Adam Fromm’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Oh, hey. The Friday puzzle was a little harder than I expected, so of course the Saturday one’s 15% easier, plays like a Friday.
It won me over right away with 4d RICK SPRINGFIELD, whose concert was one of the first I saw in high school. JUICE BOX, JACKASS: THE MOVIE, “ROXANNE,” A RAISIN IN THE SUN, ATALANTA, “BITE ME,” and EDIE FALCO. Bonus disco-era nostalgia points for Leo SAYER; my mom ordered one of his albums from the record club.
Int eh fill’s debit column are plural AWS, ECCLES., the somewhat iffy RED DRESS, the who-actually-uses-that-term MINICAR, and boring ILEA and ENOS.
Seven more things:
- 1a. [Skye, the Small Isles, etc.], HEBRIDES. Geography right off the bat. Fiend-approved!
- 15a. [Eaglelike], AQUILINE / 16a. [Armpit, to a doctor], AXILLA. If only there were a constellation called Axilla, the celestial armpit.
- 29d. [Its logo is based on a Pennsylvania Dutch hex sign], CBS. For real? Not a trivia bit I knew.
- 41d. [Coastline features], CAPES. Do you know this word as a verb, too? It means “to defend someone you oughtn’t be defending,” basically. If you hated this puzzle but I tell you I liked it, you may say I’m caping for Adam Fromm.
- 3d. [Riviera, e.g.], BUICK. Anyone else think this clue was about the French Riviera rather than a car make?
- 9d. [Achievements in large-scale topiary], MAZE. I want Achievement in Large-Scale Topiary to be an awards category somewhere.
- 12d. [Reducing to splinters], SLIVERING. Do people sliver wood, or just almonds?
Four stars from me.
Elizabeth C Gorski’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Tie Game” — pannonica’s write-up
Busy day for me today, so just a skeletal report here.
Bunch of asterisked clues.
- 23a. [*Glowing brightly] WHITE HOT.
- 35a. [*It begins in the heart of Munchkin City] YELLOW BRICK ROAD.
- 44a. [*Annual event held in Hard Rock Stadium] ORANGE BOWL.
- 54a. [*Marvel supervillain who throws pumpkin bombs] GREEN GOBLIN.
- 54a. [*3M or Microsoft, e.g.] BLUE CHIP STOCK.
- 83a. [*Schmaltzy writing] PURPLE PROSE.
- 90a. [*Bring a sandwich from home] BROWN BAG IT.
- 97a. [*1968 coming-of-age novel by Richard Bradford] RED SKY AT MORNING.
- 116a. [*Cruise locale bordered by six countries] BLACK SEA.
So we obviously have phrases beginning with colors, but I’m not perceiving the sequence. Certainly it begins with WHITE and ends with BLACK. In between there are primaries, secondaries, and even a tertiary, but they aren’t arranged by wavelength frequency so a rainbow (-bow, ‘tie’ of the title … no, that doesn’t go anywhere) is out.
Oh wait! Stop the presses! Revealer that I completely missed as the last across entry: 124a [Sport whose belt levels, from beginning to advanced, appear in the starred answers] KARATE. Nifty. And nary an OBI in the grid.
All right, must fly.
Debbie Ellerin’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up
I was able to plow through this one pretty quickly. I think I was in a good mood! If you are not a fast solver, perhaps you think how a challenging puzzle can be solved in under 7 minutes. Well trust me: I wonder the same thing about how people like Dan Feyer or Erick Agard or Andy Kravis (just to name a few) can solve one of these in around 4 or 5 minutes. And if you add in solving on the computer, their time may be even faster. I have been solving crosswords for the majority of my existence on this earth, and I continue to marvel at the genius of those top solvers. I suppose it is similar to watching a sport on TV that you actually play. I am watching tennis right now as I type, and after playing lots of tennis when I was younger, I suppose I know how hard that sport really is, so it is enjoyable to watch what they can accomplish on the court. That is what makes the ACPT so much fun: you can compete on the same level playing field as everyone else. You can also run the same marathon course as the pros do; just not as fast!
Wow I am rambling! Great puzzle by Debbie Ellerin today. Other than a couple of relatively obscure words in the middle section of the grid, I thought this had smooth fill throughout. But in reality, you WANT a couple of harder words. How else do we learn new words? 4.4 stars for this gem.
A few notes (including those two obscure words!):
- 16A [Shout from Speedy] ARRIBA! – You should know this. Speedy Gonzalez was always shouting ARRIBA and ANDALÉ. Yes, my use of accent marks is probably very wrong!
- 22A [Rotten Tomatoes caution] SPOILER ALERT – I actually don’t see this much at Rotten Tomatoes, but I do trust their scores, especially if they are over 90 or under 15!
- 35A [Thatcher of Blair, e.g.] OXONIAN – This refers to someone who has attended Oxford. I may have run across it before, but I cannot recall. Toughie!
- 37A [Smirks] SIMPERS – This is the other obscure-ish word. Not generally used in the conversations I am in!
- 45A [2008 financial crisis mantra] TOO BIG TO FAIL – Best entry in the puzzle by far. This was in the news A LOT around the financial crunch ten years ago or so.
- 1D [Still-life subjects] PEARS – Not VASES? EWERS?? I was totally fooled by this one!
- 3D [One who shuns shaking] GERMOPHOBE – Great clue, but not my favorite (that one is coming up). Matt Lauer of The Today Show is a noted germophobe.
- 36D [Problem addressed by counters] INSOMNIA – THIS one is my favorite clue! Great misdirection!
- 45D [Word in pregame instructions] TAILS – No, not board game instructions! Imagine a referee before a football game explaining the coin toss rules. Nicely crafted clue!
Have a wonderful weekend everyone!
Frank Longo’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up
Another toughie by Frank this week. I am always amazed at how, while solving his puzzles, I am totally stumped. But then when I examine the grid at the end, virtually the entire puzzle is comprised of common words and phrases! The clueing is definitely the key, and Frank is a master at this type of puzzle. Still one of my favorite constructors! I envision an easy Stumper next week! 4.5 stars for this masterpiece.
A few comments:
- 16A [Its notes have Arabic and Kurdish text] IRAQI DINAR – Once you realize the “notes” are money, this makes perfect sense. Great clue.
- 24A [“Puh-leeze!”] HAH! – Is it HAH or HUH in these cases? Similar to AHA or OHO for a statement of realization. And the crosser at 5d [JIGSAWING] was not easy!
- 26A [Vests with laces] BODICES – I had CORSETS in there, and unsurprisingly it wasn’t working well!
- 58A [Maître d’s voice in “Beauty and the Beast”] ORBACH – As in the late Jerry Orbach of Law and Order fame. I knew this, but it took me a minute to remember his name!
- 66A [Up-and-comer’s dream] STAR STATUS – Had an error in here. Wasn’t thinking clearly! Maybe because I have absolutely ZERO aspirations to attain “star status!”
- 9D [African bull or cow] HIPPO – I was on the right track when I tried RHINO!
- 20D [Penguins play there] NHL – The Penguins are still alive in the playoffs, unlike my hometown Blackhawks, who were embarrassed in the first round!
- 40D [Croquette of a sort] FISH CAKE – This does not sound appetizing!
- 47D [Abdul-Jabbar, notably] SCORER – Accurate, seeing as he is the all-time leading scorer in NBA history!
Looks like a nice weekend! Enjoy!
NYT: Agreed, easier than yesterday, mostly due to cluing.
I wish ECCLES could be clued as a 1963 Nobelist in Physiology and Medicine. Sir John Eccles was a big deal, and should rate an appearance over an abbreviation…
Happy Science Day! March for Science in DC and in about 500 places world wide…
Why not Marriner Eccles, former chairman of the Federal Reserve ?
The Hebrides take their name from the Norse “haf bred eyr” or islands the edge of the ocean.
The Shetland group of nearly 100 only became part of Britain at the end of the 15th century, when their ruler Christian I of Denmark, having pawned them, was unable to redeem his pledge. The culture remains basically Scandinavian and all the place names have Norse origins. Author Anne Cleeves has written a series of mysteries located there, the first of which is “Raven Black” — Highly recommended!
I think your comments pertain more to the Outer Hebrides than the Inner Hebrides, such as Skye and Iona, which were under Norse rule for some time, but are Gaelic at heart.
Barry Silk, where are you?
Definitely easier than yesterday, and very enjoyable. Is the clue for Hwy (presumably highway) Any 1 or Any I? I don’t get it either way and I don’t get the “e.g.”.
I interpreted it as an abbreviation for Interstate as in I-90.
OK, that makes sense. I = Interstate.
Am I forever condemned to being “uare?” Do any of the computer experts here know how I can reclaim my true identity, Brucenm?
Bruce, I’m afraid uare who uare. That’s your true identity.
Try logging out (you should see a “Log out?” link if you click the “Reply” button in the comments), and log back in, typing your name instead of “uare” in the name line.
I am in the chorus that found Saturday’s much easier than Friday’s.
I owned a 1986 Buick Riviera. It was the first year that Buick downsized the model. Everything was on a computer screen. If you were going really fast, you could never tell how fast because the speedometer stopped at 85 and did nothing but blink at 85 after that.
I agree that this one was a bit easier.
One nit with the Stumper: Iguanas are not actually omnivores. That one stopped me for a bit, although I finally shrugged and put it in because it was the only thing that fit. But they’re not: http://www.anapsid.org/iguana/animalprotein.html
I realize that, as usual, I’m from a whole other culture than Amy and many of you, but this was not at all an easier than Friday puzzle for me. I bogged down in particular for the longest time in the NW. I didn’t know (as usual) either long TV answer there, have never owned a car so found Riviera obscure, and of course that quadrant also had HAJJI, ILEA, and HEBRIDES, so crosswordese. (I have seen Skye before but never Small Isles. I see Hajj all the time, but not so often the pilgrims as anything but, well, as with Wikipedia on Hajj just “pilgrims.”) I also started with “dressy” for PREPPY (and so sea green for PEA green).
I didn’t know URICH either, but luckily EDIE FALCO eventually did come to mind somehow, without my ever once having watched the show. All that said, an excellent puzzle, however easy you find it.