Saturday, January 7, 2017

CS 8:31 (Ade) 


LAT 7:23 (Derek) 


Newsday 18:00 (Derek) 


NYT 5:48 (Amy) 


WSJ untimed (pannonica) 


Roland Huget’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 1 7 17, no 0107

Huh, the Saturday puzzle tumbled faster for me than the Friday one did. Let’s see what’s in this 70-worder.

  • 1a. [Barbecue chef’s coat], MEAT RUB. The “meat” in the phrase feels a little off to me. Isn’t it just called a rub, or a dry rub? We’re not distinguishing it from a fruit rub here.
  • 24a. [Ostracized sort], LEPER. *cringe* “Ostracized sort”? Like there are certain kinds of people, and lepers are one of them? I get that the clue is trying to go the non-literal route here (as in “social leper”) and not refer to people with Hansen disease, but I don’t think it works that way if the person reading the clue has Hansen disease.
  • 31a. [1990s “caught on tape” series], REAL TV. Say what? Oh, right, this.
  • 35a. [“No hard feelings?”], “ARE WE GOOD?” Meh. I prefer the Cubs’ “We are good,” which panned out pretty well. (“WHO WAS IT?” is even more meh.)
  • 51a. [Seed coat], ARIL. ARIL! Haven’t seen ya around lately, ol’ crosswordese buddy. Tyler Hinman spotted the word in the wild, on a package of pomegranate seeds.
  • 1d. [One pressing the flesh], MASSEUR. You thought of politicians on the campaign trail, didn’t you? But no.
  • 11d. [Banquets], DINES. Had no idea that banquet could be a verb. Apparently it is both transitive and (as seen here) intransitive.
  • 29d. [iPhone rival], DROID. Awkward to include iPhone in this clue when IPAD APP is in the grid. Do they still sell Android smartphones called Droids? Is this a quasi-generic term now?
  • 36d. [Hot spot], WI-FI ZONE. Not familiar with this phrase, with that zone in there. Related: What’s up with Xfinity trying to change over all my devices to Xfinity wi-fi when I’m perfectly happy with the wi-fi routers we have that don’t belong to Comcast.
  • 38d. [Imbibed modestly], HAD A NIP. What? This is not a thing. NIP is a thing, but adding the HAD A makes it something weird. Reminds me of PIG IT, which has gained so much life on Twitter among snarky crossworders.
  • 39d. [Ingredient in Pringles Light], OLESTRA. This fake fat that may cause anal leakage will never not be funny.

My favorite answers here are SOULFUL and JUKEBOX. 3.75 stars from me.

David Steinberg’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up

David makes some of my favorite puzzles, usually themeless ones, and this one doesn’t disappoint. Usually puzzles with this grid type are fairly easy for me since there are not many long words and lots of three letter words mixed in. But this one was a tad tougher, even though I had it done in under 8 minutes. There is not one difficult term in this puzzle, and true, a couple of clues are fairly difficult, this is a great puzzle. 4.4 stars for this one! Hoping to see David soon at the ACPT!

A few notes:

  • 15A [Facebook co-founder Saverin] EDUARDO – I don’t know this immediately, so that made it tough. I have been meaning to watch The Social Network for years now, and I still haven’t seen it!
  • 17A [Soccer blunder] OWN GOAL – Sports fact: an own goal by a Columbian years ago in the World Cup against the US of all teams resulted in his death shortly thereafter. Read about it here.
  • 30A [Pacific island overrun by wild chickens] KAUAI – I still would live there …
  • 54A [Draft letters] NFL – Also slightly tough. Also, the NFL playoffs start today!
  • 55A [Acid test supple] PH PAPER – Is it really called this? I thought it was litmus paper!
  • 60A [First name in dognapping] CRUELLA – As from the movie about all those Dalmatians. Great clue.
  • 1D [“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” genre] NEO-NOIR – A new word! At least to me. Always good to see contemporary language in a puzzle. Even if I have never heard of it!
  • 2D [‘100% juice smoothie” brand] ODWALLA – I love this stuff, but I don’t always remember it when I am in the gas station!
  • 8D [2008 Poehler/Fey comedy] BABY MAMA – Another movie I have never seen. Been working my way through Parks and Recreation on Netflix, and Amy Poehler is really funny in that show. Maybe I will watch this movie now! (Movie NOT on Netflix!)
  • 14D [Investor’s concern, familiarly] P. E. RATIO – Or price to earnings ratio. My accounting degree helped with this one!
  • 40D [Quiche shunner, in an ’80s best-seller] REAL MAN – A great clue. How does this kid know about this book? It’s before his time!
  • 43D [CIA nickname] LANGLEY – As in Langley, VA, where they are headquartered. I have read a lot of Tom Clancy novels in my day, and he uses this term a lot. He also used Quantico for the FBI, and that is now the name of an ABC series.
  • 44D [One-named “American Boy” singer] ESTELLE – Who??

That’s all for today. See you Tuesday for another LAT writeup!

Frank Longo’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up

Not quite as tough as last week, but I did solve in a completely quiet, still setting, so that DOES help! Upper right was filled in rather quickly, so there was false hope in the beginning! Then it all went downhill fast, and after a battle I only had the upper left to finish at the end, and since I am not familiar with British slang, that took a while! (See 1-Across!) But as usual, a gem by Frank with awesome clues, including one which may be my favorite in a while! 4.5 stars.

Some notes:

  • 31A [Subject of the 1996 biography “Fever!”] TRAVOLTA – Makes sense after you know the answer, but a tough clue!
  • 34A [Major FedEx hub] ANCHORAGE, ALASKA – This is tricky because FAIRBANKS fits as well!
  • 57A [Silver mining data] NATE – This is that great clue I mentioned! Totally fooled, and it seems new to me! Extremely well done! (Nate Silver runs the website which is full of data!)
  • 1D [Keyboarding by-products] CLACKS – This also made the upper left area tough. I had CLICKS, as you can see by the error symbol!
  • 7D [1099-__ (IRS form)] MISC – As an accountant, I am getting more and more familiar with these forms!
  • 21D [SmartKey and SuperKey were early ones] MACROS – I still have no idea how to use these in Microsoft Word!
  • 29D [Traditional  parka maker] ALEUT – You were thinking of a brand name or a designer, weren’t you? Yeah, so was I!
  • 36D [Tank space sharer] CELL MATE – Another excellent clue. Although I rarely hear of prison or jail referred to as a “tank.”
  • 53D [They wear Star of Life patches] EMTS – Didn’t know this is what that was called!

This one was fun! Have a great weekend!

Alex Eaton-Salners’ Wall Street Journal crossword, “Silent Treatment” — pannonica’s write-up

WSJ • 1/7/17 • “Silent Treatment” • Sat • Eaton-Salners • solution

Familiar phrases clued by ignoring their silent letters:

  • 23a. [1 through 18, on a golf scorecard?] WHOLE NUMBERS (hole numbers).
  • 28a. [Brief escape?] LITTLE LAMB (little lam).
  • 47a. [Man at home in D.C.?] GNAT CATCHER (Nat catcher).
  • 60a. [Mailed some sweetbreads?] SCENT GLANDS (sent glands).
  • 83a. [What we nearsighted folks need when watching movies?] HOURGLASSES (our glasses).
  • 97a. [Beavers from New England?] DAMN YANKEES (dam Yankees).
  • 110a. [Result of a new moon?] DARK KNIGHT (dark night).
  • 122a. [Kyoto’s Golden Pavilion, say?] GUILT COMPLEX (gilt complex).

Fun fact: WBNCHNKU doesn’t anagram to anything sensible.

  • Rough clue to start the proceedings with at 1-across: [Canceled order?] CHAOS. I don’t feel it works. But there are some very good ones elsewhere in the puzzle–I’ll try to mention most of them in the course of this list.
  • 102a/111d [“Frozen” princess] ELSA, ANNA.
  • 35a [Reaction to liver, for some] UGH, 20a [Cry of frustration] AARGH. 117a [Propagating wave] RIPPLE, 46d [Trough’s opposite] CREST. 42d [Passing notes?] OBITS, 115a [Book flap feature] BIO.
  • Good clue interlude #1: 30a [Go out with a bang?] SLAM, 57a [I may stand for it] ONE, 126a [Slips of paper?] ERRATA, 130a [Checks for quarters] RENTS.
  • Making a point to mention 9d [Unpleasant odors] STENCHES, since I often complain when ‘odor’ is implicitly assumed to be negative rather than neutral.
  • 14d [Psychologist Abraham] MASLOW, 51a [Psychologist Alfred] ADLER. Both in the same general area; kind of tough if you don’t know those fellows.
  • Uncommon word forms: ABATABLE, SANELY. (22a, 26a)
  • Good clue interlude #2: 7d [Note provider] ATM, 109d [Cobbler’s material] APPLE, 110d [It takes turns] DIAL.
  • Dupe abbrev. with 6d [Fort Collins sch.] CSU and 87a [Westwood sch. ] UCLA.
  • Things I didn’t know: 61d [Belief in a strong central government] ETATISM – is that the same as federalism? 108a [ __ Boy (gin drink)] ATTA.

Gotta go. Solid if unexciting crossword overall.

Patti Varol’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post Crossword, “Breaking Form” —Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 01.07.16: “Breaking Form”

Good morning, everyone. It is snowing with force here in New York! It would be great to be inside of a dome right now, but I’ll take the confines of a university’s (Fordham) student center to get away from the snow and stay warm. Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Ms. Patti Varol, features multiple-word theme entries in which the first two letters of the first word start with “DO” and the last two letters of the last word end in “ME.” The fourth theme entry, HALF DOME, acts as the reveal (57A: [Granite formation in Yosemite, or what can literally be found on either end of the answers to the starred clues]).

  • DOWNTIME (17A: [*Stretch of inactivity])
  • DON’T QUOTE ME (30A: [*”You didn’t hear it here!”])
  • DOUBLE RHYME (42A: [*Lines of poetry that end with two or more same-sounding syllables])

What was the answer that stood out to me more than any other today? PFFT, because of the frequency I use that sound effect, and the fact that it’s just funny to see in a grid (53D: [“Just like that” sound effect]). That’s also the sound effect I made when I initially put in “Welsh” instead of IRISH and figured out the error of my ways (20A: [Born near the River Shannon]). Outside of that, not too much trouble filling out the grid today. I liked seeing CARBONARA in the grid, though I probably would never eat it because of the presence of ham or bacon in it (33D: [Bacony pasta dish]). One of the things I definitely want to do while I’m involved with sports is ride in, or actually drive, a ZAMBONI machine (6D: [Ice-preparing machine]). It just looks like so much fun! If you have actually been in one or driven one, how was/is it?

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: SERENA (46D: [Star that sometimes outshines Venus]) – The upcoming tennis season might be a historic one for the recently engaged SERENA Williams. Her next Grand Slam singles title will be her twenty-third, breaking a tie with Steffi Graf at 22 and putting Serena just one away from Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24, a record that could also be reached – or broken – in 2017 by Williams.

Will you see me tomorrow for the Sunday Challenge? YOU BETCHA (10D: [“Darn tootin’!”])! See you then!

Take care!


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15 Responses to Saturday, January 7, 2017

  1. dr. fancypants says:

    I finished today’s much, much faster than yesterday’s, so I would agree regarding the difficulty.

    Re xfinity: do yourself a favor and buy your own cable modem, rather than renting one from them. You get to avoid the monthly rental fees *and* you don’t get stuck with their combo wi-fi router.

  2. Matt says:

    Yeah, today’s NYT puzzle was officially easier– finished it five minutes faster than yesterday’s puzzle (rather than Amy’s 14 seconds).

  3. Evad says:

    Not knowing that EVO or ANILINE, I had to ask Mr. Happy Pencil who Old Scratch was. When it came up with EVILONE, I first parsed it as one word, thinking of James Joyce I guess.

  4. David L says:

    Much easier than yesterday. I also liked it better because it didn’t require so much special knowledge (or maybe it’s just that the special knowledge it required was lurking in my brain, which was not the case yesterday…)

  5. Bruce N Morton says:

    Joining the chorus, today much less difficult than yesterday. and I think that has been the case for several consecutive weeks.

    I would seriously nit “in tempo” as being unidiomatic. A score often has the direction *a tempo*, after a ritard — directing the player to return to be basic tempo, and one might practice a piece below the final tempo but it is presumed that one will play without rhythmic inaccuracies, sloppiness or distortion and that is the only context I can think of for “in tempo.”

  6. Steve Manion says:

    I found both to be tough. This one was potentially easier, but I had so many missteps that it turned out to be just as tough for me as yesterday’s. When I read the clue for EYRE, I only remembered that it was about something small, so when I had the Y, I put in TYKE. That was not the only mistake that sent me offtrack. I was definitely not on the right wavelength today.


  7. Paul Coulter says:

    Today’s NYT was slightly harder for me than Friday’s and Amy beat me by a good two minutes this time. I agree with her about MEATRUB feeling a bit off and I had the same cringe over LEPER, but I did enjoy the pretty grid.

  8. e.a. says:

    really enjoyed today’s challenge, dug that NATE clue derek mentioned

  9. Tony says:

    For the WSJ puzzle, I did not like the cluing for NECKTIE @ 94-D. As far as I know, a Windsor is a type of tie KNOT and not a tie itself.

    • Norm says:

      Agreed. I’m a smallish person and use a half Windsor knot. What on earth would a half Windsor NECKTIE look like? I shudder to think.

  10. Norm says:

    Anyone else finding the LAT app extra wonky lately? Not anything at my end, I don’t think, since everything else is working fine, but I almost gave up this morning with the time lag between key strikes and screen update. Back to paper for me — even on the weekend when I’m not on BART.

  11. huda says:

    Anyone else having trouble downloading the Sunday puzzle in Across Lite? It looks like it’s downloading, timer and framework are there, but no content…

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      It was everyone, Huda! They say it’s fixed now, but I gave up and printed out the “newspaper” version a while ago. Not used to hunting for 140 or so clues on a page! I like my clues to be spoon-fed to me one by one.

  12. Zulema says:

    I found the LAT crossword more difficult than the NYT today and I went wrong in various places which then complicated the non-crossings.

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