David Woolf’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
The blogular mood is absent, so let’s proceed to a semi-random list:
- 1a. [One of a pair of cuddlers], BIG SPOON. As in when two people of different sizes “spoon” together, the person on the outside is the BIG SPOON.
- 18a. [Edward Gorey’s “The Gashlycrumb ___”], TINIES. My friend Liz is a huge Gorey fan. This book is an ABC book. “A is for Amy who fell down the stairs” is just one example of the grimness. What’s not to love?
- 20a. [1982 international chart-topper by Trio with a repetitive title], DA DA DA. Fun! It’s in German and English and it’s weirdly catchy. Enjoy it here.
- 49a. [Relating to the abdomen], CELIAC. Wow. I’ve never encountered that usage in my medical editing days. It’s far more familiar, of course, as celiac disease, the intestinal ailment relating to gluten.
Okay, I’m tired of that. Favorite fill: BATTER UP, BMX BIKE, BAR CAR, GAG REEL, STRESS-EATS. I’m good with the POOP deck but so meh on the ORLOP deck beside it. Also not a fan of I REST, EELERS, AEON, IN-GAME, or NO STARS.
3.75 stars from me. Good night!
And a P.S. If you wanted to hear from a black crossword constructor about the GHETTO BLASTER mess, have a listen here.
C.C. Burnikel’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
I am quite familiar with C.C. Burnikel’s puzzles, as she usually has one appear on Tuesday’s in the LAT when I blog. This may be one of the first themeless one’s I remember from her, and it is very well made. My timer messed up (I forgot to stop it!), but I think my time was in the 8 minute range. A little tough, but difficulty level seems right on par with normal Saturday offerings. I messed up a little where you see the cursor; I’ll explain in the comments below. Still amazes me that a puzzle constructor can produce puzzles this good with English not being her mother tongue! Lots of kudos today. 4.6 stars!
A few notes:
- 14A [Dunkin’ Donuts buy] ICED LATTE – Not a big fan of iced coffee, but I am a big fan of Dunkin’ Donuts!
- 32A [Coach in six Super Bowls] DON SHULA – Sometimes it is hard to remember how great a coach he was, since most of his best work was in the 70s and early 80s. Still the all-time winningest NFL head coach, and according to Wikipedia, even Bill Belichick will need another decade of high caliber wins to catch him! Belichick is 4th all-time, and is still 100 wins behind!
- 45A [Trick users, in a way] PHISH – I don’t think I get this clue. Are we talking about Phish the musical group, or an email phisher?
- 59A [Online shopping button] ADD TO CART – Great! Only one NYT hit at xwordinfo.com!
- 62A [Dominican-born designer] DE LA RENTA – Did I know he was Dominican??
- 2D [Samos neighbor named for the son of Daedalus] ICARIA – These are Greek islands in the Aegean Sea. Tough entry, but a gentle clue if you know Icarus is Daedalus’s son!
- 3D [Partner of Marcus] NEIMAN – We always called this store Neiman Mark-up!
- 11D [Like some Chinese TV stations] STATE RUN – Awesome! Could have used Russia or North Korea or other nations; a tip of the cap to her Chinese heritage in this clue? ;-)
- 13D [Google Wallet rival] APPLE PAY – This also only has one NYT hit, but it is an extremely new term!
- 37D [Cutty __: Scotch] SARK – My late uncle had a souvenir bottle with this label on it in his apartment that I vividly remember for some strange reason after all these years!
- 47D [Nest sound?] SHORT E – Best clue of the bunch! Yes, I was trying to shoehorn CHEEPS or CHIRPS in there!
- 48D [Set of seven] HEPTAD – I had SEPTET in at first, which explains partly why I had issues in this corner!
Lester Ruff’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up
Bah-dah-bing bad-dah BOOM! Solved this in just over seven minutes! True to description, Stan’s puzzles under the Lester Ruff pseudonym are “less rough,” but they usually don’t fall this fast! This probably means bad news for next weeks puzzle after this quick solve! This grid style, as I may have mentioned before, is easier to solve, as there are usually not too many long answers when the corners are full of seven-letter entries. The two nines in the middle are the longest, and they weren’t difficult, so there are several toeholds to be had. Kudos for giving us a slight break this week! 4.3 stars.
Some of my favorites:
- 18A [Isla mediterránea] MENORCA – I had MAJORCA at first. I bet I wasn’t the only one who did that!
- 27A [“Harper’s Bazaar” sister mag] ELLE – A fresh clue or a common puzzle entry!
- 32A [Violent villain in an 1886 novella] MR. HYDE – Did I know this was a novella?
- 33A [Genghis Khan descendant, quite possibly] MONGOLIAN – From what I hear of Genghis Khan, we ALL might be his descendant! This is one of the two crossers in the middle. As mentioned, not to hard to figure out.
- 61A [Sunflower cousin] RAGWEED – Another great piece of trivia. Well done!
- 3D [Product of warm fermentation] PALE ALE – Also interesting. I believe some beers are cold fermented. This is definitely worthy of some “research” later this weekend!
- 21D [Mississippi emblems] MAGNOLIAS – The other central crossing entry. Nice touch that it is almost an anagram of MONGOLIAN!
- 26D [Man mentioned but not seen in “Hamilton”] JOHN JAY – After getting a few crossing letters, it couldn’t be anyone else. Still hoping to see this play someday!
- 35D [Harried sitcom writer of the recent past] LIZ LEMON – This is the character played by Tina Fey on 30 Rock, one of the funniest sitcoms ever made, in my opinion!
- 36D [Patron of Rome] ST. PETER – Another great way to clue a fairly common entry!
- 58D [Where this is] END – Talk about wrapping it up with a nice touch!
I could go on, because there are lots of great clues! Nice puzzle, Stan! Have a great weekend everybody!
Dan Fisher’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Knee Pads” — pannonica’s write-up
The lengths of the theme entries have been padded with a /nē/ syllable at their ends.
- 23a. [Dog at Buckingham Palace?] ROYAL WEENIE (royal ‘we’).
- 25a. [Theater award made with the Bessemer process?] STEEL TONY (steel toe).
- 46a. [Organ examined in pre-med class?] SCHOOL KIDNEY (school kid). No etymological duplication with 62a [Stiff, sheer fabric] ORGANDY.
- 66a. [Apprentice to an arson investigator?] ASH TRAINEE (ashtray).
- 68a. [Mike to Sulley, in “Monsters, Inc.”?] SCARE CRONY (scarecrow).
- 82a. [Cap that’s part of the crew uniform?] WORKER BEANIE (worker bee).
- 110a. [Spirit who grants you no wishes?] ZERO GENIE (zero G).
- 112a. [Pot-laced treat?] HIGH BROWNIE (highbrow).
A lot of variation in spelling changes, word respacing, and even the spelling of that added syllable (4×nie, 2×ny, 1×ney, 1×nee).
- 101a. [Classic 1957 sci-fi film] KRONOS. Wow, just look at that poster, look at it! Also: split duties for French and Dutch text, interesting. 38a [One of its first films was “To Fly!”] IMAX. I also remember being wowed by Chronos (1985), by Ron Fricke, the cinematographer of Koyaanisqatsi (1982).
- 48d [Flapped one’s gums] NATTERED, 87a [Moneyed muck-a-muck] NABOB. Can’t deny that it’s the height of the presidential campaign season now. Grid’s bereft of SPIRO and AGNEW, though there is 47d [Sapphire, e,g,] OXIDE.
- New to me: 85d [Rust-stained mineral outcropping] IRON HAT. 28a [Virna of “How to Murder Your Wife] LISI (1965, co-starring Jack Lemmon).
- 14d [Monopolist’s share] ALL, directly above 32d [A Monopoly set includes 28 of them] DEEDS.
- Japan! 2d [Mount Suribachi setting] IWO JIMA, 12d [Conglomerate whose name means “rising sun”] HITACHI, 83d [Tea ceremony costumes] KIMONOS, 103a [Nikkei index unit] YEN, 115a [Millipede maker] ATARI (American company, name taken from a term in the strategy game go).
- Favorite clues: 44a [Source of criminal charges?] TASER, 72a [Swift followers, e.g.] BIRDERS, 69d [House shower] C-SPAN, 72d [Lender’s offering] BAGEL (the brand for your crappy mass-produced bagel needs), 84d [Reducing sentences, e.g.] EDITING. Least favorite clue: 100d [Boardwalk treat] ICE. Least favorite fill: 58a [Starts steaming] GETS SORE.
- Nothing new about the cross-referenced SHAH and IRAN, but it’s nice that they’re located symmetrically to each other, at 65a and 70a.
- 80d [Ali, self-referentially] GREATEST.