Saturday, February 11, 2017

CS 13:41 (Ade) 


LAT 5:50 (Derek) 


Newsday 20:45 (Derek) 


NYT 5:30 (Amy) 


WSJ untimed (pannonica) 


Frederick Healy’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 2 11 17, no 0211

I’m disinclined to spend much time blogging at the moment. So:


Not keen on RATED A (what??), RED HAT (would work better with a Linux clue, IMO), V-TEN, -EAN, plural DREWS, ALTHO, LEHI ([City on Utah Lake]? You don’t say), ONE LAP, SEINED, “WHEN, THEN?”, “DO SAY” (“do tell” is far more familiar), plural WAHOOS, ITEA.

I like the NAACP Image Award clue for SPIKE LEE, the verb clue for DOCKS, [Something needed to raise the bar?] to clue a TOLL at the tollbooth, the seemingly nautical clue for SALAMI, and [Things weighed in pounds?] for PUPS.

3.25 stars from me. How’d you like it?

C.C. Burnikel’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up

Quick writeup today; I am sick as a dog! Jammed through this one in just under 6 minutes, but I am used to solving C.C.’s puzzles at this point! A 72-worder with virtually all easy fill! A solid 4.4 stars from me!

Just a few notes:

  • 1A [Bar line] WHAT’S ON TAP? – Great 1-Across entry. Not in the mood for a beer, though, as my stomach is in knots!
  • 23A [County in Ulster] TYRONE – Really? This is tough, but informative, since I had no idea.
  • 45A [Bug zappers?] SERA – I need some “sera” to cure what ails me!
  • 48A [Green smoke product] E-CIG – The name evokes something environmentally friendly, but I am pretty sure these are still not good for you.
  • 65A [Cell notice] E-MAIL ALERT – If you get as much email as I do, you had better turn those alerts off!
  • 6D [“The Barefoot Contessa” Oscar winner Edmond] O’BRIEN – Just go with Conan!
  • 12D [Poker telecast equipment] POCKET CAM – Is this the little camera that shows the players hands? Nice.
  • 13D [Metaphor for obvious protrusion] SORE THUMB – Very nice!
  • 32D [They’re high on the Scoville scale] HABANEROS – Scoville scale should tip you to the fact that we’re looking for a pepper. Ghost peppers I believe are the hottest!
  • 37D [“Well, well!”] I DECLARE – This entry is in today’s NYT!
  • 39D [Carrier to Beijing] AIR CHINA – Never flown Air China!

That is all. Going back to bed!

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

Tried my own advice: just relax and concentrate! I still fought this for over 20 minutes, but solved without any references or Googling! Not as bad as some other Longo solving experiences I have had in the past, but still a good puzzle by Frank. A couple of fairly difficult entries, and some brutally tough clues, but I enjoyed this solve. 4.5 stars.

A few notes since I am sick:

  • 5A [Group with the “Our Wild America” campaign] SIERRA CLUB – Totally clueless with this one at first; after a few crossing letters it became obvious. Great clue!
  • 31A [Pouty pose] DUCK FACE – This seems like a requisite for a female selfie. I would post an example picture, but I don’t want to see anymore!
  • 36A [All-time top-selling trio] BEE GEES – This made sense after I got it, but better than the Supremes?
  • 39A [Total heat of a thermodynamic system] ENTHALPY – One of those really difficult words. Unless you’re a physicist!
  • 52A [Treat with orange pieces] CARROT CAKE – Great clue! And getting hungry …
  • 56A [Original Soft Spread purveyor] BLUE BONNET – They still sell this brand? I remember their commercials when I was a kid!
  • 4D [Skeptic-stunning success] LAST LAUGH – My favorite clue/entry in the puzzle!
  • 7D [Moved items on a page] E-TAILED – This is a close second!
  • 20D [Compact contract] CAR LEASE – This is also good! We’ll call it #3!
  • 32D [Alternatives to handlebars] FU MANCHUS – Awesome. I figured out we were dealing with mustaches, but which other one? Nicely done!
  • 45D [Drum heard in Shankar recordings] TABLA – Another tough word. Clue actually fairly revealing, so you realize you’re looking for an Indian percussion. Still a fairly uncommon word.

Stopping here. Have a great weekend!

Dan Fisher’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “A+” — pannonica’s write-up

WSJ • 2/11/17 • “A+” • Fisher • Sat • solution

Theme here is kind of like Pig Latin, without the relocation of the terminal phoneme to the front of the word. It’s just the long-a stuck on the end, though the spellings change.

  • 23a. [Crusoe’s profound companion?] DEEP FRIDAY (… fried).
  • 25a. [Proscription from a chef who can’t stand eel?] NEVER MORAY (nevermore).
  • 37a. [Craft services spread?] MOVIE BUFFET (… buff).
  • 62a. [Perfumed pouch for counteracting odors from the outside?] WINDOW SACHET (… sash).
  • 68a. [Masterwork by a French painter?] LEADING MANET (… man).
  • 90a. [Cup before the barista fills it?] VACANT LATTE (… lot).
  • 108a. [Authorization for the exterminator to employ rodenticide?] POISON OKAY (… oak).
  • 110a. [Attack that brings the war to a close?] FINAL FORAY (… Four).
  • 36d. [Insignificant bit of prestige?] PETTY CACHET (… cash).
  • 43d. [Alight in an Asian island capital?] TOUCH TAIPEI (touch-type).

No -eighs or -eys, but a fairly inclusive array of spellings. Four -ays, four -ets, one -e, and one -ei. And they all work.

  • 97a [Neckline shape] VEE followed by 99a [Queen Anne’s line] STUARTS. Nevertheless, I am now imagining a top with a lacy, white v-neck.
  • 12d [State to be the case] AVER, 32d [Confess openly] AVOW.

Sorry to cut this short, but I’ve got to run. Fine crossword, but nothing super-special.

Brad Wilber’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post Crossword, “Con(s)-Descending” —Ade’s write-up

CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword solution, 02.11.17: “Con(s)-Descending”

Good afternoon, everyone! Have a lot of catching up to do on here, but, thank goodness, I get to start with today’s puzzle, brought to us by Mr. Brad Wilber. In it, each clue to the 15-letter theme entries is the same, capitalized one-letter word, CON. The answers, all going down – or descending – are a coming together of different types of words describing the act of conning someone. Very nice concept.


It took longer than I thought to untangle myself in this grid, especially when I Was trying to figure out what was going on when coming across those “CON” clues. Absolutely drew a blank for a while on C.O.D., and that didn’t help things either in breaking into the grid (21D: [“The Bride Came ____” (Bette Davis movie)]). I thought o knew my Cagney/Davis movies, but, obviously, that wasn’t the case! Oh, and I have never watched 101 Dalmatians, so PONGO was not going to come to me without its crossings (36D: [Canine dad in Disney’s “101 Dalmatians]). Sounds like it’s time to watch a few more movies, huh?! Did you know that fact in the clue to EDIBLE (45A: [Like some glitter])? Wait, I take that back. Of course I know, as I’ve eating my fair share of cupcakes with, I believe, glitter on them. For those who are big in math, there’s the abbreviations of DIAM (42A: [Circle meas.]) and TRIG in the grid (52D: [Math subj. where tangents are relevant]). This added up to one fun, yet challenging grid.

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: KNORR (30D: [Soup-in-an-envelope brand]) – Former Major League Baseball catcher Randy KNORR was a member of the Toronto Blue Jays during their runs to both the 1992 and 1993 World Series titles in a backup role. Knorr also spent time with the Houston Astros, Florida Marlins, Texas Rangers and Montreal Expos in his 11-year MLB career, from 1991-2001.

See you all for the Sunday Challenge!

Take care!


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39 Responses to Saturday, February 11, 2017

  1. Steve Manion. says:

    This was harder for me than it needed to be. I put in STEN instead of VTEN and had several words that I parsed incorrectly. I thought what turned out to be GETS A TAN had something to do with SATAN and SEASONED had something to do with the SEA.

    Excellent puzzle. Both puzzles this weekend were of average difficulty.

    I got a kick out of the opera-related allusions yesterday. Do any of you know Aqib Talib, Josh Norman or Malcolm Butler? I would say that for everyone who knows any librettist there are 100 who know these guys. I enjoy learning about music (my major shortcoming), but chuckle every time I read about the obscurity of an athlete compared with someone in opera or classical music.


  2. Just a small heads-up: the Post Magazine puzzles for tomorrow and next week on Feb. 19 both contain some grid elements that aren’t available in Across Lite, so I recommend you print out the PDF versions and solve them on paper. This is especially true for tomorrow’s puzzle.

    The Feb. 12 puzzle can be accessed at later today at the same time as the .puz file becomes available (at 6 pm ET). Next week’s puzzle will have almost the same URL, but change the filename to wp170219.pdf.

    Thanks. </PSA>

  3. Christopher Smith says:

    Maybe I live in a bubble but had never come across the verb SEINED in my life until this. Also, although a fan of ED KOCH, really not a fan of how he was clued here. The real hero of the NYC financial crisis was Felix Rohatyn.

  4. Michael says:

    8D, 12D: “You don’t say!” 52D: DO SAY.

  5. pannonica says:

    LAT: 56d [Arboreal Amazon monkey] TITI. As opposed to all the ground-dwelling and burrowing monkeys among the dozens and dozens of species there? 63a [“That’ll never work!”\ ROTTEN IDEA – crossworthy? 25a [Some broken pegs, or where they’re found] TEES – I don’t understand the clue in its entirety.

    I found the northwest to be surprisingly difficult.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Don’t forget about the monkeys that live their entire life cycle beneath the surface of the Amazon River.

      Golf tees are pegs that are often broken when whacked by a gold club, and the part of the golf course where tees are used is called the tee.

  6. David L says:

    I found the NYT very uneven. I breezed through the NW, slowed down a bit with the SW (DOSAY? not a real phrase. And I can’t see that ALTHO and “e’en if” mean the same thing) and then I ground to a halt with the rest of the puzzle. Eventually finished with a wrong guess on that LELI/ITEA crossing. Oh, and I had ILO instead of ILA.

    Is there any kind of catch that isn’t MIDAIR?

  7. Bruce N Morton says:

    I’ve never fished in my life, either with a pole, or a seine net, but “seine” didn’t bother me at all. The entry I thought was odd was “pups” As in baby dogs? Is there something distinctive about weighing puppies in pounds? Can’t anything be weighed in pounds? I know that the weight in pounds of a human baby is often announced, but I think that’s different. Is geek chic a real expression or just a roll your own? I was trying to fit in something like “geekiness”. All in all, a good enjoyable puzzle, though.

  8. Lise says:

    NYT: I have a question: does it matter that the clue for 32A was “Holy cow!” and the answer for 35D (“Flip”) was “HAD A COW”? Or is that a non-issue?

    For the record, I liked the puzzle. I had a little trouble in the SW due to answering 56D HULL instead of HOLD. I liked GEEKCHIC, LASER TAG (is that still a Thing?) and RED HAT for cardinal – I love looking at the ones right outside my window, competing with squirrels for their food.

    I guess “cardinal” was meant to refer to the Catholic kind or maybe the baseball team.

    • Martin says:

      It’s really subjective. Different solvers have different opinions about duplications between clue words and entry words. So do different editors

      They don’t bother Will Shortz as much as they do some people. He has said that he only avoids them if the clue is likely to “spoil” the unrelated entry. The question is how likely would a solver “get” the answer to “Flip” having just seen “Holy cow!” as another clue? At least in the opinion of one editor, it’s not very likely. The after-the-fact appearance of a phrase in the grid that might echo a clue may strike some solvers as inelegant but because it’s not apt to affect the solving experience, this editor doesn’t really mind. Obviously, others are more sensitive to these than Will Shortz is.

      • Lise says:

        Thanks – it didn’t help or hinder me, nor did it bother me; I was just wondering, based on reviews I’ve read in the past on other sites.

        I also didn’t mind the Virginia Willow genus presence in the puzzle; I think there was one in the leaf collection I made in HS biology, and I can see that the LEHI/ITEA area was just an unfortunate grouping. And any puzzle with puppies is fine with me.

    • Jim Hale says:

      The bird was first, the others are posers.

  9. jim hale says:

    A little bit harder than normal puzzle imo. That being said, Lehi was easy for me as I spent most of my life in Utah county. On the other hand, the Virginia willow genus gave me all kinds of issues on the bottom right.

  10. David L says:

    I liked the Stumper, although I had OPEDCOLUMN for ACTIONLINE, which slowed me down greatly.

    I’m puzzled by the clue for ICETEA: “Beverage bought in Britain.” Ice tea is highly unusual in the UK, and if you did come across it it would probably be called ‘iced tea.’

    The clue for ETAILED is clever, but the word itself should be banned…

  11. JohnH says:

    Felt uneven to me, too. I didn’t mind SEINED, as the crossings plus the noun for net were enough for me, or RED HAT. DO SAY is maybe a bit less idiomatic than the dated DO TELL. But with all the exclamations, I struggled to get the crossing of TAYE and YOWZAH, much less LEHI and ITEA, which definitely felt unnecessary. (How many genus names are common English?) V-TEN was gettable, but only as crosswordese from past puzzles. GEEK CHIC was new to me, but I rather like it.

    The NE was my last, though. LAO was an obscure fact to me, I didn’t recognize OR ME, I remember when the Beatles were mop tops but not MOPHEAD, and I really struggled with “Just deserts.” Still don’t get it. Since it wasn’t “just desserts,” I expected something punningly removed from thoughts of good and bad reward, perhaps “gone awol,” and this wasn’t at all.

    • pannonica says:

      It seems you’re mistaken about the phrase, which is correctly just deserts, as in something deserved. The crossing 16a [Treat eaten with a spoon] SUNDAE probably didn’t help in disabusing you of that notion.

  12. Ethan Friedman says:

    The LEHI/ITEA crossing killed the whole puzzle for me. I just guessed letters for that intersecting “I” until I got the “you did it” message. ugh

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