Saturday, May 28, 2016

CS 8:14 (Ade) 


LAT 5:21 (Derek) 


Newsday 16:37 (Derek) 


NYT 6:40 (Amy) 


WSJ untimed (pannonica) 


Frederick Healy’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 5 28 16, no 0528

NY Times crossword solution, 5 28 16, no 0528

Welp, I swore a blue streak at that Star Wars: The Force Awakens clue. You can’t put “[Spoiler alert!]” into a crossword clue and expect that any solver will be able to avoid seeing the words that follow, not when they’re going to look at the adjacent clues. Some of us didn’t see the movie when it came out this winter because crowded theaters of germy people pose a health risk to those who are neutropenic. So puzzle editors: Imagine that you are hearing me issue a combination of swear words at you. Thanks for nothing. I’m still planning on seeing it, and now I’ll be wondering with every scene that character’s in: “Is this the death scene? How about now?” And yes, I really had gone all winter and spring without having that aspect spoiled. Congratulations, you did it.

congrationFavorite things in the otherwise nice puzzle: ZIPPER clued as a 1a. [Case closer]. Frozen French GLACÉS. The movie GALAXY QUEST, which I want to watch again (and I will give out no spoilers!). NATO MEMBERS, not sure I’ve seen the phrase in a crossword grid before. HIP-HOP MUSIC, LETS SLIP, PETE SAMPRAS, the DELUXE MODEL, LILY MUNSTER, TESLAS (the cars), and CUT GLASS. If you don’t know what CUT GLASS is, take a look at these colorful examples.

Word I have simply never seen before: 20a. [Decorative skewer for serving hors d’oeuvres], ATTELET. Many mainstream dictionaries don’t make space for this word. You may well never see it again unless you’re a caterer or host high-end yet old-fashioned shindigs. You can’t even buy these things on Amazon. Four of this word’s seven letters are crossing proper names, and may Maleska’s soul guide you if you don’t know one of those names.

Five more things:

  • Didn’t know/remember that SUL was 29a. [South of Brazil?], or “south” in Portuguese.
  • Dupe action: SO I SEE and AS I, IN STIR and CUE IN, SNARL UP and TORN UP.
  • I got slowed down at 9d. [Lummox] by filling in APE. Turned out this lummox was an ASS, and the BIG APES were at 24d.
  • 40d. [What gets broken at a mixer], THE ICE. Does anyone know that The ICE (Intercontinental Exchange) bought the NYSE a few years ago? No?
  • 51d. [“Little Birds” author], NIN. I have an old hardcover I bought at a used bookstore years ago. Really lovely paper quality and feel.

Four stars for the puzzle, white-hot rage for the spoiler.

Mike Peluso & Jeff Chen’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Beatles Wannabes” — pannonica’s write-up

WSJ • 5/28/16 • "Beatles Wannabes" • Sat • Chen, Peluso • solution

WSJ • 5/28/16 • “Beatles Wannabes” • Sat • Chen, Peluso • solution

Beatles song titles modified by replacing one word with a rhymed one.

  • 23a. [Song about a laid-back U-boat?] MELLOW SUBMARINE (Yellow Submarine). Featuring backing vocals by Donovan Leitch, no doubt.
  • 36a. [Song about an overconfident mammal?] COCKY RACCOON (Rocky Raccoon). On the Awesome Mix Tape from Guardians of the Galaxy?
  • 55a. [Song about a hair stylist who won’t work evenings?] DAY CLIPPER (Day Tripper). I’m sure they’ve got a good reason.
  • 74a. [Song about a beautiful copier?] LOVELY MITA (Lovely Rita). Ouch.
  • 92a. [Song about an untrustworthy pop star?] SHADY MADONNA (Lady Madonna).
  • 107a. [Song about an invasion by Attila?] HERE COMES THE HUN (Here Comes the Sun).
  • 16d. [Song about a Trondheim thug?] NORWEGIAN HOOD (Norwegian Wood). Was OSLO in the grid? Don’t recall. Will keep an eye out for it while scanning for things to highlight. I know Trondheim from some Nordic noir books (but not the Stieg Larsson ones, not interested in those); people from there apparently have a distinct accent.


    Check out that chiaroscuro. (S Vouet, 1624–1625)

  • 54d. [Song about an angler’s order to his assistant?] CARRY THAT BAIT (Carry That Weight).

Most of these didn’t charm me, but some were pretty good.

Thing I noticed most during the solve were the number of great clues. Some of my favorites:

  • 47d [Money for Money] AD REVENUE. My very favorite.
  • 49d [Going rate] SPEED.
  • 82a [There’s a lot of interest in this job] USURER.

Hum. Turns out my top three clues all involve money (one via misdirection). That’s atypical, but hey it’s the Wall Street Journal, so I guess that’s apt.

More notes (update: no OSLO in the grid; maybe the theme clue eschewed it to avoid reminding us of Anders Breivik?):

  • Appreciated the ‘band’ specification in the clue for 13d [“99 Luftballons” group] NENA. It’s kind of like SADE in that way.
  • 41d {Nervous performer’s affliction] FLOP SWEAT. Made me think of HOT MESS in yesterday’s NYT.
  • Least favorite fill: 73a [Mt. __ (Charley Weaver’s home] IDY, 71d [Old Calif. base] FT ORD. And of course 45a [CCCXXXIV trebled] MMII.
  • 31a/71a [Took nourishment] ATE, FED.
  • 38d [Cost of a visit] COPAY, 40d [Anthem opener] O SAY.
  • 44d [Etcher’s stuff] ACID. Came across the crossword-ready BURIN in the wild yesterday, even though I don’t recall ever encountering it in a puzzle.
  • Full name ANAÏS NIN. 15d [Under a Glass Bell” author]
  • 52d [Ouija alternative] TAROT. Strangely, not NONNEIN.
  • 62d [What “over” is said over] CB RADIO, 101a [They may be made by a maid] BEDS.
  • 99a [Number system in which this would be 143-Across] OCTAL. That’s geeky.

Okay, I’m done. Mediocre theme, mostly solid supporting fill, average crossword.

Steven St. John’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up

Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 10.57.02 AMShort post today, I feel horrible. I am not familiar with Steven St. John’s puzzles, but this one is pretty good. Only one entry I had a problem with; I will list it below. My head is pounding, I ran a high fever yesterday, and my tummy is doing flips. And I still got probably my fastest time ever on a LAT Saturday challenger! I must be getting better! Great puzzle, which will get a solid 4 stars even today.

My short list:

  • 29A [Atheist activist Madelyn] O’HAIR – This is that entry I didn’t know. I suppose I should, after looking up who she was. Key player in some Supreme Court decisions!
  • 35A [Dynamo’s asset] BOUNDLESS ENERGY – I had LIMITLESS ENERGY. I was close!
  • 61A [Gives up] CRIES “UNCLE!” – Great entry! Made me smile!
  • 8D [Brand with a Magicube] KODAK INSTAMATIC – Awesome 15-letter entry! I barely remember these. But I am also not much of a picture-taker.kodak
  • 13D [Frustrating sequence] PHONE TAG – This might be my favorite of the bunch!
  • 36D [Less than a few] ONE OR TWO – Another great entry! No time to look it up, but I bet it’s a rare one!

Again, sorry for the late post, and sorry I am not 100% today. Until Tuesday! Enjoy the long weekend!

Doug Peterson’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up

IMG_0117Post will be a little short today, as I have been sick for a day and a half. Sorry for the late post, as well. Today’s puzzle was mercifully a tad easier, and I say that because I have a headache that just won’t relent. Lots of great clues and entries in here; it’s a shame I won’t be able to discuss them all! Considering my condition, I will happily take a sub 17-minute time on this challenging puzzle. A solid entry by Doug this week, which I will rate a solid 4.3 stars.

Just a few of my faves:

  • 9A [Grape-Nuts developer] C. W. POST – Fell once I had at least three crosses, but it’s a great entry.
  • 15A [Where chestnuts might be found] JOKE BOOK – I had the BOOK part early; took me a bit to figure out what kind of book. Another great entry.
  • 16A [Medium effort] SEANCE – One of my two candidates for the best clue!
  • 20A [First audience-participation TV talk show] DONAHUE – I am dating myself, since I remember this well! Man, look what he started … !
  • 40A [Ark builder in a 2007 film] EVAN – As in Evan Almighty, the sequel to Bruce Almighty starring Steve Carell.
  • 6D [Snake in a nut can, essentially] BOOBY TRAP – Forms a nice mental picture of someone opening one of these!
  • 22D [Return business] TAX PREP – This will become VERY familiar to me in a few months!
  • 32D [Lacking backing] A CAPPELLA – Another great clue. Reminds me that I need to finish watching Pitch Perfect 2!
  • 35D [Brown sphere] ACADEMIA – I think this is the best clue of the bunch. Well done!

What can I say? Doug makes great puzzles! Until next Saturday’s Stumper! Enjoy your holiday weekend!

Tony Orbach’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Newly Furnished” —Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 05.27.16: "Newly Furnished"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 05.27.16: “Newly Furnished”

Hello there, everybody! I hope you’re doing well, and hope you’re enjoying the weather. (It has reached almost 90 degrees in the past couple of days here in New York City.) Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Mr. Tony Orbach, has a pretty good theme, as two separate phrases and/or nouns are fused together, via puns, to form one big funny of a phrase. The word added at the beginning of the reimagined phrase all deal with furniture.

  • DESK JOCKEY CLUB (20A: [Three-tiered sandwich preferred by office workers?])
  • COUCH SURFER DUDE (36A: [Fancily dressed guy who sleeps on a sofa?])
  • BED POTATO WEDGE (50A: [Simple machine used to move a person who won’t get up?])

Outside of my Ford Taurus, I have spent more time in an ACCORD more than any other car, due to my former college roommate having one and driving in it with him for a couple of years (5D: [Camry competitor]). Love the appearance of the recently popular term of VAPERS in the grid, though vaping is something I personally haven’t done or wouldn’t do (43A: [E-cig customers]). In the battle of five-letter, crossword-worthy exes of Trump, it’s MARLA that wins out this time around (16A: [One of The Donald’s exes]). As much as I’d like to stay around more, it is such a beautiful day out in New York City, that I have to head out and enjoy the rest of the evening outside! If you’re able, you should do the same!

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: HULK (4D: [Big bruiser]) – Would you believe me that a well-known professional athlete goes by that name? Well, if you’re a soccer fan, you’ll know about Givanildo Vieira de Sousa, better known as HULK. He currently plays for Russian soccer side Zenit St. Petersburg and the Brazilian national team, and earned his nickname because of his physically-imposing physique, as well as his dominance in scoring during his time playing professionally in Japan. Honestly, it’s just cool to see “HULK” appear on the back of his jersey – especially when it’s in Cyrillic, as all the names are presented on the jerseys in the Russian league…


See you all for the Sunday Challenge!  Have a great rest of your Saturday!

Take care!


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17 Responses to Saturday, May 28, 2016

  1. eveostay says:

    “Malkesa’s soul” — LOL.

    Yeah, took me a good long time to get ATTELET.


  2. tom says:

    Re: [spoiler alert], that’s just a mean thing to do. Why would anyone use a clue like that when there are so many alternatives? I really hope that Will pays some attention to these blogs for feedback. IMHO, the clue exhibits very poor judgment.

    • Glenn says:

      It probably was a spoiler back when the puzzle was done (December 2015ish?) given the average lead times I hear about these. Granted though, if it constituted a “spoiler” it was a very poor one as Ford was pretty clear on the character, not to mention the aborted attempt on his life already in The Empire Strikes Back … AND the fact they’ll telegraph it pretty much all through The Force Awakens (I knew when it was coming).

      Very much nothing even anywhere approaching “Luke, I am your father.”

      • Amy Reynaldo says:

        Of course, “Luke, I am your father” has been in the language for over a generation, and does not constitute a spoiler for anyone over the age of about 10.

        • Alan D. says:

          The DVD has been out since April 5 so I guess you could have seen it by now…but I still agree it’s a rotten thing for the NYT to do!

  3. huda says:

    NYT: Amy, don’t be too sure about that spoiler alert… or the death scene… things are trickier than you might think…

  4. Jeff Mizrahi says:

    Thought the Stumper was one of the best puzzles I’ve done this year…equally challenging and entertaining. Kudos.

  5. Joe Cabrera says:

    The Stumper was great. And after last week’s which took me forEVER to finish, it was enjoyable to zip through this one. I think it’s a great one for someone to dip a toe into if they’ve not done the Newsday Saturday puzzles before.

  6. David L says:

    DNF for me because I couldn’t remember LILY (I got MUNSTER) and didn’t know SUL or ATTELET. It’s annoying not to finish but this is a case where I blame the constructor and/or WS.

    The spoiler alert didn’t bother me, but that’s only because I haven’t seen the movie and don’t intend to, unless it shows up on a long plane ride one day.

  7. Bob says:

    WSJ – puzzle was just OK. Did not like that words in different locations in the theme answers were changed. In the first few themes, the first word was changed. In others, the last word was changed. A little annoyance.

  8. David Carney says:

    I’m a newcomer to this site, and hope I don’t offend anyone if I’m a little off topic. I am simply seeking some information: I am seeking for different kinds of fiends, namely, those who love acrostic puzzles. The reason is that a friend and I have developed a new kind of acrostic, and are seeking some friendly folk who might be interested in solving one or two. Can anyone steer us in the right direction to finding such folk?

    Many thanks,

    David Carney

  9. Lois says:

    NYT: Amy, I think that there would be no accent mark on GLACES, the noun. The accent mark comes up when the word is used as an adjective. In the case of crèmes glacées (pl.), there would be two e’s because crème is feminine.

    • Lois says:

      I meant to say that there would be two e’s in “glacées” in the phrase “crèmes glacées.”

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