Saturday, August 27, 2016

CS 11:30 (Ade) 


LAT 6:45 (Derek) 


Newsday 33:08 (Derek) 


NYT 5:13 (Amy) 


WSJ untimed (pannonica) 


Jim Page’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 8 27 16, no 0827

NY Times crossword solution, 8 27 16, no 0827

Easy puzzle for a Saturday, I thought. And you?

Fill I rather liked: KARAOKE BAR is a nice 1-Across. GLOM is a great verb. Nice to see REZA clued as 16a. [Yasmina ___, two-time Tony-winning playwright] (mind you, I had to work the crossings because I completely spaced on her last name). The BATPOLE down below—too bad it’s not a vertical answer! DRUMSTICKS, EISENHOWER, SINE QUA NON, a dangerous CREAMSICLE (okay, only dangerous when the ice cream man’s freezer is set way too cold and your Creamsicle freezes to your tongue and your mom calls the police department about it, true story), the SEX PISTOLS, SWEET SPOT, SOMINEX, “LET IT SNOW,” and a MARS ROVER are also good.

An as-yet-undetermined number of other things:

  • 18a. [Fabric finish?], -ATOR / 18a. [Fabric finish?], -OIS / 42a. [Relative of -ish or -ory], -EAN. Oh, no. No, no, no. Limit one suffix per crossword-constructor customer. Having three in a single puzzle is bonkers.
  • 58a. [Monogram for Christ], IHS. Never remember this one. INRI has possession of that memory node in the brain. The IHS/SQ MI crossing ain’t pretty.
  • 53d. [Maker of the Pocket Fisherman and Electric Food Dehydrator], RONCO. Please refer back to Thursday’s puzzle and guess which memorable/not-so-common Thursday answer will appear in the Sunday NYT. BE THERE was in Thursday and Friday, RONCO in Thursday and Saturday.
  • 31d. [Set of seven countries, informally], STANS. You could call this a fourth suffix answer, with a pluralization. Stans are also obsessive fans, as described in the Eminem rap “Stan.” I first encountered the usage during the primaries, when people on Twitter discussed “Bernie-stans.”
  • 6d. [Last name of a comic strip title teen], KETT. The Etta Kett strip ran from 1925 to 1974, and I don’t think the Chicago newspaper my family got was printing that strip in the early ’70s. Before my time. And because it’s a Saturday clue, there’s zero mention of how dated the reference is?
  • 26d. [Helldiver, e.g.], GREBE. Well! I’d never heard this other name for a grebe, but it’s so much better. I’m not going to look up why it’s called a helldiver, because my imagination is surely more entertaining than the truth.

Six! Who had six in the How Many Things pool?

3.5 stars from me. I like the sparkly answers, but the dry bits (ENO ARNO IRE! Plural ESCS!) and suffixapalooza lowered my rating.

Scot Ober & Jeff Chen’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Exercise Regimen” — pannonica’s write-up

WSJ • 8/27/16 • "Exercise Regimen" • Sat • Ober, Che • solution

WSJ • 8/27/16 • “Exercise Regimen” • Sat • Ober, Che • solution

Hey, 4×4×4×4 on the constructor’s names.

Theme is idioms recast (repped?) as workout components.

  • 24a. [Exercise 1 (for frantic folks)] CLIMB THE WALLS.
  • 30a. [Exercise 2 (for ineffectively busy folks)] RUN AROUND IN CIRCLES.
  • 51a. [Exercise 3 (for rash folks)] JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS.
  • 67a. [Exercise 4 (for exaggerative] STRETCH THE TRUTH.
  • 85a. [Exercise 5 {for accommodating folks)] BEND OVER BACKWARDS.
  • 101a. [Exercise 6 (for attentive folks)] SIT UP AND TAKE NOTICE.
  • 111a. [Exercise 7 (for forgetful solvers] JOG YOUR MEMORY. Winding up with a subtle reminder that solving crosswords can be a sort of workout for folks.

Modest theme, probably one that’s been done before. Despite the strategic placement of OOH and AAH (58a, 82a), I wasn’t exactly bowled over by this nevertheless pleasant morning warm-up.

  • Interesting factette: 23a [Brand originally packaged in cologne bottles] TABASCO. From their site: “According to McIlhenny family lore, Edmund McIlhenny used discarded cologne bottles to distribute his sauce to family and friends prior to marketing it commercially. When in 1868 he decided to sell TABASCO® Sauce to the general public, he ordered thousands of new “cologne bottles” (as Edmund McIlhenny himself referred to them in business correspondence) from a New Orleans glassworks. It was in these new cologne bottles that Edmund McIlhenny first commercially distributed TABASCO® Sauce.”
  • 28a [Is for more than one?] ARE, 82a [My, to a monarch] OUR.
  • 68d [Four-time role for Chris Hemsworth] THOR, 29a [Subdued] LOW KEY.
  • 119a [987-65-4321, for one] SSN. Though the SSA has as of 2011 changed the number assignment process to include “Area Numbers” (the first three digits, no longer associated with geography) greater than 772, they as yet do not issue such numbers above 899. Not that the WSJ should be making Social Security Numbers—even invented ones—public. So the example in clue has the shape of a SSN but technically is not one. Probably should have taken a different approach for the clue, or kept it obviously hypothetical (e.g., XXX-XX-XXXX).
  • 106a [When Juliet says “Parting is such sweet sorrow”] ACT TWO. I was fooled into filling in ACT III.

Speaking of parting, I’m about done. Solid and unexceptional crossword.

Pawel Fludzinski’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 11.58.36 AMI was able to zip through this one. Unlike the Newsday Stumper, there are virtually no unfamiliar words in this puzzle. OK, maybe one or two! I have solved a few by this construtor, and I like his puzzles. Make more, Pawel! I am getting better at these themeless puzzles after blogging two of them every Saturday for over a year, now. I still consider it Stamford training! I will never be on the stage there, but looking for a top 50 finish next year, which I narrowly missed last year! A well made puzzle this Saturday: 4.3 stars!

A few notes:

  • 1A [Parent of 66-Across] BABY BOOMER
  • 66A [Child of 1-Across] MILLENNIAL – I listed these two together since they are tied together. Only a crossword constructor would realize these are both 10 letters long!
  • 22A [Piccadilly Circus statue] EROS – This came up in another puzzle of some sort that I did a while ago. Here is a pic:eros
  • 36A [Youngest player to join the 600-HR club] A-ROD – I thought SOSA at first, but I guess an abbreviation is hinted in the clue!
  • 52A [Part of a Simon and Garfunkel quartet?] SAGE – Not sure this needs the pun indicator, but that’s just me!
  • 60A [Olympics event since 2000] TRAMPOLINE – For crossword reference, Dong Dong from China won a silver medal!
  • 2D [Body lang.] ANAT – Is anatomy a “language?” Interesting clue!
  • 8D [1987 Masters champ Larry] MIZE – I knew this right away, but I am a sports geek. This chip sealed his win; its a fairly famous video, at least to me! It came in a sudden death playoff, and capped off a famous Greg Norman meltdown at Augusta.
  • 13D [Climbs] ASCENSIONS – I tried to put in ASCENDS TO, but there weren’t enough squares!
  • 26D [Part of DINK] DUAL – Yes, I had to look this up for the blog. Stands for Dual Income, No Kids. Definitely not me!
  • 28D [A short distance] CLOSE RANGE – Not sure why, but I liked this one a lot!
  • 44D [Like some hairs] INGROWN – If you ever shaved any part of your body, this is a gimme!
  • 61D [___ du pays: homesickness] MAL – Not familiar with this phrase, but I know mal de mer is seasickness, so I guessed right!

Until next Saturday! Enjoy your weekend!

Brad Wilber’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 7.56.38 PMA toughie. End of story. I had a relaxing week in South Carolina, and I still was totally baffled by most of this puzzle! Lots of fun entries in this puzzle, but there were a few words I either didn’t know, or had an alternate definition I didn’t know, and some had neat but obscure trivia in the clues. To sum it up, I was “stumped,” which is the goal of the constructor! Brad’s are usually difficult anyway, and this one definitely did not dissappoint. After solving this one, there was a sigh of relief! 4.1 stars for this one.

Lots I could mention. Here are some of my favorite and notable entries:

  • 1A [City Hall honorees] HERO COPS – Cops are getting a bad rap these days with all of the seemingly unnecessary killings, but the vast majority are still heroic!
  • 9A [Crook in sports] DOGLEG – As a sports fan, I still read “crook” as a human! Nice clue.
  • 19A [What fog often pushes back] ETD – Nice clue. No hint of an abbreviation, but Estimated Time of Departure might commonly be referred to by the acronym in aviation circles?
  • 29A [Gossip-mill fodder] CANARDS – I know this is duck in French. I did NOT know this also meant a rumor or false story. I learned something!
  • 33A [Capital near the equator and the prime meridian] ACCRA – The capital of Ghana, of course. Great piece of trivia!
  • 64A [Bruise] EMPURPLE – Really??!! I looked it up, and it is in fact a word! I wonder why the words EMBROWN and EMORANGE don’t exist!
  • 65A [Steelers’ “Turnpike Rival”] BROWNS – These teams are straight down the interstate from each other, but don’t both teams have to be good for it to be a rivalry? The Browns are almost a laughing stock in the NFL these days. (Subtle reminder: it’s almost football season!)
  • 3D [Domino domain] R AND B – Not too familiar with this artist. Seems more rap than R & B. But not a bad clue!
  • 11D [Idiosyncrasy of Cockney] GLOTTAL STOP – I liked this one. Got a good foothold in the puzzle after getting this longish answer.
  • 24D [Bird of the species “Hirundo rustica”] BARN SWALLOW – Another great piece of trivia. The “rustica” is a great clue leaning you in the proper direction!
  • 35D [Like reeds] CANY – Cany?? This is not in my Collegiate dictionary, but it is in the unabridged! I thought this was pretty tough!
  • 50D [Lobster appendages] PALPS – While we’re on the subject of words I don’t know, add this to the list! It’s in the old dictionary, alright! Another toughie!!
  • 53D [Surname of “Britain’s first family of harmony”] GIBB – Why did I think they were Aussies? A quick Wikipedia look-up says the Bee Gees were born in Britain, and relocated to Queensland later! I wasn’t crazy!
  • 60D [“The Last ___” (Puzo novel)] DON – I just put this there because I remember reading this book years ago! I also think they made a miniseries or something out of it. Mario Puzo was a great writer!

That’s all for this one. Next weekend’s Stumper comes on a long holiday weekend, so it may be a killer! Enjoy THIS weekend!

Martin Ashwood-Smith’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post Crossword, “Setting the Tone” —Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 08.27.16: "Setting the Tone"

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 08.27.16: “Setting the Tone”

Hello everybody! Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Mr. Martin Ashwood-Smith, includes three 15-letter theme entries in which the letters “TONE” span the two words in each theme.

  • MOSQUITO NETTING (17A: [It helps prevent small bites])
  • ORIENT ONESELF (34A: [Act upon guidance])
  • BRIGHTON, ENGLAND (55A: [Major British resort town west of Dover])

Had a little bit of trouble at the very end of my solving experience trying to figure out SENHOR and how much it differed from the Spanish translation for the word in question (42D: [Gentleman of Portugal]). The “h” had to be right because of “Brighton,” but wasn’t sure how to spell “senhor” and it took me a while to get that down. Lots of longish fill in the corners, and I definitely appreciated and liked that, including OVERDRAW, something I’ll admit I’ve done in the not too distant past (34D: [Commit a banking boo-boo]). Oh, and how can you not see RAMROD and think about the movie Super Troopers (1D: [Hard taskmaster])? Time to head out because my media shuttle from Queens to Manhattan is about to leave, but leaving you with this…Car Ramrod!

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: ST. LEO (50D: [Univ. near Tampa]) – I’ll give you one guess in trying to figure out the nickname of the sports teams at ST. LEO University, in St. Leo, FL. If you guessed the Lions, you’d be right. Not that hard to figure out, given the school’s name, right?!

See you all for the Sunday Challenge!

Take care!


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21 Responses to Saturday, August 27, 2016

  1. huda says:

    NYT: It took me about five times longer than Amy to land in exactly the same place…. really liked the long answers but the price of the short stuff was rather high. I sailed through the north (relatively speaking), but slowed down below.

    Never tasted a CREAMSICLE. Amy, what an odd incident! When you sign on for parenthood, you have no idea what kids will manage to invent…

  2. animalheart says:

    I had the opposite experience with the NYT. I solved it bottom to top. Last to fall was the NE, mainly because I was fairly confident of GRILL rather than GRATE for 11D. I didn’t mind the suffixes. I’m generally not as bothered by weak short fill (you didn’t even mention OREO!) if the longer fill is lively enough, as is the case here. Average difficulty, above-average fill, I’d say.

  3. marciem says:

    I had Dreamsicle, which is an ice-milk version of Creamsicle, and worked with the down, making it ESD for Electronic software download, which is how some PC keys are delivered.

    I wondered if the constructor did this on purpose (the two-fer)…??

  4. Jane Lewis says:

    the wordplay blog shows Sheb Wooley’s Rawhide album – before (or maybe during) the run of Rawhide he had a hit song “One-eyed, One-horned Flying Purple People Eater” which is now running through my brain – sorry about that. I know – I’m old.

  5. ArtLvr says:

    NYT — very enjoyable, though tricky. IHS is Latin’s IN HOC SIGNO, or “in this sign”. And my favorite entry was SINE QUA NON…

    • JohnH says:

      IHS is overdetermined if we take today’s perspective, but originally not, and the association with “In Hoc Signes” (along with a few other associations) is usually considered a back-formation from what was already up there as simply short for JESUS.

      The Times puzzle had a lot I didn’t like, like SHEB and REZA, but went quickly.

  6. SEMINOLE SAM says:


  7. roger says:

    thought IHS was the monogram of Ignatius High School on his sweater

  8. Steve Manion says:

    Both puzzles this weekend were harder for me than last weekend’s. I also had GRILL instead of GRATE and drew a blank on STANS even though I have a lot of friends who came to this country as refugees from UZBEKISTAN.

    Only the SE was easy.

    I loved CREAMSICLES and FUDGSICLES when I was young. I haven’t had one in years.


    • pannonica says:

      Growing up, I heard a lot of people dispense with the s when pronouncing Fudgsicle. Wonder if that quirk persists.

  9. David L says:

    The Stumper was a toughie indeed.

    RANDB is a reference to Fats Domino, I presume.

    I spent an inordinate amount of time puzzling out LOCO for “Pliny’s place.” They had choo-choo trains in ancient Rome? But then I remembered the phrase ‘in loco parentis.’

    30D: “If we REAR temples, they will crumble to dust” — I suppose ‘rear’ in this context means ‘raise,’ but I’ve never come across that usage in the context of buildings, as opposed to children.

    I had WORDGAME for Boggle — DICEGAME is tricky because I wouldn’t normally think of the cubes in Boggle as dice in the usual sense.

    And who knew ISOLDE was Irish? Not me, anyway…

    Apart from the highly dubious CANY, I thought this was a very good puzzle.

  10. Martin says:

    Re EMPURPLE: my (semi-educated) guess is this largely poetic word has royal associations: PURPLE being a colour associated with European (esp. British royalty).

    Why purple? Ah… there lies the interesting strory and part myth that dates back to Roman times (I’m writing from memory, so I may have the odd detail wrong).

    The true rich purple colour was highly prized by the Romans (and probably other societies too). However the only good source of the pure purple dye, was I believe, a somewhat rare Mediterranean shellfish (or something similar). As it was so highly prized by the Romans the shellfish got scarcer. And legend has it, that the Roman Empire fell when the “purple” (of Emperors, etc) ran out.

    I think other sources were found, at a later time. But I think the deep rich purple source for at least a millennium or more, was this somewhat rare shellfish.

    This purple dye and royalty was deeply ingrained, and associated with power, aristocracy and royalty since Roman times or earlier. So we’re talkin’ aways back ;)

    Thus, the generally old-fashioned and poetic EMPURPLE, would have a very deep an ancient association with royalty. I believe there is an old idiom that’s something like “Born to (or in) the purple” that refers to this.

    Panonica: this is your area. What shellfish (or the like) is this?


  11. ArtLvr says:

    “Tyrian purple” (Greek, πορφύρα, porphyra, Latin: purpura), also known as Tyrian red, royal purple, imperial purple or imperial dye, is a bromine-containing reddish-purple natural dye. It is a secretion produced by several species of predatory sea snails from Tyre in the family Muricidae, rock snails originally known by the name Murex. Google for early historical use in Phoenicia, well before the rise of the Roman Empire.

  12. Martin says:

    “… well before the rise of the Roman Empire”.

    Thanks. I was going by memory, but I remembered that it was at least as old or much older than the Roman Empire.

    Yeah… I could have looked it up, but what I didn’t say was that I was dredging up memories from my British school days when I was around 11 years old. Since the Romans ruled my ancestors for close to 500 years, the legends about the fall of the mighty Roman Empire due to this, actually made me pay attention for about 2 minutes.

    (Seriously we were told it was legend)


    • huda says:

      I was about to mention Murex and then read Artlvr’s post.
      I knew it not because I’m erudite in such areas. But when I was at the American U. of Beirut, I lived in Murex Hall and learned all about it being the source of beautiful but expensive dyes.

  13. Martin says:

    “22A [Piccadilly Circus statue] EROS – This came up in another puzzle of some sort that I did a while ago. Here is a pic”

    Bzzt! False! The Shaftesbury Memorial Statue in Piccadilly Circus is not EROS. It is ANTEROS, Eros’s brother. Seriously.

    Even many Londoners don’t know this.


  14. Linda says:

    Some cute comments on the fudgicle/fudgsicle debate are at:

    • pannonica says:

      That’s interesting. It seems that the sless version has historical precedence, then the confection was rebranded—or at least respelled—sometime around the early 1940s, with a lot of linguistic holdouts. And the phenomenon isn’t particularly regionalized. Thanks!

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