Saturday, September 16, 2017

LAT 6:18 (Derek) 


Newsday 12:18 (Derek) 


NYT 6:43 (Amy) 


WSJ untimed (pannonica) 


Natan Last, Finn Vigeland, and the JASA Class’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 9 16 17, no 0916

This is such a pronoun-dense themeless—you’ve got the romance of SHE LOVES ME and HE’S A KEEPER stacked up top, with ARREST HIM to the right, IS THAT YOU and I DON’T GET IT down below. Pretty sure that HELGA, JESSICA, SID CAESAR, and Tsar PETER I are involved somehow.

Other crisp fill includes EMERGEN-C brand vitamins, PSYOPS, GO IN PEACE, CAST PARTY, SHARK TANK, ENEMY LINES, and POTATO RACE.

ASHPITS, A-TESTS, ERTES—meh, meh, meh.

Eight things:

  • 9d. [Grandmother, in dialect], MEEMAW. There’s a Chinese restaurant in Chicago called Mee Mah. My husband and I pronounce the restaurant name as if it’s MEEMAW because we are terrible.
  • 19a. [It holds the world record for most passengers on a commercial airliner [1,088], EL AL. And you thought the seat width and leg room were cramped on your last flight.
  • 43a. [Something to watch], THE GAP. Don’t care for this clue one bit. The gap between the subway car and platform in London belongs in the phrase “mind the gap.” Without mind, THE GAP is a retailer. Who watches THE GAP?
  • 54a. [Hill of ___, site of Ireland’s Lia Fáil], TARA. Raise your hand if you worked all the crossings for this one.
  • 55a. [“The O.C.” protagonist], RYAN. The show ended a decade ago, and it wasn’t the sort of show that everyone in the country was tuned in to. Weird clue.
  • 7d. [“The noblest hateful love that ___ I heard of”: “Troilus and Cressida”], E’ER. Unfortunate that this answer crosses SHE LOVES ME, with “love” in the clue.
  • 8d. [Small suits], SPEEDOS. I had the -EDOS in place and tried to figure out how TUXEDOS would be small suits.
  • 40d. [Gourd also known as a vegetable pear], CHAYOTE. Apparently it’s used sort of like summer squash. Also! If you were in Depression-era Australia, you could use chayote to fill in your apple pie if you were low on apples.

4.2 stars from me. Nice work, students!

Erik Agard’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up

It was another joy and pleasure solving this latest Erik Agard construction. Another awesome grid from him, this one a 68-worder. Is it just me, or do his puzzles just seem more, I don’t know, lively? There is an energy to them that literally seems palpable. As stated, truly a joy. 4.8 stars for this one.

Some highlights (there are too many to mention!):

  • 14A [San Antonio Spurs’ 1993-2002 home] ALAMODOME – Michigan has played in the Alamo Bowl there twice, and is 0-2. Lots of stuff still happens there, but mainly the home of UTSA football.
  • 31A [Event with a caller] SQUARE DANCE – My late uncle George and his wife were avid square dancers back 30 years ago or so. We had a lesson in this in gym class, believe it or not!
  • 52A [Three-book Newton work] PRINCIPIA – Going back to my school days again, one of my middle school buddies went to a high school with this name in St. Louis, I believe. I believe he lives in the Minneapolis area, now.
  • 7D [Standard procedure] A MATTER OF COURSE – We have to mention the 15-letter entry running down the middle. I don’t usually use this phrase, so that made it slightly harder for me.
  • 11D [Mouths] LIP-SYNCS – One of my favorite entries. I said his puzzles seem lively!
  • 21D [Parachute] SKY DIVE – Nope. I will never do this!
  • 34D [Schwinn component] BIKE SEAT – I would have picked another bike brand, like Trek or Bianchi. Schwinn doesn’t seem to carry road race bikes, like you would see in the Tour de France or a triathlon. But for clueing purposes, this worked just fine.
  • 41D [Elizabeth who plays the Scarlet Witch in Marvel movies] OLSEN – The Marvel movies are great, but the DC movies are slowly catching up!

That’s it for today. See you on Tuesday.

Matthew Sewell’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up

The time for this one is probably a little inaccurate; I started and stopped this on multiple computers before I finally finished it. Actual time is probably more in the 15-17 minute range. In the hierarchy of Stumper difficulty by solver, Matthew Sewell would probably seem to me to be toward the not as tough end, but this one I found difficult. It has been a rough week at work, though, and fatigue is playing a role. (That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!) A solid 70-word effort this week, and a solid 4.5 stars from me.

Just a few notes:

  • 17A [Be inadequate in deliberating] UNDERTHINK – My thoughts were more along the lines of what a lawyer might fail to do in an argument, but this word would apply in that case as well!
  • 19A [Filleting candidate] STURGEON – I suppose ANY fish is a candidate! Except maybe buffalo fish, which is FULL of bones!
  • 29A [Streamer selection] SITCOM – Great clue! Even with the huge number of online viewing options, your mind doesn’t head in the correct direction at first. Nicely done!
  • 34A [Warning to a provocateur] DON’T POKE THE BEAR – Awesome 15-letter entry across the middle.
  • 46A [Spanakopita herb] SORREL – I thought this was a horse?!
  • 58A [Subaru Outback competitor] KIA SORENTO – I was trying to think of a car brand; you don’t immediately think of one of the few brands with only three letters!
  • 10D [Ordained] MEANT TO BE – A little off meaning to me, but a nice entry nonetheless.
  • 31D [Loose-leaf purchase] TEA – I got this quickly, despite all of the back-to-school refs to loose-leaf filler paper I have recently seen!
  • 43D [Monsoon season affector] EL NIÑO – I never know anymore if it is this or La Niña!

It is supposed to be a beautiful weekend here! Enjoy!

John Lampkin’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Why So Late?” — pannonica’s write-up

WSJ • 9/16/17 • “Why So Late?” • Lampkin • solution

Adding this to the post on Sunday morning, as I was unable to do so yesterday. I, uh, don’t have a good excuse for such tardiness.

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16 Responses to Saturday, September 16, 2017

  1. Mr Mister says:

    A lot of clever clues in NYT.

    EA let us off easy

    Stumper was tough as usual.

  2. Christopher Smith says:

    Was a DNF for the NYT. Mystified by a lot of the clues. Still don’t get ONES. Have heard plenty of adults be told to watch their TONE. Clue for RYAN, as noted, was obscure, and along with SHARK TANK & TROI made up a sort of Trashy TV Trifecta. All in all pretty miserable for me.

    • Bob says:

      Christopher – regarding ONES, it’s “summer”, as in someone who adds numbers

      Agree with Amy on her comments.

      Re: WSJ did not like the answer PAN IN. A camera does not “PAN IN” for a close up . It ZOOMS IN. A camera pans left, right, across etc.

      • Christopher Smith says:

        Yes thanks ONES as a column, which is some kind of place, I suppose. For all those folks still doing sums in long hand while watching SID CAESAR.

      • JohnH says:

        I didn’t like PAN IN either. Quite generally, I found the WSJ a tad tedious and tone deaf but not hard.

      • pannonica says:

        Agree 100%. Saw your comment before I composed the write-up, and must’ve subconsciously felt obviated from mentioning it

  3. David L says:

    Very tough. I didn’t know PANICBAR or EMERGENC or CHAYOTE, misremembered TTY as TTL, put in the THEGAP even tho the clue doesn’t make any sense to me. And yes, a whole bunch of TV-related stuff.

    I just checked the wording of the 6th amendment — what you’re guaranteed is “Assistance of Counsel.” The word ATTORNEY doesn’t appear.

    I guessed POTATORACE (eventually) but I had to consult the Google to find out what it is — not part of my childhood.

    • Steve says:

      I was going to say that POTATORACE was the only one I didn’t really like. I’ve never heard it called that. POTATOSACKRACE maybe, but nobody is racing potatoes against each other.

      And yes, as a lawyer, I did not like the clue for ATTORNEY.

  4. Howie G says:

    Long Island railroad “watch the gap” all over the place.

  5. Papa John says:

    POTATO-RACE was new to me, too, but a Web search reveals such a thing. Teams try to fill a potato sack or some large vessel with potatoes in a sort of relay race.

  6. Ethan says:

    ARREST HIM is pretty iffy to me. ARREST THAT MAN sounds more like a real phrase to me.

    All in all, this was probably the most difficult puzzle I’ve done in months. JESSICA was the only gimme.

  7. huda says:

    NYT: DNF for me but it’s not a shock to the system on a Saturday (my system anyhow). I actually liked that it was chatty. Of course, full of older references, not that it helped me, but my hubby helped out in a couple of places. He came up with 2 other answers (that were factually correct but did not fit) before SID CAESAR– apparently lots of references to the 50’s in Grease.
    I also was amused by some of the cluing, although I’m totally with Amy about “Mind THE GAP”. I like that expression and I’ve used it as a title to talk about the biology of synapses…

  8. Zulema says:

    My main problem with the LAT was confidently writing in the long entry as PAR FOR THE COURSE rather than A MATTER OF COURSE and realizing it was wrong after entering SQUARE DANCE and searching for a solution. It took a long while. Both the NYT and the LAT were harder than the usual hard Saturdays.

    I know it’s Sunday already, but…

  9. JohnH says:

    NYT was from an alternative universal for me. I had a good start in the NE, with (say) a Shakespeare character as a gimme, but I don’t think I’ve ever got less or understood still less. No fun at all.

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