David Phillips’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
The solving difficulty’s pitched pretty well over the Saturday NYT plate, though I was (and still am) also paying attention to the Parade of Nations. I am a total sucker for such alphabetical listings, especially when you go all Portuguese-alphabet on me (Coreia! Equador! Gabão!). *ahem*
Let’s hit the list:
- 26a. [“Red, White & ___” (2005 rock album)], CRUE. Or CRÜE. *eyeroll*
- 31a. [Manipulative use of the Force], JEDI MIND TRICKS. Fun.
- 36a. [Someone always good for a few pints?], UNIVERSAL DONOR. Organ donation fact: Your type O universal blood donor is the hardest to match as an organ recipient. O people can only accept O organs (unless you do arduous ABO-mismatch therapy first), while the AB folks can take an organ from AB, A, B, and O. Any of you in the Tampa, Baltimore, or Raleigh areas interested in donating a kidney? I know some people in need. (And I am dead serious. Contact me anytime with questions about living kidney donation. My husband’s training for his second marathon since donating a kidney last summer.)
- 51a. [Coup d’___], OEIL. Yeah, I tried ETAT here before I saw it at 34a. Don’t poke me in the eye.
- 55a. [Sticker in a nursery], DIAPER PIN. For the non-Velcro cloth diapers.
- 1d. [Saturnalia events], FEASTS. Raise your hand if you leapt into ORGIES.
- 9d. [Morse “Toto,” totally], DAHS. Blahs. (See also: DIRKS, DYER, TO A T, SHOAT.)
- 10d. [Telegraph extension?], ESE. I don’t get it. Is “telegraphese” a thing?
- 11d. [Shoulder-to-hip belt], BALDRIC. This one’s new to me, but surely ancient. I’m more familiar with the annual St. Baldrick’s head-shaving fund-raisers for childhood cancer.
- 12d. [One who’s green after seeing red], THE HULK. He’ll feel better when he gets off the steroids.
- 30d. [Sound of power], VROOM. The sound of a speed solver, you know.
- 40d. [Scandalous Manet painting of 1863], OLYMPIA. A classic. No longer scandalous.
- 57d. [Word with soup or salad], PEA. I don’t know what pea salad is. Is this like HAM SALAD? An unfortunate concoction known mainly to crossword makers? And now all I can think of is that time in the last year when the NYT Food section touted putting peas in your guacamole.
That DAHS ESE BALDRIC/ASAHI HELEN CRUE corner was the last to fall for me. How’d this one treat you?
Four stars from me.
David Liben-Nowell’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
A constructor I am not familiar with. This would explain why I struggled with this one! Usually I can finish a Saturday LAT in about 6-8 minutes. This one took nearly 11. It is 70 words, and some entries I may never have seen in a puzzle before, and if I have, it has been a long time. The usual stellar fill that LAT puzzles have, perhaps even better than usual! I loved ICE SKATED, FILL IN THE BLANKS, GUT FEELING, and JUMP THE GUN as some of the longer entries. Intertwined well, which may explain the high difficulty level. A solid 4.6 stars today!
A few more:
- 19A [Last-minute number?] ELEVEN FIFTY-NINE – Favorite entry and clue hands down! Last (and only!) NYT occurrence? November 1989!
- 26A [Rice on a field] JERRY – Another great clue. Referring to football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, of course!
- 37A [It first passed 2014 in 2014, briefly] S AND P – The S & P 500, or Standard and Poor’s, is a financial index. Also well clued.
- 1D [“Thus with a kiss ___”: Romeo] I DIE – A Shakespeare quote I actually knew!
- 6D [Part of WYSIWYG] SEE IS – An acronym for What You See Is What You Get. Refers to software and such that you manipulate in the actual form it will be, as opposed to lines of code perhaps. But y’all knew that already, didn’t you?
- 8D & 9D [Bar staff] [Bar tool] LAWYERS, OPENER – Nice link to two totally different types of bars!
- 32D [Organic frozen-food brand] AMY’S – Amy Reynaldo, is this your company? ;-)
- 35D [Lowers the volume of, in a way] DEFLATES – I know everyone is sick of Deflategate, so I will annoyingly mention it again!
Maybe next week will be a tad easier! Have a great weekend!
Lars. G. Doubleday’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up
I usually don’t have too much trouble when Brad and Doug get their heads together, but this one was tough. My under 20 minute time is now only due to getting lots of practice; I struggled mightily with this one! But as is usually the case, once you get a solid foothold, the puzzle then broke fairly nicely. Upper left corner gave me the most fits, with the upper right a close second. I had a couple of answers wrong in there, along with a phrase or two I was less than familiar with. This puzzle is prophetic, as I will explain in the comments below. 4.4 stars.
A few comments!
- 15A [Original working title of “Citizen Kane”] AMERICAN – I actually JUST saw this again with my son since he said he had never seen it. Still a terrific movie, especially for its time!
- 35A [Job offer that many don’t refuse] EARLY RETIREMENT – Here is the prophetic part of the puzzle – I can retire from UPS at the end of August! Lining up possible accounting gigs as we speak. My knees are already feeling better!
- 39A [Éclair dough] CHOUX PASTRY – Not familiar with this term, but I’m sure I have eaten it!
- 59A [Melania Trump’s birthplace] SLOVENIA – Nice and timely! And no, I couldn’t immediately remember where she saw from!
- 12D [Gender-in-advertising topic] MALE GAZE – The main phrase I was unfamiliar with. After Googling (do you capitalize this new verb?), I see the phrase is over 40 years old!
- 20D [About to turn dark] TWILIT – Not a word used often. TWILIGHT was on the brain; took a huge leap to get to the correct answer. One of my favorite entries, believe it or not!
- 34D [Site of a Page One resignation, April 2016] REYKJAVIK – OK, I definitely had to look this up: this is referring to Iceland’s Prime Minister stepping down after the release of the Panama Papers. Great clue!
- 49D [Half of the “Sunrise, Sunset” duo] GOLDE – I thought this might be referring to a composer/lyricist duo, but GOLDE is a character from Fiddler on the Roof. Another movie I have not seen in literally 40 years! Enjoy the song here.
Another great, challenging, yet fun puzzle! Have a great weekend!
Alex Eaton-Salners’ Wall Street Journal crossword, “Olympic Firsts” — pannonica’s write-up
Going for the gold—rather, getting it. Keyed to the beginning of the 2016 Summer Olympic games, existing phrases are bequeathed with the bigram AU, which as we all know is the chemical symbol of the element gold. Standard format is capital-A lowercase-u.
- 22a. [Fried to a crisp?] MIGHTY SAUTÉED (mighty steed).
- 32a. [Royal roadster?] PRINCESS AUDI (Princess Di).
- 51a. [Oracles at Delphi?] AUSPICE GIRLS (Spice Girls).
- 64a. [Wile E. Coyote’s base of operations?] HOME PLATEAU (home plate).
- 71a. [Alaskan ceremony participant?] JUNEAU BRIDE (June bride).
- 89a. [Masseur for an Alabama football team?] AUBURN RUBBER (burn rubber).
- 103a. [Easily hoodwinked losers?] SUCKER BEAUTS (sucker bets).
- 119a. [Tool to nail down a storyline?] AUTHOR’S HAMMER (Thor’s hammer).
Unlike a lot of letter-insertion and -deletion themes, there isn’t any redistribution of the spaces, no realignment of words. More to the point, in each of the two-word lexemes one of the words is unchanged while the other is augmented. Despite its malleable physical properties, “AU” isn’t particularly forgiving in lexographical context.
- The Olympics are in Rio de Janiero, Brazil this year, but of course the spiritual home and origin is Athens. 17d [“Live at the Acropolis” musician] YANNI, 42s [Greece neighbor] ALBANIA, plus the themer at 51-across.
- On the sports side rather than the geographical, 58a [Olympic sport dominated by the Germans] LUGE (my editorial choice would have been “by Germany”), 2002 Winter Games location] UTAH.
- On the gold side, 75d [Owner of a gold watch, perhaps?] RETIREE.
- 3d [Oscar Robinson’s nickname] BIG O. Does this clue need a with “the”?
- 107d [Master, in Madras] SAHIB. Madras goes by Chennai these days.
- Was nonplussed for a bit by 70a [Ordinal ending] -ETH, but eventually realized it’s applicable in constructions such as thirtieth, fortieth, et al. The alteration of the terminal y to i threw me off the scent.
- 2d [Ireland, literarily] ERIN. Definitely misread that as literally, for far too long.
- Favorite clues: 57a [All washed up] CLEAN, 67d [Like Charles Addams cartoons] MACABRE. Cartoon Bank returned no Olympics-themed cartoons by either Addams or that other New Yorker master of the MACABRE, Gahan Wilson. 65d [Pinch participant] THUMB; it has a goofy charm.
- 11d [Apprehensive] TREPID. Much less common than its negating complement, intrepid. Wordnik has compiled a list of “deprefixed” words, those that appear more frequently without prefixes than with, but I don’t think that’s a standard term. (They aren’t unpaired words).
I’d award this one a bronze.
Donna S Levin’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post Crossword, “A Few Bone Mots” —Ade’s write-up
Good afternoon, everyone! Is everyone in the Olympic spirit? Hope all is well with you. Today’s grid, brought to us by Ms. Donna S. Levin, brings puns to your funny bone, as each entry is a pun that replaces the first word(s) in a phrase/title with a type of bone.
- STERNUM UND DRANG (17A: [Over-the-top drama in the orthopedist’s life?]) – Sturm und Drang.
- FEMUR FORTUNE (24A: [The orthopedist’s goal when he finished his residency?]) – Fame and fortune.
- TIBIA NOT TO BE (41A: [Start of the orthopedist’s existential soliloquy?]) – To be or not to be.
- HUMERUS DIALOGUE (54A: [Hallmark of a sitcom about orthopedists?]) – Humorous dialogue.
Initially wanted to put in “dog it” instead of BAG IT to start off (1A: [Quit]). Definitely got a chuckle out of the clue – and entry – for GASSY, and that’s because the little immature person in me was let out for a second (36A: [In need of Beano]). Here’s definitely hoping you LET LOOSE a little today, given that the weekend’s here and, for most of the country, the weather’s looking good (37D: [Liberate]). Have to cut this a little short because of an early dinner date, but loved the little extra challenge that grid brought, especially when having to fish out FAUN from the recesses of my brain (7D: [Mythological woodland figure]).
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: ESPO (48D: [Hockey great Phil, to his friends]) – One of the greats to ever play the game of hockey, Phil Esposito, nicknamed ESPO, scored 717 goals and recorded 1,590 points in his 18-year Hall of Fame career in the National Hockey League. His brother, goaltender Tony Esposito, is also a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
See you all for the Sunday Challenge!
NYT – My last entry was STREAKING, enjoyed the clue… DYER evoked mother’s great-grandfather Dr. Dyer who was the first doctor at the army outpost Fort Dix (later morphed into Chicago) and head of the Underground Railroad in that area in the 1830’s. He later helped his friend Abe Lincoln win the nomination for President, & still later was appointed by Lincoln as ambassador to serve on an international panel in Africa to curb the slave trade flourishing there.
Words I’ve never used: telegraphESE, DYER, BALDRIC, ODIUM, DIRKS, PEA salad. Most likely use of the last: “Thank you, I’ll pass on the pea salad.”
When FLASH MOB, ASAHI and ACROBATIC went in right away, this one started out feeling easy for a Saturday, but the northeast did me in. It didn’t help that I got stuck on France or Hilton for Paris.
The NYT actually suggested putting peas in guac??
Maybe it’s just me, but I believe a FLASHMOB is a highly planned public gathering. How can it be spontaneous when it’s organized beforehand on social media or e-mail?
That set the tone for the whole solving experience for me. The Star Wars and Lord of the Ring references were just further nails in the puzzle’s coffin. I finished, but it wasn’t much fun for me.
I was composing a comment on that point, but abandoned it because apparently those in the know are now distinguishing between FLASH MOBS and smart mobs. It no longer seemed so easily defensible a critique.
Wikipedia (not necessarily authoritative, of course) claims that the distinction between flash mobs and smart mobs has to do with the purpose of the gathering, not how it arises. I find it hard to come up with a situation in which a flash mob could be spontaneous. Everybody at Target spontaneously decides to start singing The Hallelujah Chorus? Still, it WAS the first thing I thought of when I saw the clue. I just resisted putting it down because it didn’t make sense to me on further reflection. “APPARENTLY” spontaneous, maybe.
Agreed in the main, and I had the same experience of not liking the clue but knowing precisely what the intended answer was. But I can imagine a FLASH MOB being organized on-the-fly via social media, based on GPS proximity technology. It doesn’t have to be a highly choreographed affair. It would still be spontaneous despite being enabled by organizational tools.
Okay, I’ll buy that! (But I suspect that if the puzzle constructor and editor had had this conversation before publishing the puzzle, they would have changed the clue.)
LOL at the concept of the editor and constructor having a conversation about a clue! That’s more of a Peter Gordon back-and-forth thing. NYT editing seems more aloof auteur.
You mean, like, coördinating?
You mean they don’t get together like Thomas Wolfe and Maxwell Perkins and go over every word?!
NE was also the last to fall for me and the S in ASAHI the last letter. It was a little easier overall than Friday’s.
I was playing poker last night during the parade of nations. The sound was not broadcast although it was not necessary to hear The Girl from Ipanema to enjoy the visual. Funniest for me was Kenya. The first athletic thing that anyone thinks of for Kenya is its great tradition of distance and steeplechase runners. There were three very chubby guys in the first row.
Turns out “telegraphese” involved word-shortening like we have with Twitter today. Appreciate the lesson in eternal recurrence, if not the clue itself.
Way back when, Games Magazine (or was it the Four-Star Puzzler?) had some puzzles that involved telegraphese, condensing messages into ones with shorter word counts using homophones. Or maybe it was the other way around, and the solver had to decipher the smushed-up vocabulary.
Baldric is Blackadder’s bumbling but apoealing assistant in Rowen Atkinson’s “Blackadder” series.
Home position asdf ? Any help someone?
QWERTY keyboard, left hand. Right hand has JKL;. Touch typing
“Solved” the puzzle and still had no idea what that meant. Had to Google it. Think that was very mean.
Asdf refers to the left-hand “home position” on a QWERTY keyboard.
thank you ☻
Reference the LAT : I can’t find any references to “Rent” winning an Obie. “Tony”, yes but “Obie”, no. Am I wrong?
Please disregard comment above.
Nice NYT outside of the CAIRN/CRUE/BALDRIC trivia triplet.
I’m one, too, for whom the puzzle was going swimmingly until I reached the NE. Since (shame!) the NY Times has been using “data is” in articles, I entered DEBIT, as well as DOTS, and those two mistakes made it hard to crack, especially faced then with the various senses of Paris, the possible companies with that slogan, and those nasty entries CRUE, BALDRIC, and CAIRN (which I knew only as a stone). If I confess to have had another Japanese beer in mind and to have given up following Star Wars, go ahead and blame me for that, too. In the end, a sudden remembering of BALDRIC as having something to do with a soldier from past centuries (except that I had to check how to spell it) is what got the corner finally to crack. Finally, the need for THE with HULK convinced me that my fill had been mistaken.