Saturday, October 1, 2016

CS tk (Ade) 


LAT 8:00ish (Derek) 


Newsday 7:06 (Derek) 


NYT untimed (Amy) 


WSJ untimed (pannonica) 


David Woolf’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 10 1 16, no 10

NY Times crossword solution, 10 1 16, no 10

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

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-8-05-36-pmI 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!
  • 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!cuttysark
  • 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

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-8-13-29-pmBah-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

WSJ • 10/1/16 • "Knee Pads" • Fisher • solution

WSJ • 10/1/16 • “Knee Pads” • Fisher, Shenk • solution

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.


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18 Responses to Saturday, October 1, 2016

  1. Jim Hale says:

    bolo tie – so there’s a name for that thing

  2. Magenta Coal says:

    Oops. 4.5 for the LAT not 3.


  3. huda says:

    NYT: The NW was impossible for me… I had not heard of that BIG SPOON concept, I’m not up on my naval deck terminology (ORLOP) and NOSTARS is not a rating, it’s a nothing. ONESTAR is a terrible rating.
    I too liked the use of CELIAC as abdominal… I knew it but it still took a long time to emerge. And what I found most amusing is that little GOGO corner– GONG, GROG, STGEORGE

    • pannonica says:

      Agree on that corner. It was full of long answers that didn’t seem natural to me, even if they are explicable: BIG SPOON, ON REPORT, LOG ROLLS, and most especially STRESS EATS. Wasn’t made any easier by relatively obscure ORLOP and provisionally filling in I REST as ID EST (which I was preparing to complain about as an answer), OIL RIG as ––– DIG.

  4. huda says:

    Update on Bruce: For those who have been wondering about our friend and fellow-commenter, I’ve heard from Bruce and secured his permission to update you on his status. He has had some progression of his illness, but happily, and I quote: “In that context, I am doing remarkably well. I waited just long enough to contract the cancer to be the beneficiary of the immunnotherapy revolution in cancer care, which saved my life…”.
    He needs ongoing treatment but he continues to be in good spirits, can drive long distances and is in fact hoping to come visit a friend in Michigan at some point, and I’m hoping we can connect again in person during his visit.
    I was delighted to hear from him and wanted to share these news with the rest of you. He has asked me to convey his greetings “to my crossword friends (and fiends)”.

    • Papa John says:

      Thanks, Huda. It’s good to hear that Bruce is doing well.

      I often wonder what happens to people we’ve known in cyberspace who simply disappear with no explanation. It can be bewildering and not a little sad.

      • Huda says:

        There was a young man on Rex’s blog who had talked about having chronic seizures. He found out I am a neuroscientist and emailed me off line for some input, and we had a little back and forth. He told me he was doing well, things were under control and he was getting married. Then he went silent and I sent him an email to see how he was doing. I got nothing for a while and then a message from his wife who said he had passed away and asked me to let people in Rex’s blog know. That was so incredibly sad…
        It’s remarkable to me how we get to know people that we’ve never actually met, and come to care about them.

  5. Joe Pancake says:

    I don’t think 34-Down in NYT is a correct clue.

    “{ }, in mathematics” is called the “null set.” I’ve never before heard anybody call it just NULL, nor have I ever seen it referenced as such. “Like { }, in mathematics” would have been a fine clue, but as is, I think it’s wrong.

    Any fellow math nerds want to chime in?

    • David L says:

      I don’t know if I qualify as a math nerd (former theoretical physicist) but I agree with you.

    • Evad says:

      I’m a fan of an ‘O’ with a forward slash through it (Ø), myself.

    • Bill GB says:

      I’m a mathematician and it threw me.

      “Set notation?” I thought. “Curly braces?”

      After a tense moment or two–I should know this!!–I came around to realizing it was a set with nothing in it, hence the empty set, ergo the null set, and thus, abominably, finally, “null.”

      I always use the notation that Evad mentioned.

      ps The alternate clue proposed by Joe P. is significantly better, I think.

  6. David L says:

    I liked the right hand side of this puzzle, not the left hand side. BIGSPOON and STRESSEATS are not at all familiar to me, and while the meaning of INGAME is clear the phrase doesn’t ring any bells. I knew ORLOP as an ancient bit of crosswordese (a cousin to ADIT and ESNE etc).

    Also, I live in the Chesapeake Bay area, and the notion that there are lots of EELERS out there is new to me. Crabbers, sure, and oysterers (?). But eelers? Our supermarkets are not full of eels, to paraphrase Monty Python.

  7. Christopher Smith says:

    NYT: No no no. West side almost unsolvable & not for the right reasons. ORLOP rankled enough, but combining that with POOP & then misdirecting with another, non-nautical “deck” clue was just irritating, not clever. And arbitrarily using the Latinate spelling for AEON just speaks to sloppy puzzle construction. Definitely a Saturday challenge, but more to patience than persistence.

  8. Karen says:

    LAT: I think “phish” refers to an email trickster. Not of the demographic to know the band!

  9. Art Shapiro says:

    Gee, ORLOP was one of the few toeholds in that area for this solver. Those two answers are the only two decks that come immediately to mind, but I’m not a nautical maven.

Comments are closed.