Andrew Kingsley’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Pretty solid 70-worder, albeit easier than I was expecting for the Saturday puzzle. Bright spots include RETRO CHIC, ALIEN RACE, WEED EATER, HARE-BRAINED, THE POPE, GRASS STAINS, and BROMANCE.
I’m less keen on NO-CARB, British ENROL, wishy-washy OPEN SINCE, CERT., and TO A TEE.
Check out these things:
- 38d. [Bond seen in “Wayne’s World”], BROMANCE. President Obama mentioned the Internet’s delight in the BROMANCE between him and Vice President Biden. I’d have published this post a half hour ago, but this answer reminded me that I wanted to watch Biden’s full Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony (scroll down for the 27-minute NBC video). Oh! Uncle Joe, we’ll miss you. They pop a surprise award on him and he manages to make a lovely and genuine 20-minute speech (quoting poet Seamus Heaney and the Talmud) with presumably no preparation. I do like Biden.
- 15a. [Kimchi solution]. BRINE. Between this clue and the Time Lords clue for ALIEN RACE, I tell ya, this puzzle is playing to Deb Amlen‘s interests.
- 7d. [It “paralyzes life,” per Martin Luther King Jr.], HATRED. Timely, with his birthday coming up on Sunday.
- 64a. [Person on a quick vacation, maybe], WEEKENDER. I’ve never heard this term applied to a weekend traveler. Have you? Is this a term bandied about in resort towns?
- 43d. [Manure byproduct], BIOGAS / 51a. [Mother of the wind gods], EOS. Draw your own parallels.
3.8 stars from me.
Jeffrey Harris’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post Crossword, “Fauxlliteration” —Ade’s write-up
Good morning, everyone! We have a very fun crosswords in front of us, brought to us by Mr. Jeffrey Harris. In it, the four theme entries are two-word phrases in which the first word and the second word start with the same letter, but the words start with different syllables, bringing a twist to the alliterative answers.
- WENT WRONG (17A: [Didn’t proceed as planned])
- KITCHEN KNIVES (28A: [Chef’s sharp set])
- POP PSYCHOLOGY (43A: [Malcolm Gladwell’s field])
- HAPPY HOUR (58A: [Time for drinks])
I can’t say that I’m too proud that I got NICKY immediately, but it seems that trashy Adam Sandler movies are things I can recall off the top of my head (34A: [“Little _____” (Adam Sandler movie)]). Isn’t that the one where he plays the son of Satan? Goodness me, I have to start thinking of something else, and stat! It’s nice to see the geography intersection of MOLDAVIA (11D: [Former Eastern Europe principality]) and GRENADA in the grid (25A: [Caribbean island invaded in 1983]). How many of you personally know friends who decided to ELOPE (16A: [Wed in secret])? Well, as of last month, I officially now know one person who did just that, and couldn’t have been happier for her (and her husband). It just made me curious to know if people I know also know people who did the same thing since I did not know anyone who eloped – until now. Very strong fill in this grid, with ALL EARS (48A: [Eager to listen]) and SENDAK also standing out today (3D: [“Where the Wild Things Are” author]). Alright, it’s off to MSG to see one of the top college basketball teams in America, Villanova, play St. John’s (8D: [Chinese food preservative]). Speaking of top college basketball teams…
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: ILLINI (10D: [“Fighting” college team]) – “Fighting” college team. Starts with an “I.” Has to be the Irish, right? Wrong! In 1989, the men’s basketball team at Urbana-Champaign, because of its fast-paced, above-the-rim play directed by head coach Lou Henson and led by future NBA players Kendall Gill and Nick Anderson, was nicknamed the Flying ILLINI, as the team made it all the way to the Final Four in 1989. In the Final Four, however, they lost in the national semifinals to eventual champion Michigan, who the Illini beat twice in Big Ten play in the regular season and were widely expected to beat in the Final Four game in Seattle.
See you all for the Sunday Challenge!
Roland Huget’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
A fun puzzle. Solving time makes me feel as if I am prepared for the ACPT. Only a couple of months to go! Just bought my plane tickets, reserved my room, procured a roommate, etc. So we are all set! After all of these years, including online solving, still looking for a clean solve on all seven puzzles. This is the year!
This grid pattern, as I believe I have recently mentioned, is rather easy to solve since it usually doesn’t contain long entries. This particular grid, due to a few less squares in the middle, has four 15-letter entries intertwined in it. All awesome entries, and other than an odd word or two has pretty good fill. Another slightly-tough-for-an-LAT-Saturday puzzle, but not too much. 4.3 stars for this one.
A few notes:
- 19A [Customs] MORES – Yes, I had NORMS in there!
- 22A [Viking family dog of comics] SNERT – I keep trying to spell this SNERD. I don’t read comics much anymore!
- 31A [Classic children’s story about healing] THE SECRET GARDEN – A classic novel, which I remember some classmates reading when I was in grade school. I should read it!
- 36A [’60s TV sidekick] AGENT NINETY-NINE – I used to watch Get Smart a lot, as it was on in syndication in the 80s quite a bit. She was cute!
- 53A [“Rocky IV” antagonist] DRAGO – Dolph Lundgren’s role is iconic. Always fun to watch a Rocky movie!
- 1D [Leftover] ODDMENT – I said the same thing: “That’s not a word!” But, alas, it is:
- 8D [Accessory for FDR] CIGARETTE HOLDER – Definitely an accessory that wouldn’t fly for a president today. Although Obama did smoke for the first good while of his terms. But no pics of him smoking!
- 21D [Six-time Hart Trophy winner] HOWE – An entry in the Newsday Stumper mentions him as well! He just passed away this past June.
- 33D [Cartoon canine] REN– Is this the most famous crossword dog? Or is it ASTA? Or TOTO? Or even RIN TIN TIN?!
- 38D [Hospital triage pro] ER NURSE – I thought this, too, was a weird word until I looked again!
It looks like it may be a tolerable January, unless you’re in the ice storm in the plains! Hang in there! Spring is almost here!
Lars G. Doubleday’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up
Full disclosure: I get these puzzles early for blogging purposes. Over the last two weeks, its a good thing, because I would be pulling what little hair I have out on Saturday fighting to solve these and then produce a sane write-up. We are warming up for the ACPT, so I am trying to hustle, but the joy of these puzzles are how you can put them down for a spell after you get hopelessly stuck, and sometimes (perhaps after a good night’s sleep!) upon resumption of solving the answers just fall into place. This puzzle is a great example of that tactic. I was “hopelessly stuck” several times, so after a while I simply abandoned the timer. If I had to guess, it was probably a total of 40-45 minutes of head-scratching. Got a bit frustrated at times, but not nearly as PERTURBed as I was last week. (See 6-Down!) There are at least three highly unfamiliar words in this one, so that adds to the difficulty level, but a few of the clues are, in typical Wilber/Peterson form, quite excellent. Here’s to another joyous challenge! A solid 4.5 stars for this brutal test.
Some notes (including some definitions!):
- 19A [Key to some fast exits] ESC – This actually wasn’t that hard. Just a nice clue!
- 35A [German dessert named for its “tree-ring” interior] BAUMKUCHEN – One of those new words I mentioned. Not even in the unabridged dictionary! This page explains all.
- 41A [Choppers’ achievements] BLACK BELTS – Another great clue. Made be grin a little!
- 46A [Champion recognition org.] WBC – I had the ?BC, to I just knew this was either BBC or CBC, although I didn’t know what “Champion” they were referring to. Totally fooled!
- 1D [Mr. and Mrs. Hockey] HOWES – I have heard of Gordie Howe referred to as “Mr. Hockey,” but never his wife. But just because I haven’t heard of her in that way doesn’t mean it isn’t true!
- 9D [Ties-to-be, perhaps] RAW SILK – Best clue, in my opinion. Very clever. Part of the contribution to the difficult NE corner.
- 11D [Beneficiary of ill-gotten gains] KLEPTOCRACY – Had to look this one up. Hopefully this isn’t this country!
- 32D [Sgt. or PFC] ABBR. – Another nominee for best clue. No it isn’t another military acronym!
- 36D [Quick look] APERCU – Definitely not an everyday word. In Indiana. But it is in the dictionary!
Pancho Harrison’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Alien Invasion” — pannonica’s beam-up
Not-a-revealer-but-still-connectable-to-the-theme: 95a [Tabloid topic] UFO. What we have are a lot of phrases with ET dropped into them.
- 23a. [Anna Pavlova or Margot Fonteyn, once?] BELLE OF THE BALLET (… ballet).
- 34a. [Result of a leaky pen, perhaps?] POCKET MARK (pockmark).
- 49a. [Astronaut’s seat?] ROCKETING CHAIR (rocking …).
- 66a. [Pluto’s downgrade in 2006 and the like?] CHANGE OF PLANETS (… plans).
- 89a. [Well-to-do wasp?] HORNET OF PLENTY (horn …).
- 102a. [Close attachment formed during an official trip?] JUNKET BOND (junk).
- 117a. [Sous-chef’s spot in a seafood restaurant?] FILLETING STATION (filling …).
Regarding the video: I’d only known Deepika, a Norwegian of Punjabi descent, from her collaboration on this track from Henry Kaiser and David Lindley’s 1994 album (a follow-up to their explorations in Madagascar on the A World Out of Time recordings). But it turns out the erstwhile pop singer is also an accomplished film director and human rights activist who has received numerous awards.
- Getting this off my chest before anything else: cruciverbal ne’er-do-wells OSA and OSIERS crossing each other? Sheesh, where’s my buddy ESAI Morales? 10d [She-bear, in Spain], 21a [Wickerwork things].
- 64a [Letter resembling the symbol for Neptune] PSI. The Greek antecedent and correlate of the SEA GOD is POSEIDON.
- 8d [Vacation souvenir] T-SHIRT, 124a [Vacation souvenirs] TANS. 39a/73d [Blacken] CHAR, SEAR. 107a “Draft Dodger Rag” singer Phil] OCHS followed by 110a [Dodge] AVOID (see also 17d [Draftee’s denial] NO SIR. 15d Sidelines salutation] HI MOM followed by 16d [Sidelines setting] ARENA. 4d [Skiing turn] TELEMARK (speaking of Norway, above), 45d [Go downhill fast] SCHUSS. 74a [Business partner, often] SON, 71d [Partner’s share, often] HALF. Lot of these connections here, and I wasn’t even straining.
- One more, though: 62a [Broadcaster in more than 40 languages: Abbr.] VOA, 119d [“Today” rival, familiarly] GMA. Duplication is avoided in 99d [Founder of the first U.S. Shaker colony] ANN LEE, but it occurs at 108d [Poorest nation in the Americas] HAITI.
- 9d [Inner ears] COBS. Wow, this corny clue fooled me for a long time.
- 31a [Big name in label makers] DYMO. Surprised not to see this more frequently in crosswords. This is not a value judgment.
Anodyne crossword. A mildly enjoyable puzzle,