Saturday, June 3, 2017

LAT 7:43 (Derek) 


Newsday 16:36 (Derek) 


NYT untimed (Jim Q) 


WSJ untimed (pannonica) 


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

Jim Q here filling in for the weekend while Amy is is in D.C. at The Indie 500 tournament. I’ll eagerly await the (very reasonably priced) solve-from-home option which will be delivered to my e-mail LATER ON tonight. Get in on the action with me by clicking here!

NYT Solution Grid, 6/2/17

Anyway, I had a lot of fun solving Huget’s puzzle… or maybe I should say puzzles, since its four distinct quadrants made for their own individual solving experiences. I will admit that I groaned a bit and had little faith in myself when I saw that it was only 62 words. Typically, that means some big time sacrifices in the fill, which is dangerous for me- especially on a Saturday- but I felt that this one was relatively clean. Let’s break it down:

PUZZLE #1: The Mini (center). Difficulty Level = Super Easy

I started in the dead center, drawn to the three letter words that didn’t appear to be as intimidating as the rest. And all of it was right in my wheelhouse. WIZ, BIZ, BIZET (those three words together would make a great name for a hipster chamber orchestra) fell in right away and SOBER, BEZEL, and NO WIN didn’t put up any resistance either.

I moved on to the next puzzle with wary confidence.

PUZZLE #2: The NE. Difficulty Level = Easy

BATTLES was relatively easy to fill in- especially with the clue [Things you must choose, it’s said]. I was able to figure out ANTES UP, MANTRA, and ARACHNE with no crosses, which made everything else easy to infer.

I was on my way to a record solve.

PUZZLE #3: The SW. Difficulty Level = Medium.

“Hey honey… I booked us the honeymoon suite at a ramada! What a deal!”

Had LEAN TOS for RAMADAS, which I had no idea was a type of open-sided shelter. I do find it somewhat ironic that a hotel chain shares the same name as one of these (see pic). But once I confidently entered TIM RICE (second musical theater clue) I was able to push through.

I thought [Kind of roast] was a strange way to clue WEENIE– And Googling it in quotes doesn’t yield a heck of a lot, although I did learn there is an annual Weenie Roast hosted by a radio station in California.

Confidence dampened just a tad by ARECIBO, but no worries just yet.

PUZZLE #4: The NW. Difficulty Level = Hard.

This is where time slowed for me. The only real gimme here was AIRHORN, and although I was solving alongside an avid soccer player, FAR POST took quite a while to suss out, especially when I wasn’t 100% confident on entries such as TYPE (thought it might be KIND) or OWES TO (kept changing it to NEED TO). Never heard of FASCIAS and I’ve only seen CAPISCE spelled as CAPEESH.

Confidence weakened.

PUZZLE #5: The SE. Difficulty Level = Super Hard. 

What made this so difficult for me was that the only entry I was confident with was BEDS for 49-Down [places where black-eyed Susans grow] which gave me BUT SOON (?) for 49-Across [Eventually]. And having EVASIVE instead of ELUSIVE didn’t help things either. So I had a hot mess that was tough to dig out of. But I did. LATER ON. After I replaced BEDS with LEAS.

I guess I should’ve known what a Mailer-Daemon notice was, but I didn’t. And I’m not current with my Phillipine strongmen either.

PINE SAP got me unstuck (love me some irony). But the damage was done. I took a couple breaks during this part and ignored the timer.

Mr. Happy Pencil did make an appearance though, and that’s always satisfying.

Overall, a fun puzzle with solid fill for a 62-worder, even if it was quite segmented.

4 stars from me.

Enjoy some PETULA Clark.

Pawel Fludzinski’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up

Gotta keep it short today, since the half marathon and the graduation party have me hopping. Also, a shout out to all the Indie 500 puzzlers! I will have to download the home version of those jokers tonight!

Pawel’s puzzles are always fun. This one is ambitious, with two 10-letter stacks and one 11-letter stack in the middle. I didn’t find it overly difficult, but still a hearty challenge. A solid 4.3 stars from me today.

Some mentionables:

  • 5A [Educational] SCHOLASTIC – This is synonymous with the company that produces a lot of children’s literature. I delivered a lot of it, too, at UPS!
  • 23A [Before Phelps, he held the record for most golds in a single Olympics] SPITZ – Can you imagine how popular he would be if there had been cable and social media back then? (in 1972, when he won his 7 golds in Munich)
  • 34A [So-called “Nobel Prize of Mathematics”] FIELDS MEDAL – This is probably a tad obscure, but I have heard of it. So it’s OK!
  • 35A [Event for disabled athletes] PARALYMPICS – I had ????LYMPICS, and I was trying to shoehorn an “O” in there somewhere!
  • 54A [Fashion VIP] TASTE MAKER – I am not, however, familiar with this term, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t OK! I am not a fashionista by any standard, so I wouldn’t necessarily hear this term often.
  • 51D [GATT successor] WTO – The General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade was evidently a predecessor of the World Trade Organization. I had to look that up!

I could go on, but time is of the essence today. Off for some painkillers …

Anna Stiga’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up

Gonna be a quick write-up today; ran a half marathon this morning, and my son’s graduation party starts at 2:00! I really should ask for help more often, but I figure I am going to do the puzzles anyway, so what the heck?

Finished the Sat NYT in just over 10 min; this one took me nearly 17. Lots of toughies, but still Anna (Stan!) usually runs a tad easier than the normal Saturday Stumper agony. Stan may not get enough credit as a quality constructor these days, but this one is top notch. I know he is one of the most prolific over the years, although I am not sure of the number he has made to date. Perhaps in the comments he can share! Tons of goodies in this one, so we will go with 4.5 stars.

Some of the goodies:

    • 1A [Web searcher’s frustration] NO HITS – This seems to me more like a baseball term, but hard to clue in this form. “Nolan Ryan no-hits the Whatever Team” is a possible sports page headline, but still hard to clue.
    • 23A [Many diction experts] OPERA SINGERS – This was tough. Even with their good diction, I still don’t understand what they are singing. (Especially if it’s in Latin!)
    • 50A [Punditocracy] COMMENTARIAT – Best clue and entry. Two halfway made-up words! At least it seems that way, but both are actual words. With how much sway the news media holds these days, also timely!
    • 59A [One of the thrushes] RED ROBIN – Also a chain of burger restaurants. I am REALLY hungry after that race!
    • 6D [“Master of fun” honorary Oscar winner] SENNETT – This is referring to Mack Sennett, who was waaaay before my time. Here is more on him.
    • 27D [2017 exhibitor of Sir Elton’s photos] TATE MODERN – This is a London art gallery, so the “Sir” is the clue here. Well done.
    • 51D [Opry member since 1992] TRITT – As in Travis Tritt. This is my favorite song by him:

  • 61D [2017 “world-saving” Netflix host] NYE – Yes, Bill Nye the Science Guy has a Netflix show. Ironically, I haven’t seen it yet!

I said I was going to keep it short, but there was too much to say! Have a great weekend everyone!

Elizabeth C Gorski’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Braking Points” — pannonica’s write-up

WSJ • 6/3/17 • “Braking Points” • Sat • Gorski • solution

Central revealer 71-across: [Shape of 96-Across suggested by this puzzle’s special squares] OCTAGON. 96-across pulls double-duty as a theme entry as well as an auxiliary revealer: [This puzzle’s theme] {STOP} SIGN. The eight ‘special squares’ are rebuses containing STOP.

  • 5a. [Temporary fix] {STOP}GAP.
    5d. [“The Real Thing” playwright] Tom {STOP}PARD.
  • 9a, [Place to retire?] PIT{STOP}.
    12d. [Runner’s ticker] {STOP}WATCH.
  • 43a. [Halt hastily] {STOP} ON A DIME.
    43d. [Plugs] {STOP}S UP.
  • 48a. [It may be wedge-shaped] DOOR{STOP}.
    50d. [Wine-preserving doodad] {STOP}PER.
  • 96a.
    75d. [1956 Marilyn Monroe movie] BUS {STOP}.
  • 101a. [Brief campaign appearance] WHISTLE {STOP}.
    84d. [2014 Liam Neeson thriller] NON-{STOP}.
  • 132a. [Calls on] {STOP}S IN.
    105d. [Derek Jeter, notably] SHORT{STOP}.
  • 133a. [Convenient, as some shops]  ONE-{STOP}.
    112d. [Fleetwood Mac single of 1977] DON’T {STOP}.

And, QED, the eight “special squares” are symmetrically placed such that they form the vertices of a regular OCTAGON. This is a typically deft graphic theme from Liz Gorski. Spiffy.

I’m not concerned by the similarity of some of the theme answers, most notably perhaps between STOPS UP and STOPPER. (43d, 50d)

  • 27a. [Smart alecks] WISEACRES. I may have shared this before:

    Given the spelling and definition of “wiseacre,” you might guess that the word derives from the sense of wise meaning “insolent” or “fresh”-the sense that gives us “wisecrack” and “wisenheimer.” But, in fact, “wiseacre” came to English by a different route; it derived from the Middle Dutch “wijssegger” (meaning “soothsayer”), a modification of the Old High German wīzzago. “Wiseacre” first appeared in English way back in the late 16th century, while the “insolent” sense of “wise” and the words formed from it are products of the 19th and 20th centuries. The etymologies of “wiseacre” and “wise” are not completely distinct, however; the ancestors of “wiseacre” are loosely tied to the same Old English root that gave us “wise.” –

  • More long non-theme material: 3d [Brilliant, in a way[ GLISTENING, 6d [Race car, in Monopoly] GAME PIECE, 14d [“Can’t stay!”] I HAVE TO GO, 15d [Element that glows in the dark] PHOSPHORUS, 24a [Much of the Smithsonian’s collection] AMERICANA, 61a [Malibu rental] BEACH HOUSE, 77d [On the same page] OF LIKE MIND, 86d [Mykonos surrounder] AEGEAN SEA, 82d [Global superlative] WORLD’S BEST, 89d [Yellow quality] COWARDICE, 85a [Foreign] UNFAMILIAR, 120a [Fit for taking home from the animal shelter] ADOPTABLE, 124a [Tried to steal the basketball] REACHED IN. Also, the goofily rhyme-clued 40d [Golden roll with a hole] EGG BAGEL, and 60d [Hyde, to Jekyll] ALTER EGO.
  • Hey look, symmetrical entries with non-s, Latinate plurals: 59a [Red Cross supply] SERA, 88a [Points] LOCI.
  • Not finding much remarkable in the puzzle among the ballast fill, but that’s okay since it’s all pretty clean and the theme is impressive. Favorite clue, I guess: 130a [Entertaining types] HOSTS.

Keep on keeping on.

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29 Responses to Saturday, June 3, 2017

  1. Chukkagirl says:

    How funny, I found the opposite for me — breezed through the SE and NW first, then slowly through the NE, and really got bogged down in the SW but finally persevered to the solve. I guess it’s what’s in one’s wheelhouse! A satisfying Saturday puzzle.

    • Jim Quinlan says:

      Definitely true. Anything theater related and I’m good to go- so TIM RICE was immediate for me in SW and those letters helped a lot.

    • Bob says:

      SE and NW easy for me too. Trudged through the others.

      • Christopher Smith says:

        SW basically killed me. Not an expert on observatories or lyricists (although eventually the latter did get dislodged from my brain). The clues for ANTIWAR & STREETS seemed unnecessarily obscure. Wasn’t a very edifying solve.

  2. Tuxedo Junction says:

    NYT is a Christian puzzle? Easiest Saturday LAT I’ve ever done. Off to chip away at the Stumper.

  3. GlennP says:

    Is anyone else having trouble downloading today’s NYT puzzle into Android apps like Crosswords or Crosswords Plus? I get an “Error downloading puzzles” message.

  4. David L says:

    For the sake of comparison: SE easy-peasy, NE almost as easy, SW hard (despite knowing ARECIBO instantly, it took me a long time to get anything else, until I remembered TIMRICE; TABASCO before ALFREDO didn’t help), NW hardest (didn’t know ARCADIA was a real place, not sure why FARPOST is a target for a soccer player, and AREAWAY is not in my vocabulary at all).

    • Steve Manion. says:

      NE very easy. PIRATES and PACA and the rest flowed.
      SW easy ANTIWAR and BAD DEBT got me started.
      SE moderate. Did not know TAPIOCA was a thickening agant,
      NW very hard. Knew Arcadia because there is a section in Phoenix by that name. Not on the right wavelength for much else, including FAR POST

      The object in soccer is obviously to score. The far post is often a target that is most likely to accomplish that as the goalie is most likely to be roughly centered.


  5. pannonica says:

    NYT: My solving sequence: NW → NE → center → SE → SW.

    No snags except the SW. Before BAD DEBT had BAD DEAL, and prior to that BACK––– (thinking 45a [Seriously hurt] was an adjective ending in -IC, abetted by WIENER before WEENIE). And was also leaning toward LEAN-TO. If it had’t been for finally noticing the gimme 48d [Baja bears] OSOS it would have taken ages to crack that quadrant.

  6. Norm says:

    WSJ: Fun puzzle but why did Mr, Happy Pencil want an “X” rather than STOP or even S? Was this not a rebus puzzle? Am I missing something [always possible]?

    • pannonica says:

      Just “alternative coding”.

    • Norm says:

      Oh. Maybe X marks the “Braking Point” spot? Face palm.

      • Martin says:

        The wsj crossword app (and therefore the data file that the Across Lite version is based on) has no provision for rebuses. They always use “X” to mark a rebus, rather than the initial-letter convention that most organizations use.

        At least they’re consistent.

        • Norm says:

          Ah. Thanks. Just another reason to dislike the WSJ app and be grateful for the AcrossLite version here — even sans rebus. :)

  7. Bruce N Morton says:

    Since we’re all playing this game, easiest quadrant for me was the SE followed by the NE. Hardest by far was the SW. I suppose most hippies are or were antiwar, but it still seems to me a strange clue, and I’m not sure what the words “by nature” add.

  8. Animalheart says:

    Superb NYT, I thought. Utterly fresh fill, interesting clues. I always thought that AREAWAY was a somewhat antiquated New Jerseyism, since I’ve only encountered it as spoken by the elders of my childhood…

    Was I the only one detained by confidently entering HOMERUN for Bleachers blaster?

    • JohnH says:

      I had “home run,” too, and also hadn’t heard of AIR HORN before (or, for that matter, of FAR POST or that sense of FASCIAS, even though I’ve edited a history of architecture, and I had trouble with the spelling of what I wanted to be “capeesh”). So that corner was by far the killer for me.

      Elizabeth Gorski’s WSJ was a really clever construction, I thought.

  9. placematfan says:

    Has Gorski published in the WSJ before? Is this a first?

    • pannonica says:

      Yes, she has.

      • placematfan says:

        Cool. Just curious. When I think of “Gorski”, I think of Sun NYT, an occasional Mon/Tues NYT, and, of course, her consummate website puzzles… and, less vividly, her general presence in Cruciverbia before the Internet Explosion. The WSJ feels… expansive, or something.

  10. Byron says:

    Back in the day, Peter Gordon ran a series of three asymmetrical themelesses in the Sun in part as an experiment to see if solvers would notice and if they would care. So for today’s Stumper solvers, did you notice the asymmetry in the grid, and do you care? (For me, yes, and not very much.)

    • Jim Quinlan says:

      Didn’t notice at all until you pointed that out- In this grid, the asymmetry is so slight that I definitely don’t care. Perhaps it would bother me more if black squares were just placed willy-nilly with no attempt at sticking to the general rules? I dunno.

    • Derek Allen says:

      I didn’t notice it either!

  11. Stan Newman says:

    Thanks for the kind comments, Derek. My puzzle #1000 (46 M’s in a 17) appeared in a 1991 issue of the Crossworder’s Own Newsletter, but I stopped counting after that. I’ve certainly had more than 2,500 published since I began, circa 1983. What I HAVE continued to count: the Newsday puzzles I’ve edited aince 1988, currently at 9,300+. If all goes according to plan, #10,000 is due on February 4, 2019.

    • Derek Allen says:

      I knew it was a lot! 2/4/19 is a Monday, so I won’t be blogging that one! Keep the great puzzles coming!

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