CHE is at the beach this week.
Zhouqin Burnikel’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Is it just me not being on the right wavelength, or is this puzzle more like a hard Saturday NYT? I may have used my brain too much already today. I looked at 1a and 1d, and I wanted one to be cocktail ONIONS and the other to be ESSAYS. Wrong on both counts! Was making just enough wrong turns to make it harder to figure out the clues, and there were so many clues that just didn’t put an answer in my head. Whoof!
Likes: BOOT CAMP, GENDERFLUID, TUPAC (timely—the biopic All Eyez on Me comes out Friday), BAUHAUS, BIG IF, OVER IT, SECRET SAUCE, SOCIAL MEDIA, and DR PEPPER.
- 29a. [Moving between male and female], GENDER FLUID. This clue is far too restrictive and attached to the binary concept of gender identity. The term also encompasses people who identify as non-binary, neutrois (a term that’s new to me), agender, and so on.
- 48a. [Popular nail polish brand], OPI. Not that every woman is familiar with nail polish brands, but I suspect if we had more female crossword editors and constructors, the two-thirds-vowels OPI would get a lot more play. And it’s the best brand for crossworders, as the color names rely heavily on puns, alliteration, and rhymes.
- 6d. [French philosopher who wrote “Reflections on Violence”], SOREL. I sure don’t know this philosopher, but I do know the brand of snow boots. Given that Zhouqin’s a Minnesotan, I’ll betcha a dollar she originally clued this as boots (though the website I just linked to shows that they sell more than just boots—there are sandals too).
- 7d. [Greet with disdain], BOO AT. Not a fan of “verb + AT” entries unless they’re solidly idiomatic. I mean, people do boo at things, but BOO AT looks weird.
- 50d. [Bulgarian, e.g.], SLAV. Anyone else misread this as [Vulgarian] at first?
4.25 stars from me for this 64-worder.
Christopher Shaw’s LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up
The punchline of this puzzle is [Standup comic known for one-liners], MITCHHEDBERG. It makes no claim that the cut-up-into-tiny-chunks one-liner is in any way related to it. It does seem he is sometimes given as the source: http://quotes.lifehack.org/quote/mitch-hedberg/my-fake-plants-died-because-i-did/. MYFAKEPLANTS/DIED/BECAUSE/IDIDNOT/PRETEND/TOWATER/THEM. It’s rather a surreal puzzle theme that.
Are you sure you misread that? Because [Vulgarian] was also a clue–in fact, it’s the clue immediately before [Bulgarian, e.g.].
Clues that mean something like “That makes two of us” always trip me up, because there are so many five-letter phrases that could fit and I always put every other one before the right one. I had “me too” and “so am I” before the correct answer.
NYT: Very different experience for me. Solved it super-quick, thought it felt like a Wednesday. 1a TWISTS and 2d WARTHOGS were insta-gets and I never looked back. Only misstep was HEAT SourceS at 35a.
WARTHOGS are adorable (*smile*); what a beautiful puzzle, even if I did have SATIRE for Swift writings. Nice misdirection. Nice long entries. Oh, and I really liked BIG IF. Kudos! 5 stars from me.
NYT: Well, it feels good that I wanted exactly the same choices as Amy right off the bat… ONIONS and ESSAYS. And actually ONIONS gives you the I in the right position to get INTRUDES, which makes it hard to dump it…
I’m learning this new slang use of LEGIT– as in: It’s “legit nothing”…
Some corners were too dense with “big name in” and slogans, etc…
Still in all, it did not feel too hard, and there were many cool entries. Excellent puzzle.
I was steaming ahead at a good speed with this one (I started in the SE and moved north) but then had a difficult time finishing the last little bit. I had THEM instead of THEY, which made me think 18A was going to be some strange modern phrase I didn’t know, and I had _ATTED at 7A and had to run the alphabet twice before reluctantly settling on BATTED. To me that clue is just flat out wrong. You might go for a run when you are at bat, but most of the time you don’t (if the clue is not a reference to baseball I await further enlightenment).
Nice puzzle otherwise. Never noticed OPI, which (big surprise) I haven’t heard of.
My thoughts exactly regarding BATTED. Pretty sure it’s baseball-related. I know what Zhoqin was trying to do, but the wording of the clue is very awkward.
Kind of easy for a Friday, but I’ve come to expect to have a tougher solve on Thursday because that’s when the gimmicks are usually rotted out.
On reflection, the idea may to be think of “went for a run” in the sense of tried to get a run — but I don’t think that really works either. If I say I went for a beer last night, the implication is that I actually succeeded in obtaining one, not just that I tried.
Swing and a miss?
It doesn’t say “Went for a home run.” I’d think any at-bat with the potential for an RBI qualifies for “Went for a run.” It’s wordplay, so it doesn’t need to be the clearest expression of the concept of at bat with runners in scoring position.
who said anything about home runs?
I can sort of see what the clue is aiming at but, as I said, it’s a bit too much of a stretch for me.
c.c.’s cluing is typically awkward. ugh.
Just so you know, lack of proper capitalization is considered very pretentious around here
unless you’re joon.
Question for any users of Stand Alone’s Crosswords app on iPad: Since NYT recently disallowed automatic import of their .puz files (even though users had to log in with paid password), I’ve been downloading file and opening in the app. Today even that didn’t work. Anyone else have similar problems? (Sorry if this is the wrong place for this question Amy, just rather frustrated by the Times forcing me either to use its web app or buy a printer.)
It did work for me today, but is a pain. I encourage you to leave a clear 1 star review on the official NYT app.
At best, BATTED is unidiomatic and tone deaf, although I could imagine that one could invent a situation where the clue theoretically works. Usually, you DRIVE IN a run.
I had SATIRE and did not know SOREL. Only the SE was easy.
All in all, a tough Saturday for me.
WSJ puzzles seem to be behind the paywall now. Anyone know if this is intentional and final?
I successfully downloaded the PDF for today’s puzzle just now. So I suppose it’s just some kind of testing or the like they were doing. Speaking of that, is there any more direct news on that matter?
Yes, false alarm. I had to clear my cache but I can now get to the puzzles without being challenged to login.
I have been struggling all week since getting totally stuck on last Saturday’s Stumper. Today I finally felt like my brain was working again; it was a faster-than-usual Friday for me. I agree with Amy that the clue for GENDER FLUID is too restrictive. I still loved seeing it in the grid.
Hardest for me was the NE, BATTED my last entry, which I didn’t like. But it was a good solving experience as a whole.
Loved Mitch Hedberg. R.I.P.
I wanted to try a second club72 puzzle, to see if it’d help me get into the right wavelength for one. So I went back one puzzle and printed out number 265. I’ve had it with me and am still not done (with much of the SW missing), with 24 clue numbers circled, my system for their being guesses, uncertain, iffy, or just new to me. (It almost always means that I have them right.) If this were the Saturday Times puzzle, I’d have been done about 6 hours ago.
So I’m not saying they’re not great puzzles, only that they’re into new territory to me, and I can’t yet swear I’ll manage them!