Peter Wentz’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
It has been a long day and a long week, hasn’t it? And don’t come at me with “Hey, it was a four-day week.” It felt like six. So, quick post—
Likes: SPIFFED UP, PHNOM PENH, TITLE GAME, disgusting TOE JAM (clue seems off base, though—[It’s around a foot]?), “You’re soaking in it” PALMOLIVE (the only dish soap whose name is two trees), MAC USER (which also was a long-running magazine, MacUser), fMRI (that’s functional MRI), PHONE TAG, KOHLER plumbing fixtures, WIGGLE ROOM, JOY RIDE (anyone else see the movie?), DUM DUMS (make mine cream soda, please), and MAE WEST.
“Is that really a thing?” category: GET ME, BE MAD, ONE LEG. And this 38d. [Light carriage], DOGCART—that’s a thing? Apparently it is, and drawn by horses, not dogs.
INPUT, ICE IN, and IN EXILE are all IN this grid.
Four more things:
- 45d. [Everywhere], AL LOVER. Who doesn’t love Al Sanders? Or perhaps Roker, Franken, or Weird Yankovic? Okay, so the answer is ALL OVER. Whatever.
- 48d. [Rapper with the 1995 hit “I Wish”]. SKEE-LO. He had one hit song 21 years ago. You are forgiven if you needed every crossing to put this together. And I hope you know your foreign currencies for that RIELS crossing.
- 26a. [Breakfast offering], MELON. If it’s cantaloupe or honeydew, keep it off my plate, will you? Yuck.
- 42d. [Rarer than rare], TARTARE. Mmm, tomatoes tartare.
4.1 stars from me for this Saturday puzzle (which was not Friday-level as I’d half expected). How’d it treat you?
Debbie Ellerin’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
Breezed through this one without too much difficulty. Which is not all bad since the Newsday Stumper whupped me up and down! NW corner was the easiest; finished up where the cursor is. As usual, I didn’t have to dig out a dictionary, so nothing wonky at all. 72 words? If my count is right, I would have guessed it was higher. But that allows for clean fill! 3.9 stars.
- 17A [Enjoy all the seasons] BINGE WATCH – A distinctively millennial habit. I can stomach 2-3 hours of a riveting show, but then I get exhausted!
- 19A [‘This American Life” host] IRA GLASS – I don’t know what this chap looks like! Let’s google a pic:
- 33A [Longtime CBS head] PALEY – OK, I didn’t need a dictionary, but I do need Wikipedia to figure out who this is! Totally not familiar with him. Maybe because he’s been dead for nearly 30 years!
- 55A [Eclipses, to some] OMENS – I believe there is a major eclipse scheduled for next year across the middle of this country. Planning on tentatively driving to St. Louis to see it!
- 7D [Boston park, with “The”] FENS – I assume this is talking about Fenway Park. It’s on my Bucket List of places to visit!
- 15D [“You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” singer Leo] SAYER – For your annoyance:
- 49D [“Rattle and ___”: U2 album] HUM – One of their many classics.
That’s it for today: a new Panda Magazine comes out today at noon! Have a great weekend!
Frank Longo’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up
I need a band-aid after this one; I feel like I have been through a wood chipper! EXTREMELY tough today. But that’s what makes finishing these monsters so rewarding! Even if you do need painkillers and a shower afterwards! As you well know, in Across Lite when you check incorrect letters, it shows a black triangle in the puzzle for the duration if a square is wrong. Note the plethora of black triangles in the image! SW corner actually fell pretty quick, then progress came to a screeching halt, with many fits and starts until the solve was done. I think I was literally out of breath. Frank, keep ’em comin’! 4.6 stars for another tour de force from a master.
- 19A [Apollo twosome, originally] LAMBDAS – I think I actually slapped my forehead after getting this one. One of the best clues in the puzzle!
- 22A [Campus organization once sponsored by B’nai B’rith] HILLEL – I am not Jewish, and have never gone to a brick and mortar university, so I didn’t know this one. Now I do, thanks to their Wikipedia page!
- 33A [Wheelhouse] AREA OF EXPERTISE – Nicely done!
- 41A [Three-legged five-footers] BABY GRANDS – Another awesome clue! Yes, I was thinking, “What animal has three legs???”
- 50A [Pope during Elizabeth I’s reign] ST PIUS V – I had ST PAUL I in there at first. I don’t know my Pope’s that well, because I am not Catholic either! With my incorrect entry, I wonder why he wasn’t referencing this:
- 24D [Perform, in some SeaWorld shows] WATER SKI – I had the concluding I early on, and couldn’t come up with what a killer whale or dolphin would do that ends in I!!
- 36D [Drive, e.g.] I/O DEVICE – As in a hard drive, which is an input/output device. Looks like an original entry, with no NYT occurrences. Very well done!
- 41D [“The Economist” basis of world purchasing-power comparison] BIG MAC – Interesting. McDonald’s doesn’t make me hungry anymore!
- 57D [Genre influenced by Fats Domino] SKA – A great piece of trivia. I need to maybe listen to some SKA since it is always found in puzzles!
Off to do the new Panda Magazine. Have a great weekend!
Leonard Williams’ Wall Street Journal crossword, “To Wit” — pannonica’s write-up
Ye olde letter insertion theme. Today’s is a bigram: IE. That’s i.e., that is, that’s “that is”.
- 22a. [Republican’s finger tattoo?] PINKIE ELEPHANT.
- 47a. [Addictive source of a sugar rush?] JUNKIE FOOD.
- 69a. [Feast for the eyes in a lingerie catalog?] NIGHTIE VISION.
- 87a. [Cause of a melee on stage?] ROADIE RAGE.
- 118a. [Like many Instagram posters?] SELFIE-CONSCIOUS.
- 15d. [Craigslist, at times?] ROOMIE SERVICE.
- 54d. [Problem for a heavy sleeper at summer camp?] SHARPIE TONGUE.
I’m underwhelmed by the theme. Didn’t find especially entertaining or clever. And some of the entries are just … kinda dumb.
The good news is that the clues are commendably free of the i.e. abbreviation, which—let’s face it—is not uncommon in crosswords. The clues? Two instances: 25a [One of the fire signs] ARIES and, aptly, 119d [Quaint reproach] FIE!
- 112d [Chamois’s home] ALPS.
- Last square to fill: crossing of 113a [Billionaire Andy] BEAL and 114d [Duke’s conf.] ACC.
- 37a [Jargon ending] -ESE. Status report: all these years on I still chuckle to myself when quoting to myself ‘jargonese’.
- Not a dupe: 38d [Half of hex-] TRI- and 95d [Activewear fabrics] TRICOT. The latter’s etymology, PER (63d [According to] m-w.com: French, from tricoter to move the legs rapidly, knit, from Middle French, to run, skip, ultimately from Old French estriquier to stroke, of Germanic origin; akin to Old English strīcan to stroke — more at strike.
- 91d [Cantonese chicken] GAI. As in “moo goo gai pan”, i.e., mòhgū gāi pin (“button mushroom-chicken-slices”).
- Visually liked the intersection of 20d [Target with a pass] THROW TO and 39a [Double description] TWO BASE, that forward-backward TWO-OWT.
- Superlatives! FAIREST, BAREST, SAGEST. 2d, 16d, 51d
- Least favorite entry: 75a [Musical increase in vol.] CRESC. I’m sure it’s a standard annotation but it looks clunky, especially sitting right there nearly dead-center.
- Also not a dupe: 97a [Statistical compilation] DATASET, 127a [When a drive-in begins] AT SUNSET.
And on that note, with that image, I bid farewell. Even though it’s only early afternoon.
This was two puzzles for me: the East was a very easy Friday and the West, particularly the SW, was a very hard Saturday.
I am embarrassed to say that when I finally got the answer for what I thought was a person who is not PC, I googled it to learn the definition and origin of a Macuser. When I saw that it was Mac User, I laughed out loud. I know the names of a lot of rappers, but SKEE-LO is not one of them.
Tough puzzle due to obscure people – at least for me. Alex Rocco and skeelo, thrown in with the spelling and currency of Cambodia’s capital.
Excellent, very hard (for me) NYT. It was one of those puzzles I like best–in which I could find no real toeholds (or even TOEJAMs) the first time through. But it all fell eventually. I really wanted 17A to be Abe Vigoda, because, jeez, it fit! Never heard of this ALEXROCCO person…
I did fill in ABE VIGODA first but couldn’t get any decent crossings, and misspelled PHNOM PENN for too long. Won’t list all my mistakes, they were legion. Very hard puzzle for me.
Interesting how the difficulty level varies so much for us solvers. I found today’s puzzle way easier than yesterday’s, and the SW was the easiest part. I twigged to MACUSER immediately, that gave me GECKO and DIM, I happened to know DOGCART… and there you are. The top half was harder than the bottom half for me, and the NW was my final section.
I got the NYT in 17:58, which is a very good time for me.
Reference Derek’s write-up for LAT – The Fens, sometimes called Back Bay Fens, is a marshy parkland and urban wild in Boston, Massachusetts, in the United States. It was established in 1879. The Fens is a large picturesque park that forms part of Boston’s Emerald Necklace. Fenway Park is a baseball stadium and is not The Fens.
Although Fenway Park is in the Fens and thus its name.
My sense is “BE MAD” is very near if not already in the language. I’ve heard it used both on children and adults whose temper tantrums are not winning them any favor.
BE MAD … or “don’t be mad”?
I think it’s like, “Alright then – be mad.” (I don’t care.)
NYT: it’s funny, I thought of Tarot immediately when I read that clue, but since I had no idea that you could use TAROT as a noun to mean a tarot card it took me most of the crossings to accept it was right.
Sharpie tongue? I’ve heard of drawing on the face/body of a sleeping/drunk/passed out person, but never drawing on the tongue. Do people really do that?
Regarding the WSJ, what’s the idea with SHARPIE TONGUE? What do what I think of as Magic Markers have to do with summer camp?
NW was my problem…tough puzzle, but not a Saturday…Palmolive was my key in…what does that say?…spare me!…but pleasurable after I had finished…how do I become a registered user?