Byron Walden’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Somebody—I’m not going to name names here—is sleepy from a margarita. So! Fave fill: U.S. PASSPORT, TEAM LEADER, Rufus and Chaka Khan’s “AIN’T NOBODY,” TV WIFE (can’t find that interview where Samantha Bee said her husband Jason Jones probably prefers his TV wife to her), STOP-MOTION animation, MARIO CUOMO, YOGA MATS, LION KING, PAROLE VIOLATION, and WINGMAN.
Zero recollection of The WAR AT HOME, 29d. [2005-07 sitcom about the Gold family, with “The”]. Michael Rapaport as the dad, and Mr. Robot‘s Rami Malek as the teenage son’s friend! Malek had not yet grown all the way into his face, a Google image search reveals. I need to watch this week’s 2-hour season premiere. I hate 2-hour TV shows, though.
Some more things:
- 45a. [Medical term for lead poisoning], SATURNISM, really? I don’t know how often this is used. Physicians, can you weigh in?
- 40d. [Kid-lit character who says “The nicest thing about the rain is that it always stops. Eventually”], EEYORE. Role model, right there.
- 6d. [Aeschylus’ play “The Persians” is about one], SEA BATTLE. Raise your hand if you needed a zillion crossings here.
- 4d. [A migraine sufferer might have one], EEG TEST. What?? I don’t know that anyone calls an EEG “an EEG test,” and I don’t think EEGs are commonly done in migraineurs. Indeed, this site says EEGs are mainly used if the migraine sufferer has seizures or possible epilepsy … which is presumably a teeny fraction of all people being evaluated for migraines.
- 49d. [Word that follows pot but precedes pan], PIE. Despite having bought pie last weekend, and despite seeing unsatisfactory chicken pot pies on Wednesday, this clue was hard for me.
Four stars from me.
Steven St. John’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
I think I may have solved/blogged one other Saturday puzzle by this constructor, but I would have to look that up. (Ok, I looked it up, and I don’t think I did!) Nice puzzle with great fill, as is usually the case with LAT puzzles. 70-word count, lots of long entries and interesting clues in this one. I wouldn’t mind more puzzles from this chap! A solid 4.3 stars!
Some of my favorites:
- 15A [Mass transportation] POPEMOBILE – I suppose technically he doesn’t take this to Mass; or maybe he does! I am more used to seeing this when he needs to be transported somewhere while traveling.
- 32A [Waters near the South Pole] ROSS SEA – A unique entry with three consecutive S’s! For some reason, I knew this pretty quickly. And I have never even traveled there!
- 35A [Appeal for backup?] CAN I GET A WITNESS – Best clue and entry in the puzzle! Zero NYT appearances for this one!
- 50A [“Crucifixion of St. Peter” painter Guido] RENI – A new one on me! Died in 1642, so definitely before my time! A bit obscure, but I am uncultured!
- 51A [Four-song discs] EPS – Does anybody but CDs anymore? There are still mini albums released, even if mainly digitally, like on iTunes.
- 61A [Furtive question] ARE WE ALONE? – Another favorite of mine in this grid!
- 63A [Pays, old style] WIRES MONEY – I don’t think this is THAT old-style; I am pretty sure you can still Western Union someone money. As far as new ways, I just found out you can exchange money through Snapchat!
- 21D [Lover of Bunnies, familiarly] HEF – As in Hugh Hefner, the Playboy magazine magnate, who, miraculously, is still kicking it at age 90! I think it safe to say he may have lived a life of, er, excess, and is still going strong! Maybe he and Mick Jagger have some similar stout genetics!
- 25D [’90s-’00s Angels outfielder Darin with three Gold Gloves] ERSTAD – OK, a sports reference, so I got this pretty quickly. If you don’t know baseball, this may have been difficult for you!
- 37D [Rarity in the voicemail age] NO ANSWER – Unless you call someone whose phone is turned off and hasn’t set up their voicemail correctly!
- 50D [Rich kid in “Nancy” comics] ROLLO – I barely remember this character. Haven’t read the funny papers in a while, though. Comic still appears to be going strong, after over 80 years!
That is it for today. Enjoy your weekend!
Anna Stiga’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up
Not too tough this week! After a horribly slow start, things clicked pretty well after about the 8 or 9 minute mark!! Quite a challenge, although not nearly was brutal as last week’s head thumper! I ended up right where you see the cursor, and yes, I had a couple of errors to fix once the grid was filled. The error in the upper right was simply a typo, though! Lots of great fill and cluing in this one, and quite an enjoyable solve. 4.4 stars for this one!
- 16A [Puccini heroine] CIO-CIO SAN – The character from Madame Butterfly, of course! Took me a minute because of the odd spelling, and I wasn’t sure what Puccini composed at first.
- 32A [Leviathans] TITANS – Tough clue for this entry. Better than a sports reference to the Tennessee Titans, though!
- 35A [AFI’s #5 male screen legend] ASTAIRE – I wrote in SINATRA at first with just the 6th letter in. #5 still seems a tad high, though! I suppose he was really big before my time!
- 46A [Two-legged zebra] REF – Probably the best clue of the bunch! Totally had me fooled!
- 55A [City named for George III’s wife] CHARLOTTE – Great piece of trivia!
- 62A [Opinion introducer] SEEMS TO ME – According to xwordinfo.com, only one appearance ever in the NYT for this one! Very nicely done.
- 3D [Head-turning instruction] EYES LEFT – Usually when I am asked to turn my head, it accompanies a cough!
- 6D [Bach contemporary] SCARLATTI – This name is somewhere in my grey cells, but very vaguely. Any contemporary of Bach would be from loooooong ago!
- 7D [Biological clock of a sort] CIRCADIAN RHYTHM – Fantastic long entry. Mine are definitely totally out of whack!
- 12D [Kazakhstan’s capital] ASTANA – Also a name of a Tour de France cycling team! Sponsored by companies tied to the Kazakh government, and thus the name.
- 37D [Undisclosed advantage] HOLE CARD – I had HOLED ACE in here at first. I am not a big card player!
I could go on, because there is lots to like here! Until next week; enjoy your weekend!
Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Small Change” — pannonica’s write-up
Perhaps a second meaning of the title is meant to reflect the consolidation of two letters in each of the eight rebus squares.
- 66a. [1866 debut, aka 113-Across] FIVE CENT PIECE.
- 113a. [1866 debut, and a hint to the pattern created by the puzzle’s special squares] NICKEL.
- 34d. [Expedition featured on a 2004 113-Across] LEWIS AND CLARK. That year was the bicentennial of the journey’s start.
- 108a. [28 for 113-Across, e.g.: Abbr.] AT NO, the namesake element’s atomic number. This also makes relatively explicit the rationale for presenting the rebus as NI, as the chemical symbol for NICKEL is Ni.
So. A multifarious revealer. The pattern created is merely a circle, reflecting the generic coin shape. Let it be noted that my correctly filled grid didn’t register as such, and that that octet was the reason. The commemorative coin was issued with two reverses. It should be noted that my correctly filled grid didn’t register as such, and that octet was the reason.
- 20a. [Sign of spring] GEMINI; 10d. [Tizzy] SNIT.
- 31a. [Oculomotor nerves descriptor] CRANIAL; 4d [“The Graduate” director] MIKE NICHOLS.
- 35d. [Nation south of Sardinia] TUNISIA; 15d [Versace rival] ARMANI.
- 65a. [Oklahoma city] ENID; 47d [Dreamboat] ADONIS.
- 68a. [Company subsidiary] UNIT; 63d [Puzzlement] ENIGMA.
- 95a. [Powerful and diginified] LEONINE; 96d [In fine style] NICELY.
- 99a. [Bean variety] VANILLA; 72d [MacDonald’s stock] FARM ANIMALS. Clever clue, and note the spelling is that of the agrarian of song.
- 113a. —— NICKEL; 109d [Short cut] SNIP.
Many pieces to this crossword, yet it was a smoothly filled grid and an easy solve.
- 70a [Kimberly of “Beloved”] ELISE. There’s a Beethoven nexus here. He composed, as crossword solvers are well aware, Für Elise. Additionally, there is the notorious Unsterbliche Geliebte (“Immortal Beloved”), the addressee of a never-sent love letter. The true identity of neither is known for sure, but it’s remotely possible that they are in fact the same person, Therese Malfatti.
- Timely clues: 60a [“Cafe Society” director] ALLEN, 115a [Wimbledon champ Murray] ANDY.
- Long non-theme fill: 37d [Guardian’s job] SUPERVISION, 40d [Real pains in the butt] SADDLE SORES. Also, QUARTERS, MOON SHOT, OVATIONS, TIRE IRON, ACCOSTED, GOT LOOSE, STEVENSON, MEN-AT-ARMS. (11d, 16d, 17d, 76d, 77d, 80d, 38a, 89a)
- Favorite clue, by far: 45d [Mix of genre films] TOM.
- 36a [Makes a lasting impression] ETCHES, 60d [Making an impression?] APING. Two crossword stalwarts, made slightly less stale.
- Least common fill? 87d [Dream of Descartes] RÊVE, à la reverie. Not uncommon, but I need to list it here for the accompanying image to make sense: 111a [Winter music] NOËL.
- 42a [Deceive] HOCUS. Have not seen this outside of the reduplicative phrase hocus-pocus, but l&b there it is.
- Not part of the theme: 11d [Pro Bowl segments] QUARTERS. And wisely not clued as the coins.
- 46d [Pedigree figures] SIRES. They’re listed on the TOP LINE, I hear.
Out of curiosity, I looked to see if there are any typefaces that include an ni ligature/digraph. Found two things. First, this from the recent-but-retro Paris Pro (can’t say I find it appealing):
And then this, which has some interesting history to it:
Not much ELSE (116a) to say about this one except that it was an enjoyable solve and bears all the hallmarks of a Liz Gorski crossword.
Patrick Jordan’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Diamond Flaws” —Ade’s write-up
Hello there, everyone! Currently at LaGuardia Airport as we speak after a great week in the northeastern part of Texas. (Also, I’m having some great Asian food as well! Yum!) Today’s crossword, brought to us by Mr. Patrick Jordan, is a joke involving a sports take, playing off the story of Cinderella. I guess giving Cinderella a baseball mitt isn’t a good idea…?!?!
- SHE USED A PUMPKIN FOR A COACH AND SHE RAN AWAY FROM THE BALL (17A: [With 29-, 46-, and 61-Across, why Cinderella wouldn’t have succeeded as a major leaguer])
Apologies in advance if the time limit I have on free Wifi at the airport TRUNCATES this blog today (9D: [Shortens]). I refuse to pay for Wifi at an airport! OK, I have 10 minutes left, so I better be quick. Started off slow in the northwest, but it was real fun finding out that nugget about JELL-O (1A: [Utah’s official snack food]). I’ll have to ask my friend who grew up in Utah how many times she’s had some Jell-O. While in Texas, most of the volunteers – including myself – ended up saying “alright, alright, alright,” like the actor mentioned in the clue to ED TV (51A: [1999 Matthew McConaughey satire]). It wasn’t planned at all. It just…happened. Must be a thing that’s in the subconscious when hanging out in Texas. Alright, alright, alright…I have to really hurry up, since I only have eight minutes left of complimentary WiFi.
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: BOLT (6D: [Eat hastily]) – In the upcoming Summer Olympics in Rio, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt will attempt to become the first person in Olympic history to win three straight 100-meter dash gold medals. Interestingly enough, fellow Jamaican sprinter Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce will attempt to do the same thing on the women’s side.
See you all for the Sunday Challenge!
Never heard or used the term saturnism in 40 years of medical practice, though I guessed it based on saturnine gout which is a lead induced joint pain.
I guessed it as well, but have never heard it before. Between the two of us that’s 70 years of medical practice. And ditto ditto ditto about EEG TEST.
Unfortunately, I had to give the NYT just two stars because with YALE, ODIE, GROG, AINTNOBODY, ANISETTE, SIG, ADRIANII, LIONKNG, USPASSPORT, MARIAELENA, AMIDE, SEABATTLE, ODETTE, RENOIR, TOI, LIFE, MEL, LAQUINTA, WARATHOME, QUINOA, SATURNISM, AROD, NENE, MARIOCUOMO, SLEEPAPNEA, EEYORE, and BOCA there just wasn’t enough trivia in it.
Well said, Turin Horse. I found myself in the odd position of admiring the puzzle but detesting it at the same time. After staring at it for three hours and having filled out only three answers, I gave up and found the tiniest bit of relief when looking up the answers here–I knew I’d never have gotten even half the answers with more time spent. A puzzle such as this can certainly make one feel like a total ignoramus.
Keep doing puzzles and things will get easier. Crosswords share a lot of trivia. But, yeah, this puzzle simply had much too much of it.
Seems that lead poisoning was blamed by some for the fall of Rome & gout was also common among the wealthy so maybe there’s some confluence with SATURNISM. I presumed the answer would be ferri- something which was unhelpful.
EEGTEST was poor & would make more sense for epilepsy, but they may have wanted to avoid feinting us to “episode.”
Was a little sad when “Chilton” didn’t fit the first fill.
Ferri–? Were I making an etymological guess it would have been plumbago (but I already know what that is).
I thought this was an excellent hard puzzle. I inserted PLUM as the first four letters without knowing what the word might be and it took me a l-o-0-0-ng time to get back on track.
I enjoyed today’s Saturday Stumper a lot. As Derek notes, it was extremely fast and smooth. My only delay was in the spelling of the operatic heroine’s name.
Very good Saturday puzzle. It took me a while to get going, as is always the case with Byron Walden’s puzzles, but then I made steady progress. My big hold-up was in the SE, where I was convinced that SATURNISM must end in …OSIS.
After a bit of googling, it seems to me that the clue is back to front. Lead poisoning is the modern medical term for what used to be called SATURNISM, presumably a description that arose from the behavior of afflicted people before the cause of their affliction was understood.
FIXERS make me think of people who settle disputes by breaking somebody’s legs, but I guess there are more benign meanings.
I. too, was a bit bothered by the clue for fixer, so I did a Web search. Of the six sources I checked, only Merriam-Webster agreed in with the clue. All the others defined it more closely to what you say but without the violence.
I ran into a few minor nits while solving this one, like RENOIR for the answer to 13D “Claude Monet painting…”. The title of a the painting is certainly not Renoir but, rather a Renoir. Minor nit, yes, but enough of them throughout the solve lowered my enjoyment. Nonetheless, it was a worthy challenge.
13d “… e.g.”
So? It still seems to me that it needs the indefinite article. Renoir is not the painting or the name of the painting, whereas a Renoir is.
[Anger, e.g.] EMOTION
So, I’ve been thinking this over, and I believe I’m with Papa John. “Renoir” without the “a” is at best a clumsy answer, as clued.
I agree with pannonica’s example – here, “emotion” or “an emotion” would work equally well. Similarly, “Fishing, e.g.” could be “sport” or “a sport.”
I’m afraid I’m not well-enough schooled in grammar to articulate exactly why the latter two seem to work but “Renoir” doesn’t. I think it has something to with the fact that “emotion” and “sport,” in their singular form, can be used to represent a single thing or a collection of things. I don’t think “Renoir” can be used that same way.
WP 7/16/2016 I’ve never bolted down anything.
On a scale of difficulty from 1 to Byron, I’d rate this about an 8. On the same scale for quality, I’d rate this as a Byron. The only thing in the puzzle I didn’t like was EEGTEST, which didn’t seem in-the-language, but other than that, it was great. Anyone else have CLAYMATION for STOPMOTION for a while?
Hand up for claymation – although I wasn’t sure that would be legit, given “animation” in the clue. I went from there to SlOw MOTION. I don’t think I’ve heard of STOP MOTION in this context before. I gather from Wikipedia that claymation is one type of stop motion animation, so I guess we were on the right track.
I have always been a little creeped out by this type of animation, going all the way back to Davy and Goliath, which I watched occasionally as a kid.
NYT: MARIEA ELENA and WAR AT HOME were totally unknown to me… Otherwise the puzzle flowed well. SATURNISM is definitely unexpected and I agree that the cluing is off, that it’s an old term and not, as implied, the current nomenclature. I say EEG TEST because you can do EEG for reasons other than as a medical test. But, as someone who has had migraines, I don’t believe I’ve ever undergone an EEG TEST. I imagine that some people would at some point if the migraines are very stubborn. But it would have been better clued– e.g. it detects an ictal event.
I wanted the answer to be ART Faire, probably because the Ann Arbor Art Fair is just around the corner. It’s a big deal around here.
Lots of colorful imagery for me here:
RENOIR painting his friend Monet in his garden; Pope ADRIAN II having a furtive marriage; driving astray and committing a PAROLE VIOLATION; lying on fall FOLIAGE at night watching a METEOR shower.
NYT: As with some others, I didn’t know WAR AT HOME. Unfortunately I tried to complete it as CARAT/KARAT HOME. Because the clue said it was about the Gold family!
NYT: Loved the challenge! Reach should exceed grasp, and all that.
FYI: “A 91-year-old German woman took out a ballpoint pen and began filling out the blank spaces of a crossword puzzle hanging at Nuremberg’s Neues Museum.
Unfortunately the puzzle — part of “Reading-work-piece” by avant-garde artist Arthur Koepcke — is not a part of the museum’s interactive art collection. The 1965 work is valued at $89,000 [constructors take note], or at least it was before the nonagenarian wordsmith began scribbling solutions to the crossword clues.
In her defense, the unidentified woman noted that the artwork includes the phrase (in English) “Insert Words”, so she was simply following instructions.
Museum spokesman Eva Martin said Neues officials believe the work can be restored. Museum chief Eva-Christina Kraus filed a criminal complaint, saying the case had to be reported for insurance reasons though there was no malicious intent.
The woman, who was among a group of senior citizens touring the museum, is being investigated for damage to property.
She must be pretty good at crosswords, considering she uses a pen instead of a pencil.”
Perfect Saturday challenge. Except for 1A, a blank canvas for a panicky 5 or 10 minutes. Then, corner by corner, inexplicably, it all came together. Walden really is consistently one of the very best.
I think that Sam Bee interview was from Fresh Air
Who knows who’ll read this this late but CIOCIOSAN crossing SCARLATTI crossing ASTANA crossing ARBORETUM in the Stumper is just bad crossword construction IMO and so what coulda been a 4 is now a 2.5. (A 3 if I was feeling more kind.)
Please send me a list of all the words you know so I can edit better. Thank you.
Scarlatti, Ciociosan, Astana are names. “Arboretum” is uncommon enough that it becomes unsolvable unless I know Astana. But even if I know “arboretum” it still doesn’t help me solve Scarlatti and Ciociosan so the NE is poorly constructed.
Sorry, it is not “poorly constructed” just because it has words and names you don’t know. And a word is not “uncommon” just because you don’t know it. ARBORETUM has 19 million+ Google hits. If you don’t care to see significant names in areas that don’t interest you, such as classical music, that is your business. But you should choose your adjectives and adverbs more carefully in such forums.
19 million Google hits means a word is not uncommon, especially when it appears to be used mostly in names? What authority determined that? But you apparently think a trivia cross where the grid becomes irrelevant to its solution isn’t poor construction. I do. And from another perspective, if there’s nothing wrong with the NE corner why is Russian needed smack in the middle of it for it to work.
WSJ – I enjoyed the puzzle. It was challenging for me and satisfying to complete. I’ve read the paragraph below from your review multiple times, and I’m confused at what “didn’t register as such.”
“So. A multifarious revealer. The pattern created is merely a circle, reflecting the generic coin shape. Let it be noted that my correctly filled grid didn’t register as such, and that that octet was the reason. The commemorative coin was issued with two reverses. It should be noted that my correctly filled grid didn’t register as such, and that octet was the reason.”
Ah. I wasn’t explicit about the program (XWord ≈ AcrossLite) registering my solution as correct.