Saturday, June 10, 2017

LAT 8:24 (Derek) 


Newsday 31:40 (Derek) 


NYT 7:21 (Amy) 


WSJ tk (pannonica) 


Mark Diehl’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 6 10 17, no 0610

This 66-worder has two stand-alone corners that intersect only with the 15-letter 8-Down, so it was hard to develop a smooth flow throughout the puzzle. The giant middle swath is so open … but if you can’t break into that pack of long answers, you’re in quicksand. The short gimmes are on the periphery, and they’re not really gimmes at all. So it’s a challenging Saturday puzzle.

Favorite clues:

  • 1a. [Begin at the beginning?], MENACHEM. At the beginning of Menachem Begin’s name, hidden capital B at the clue’s start.
  • 37a. [Greyhound destinations?], DOG KENNELS. Literal greyhounds, not Greyhound buses.
  • 10d. [Bright camp wear], BOAS. I know some people who would have enjoyed going to summer camp more if they could have worn campy feather BOAS.
  • 28d. [Runs, for instance], STAT. “Runs” is a noun here, a sports statistic, and not a verb.
  • 34d. [Refuse work?], JUNK ART / 34a. [It’s got teeth], JAW. I had a SAW there and fixing the S in SUNK ART was just about the last thing I did in this puzzle.

Fave fill: “WHAT THE…?”, a soothing HOT TOWEL, BEAR ATTACK (who doesn’t love a gripping Readers Digest “Drama in Real Life”-type of tale of a bear attack?), HAPPY MEAL, and EGG DROP.

Is ZEN MONK 100% legit, or is that just a type of Buddhist monk?

The crosswordese OGEE isn’t really any more welcome when it’s expanded to OGEE ARCH.

Four stars from me.

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

I feel like I have known C.C. for years, because she has to easily be the constructor I have blogged about the most! Her prolificness still amazes me, and the quality is still top notch. Lots of great stuff in this one, including terms that are new to me (ALMOND ROCA!). 72 words is a little high for a themeless, but the fill is top notch. And there are only 4 cheater squares, so the unique layout is going to give you a slightly higher count, but some impressive 9- and 10-letter stacks. Let’s call it 4.2 stars today.

Just a couple of notes:

  • 1A [One who may start a rally] LEAD-OFF MAN – C.C. is of Asian descent, but baseball is huge over there as well!
  • 24A [Gmail lifesaver] UNDO SEND – I have never had to use this. Yet.
  • 41A [Addresses capped at 18 minutes] TED TALKS – I love these! Bucket list goal? To give one someday!
  • 59A [“I’m with you, girl!”] AMEN, SISTER! – C.C. still does a great job with casual phrases!
  • 8D [Top hostess’ asset?] MOSTEST -This is my favorite entry! And a great clue to boot!
  • 22D [Avery product] I.D. LABEL – Or any blank object you need printed!
  • 29D [Comparative Web traffic statistic] ALEXA RANK – This IS an Amazon company, but I still have never heard this term either. I only know the voice assistant thingie that I will never buy as long as I have children around!

We will stop there. I wonder if C.C. has Tuesday’s LAT as well ……..

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

A 68-word killer today by Frank. I started OK in the lower left corner, but then ground to a halt. I did have a quiet place to solve this time, and I suppose otherwise I would have surpassed 40 minutes! Before I get to my list, let me just mention the clue that gave me the most fits. 38A [Copper figure] got me in the mind of CONSTABLE, especially since I had the STAB letter sequence in there for a while. (There are no correction marks on those four squares!) But even after I had HONESTABE in there, it took me a minute to realize we are talking about copper pennies, and the answer is really HONEST ABE. Extremely diabolical by Frank! (Or I am just an idiot!) 4.6 stars for another gem.

A few more:

    • 21A [Start of a conversation stopper] LET’S JUST SAY … – I thought this was excellent! Suffice it to say this has never appeared in a NYT. Frank must have an awesome word list!
    • 37A [Estar como __ para chocolate] AGUA – I believe this translates to “it’s like water for chocolate.”
    • 49A [Second of 88] A SHARP – I haven’t actually examined a keyboard to verify (!), but this is a good clue. Usually anything 88-related has to do with the number of keys a standard piano has.
    • 60A [Utah’s Rainbow Bridge, essentially] SANDSTONE – I had STONE ARCH in here for a while, causing obvious fits!
    • 7D [Be a balm] EASE THE PAIN – I proudly wrote RELIEVE PAIN in here early on. Another Longo dead end, which I am sure is intentional!
    • 10D [Won’t let go of] HARPS ON – Did you have HANGS ON in here too?
    • 22D [’50s singer heard in “V for Vendetta”] JULIE LONDON – I have never seen this movie, and I don’t know this singer, so this was majorly tough for me. Good song though!

  • 48D [One to wrangle with] RIATA – I nearly put ROPER in here, but that didn’t quite make sense!

I could go on, because this puzzle was that good. And yes, I had a lot of errors, but it was joyful agony! Have a great weekend!

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24 Responses to Saturday, June 10, 2017

  1. Andy says:

    This was one of my favorite themelesses all year. Really fun puzzle.

  2. David L says:

    Good tough puzzle, although it had several stumbling points for me. I know EGGDROP as a kind of soup, not a physics experiment. I had GASGIANT before ICEGIANT — apparently the latter term came into being in the 1990s and somehow I missed it. Then LOOSEN before LOOSED; COG before MAW before SAW before JAW…

    But MILITARYPENSION, WHATTHE, BEARATTACK, DOGKENNELS… Getting all those lovely entries into a smooth grid is impressive. The only thing I took a strong dislike to was OGEEARCH, which doesn’t seem legit to me (in that I can’t see anyone using the term, I mean).

  3. Jim Peredo says:

    NYT: 37a is incorrect. It should be MATTRESSES. My proof:

  4. Steve Manion. says:

    Very tough puzzle. Only the NW was somewhat easy.
    I agree that OGEE ARCH is weak.
    When I was young, my family camped every year at Saranac Lake in the Adirondacks. The entertainment was to go to the dump and watch the bears. The warning was that if a bear attacks, run downhill because its front legs are shorter making it easier for the bear to run uphill. Fortunately, we never had to test that advice.


    • Papa John says:

      See my ogee comment below.

      You do know that advice about running downhill is bogus, right? You’re only chance is to fly down that hill. Bears can hit 35mph, about 7mph faster than a human in a sprint. The bear can maintain that speed for quite some distance.

      My advice? Carry mace or a blunderbuss while hiking in bear country.

  5. Paul Coulter says:

    Heck of a Stumper today. Nearly every clue was challenging, and there were no places where I could pick up speed. AGUA and ASHARP were finally my toe holds. It was one of my slowest times ever for a themeless, yet the experience came out to a very satisfying solve.

  6. Papa John says:

    David, I’m not sure what you mean by “…I took a strong dislike to…OGEEARCH, which doesn’t seem legit to me (in that I can’t see anyone using the term, I mean).” If “anyone” refers solely to cruciverbalists, I can understand your nit to be one of crosswordese. In that sense, its legitimate use is controversial.

    I don’t think that’s what you mean, however. I think you mean usage among the general public. I agree that it’s not a commonly used phrase but, than, neither is aleph null. It, like so many other arcane phrases, is accepted as valid fill. Ogee molding and ogee arches are not uncommon words among architects and builders, including carpenters and masons. Any student of a basic art history course would have run across this term.

    I do agree that this was a good puzzle, although it fell without much fight for me. Like Amy, saw/jaw was my only snag.

    • David L says:

      After some googling, I stand corrected. “Ogee arch” indeed seems to be a thing. My objection (based entirely on personal prejudice) was that I couldn’t imagine a builder or an architect saying “let’s throw in a couple of ogee arches to spruce the place up.” But they do say such things, I gather.

      Thanks for the info.

      • Amy L says:

        I can’t imagine a builder–or even an architect–saying “ogee arch,” but art and architecture historians probably say it fairly often. They have lots of specialized words for building parts, but most of them aren’t so crossword-worthy, although “ogive” has appeared in puzzles.

  7. Bruce N Morton says:

    NYT–I also thought it was a great puzzle. My toughest quadrants were the SE and the NW. I particularly appreciated that it made no attempt to be modern or trendy but relied on diabolically clever clues (e.g. 1a). I couldn’t understand 7d but I guess the point is that Eve was the forerunner of the human race. If that’s the point, shouldn’t the clue have been{Forerunner *of *a race}?

    • Christopher Smith says:

      Yes I had the same reaction. But for a 3-letter it seemed like a minor infraction, particularly considering how successful this puzzle was overall.

  8. roger says:

    Shouldn’t STAT be clued as an “abbr” since it is short for STATISTIC?

  9. PJ Ward says:

    37a – I had the same saddened reaction Deb Amien reported having. Also, isn’t DOG KENNELS a bit redundant?

  10. Bravoz says:

    Great NYT today but, as a professional mariner, I hate to see anybody equating “tonnage” with “capacity.” Tonnage is displacement generally/usually; capacity in “tons” sometimes (for dry bulk but not for tankage in barrels or passengers in people.)

  11. Bricks McGee says:

    Stumper was difficult. Not knowing any of the trivia didn’t help matters. Can’t say anything stood out or that I enjoyed it much.

  12. Mr. Grumpy says:

    NYT felt like a Bob Klahn puzzle. That is not a compliment.

  13. doug says:

    I, for one, liked the WSJ. I’ve never seen this doubling the “T” sound on phrases before for comic relief, and I thought it was done well. And nine times on quick count. Surprised at no comments on this one.

  14. Chukkagirl says:

    I got bogged down for quite a while after filling in NYT 30D “Runner’s place” as LANE, instead of the correct BASE. After I corrected that, things got better fast.

  15. JohnH says:

    I had a tough time with the NYT in the SE, too. I write about art and have never heard of JUNK ART, had to come up with a caffeine blast from the distant past in SANKA, didn’t know SAGET, wondered about OGEE ARCH, and had to think a long while about their crossings. RHUD does confirm that OGEE ARCH is real, though, although it’s not in my history of architecture, so ok. (I had “saw” for JAW till the very end, too.) No real complaints.

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