James Mulhern’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Straight to the list, people:
- Favorite answer, 61a. [Warm, inviting facial feature], KIND EYES. I like people with kind eyes (though they sometimes end up with too many strangers unburdening themselves).
- 9a. [Pacific demonstrations], SIT-INS. Pacific – peaceful, whereas my first thought here was the ocean and those various atomic tests.
- 15a. [News source with a “For the Record” feature], USA TODAY. Did you know that Fred Piscop is the crossword editor there now? And that his stable of constructors includes many familiar names? I don’t know that the puzzles are online, but if you’re in a hotel, you might actually enjoy the crossword for a change.
- 20a. [City in Central Macedonia], EDESSA. Crosswordese place name, but usually we see it clued as a place of yore rather than a current town. But! It’s a rip-off because “Central Macedonia” is part of Greece rather than Macedonia, where a friend of mine lives. Different place from the Mesopotamian Edessa. Also a rip-off because the Greek Edessa has a population of 18,229 and there is no earthly reason a solver would be expected to know it. I mean, there’s a Sporcle quiz with the 20 most populous cities in Greece, and it ain’t in there … and the answers are mostly cities I had never heard of. (See also: 55d. [Seat of Missouri’s Douglas County], AVA, population 2,993. What is this malarkey??)
- 23a. [Violinist Kavafian], ANI. Who? Apparently she gets around but has been mostly at the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, not among the preeminent venues.
- 46a. [Bulbous perennial], SEGO. Largely crosswordese. Now pondering the descriptor perennially bulbous and feeling mildly amused.
- 3d. [They result in very fast response times], CAT-LIKE REFLEXES. Cool answer.
12d, “I HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY”? Not so much. 2.9 stars from me.
Neville Fogarty’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
Neville was my opponent in the LearnedLeague Mini-League with the theme Extracts 2. I won’t discuss how I did! ;-) (UPDATE: we tied!) But let’s talk about his puzzle! Very well done, it contains a Z, and lots of fun entries. Not crazy about 57A (INURED TO), but everything around it makes up for it, and you should know this word anyway if you do crosswords, so deal with it! Besides, if that is my only complaint, that means this is a nice puzzle! I actually tried to hurry a bit with this one, so that’s why I got it done in under 7 minutes. Not quite podium ready at Stamford, but we should place nicely! 4.4 stars.
Lots to discuss:
- 1A [Robin on ’60s TV] BURT WARD – I watched that campy Batman TV show so many times, this was a gimme for me. Always nice to start a tough puzzle with a correct 1-Across!
- 20A [Biting criticism] ACID TONGUE – I checked xwordinfo.com, and there isn’t an occurrence of this, suprisingly! Great entry.
- 25A [Dropped jaws] WOWED ‘EM – Another great entry. I first thought about fighting, I must admit!
- 31A [“Star Trek” rank: Abbr.] ENS. – It’s always the ensign that dies!
- 48A [Balderdash] UTTER ROT – This has a few NYT occurrences. But still a nice one.
- 2D [Radius neighbor] ULNA – This is too easy!
- 4D [Some breaks in the NFL action] TV TIMEOUTS – … and also the main reason I like watching soccer! NO TIMEOUTS or COMMERCIALS!
- 12D [Fruity chip go-with] MANGO SALSA – Getting hungry …
- 29D [Contemporary “Be yourself”] KEEP IT REAL – I think the kids also like to “keep it 100!”
- 36D [Marshland waders] BITTERNS – This one was tough. Not as familiar with this type of bird, but it ends in TERN, and we know that’s a bird!
- 47D [Pollo partner] ARROZ – Pollo is chicken, while arroz is rice in Spanish.
- 55D [Slugger who began and ended his career as a Texas Ranger] SOSA – Former Cubbie!! Hall of Fame perhaps someday, after the steroid fears die down?
See you all on Tuesday!
Matthew Sewell’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up
Definitely not as tough as the last couple of Stumpers, and that is a good thing! This one is still tough, just not bang-your-head-against-the-wall tough. The middle, SW, and NE were the easiest parts, while the NW and SE played a lot harder for me. Actually finished in the upper left, and it is always frustrating when you finish right where you started! I have done a few by Matthew Sewell now, and I like his puzzles. Very little to not like about this puzzle: a slightly lower word count would have garnered even higher marks for this one. As it is, I will call it 4.3 stars.
Some interesting parts:
- 17A [Temp’s field] GIG ECONOMY – I had to look this up, but when I was an Uber driver for a short time, I was part of this! More freelancers basically translates to cheaper prices for certain services, such as Uber.
- 30A [Opposite of “Shoot away”] NO CAMERAS – I got the idea that we were talking about picture “shooting” rather quickly, but still a good clue!
- 38A [Josiah Wedgwood contemporary] SPODE – We are talking pottery here. Spode’s first name was Josiah too!
- 56A [Standard units for ship-hull depth] DECIMETERS – If you say so! I believe you!
- 1D [Org. cofounded by Babe Zaharias] LPGA – This was a gimme for me. Always nice to get an easy one at 1A or 1D!
- 11D [Strive for currency acquisition] TRY TO KEEP UP – …with the proverbial Joneses no doubt!
- 12D [Target for driverless cars] HUMAN ERROR – This will only lead to computer error!
- 28D [PETA’s 2014 “Best Vegan-Friendly Chain”] TCBY – But can you get a burrito there? No! There are not many TCBYs near where I live. Closest one is 1.5 hours away!
- 38D [“The same old __ that I knew” (Billy Joel lyric)] SOMEONE – From Just the Way You Are, one of his most popular songs. Still hope to see him in concert someday!
- 40D [Data provider for the Uber driver app] TOM TOM – I had a Nike GPS running watch that was also powered by TomTom. I have a Garmin n0w. Similarly, if you drive for Uber, use Waze!
On the bright side, it is supposed to be unseasonably warm this weekend here in the midwest! Enjoy your weekend!
Elizabeth C. Gorski’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Seeking Professional Help” — pannonica’s write-up
Apologies, no spare time or energy today to do more than merely describe the theme and show the solution grid. Insertion of PARA to existing phrases.
- 23a. [Brake in the most ideal way?] STOP ON A PARADIGM (… dime).
- 31a. [Need for a last glide behind the boat?] FINAL PARASAIL (… sale).
- 41a. [They tweet in the bathroom?] JOHN PARAKEETS (… Keats).
- 66a. [Instantaneous attraction to a freeloader?] LOVE AT FIRST PARASITE (… sight).
- 92a. [Allegory taught in an anger management class?] RAGING PARABLE (… bull).
- 100a. [Utopia for a teddy bear?] FUZZY PARADISE (… dice).
- 117a. [Lifesaver for a birdbrained skydiver?] TURKEY PARACHUTE (… shoot).
I think it was a good puzzle. My mind is elsewhere.
Patrick Jordan’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post Crossword, “Diamond Doings” —Ade’s write-up
Good afternoon, people! Today’s crossword, brought to us by Mr. Patrick Jordan, is a little reminder that baseball season starts in just over a month when pitchers and catchers report! OK, maybe it wasn’t a reminder of that, but it definitely does deal with happenings on a baseball diamond, with the last word of each of the theme entries pertaining to an action you would see at the ball yard.
- VAMPIRE BAT (17A: [Fanged flapper in a fright film]) – I love the alliterative cluing.
- SALES PITCH (59A: [Advertising agency presentation])
- SAFETY CATCH (10D: [Firearm mechanism])
- VISUAL FIELD (24D: [Sight range])
I did enjoy this puzzle from Patrick more than other puzzles that I usually solve from him, and it wasn’t just because of the sports THEME (6D: [Unifying idea]). Liked the fill around it, even SCAPA, because, even as a surprise to myself, I had heard of that a couple of times before coming across this today and didn’t have any trouble in filling it in (36A: [Scotland’s _____ Flow]). What also made me smile was PAULI, though it has nothing to do with Catholicism (27D: [Pope elected in 757]). Seeing it in the grid made me think of the time I was in Hamburg in 2006 and spent some time in St. Pauli and walked along the Elbe. One of the times of my life!! I would put pictures of it on here, but I can’t tell you where those files are. Well, guess it’s time to make new memories and head there again soon, right?.
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: ELIAS (41A: [Howe who had people in stitches]) – I’m pretty sure I once talked about a professional hockey player named Patrik Elias in this space, so I’ll now talk about former National Football League player Keith ELIAS, who played for five seasons in the NFL between 1994 and 1999 with the New York Giants and Indianapolis Colts. Elias, while at Princeton University, established himself as one of the greatest D-1 running backs of all time, as he left the school as the Division 1-AA record holder in career rushing yards per game (140.3) and career points per game (10.7).
See you all for the Sunday Challenge!
Ani and sister Ida Kavafian are both top-tier musicians. Here they are, as part of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (Ani on violin and Ida on viola), playing the Ravel Introduction and Allegro in 1982. Yes, they don’t concertize as much now that they’re in their sixties but they’re still very respected. New Haven is not far from Ani’s home, which makes is a convenient trip for her and her 1736 Stradivarius (not the easiest item to schlep around the world).
Sego lilies and their relatives the mariposa lilies are quite gorgeous. I look forward to one of them that grows locally and that covers a hill near my house each summer with butterfly-like blooms. They’re crosswordese only if you live east of the Rockies.
I had to look up KAVAFIAN to finish the puzzle– since I tried IDA before trying ANI, so that wasn’t much fun. I suppose it’s good that ANI wasn’t clued as either the blackbird or the singer.
“…only if you live east of the Rockies.”
You mean, like the New York Times?
And most of the country.
Thank you. You got in ahead of me about the Kavafians. Very well known in New York and elsewhere.
USA Today crosswords are online at http://games.usatoday.com/games/crossword/
Thanks for the link!
Came right here after solving to be sure you shared my disdain for KIND EYES as an entry, only to find it topping your list of pluses. Srsly? Look, I’m not a monster, I like *people* with kind eyes too. But it’s no more a unitary phrase in the language than SHAPELY NOSE, GORGEOUS DIMPLE or EVOLVED VIEWS ON THE POLITICAL SITUATION.
Don’t know whether I agree with you, but this is funny.
I feel that KIND EYES have more to do with intention than with beauty.
NYT: 33A “Prized game fish” – TARPONS. Look, I know TARPONS is listed as an acceptable plural form for TARPON but it just doesn’t sound right to me – kind of hits my ear like “deers” or “mooses.”