Julian Lim’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Two mini-puzzles in one, with that zigzag of black squares only letting two answers (PAY AS YOU GO and ROTISSERIE) sneak through to both side. Did that give you trouble? It still played easier than the usual Saturday puzzle for me.
Favorite fill: STRAW MAN, THE PIANO, “I’M WAY AHEAD OF YOU” (despite the YOU duplication with PAY AS YOU GO), ROBOCALL, GONE GIRL, old-school MOVIEFONE, FREEMIUM, and “THANK GOD.”
- 19a. [Let fate decide, say], TOSS A COIN. Don’t we mostly say “flip a coin” for this sense, with the coin toss reserved for things like deciding which team kicks off in the Super Bowl?
- 21a. [Kind of cabbage], SKUNK. No, no, no. This “kind of” clue only works if skunk cabbage is cabbage. And it most decidedly is not. All this plant has in common with actual cabbage is that both plants are angiosperms.
- 27d. [Game’s turning point?], ROTISSERIE. Hunting-related clues bum me out.
- 12d. [Main ingredient of rémoulade], MAYO. With no hint that you’re going with the anglicized short form, this feels wrong. Mayonnaise is used to make rémoulade, but MAYO goes on sandwiches and in chicken salad.
- 43a. [Cusk-___ (deepest living fish, at 27,000+ feet)], EEL. Never heard of it, but hey! Now we also have a clue for CUSK. (Kidding.) Here’s some info about cusk-eels.
- 25d. [Einstein-___ bridge (wormhole)], ROSEN. Never heard this term, but I prefer this to a baseball ROSEN clue.
- 40d. [Newspaper name that becomes a beverage if you insert an “a” after its fifth letter], LE MONDE. It becomes Le Monade, of course.
4 stars from me. Good night, folks!
Greg Johnson’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
Greg Johnson is a name I am not as familiar with as other constructors, but this is a solid puzzle. Maybe a tad tougher than normal, or maybe I am just a little mentally fatigued because I am now working with my brain instead of breaking my back! Perhaps after I get into a groove this new accounting job will actually help my mental sharpness, of course including my sharpness where word puzzles are concerned! Only one “crosswordese” entry in here as far as I can tell, but it’s an easy one, and the rest of the fill is lively and vibrant. Hoping to see more from Greg, especially if they are like this one! 4.5 stars.
A few comments, many of which will explain where I messed up!
- 1A [Decorative border] HEMSTITCH – Not a big fan of sewing, so this term makes sense, even though it is virtually new to me!
- 15A [Black-and-white vegetarian] PANDA – I had ZEBRA at first!
- 22A [Beyond silly] WACKO – I tried INANE in this spot!
- 31A [Inspiration for a red shade] FIRE ENGINE – Great clue; possibly the best in the puzzle! I was thinking of some sort of flower with the high letter count!
- 35A [Classroom no-no] CALLING OUT – I had an error at 36D [Many Aberdeen residents] LASSIES. With the incorrect AUSSIES in there (!), I had some issues filling this section!
- 2D [Organic compound] ENOL – Ouch! Ick! Again, this is the only dreck!
- 9D [Not woody, to a botanist] HERBACEOUS – Great job. I had the HERB- part early on, but the actual final answer took a bit!
- 26D [Jefferson and others] VIRGINIANS – But of course! Another answer that seems easy AFTER you solve it!
- 28D [Govt. issue] T. NOTE – I had C NOTE!
- 31D [2K, say] FUN RUN – We do a lot of 5k’s to this one should have been easier than it was!
This puzzle was fun! Hope your weekend is fun, too!
Frank Longo’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up
Well, after last week’s super-easy Stumper, we are sufficiently stumped today. Looking for some Advil. Got the upper middle and upper right of this puzzle without too much consternation, then everything else was just painful. This may be the puzzle with the most error squares I have ever had the courage to screenshot in this blog! As is plain to see, the middle of this puzzle messed me up. As an accountant, I am most embarrassed by 35A [Accounting calculation] BOOK VALUE. I had NET INCOME in there at first! It still works!! Many times I had an incorrect guess in the grid, so that surely doesn’t help the solving time. Frank has made another tour de force stumper here with some extremely excellent cluing. Did I mention the four 15-letter entries in the wide open grid format? A master at work. 4.6 stars.
Let me write a few comments before I head for some painkillers. Or alcohol!
- 31A [I may stand for it] INCOMPLETE GRADE – Best clue in the puzzle! I was totally fooled! (I as in the letter I, in case you still didn’t get it!)
- 36A [Their last windows are opened on Christmas Eve] ADVENT CALENDARS – Stumped totally again. Not big on holidays, so this is a little unfamiliar to me. I thought it might be ADVENTURE something or other, and didn’t happen on the correct answer until the very end.
- 45A [What many Nepalis get into] SARIS – My second favorite clue. Makes total sense once it’s done, but not very obvious at all!
- 50A [Party with the Host] PRIEST – This one makes no sense to me. Someone please explain!
- 57A [Head of the services, for short] C-IN-C – As in Commander In Chief. Another terrific clue!
- 58A [Black] UNLIT – I sound like a broken record! Yes, you know you were going to put in something like EBONY!
- 10D [How some like their salmon] PAN-SEARED – Actually not that hard after a few letters were in, but a great entry!
- 11D [Company with a $25 billion IPO] ALIBABA – Really? Yes, really! They are a big Chinese conglomerate.
- 29D [Sports star who wrote the 2014 novel “The Academy: Love Match”] SELES – This entry got lost in the crossings, but a tennis reference is always good! She actually wrote a work of fiction!
- 36D [Source of paper profits] AD SPACE – I had AD SALES in at first. Close but no cigar!
- 39D [Source of Machine Age imagery] ART DECO – Not a familiar term to me, referring to “Machine Age,” but I do know art deco!
Off to the medicine cabinet! Have an awesome weekend!
For the 50A clue, the Host is the bread you take at Communion, so the person who gives you the bread could be the party with the Host. Really tough but great clue, that.
It is bad enough when athletes act as if adverbs don’t exist. But the NYT puzzle? For shame!
It’s an ugly word, but it’s in a number of reputable, mainstream dictionaries:
The Stumper was stumpery indeed. I got ADVENTCALENDARS quickly, which was helpful, but INCOMPLETEGRADE I had to piece together from the crosses. Would the ‘I’ be on a school report, or something similar?
I don’t care for AXIAL as clued. Planetary orbits don’t have various kinds of tilts, of which axial is one. But perhaps I’m being over* pedantic.
I don’t understand the clue for SIS: “How a ‘… Silence’ title starts.” Can’t make any sense of that at all.
*OVERLOUD seems perfectly fine to me. A standard usage. A play could be over long, and an actor’s performance in such a play could be over broad.
Added: in the NYT, I hesitated to put in PAYASYOUGO because of the repeated YOU.
“S” Is for Silence, a title in Sue Grafton’s alphabet series.
Oh, got it. Thanks.
LAT: I’m stunned by the duplications of OUT (SLIP OUT/CALLING OUT) and EAT (EATEN/EATS) in today’s puzzle. This is very disappointing.
Better repeats of common letters than uninteresting fill. It’s hard enough to fill a themeless with virtually no junk fill.
WSJ: Loved it. I usually don’t like puzzles in which the grid ends up with gibberish, but this puzzle was just too marvelous. Thank you, Jeff.
Thanks for the nice words, Norm!
re CS puzzle:
Iggy’s in rock not pop.
Did anybody solve the WSJ Saturday crossword? I don’t see it here. Thanks.