. Looking forward to another challenger from John Lampkin. Have a great weekend!

Anna Stiga’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 10.07.06 PMA tad easier this week! A 72-worder with tons of 8 and 9 letter entries that makes for a nice, wide-open, and I must say refreshingly different grid. As is the usual case, the fill is impeccable. A total joy to solve! May have even had a slightly faster time if I wasn’t exhausted!! It has been a long week! A solid 4.6 stars this week.

Lots to discuss!

  • 14A [Bayer brand] ALEVE – A staple of my daily routine! Also, Bayer is a company that used to be HUGE here in Elkhart, IN. Used to be known as Miles Laboratories until it was purchased by the German company. Filled this in immediately!
  • 25A [UPS concerns] WTS – Only for billing purposes! UPS here is used to hint at an abbreviation, but I was told that the company is simply known as UPS, not officially as United Parcel Service, years ago. A check of the bottom of the website shows that the legal name is still the full name. UPS isn’t concerned with weights, but my lower back is!!
  • 28A [Margaret ___ Thatcher] HILDA – I know I have seen this before, but it didn’t come to me until I had most of the crossings. Great piece of trivia I need to remember!
  • 40A [Amy Poehler’s “polite” memoir] YES PLEASE – I didn’t realize she had written a book. I don’t go to Barnes & Noble as much as I used to!poehler
  • 53A [Old timer, literally] HOROLOGE – Oh, old TIMER!! Best clue in the puzzle!
  • 63A [Lefty] PORTSIDER – I tried writing SOUTHPAW in here, but it wouldn’t fit! This term I rarely hear, but it makes sense.
  • 3D [“Yonder peasant, who is he?” inquirer of song] WENCESLAS – I am not at all familiar with the Christmas carol Good King Wenceslas. But that is just me. I looked it up, and I guess I DO know the melody!
  • 4D [Publisher of “Tennis” magazine] EVERT – As in Chris Evert? I had no idea!
  • 6D [August birthstone] PERIDOT – My birth month! Also got this immediately. I don’t care for this stone; my class ring has a ruby!
  • 27D [Aptly (?) named former Archbishop of Manila Cardinal ___] SIN – A close second for best clue of the puzzle. I wonder where Stan got this piece of information!
  • 35D [Bulova watch introduced in ’27] LONE EAGLE – Evidently made to present to Lindbergh after his historic flight. I learned something new!lone eagle
  • 51D [“There come a time, when good man must wear mask” speaker] TONTO – I thought this might have been ZORRO until I saw the choppy grammar. I wonder if this line is spoken by Johnny Depp in the newest disaster of a movie…

With an easy one this week, it’ll be a doozy next week! Look out!

Randolph Ross’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “OK Corral” —Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 05.14.16: "OK Corral"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 05.14.16: “OK Corral”

Hey there, all! Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Mr. Randolph Ross, is an OK puzzle, as those two letters are added to phrases/proper nouns/fictional characters to create the puns from its corresponding clues.

  • BOOK DEREK (17A: [Hire Jeter?]) – Bo Derek.
  • NANOOK SECOND (23A: [Eskimo’s support for a motion on the floor?]) – Nanosecond.
  • HOKEY BIG SPENDER (36A: [One who is both cornball and generous?]) – Hey, Big Spender.
  • TOP TOKEN LIST (44A: [Suggestions for the best small gifts to purchase?]) – Top Ten List.
  • BROKER FOX (56A: [Hottie investment advisor?]) – Br’er Fox.

Honestly, I still wasn’t getting JAKE even after getting that from using the crosses (1A: [Hunky-dory]). Definitely not from the time period where I heard that word used to describe things being all right. I’ll just stick with all of the people named Jake who I know in terms of using that word. Someone must love their horse racing, as there were a couple of references to the sport of kings, including SHOW (26A: [Third place]). Oh, and someone must love their tennis as well, with both ASHE (25D: [“A Hard Road to Glory” author]) and LAVER making appearances (58A: [Two-time Grand Slam winner known as “The Rocket”]). Just a few days ago, I saw an old episode of To Tell the Truth, and Rod Laver was the guest amongst the impostors whom the panel had to figure out which of the three was a tennis champion. Can’t find the video online, or I definitely would have posted it!

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: KELSO (24A: [Horse of the Year, 1960-64]) – A 10th round pick in the 1985 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles, former safety Mark KELSO went on to be an integral member of the Buffalo Bills teams that went to four consecutive Super Bowls in the 1990s. Also, he was one of the very first (and one of the very few) players to wear a protective plastic cap on top of his helmet in order to reduce the risk of concussions, something that was initially mocked at the time, but is now looked upon as revolutionary…and smart!


See you all for the Sunday Challenge!

Take care!


Peter A. Collins’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “On Our Family Vacation” — Jim’s re-cap

Just a short re-cap here after the fact.

Peter Collins’s family goes on vacation all over the country, and he makes a crossword puzzle about it. Here are the results:

WSJ - Sat, 5.14.16 - "On Our Family Vacation" by Peter A. Collins

WSJ – Sat, 5.14.16 – “On Our Family Vacation” by Peter A. Collins

  • 23a […at the aquarium, we saw a ___] MANTA RAY IN SANTA FE
  • 31a […at the music store, we bought a CD by ___] LOU RAWLS IN SIOUX FALLS. Buying a CD doesn’t seem like a significant part of a vacation. How about […at a concert, we saw a tribute to ___]?
  • 50a […at the game center, we played ___] PAINTBALL IN SAINT PAUL
  • 70a […at the skating rink, we had to  ___] WEAR A COAT IN TERRE HAUTE.
  • 82a […at the library, we read a ___] SCREENPLAY IN GREEN BAY. I would ask, “Who goes to a library on vacation?”, but we did that very thing when we visited the British Library in London.
  • 100a […at the rave, we opted to ___] TAKE ACID IN LAKE PLACID. The family that trips together…
  • 112a […and at the maritime museum, we saw a ___] SEACHEST IN KEY WEST

This was a fun rhyming theme that eluded me for much of the solve, but once I got it, everything just fell into place. All the rhymes are solid and unambiguous.

All the city names are two words and in different states, but mostly in the midwest. What is it about the midwest that makes them good candidates for rhyming?

I’ve taken the liberty of mapping out the Collins family vacation, assuming they went in puzzle order. Not bad, but the trip down to TERRE HAUTE is a bit inefficient.

The Collins Family Road Trip

The Collins Family Road Trip

Favorite non-theme fill: PIEHOLE at 57d! Followed closely by I FEEL YOU (16d) and COCK-EYED (83d). Fun puzzle!

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25 Responses to Saturday, May 14, 2016

  1. ArtLvr says:

    Well, well — gelatin molds! Not from 40 years ago but from the early 1940s, with the whole country involved in WW2… Victory gardens (our yard was too shaded), recycling metal and other scrap materials, coupons for certain foods and especially for gasoline. Father too old to serve in the army, but he put in long wrenching hours on the draft appeal board in Chicago. And Mother made picnics stretch with fruit-laden gelatin molds. We also sent food packages to relatives in England after the war, because they still had dire rationing for several years longer…No, i don’t make them!, but they weren’t bad.

  2. huda says:

    NYT: I shocked myself by plunking down UNEARNED and JOE TORRE in the NE and seeing them turn out to be correct. Whoa! Where did that sport knowledge come from? My brain is starting to feel like an attic… there’s all kinds of strange stuff buried in there I don’t know about…

    It all went smoothly until I hit the SW. I PROMISE is great, but it would not come… and Why is DUES a Union Jack? Is it because you pay dues to a union? Is Jack as in jacking up the prices?

    You can buy brain gelatin molds— they are a very good rendering :)

  3. Gary R says:

    Huda, “jack” is a slang term for money.

    • Huda says:

      Thanks, Gary and Jenni…I had no idea…so many nicknames for money. I don’t know if it’s out of love or out of ambivalence…

  4. pannonica says:

    NYT: Conversely, I can’t recall ever seeing the presumably generic spelling snowcone. Favorite clue: 49a [Cooler person to live with?] CELLMATE.

  5. David L says:

    Nice puzzle, but tougher than usual for me, especially the SW. I had NCR for a long time instead of IBM, which prevented me from seeing BEEsomething.

    A lot of obscure or unknown stuff — Language of the Twelve Tables? TWEEDLES? LORI Singer? LINC? ALEK Wek?… And having never been PERMed, I have to assume that ‘tightening’ is a legitimate definition of what the process does to your hair. Tightened how, though?

    TOOLCASE sounds odd to me, although there’s nothing wrong with it. But I think of TOOLBOX or TOOLCHEST first.

    LOANWORD doesn’t seem exactly right, as clued. A loanword is one that’s taken into another language and becomes part of that language — random example: juggernaut. But Spanglish and Franglais, as I understand the terms, are ad hoc and unsystematic mixes of the two languages, so how do you define which are the native words and which are the loanwords?

    • Jenni Levy says:

      TWEEDLES is weak, to say the least. LORI, LINC and ALEK were gimmes for me. I have been PERMed – the process creates tight curls, so the answer made sense to me once I parsed it.

    • Gary R says:

      I agree that TOOL CASE seems less in the language than tool box or tool chest. Moreover, a nut is a piece of fastening hardware, not a tool. I wouldn’t be shocked if there were a random nut or bolt lurking somewhere in my tool box – but that’s by accident, not by design.

      • Chris Wooding says:

        Not sure if it still true, but motorcycles used to come with a small tool case that fit into a special nook. Good old self-reliance.

  6. sbmanion says:

    Pretty easy for me. My first thought for what turned out to be IBM was IRT, which quickly led to I PROMISE and opened the SW for me. SE was the hardest. I had never heard of SAWZALL, but it was intuitive. I agree that TOOL CASE seems odd. I had TOOL SHED at first.

    Fun puzzle.


  7. Lise says:

    I was happy that the LAT and the NYT each outlasted a biggish mug of coffee. I was a little out of my comfort zone with both, which is good. SAWZALL? I think we need one of those at our house :-)

    Gelatin, ugh. When I was a teenager, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I was served a first course of something dark and gelatinous in the depths of a small dark-colored clay bowl. Couldn’t see it clearly. Okay, a Jello first course, I thought but no, it turned out to be salty and meat-flavored and COLD – like gelatin mixed with bouillon. I somehow got it down, not wanting to offend the hostess, who had been born *before* dinosaurs.

    I liked the bowl, though.

  8. Papa John says:

    There are lots of tool cases listed on Amazon, Sears, etc. They differ from tool boxes or chests in that there are like suit cases, with a hinged opening and clasps holding them shut. Think of the cases that often come with a tool, like a Sawzall or air hammer. Most cases are designed to hold specific tools like screwdrivers sets or drill bits and, I suppose, there may be ones that hold containers for parts, like nuts, but that is not the usual use for a tool case. That would be a parts case/box/chest. I get the intent of the clue is to be funny: “Where many nuts are housed”. It’s a stretch, though, unless you’re thinking of our house.

    I’m not sure why Jenny thinks TWEEDLES is “weak”. The clue, “Lures with music” is a straight dictionary definition. Granted, it’s not in my personal lexicon but that doesn’t really mean much. Interestingly, Urban Dictionary says it means to order the same food as someone at the table. Somehow that’s considered a faux pas.

    Does any one know how Carroll meant it with Tweedle Dee Tweedle Dum?

    • Lise says:

      According to my copy of The Annotated Alice (annotations by Martin Gardner), in the 18th century hymn writer John Byrom wrote a poem about the rivalry between Handel and Bononcini. He may have copied the last two lines from an older rhyme, but here is his rhyme about a musical battle:

      Some say, compar’d to Bononcini
      That Mynheer Handel’s but a Ninny
      Others aver, that he to Handel
      Is scarcely fit to hold a Candle
      Strange all this Difference should be
      ‘Twixt Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee!

      Lewis Carroll presented them as mirror images of each other (enantiomorphs) who were both rivals and best friends.

  9. roger says:

    Agree that rednecks for “hillbilly sorts” disparages hillbillies. How about Trump voters?

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      No way. Trump has won over a lot of voters in Northern and Western states, and in cities and suburbs.

      • Papa John says:

        The assumption being that there are no rednecks in those locales..? Do you ever hang at Denny’s? They’re everywhere.

        • Amy Reynaldo says:

          And you’re both still using a derogatory word. Really, guys?

          • roger says:

            Don is derogatory

          • Papa John says:

            I suppose I should have used quotes or a pronoun.

            Where I live, “redneck” is a commonly used term and it’s used both in a derogatory way and as a badge of honor, much more often in the latter sense and usually with a chuckle or a wink.

    • Bencoe says:

      A while ago I was drinking in a bar when I said something about being a redneck–I grew up in the countryside outside of Greensboro N.C. running barefoot through fields and forests and jumping over barbwire fences. A northern black woman overheard me and took serious offense to that, as though it implied racism, and we ended up having a nice conversation where I tried to explain that I had both white and black friends who grew up the same way with me. What does redneck mean, and who gets to determine its meaning?
      I also have a lot of Appalachian relatives who are technically hillbillies, but I consider the opposite of that to be flatlanders.

      • Papa John says:

        Who are you calling a flatlander?!?!?1

        • Bencoe says:

          I was really worried about this post and didn’t want to look at this post’s replies. I am a far leftist but also a proud Southerner and I’m used to being treated like an illiterate inbred moron, which is why I try to hide my accent. Thanks for not trying to hurt me.

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