Saturday, October 14, 2017

LAT 7:27 (Derek) 


Newsday 21:45 (Derek) 


NYT 4:51 (Amy) 


WSJ untimed (pannonica) 


Sam Ezersky’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 10 14 17, no 1014

Sam! Your puzzle took me 1 second longer than last Saturday’s puzzle by Byron Walden. *tips hat* Still on the easy side for a Saturday, mind you, since you included plenty of pop culture and that’s my thing.

I’m loving the top and bottom stacks, with LEFT BRAIN, UGLY BETTY, and TRAP QUEEN up top and ECON MAJOR, CHOCO TACO, and TYRA BANKS (somize!)anchoring the base. NAME BRANDS, PINA COLADA, LOGARITHM, and the XWORD/BWAY crossing also caught my eye.

Six things:

  • 40a. [Senior moment?], PROM. Not for senior citizens, just high school seniors. My kid’s at the seniors’ homecoming tonight, a rogue event at the Bombay Hall. They’re going out to eat afterwards at a Pakistani joint that’s open late. (I love city life.)
  • 43a. [Onetime competitor of Gulf], AMOCO. As in bygone gas station names. I was surprised to learn that 76 stations still exist—hadn’t seen one in eons when I passed a 76 station up in Superior, Wisconsin.
  • 58a. [Mrs. Woodrow Wilson], EDITH. I just learned via a Sporcle photo quiz on 20th-21st century First Ladies that there was an Ellen Wilson before Edith. Apparently Ellen died fairly early in Wilson’s first term, he plunged into a depression, and he met Edith around the time he was emerging from the gloom. He was lucky to find love again, no?
  • 5d. [Pit-y party?], BBQ. Grooooooan.
  • 7d. [Didn’t go out to dinner], ATE AT HOME. You know what? This feels much more natural than the ATE IN that shows up in too many crosswords. Yes, the opposite of “ate out” is “ate at home.”
  • 12d. [Longest song on Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon”], US AND THEM. Yeah, I needed the crossing here. You’ve got “Another Brick in the Wall,” something about pigs flying … I’m running out of Pink Floyd songs I can summon up.

4.2 stars from me.

Jim Quinlan’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up

I am not too familiar with Jim Quinlan’s puzzles. I think I may have only blogged one or two of his, if that many. But this 70-worder is a solid puzzle. The 10-word stacks have excellent entries, and the 15-letter entry in the center actually brought a tear to my eye! (Because I haven’t had any in years!) This puzzle was fun, and that is the point. Maybe I should do the Saturday LAT AFTER I do the Newsday Stumper from now on; when I do the LAT first, I get overconfident! 4.3 stars today.

Just a few notes:

  • 26A [“Born on the Bayou” band, briefly] CCR – I don’t think this needs the “briefly” tag in a Saturday challenger. Creedence Clearwater Revival is often referred to simply by their initials. Am I crazy?
  • 34A [Samoa or Caramel deLite] GIRL SCOUT COOKIE – Now you understand why I got choked up! I must not know the right people, because I used to get these all the time, now I rarely see them. One of my workmates has two young daughters, so I will have to ask … !
  • 54A [Cry at the craps table] COME TO PAPA! – Easily the best entry in the grid, and one of the best I’ve seen in a while!
  • 57A [Experience for Marty McFly] TIME TRAVEL – I got this one quickly, but I am old enough to remember these movies vividly. Have you young kids seen the entire Back to the Future franchise flicks?
  • 2D [Pioneer in portable music] SONY – My first thought was JOBS, since he invented the iPod, but Sony had the Walkman decades before!
  • 26D [Sometime substitute for bread crumbs] CORN FLAKES – I had STARCH instead of FLAKES. Tricky!
  • 33D [Betamax player] VCR – This is almost too much Sony in one puzzle! Good thing VITA or VUE wasn’t in here as well!

Again, that was fun! Have a great weekend!

Brad Wilber’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up

One of these Saturdays is going to be another easy one! I think it has been about a month since I jammed through one of these Stumpers in around 10 minutes, which is a STELLAR time for me, but since then, it has been an uphill struggle. I am going to have to try a new tactic when I encounter another Brad Wilber or Frank Longo Stumper. Maybe soft classical in the headphones? An energy drink? Ginsana?? I don’t know, but this one was tough. REALLY tough. Notice the abundance of error marks again! But another gem from Brad. A hearty 4.4 stars from me.

Just a few notes:

  • 16A [One of the Dutch] ARUBA – One of the Dutch what? ABC islands? This seems like a typo, or I am missing something.
  • 17A [Dumas title nationality] CORSICAN – A great clue, and it would have been easier if I was well read. The Corsican Brothers is a novella by Dumas.
  • 36A [“Glengarry Glen Ross” characters] SALES FORCE – I had to read the plot description on Wikipedia to understand this, since I have never seen the movie. I should rent it! It is about a bunch of real estate agents, so the answer makes perfect sense.
  • 51A [Scarlett O’Hara suitor treatment] TOYING – This is a really good clue as well. I HAVE seen Gone With the Wind, but it has probably been 30 years since the last viewing!
  • 5D [World’s tallest building locale, 2004-2009] TAIPEI – I knew this right off the bat. I was only unsure as to whether the answer was TAIPEI or TAIWAN. Taipei 101 is a very distinctive looking skyscraper, and is supposedly earthquake proof! It is now only the fifth tallest in the world.
  • 11D [Parisian art center] MUSEE D’ORSAY – Not quite as famous as the Louvre, but on my list of sights to see if I ever get to Paris!
  • 21D [Podiatric products] INSERTS – INSOLES? INSTEPS? I knew it was one of these three. I don’t need to wear these as much post-UPS!
  • 24D [Recruits ardently] EVANGELIZES – Did you know “evangel” is Greek for “good news?”
  • 32D [Source of red food coloring] BEET – I have no idea why I struggled with this. This is why I said I need some ginseng!
  • 56D [Strained to lift] HOVE – C’mon, Brad! This is a past tense of “heave” that no one uses!

Gotta get going; Puzzle Boat 4 starts today!

Zhouqin Burnikel’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Living in the Past” — pannonica’s wrote-up

WSJ • 10/14/17 • “Living in the Past” • Burnikel • solution

Conceit’s simple: phrases ending words that are homonyms of present-tense verbs, which are then inflected to the past tense as if they were verbs, then reassessing them as homonymous nouns. The intermediary verb steps are invisible.

  • 23a. [Twain’s “The Innocents Abroad,” notably?] TRAVELING LIT. If you take the adjective ‘light’ to be a verb it conjugates here to ‘lit’, now presented as a noun. Very different meaning if you consider ‘lit’ to still be an adjective.
  • 29a. [Consecrated carpentry tool?] THE HOLY SAW. Noun ‘See’ becomes verb ‘see’ on the way to being inflected to ‘saw’, which then becomes noun ‘saw’. See? Simple!
  • 42a. [Photo caption of Barrymore vacationing in Paris?] TOURIST DREW. Noun ‘draw’ {↷ verb ‘draw’ ↺ verb ‘drew’} ↷ noun ‘Drew’.
  • 62d. [Dull fellow with gray whiskers?] GRIZZLY BORE. Noun ‘bear’ {↷ verb ‘bear’ ↺ verb ‘bore’} ↷ noun ‘bore’.
  • 69a. [Herd of fraternity hopefuls?] PLEDGE DROVE. Noun ‘drive’ {↷ verb ‘drive’ ↺ verb ‘drove’} ↷ noun ‘drove’.
  • 93a. [Shtick from a little sucker?] MOSQUITO BIT.  Noun ‘bite’ {↷ verb ‘bite’ ↺ verb ‘bit’} ↷ noun ‘bit’.
  • 106a. [Timid government agent?] CHICKEN FED.  Noun ‘feed’ {↷ verb ‘feed’ ↺ verb ‘fed’} ↷ noun ‘fed’.
  • 113a. [What a Yankee is doing during the Subway Series?] WRESTLING MET.  Noun ‘meet’ {↷ verb ‘meet’ ↺ verb ‘met’} ↷ noun ‘Met’.

Aside from the irksome inconsistency of the first themer employing a different part of speech than all the others, the theme itself left me cold. Didn’t impress me as an exercise in wordplay, didn’t generate exciting new phrases or entertaining descriptive clues.

Some lively clues elsewhere, though. A sampling: 7a [Joint rooms?] CELLS, 25a [Filing job, perhaps] MANICURE, 51a [Treat older than sliced bread] OREO, 82a [Layers of bricks] MASONS, 112a [Swell time] HIGH TIDE.

34a [Sgt.’s subordinate] CPL, 35a [Many SAT takers] SRS, 45a [Some Korean smartphones and TVs] LGS, 75a [Org. for case workers] ABA, 78a [Braves, on scoreboards] ATL, 79a [Numbered hwy.] RTE, 90a [“Cake Boss” network] TLC, 99a [Gomer Pyle’s org.] USMC (65a [Gomer Pyle’s portrayer] NABORS), 121a [B’way purchase] TKT, 1d [Old JFK flyer] SST, 6d [Che’s gig, briefly] SNL (that’s Michael Che), 54d [Academic inst.] COLL, 70d [USPA items] LTRS, 107d [Jumping chess pieces: Abbr.] KTS, 115d [Treasury Dept. branch] IRS. Oh, and 10d [VII times VIII] LVI. Is it just me?

9d [Jaunty tune] LILT – have seen this in crosswords seemingly more than usual lately, and with identical or nearly-identical cluing.

33d [Steak tartare ingredient] RAW EGG. Occasionally.

76d [Tropical diving bird] BOOBY. Subtropical also. Genus Sula (and also Papasula).

94d [ABBA, e.g.] QUARTET. Clue/answer turnaround!

Apologies, don’t have time for much cleverness today. Also, no Jethro Tull for you.

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10 Responses to Saturday, October 14, 2017

  1. huda says:

    NYT: I admired it after it was over. But the top was a struggle for me. The bottom seemed a lot easier. AMMAN was a gimme. What does it say about me that I managed PINA COLADA, CHOCO TACO, TYRA BANKS, and stared at —-BRAIN for ever?

    • Papa John says:

      It tells us that you may be aware that the left brain/right brain theory has recently been discredited, although it held up beautifully in my Right Brain Drawing classes.

    • Penguin Gossip says:

      “What does it say about me that I…stared at —-BRAIN for ever?”

      That you’re in your right mind?

  2. David L says:

    DNF for me because of the NW section. Didn’t know ZEKE or TRAPQUEEN, only vaguely familiar with UGLYBETTY, NYNEX is (presumably) a NY thing I know nothing about. I guessed LUTZ but had ALPHA for TYPEA, so that didn’t help…

    Eventually I googled to get TRAPQUEEN and after that it was straightforward.

    Good Saturday puzzle, overall, but too much pop culture for me in that corner. (But hey, I got the Pink Floyd song off the M! That’s more my thing.)

  3. Christopher Smith says:

    I’m the somewhat rare rock fan of a certain age who never understood the appeal of Pink Floyd. Still if you listened to rock stations in the late-70s/80s you almost certainly heard US AND THEM, at least before switching to the other local rock station which was almost certainly playing Led Zeppelin.

  4. Derek Allen says:

    Amy, surely you’ve heard “Money” by Pink Floyd! It’s that crazy song in 7/4 time!

  5. Amy L says:

    Yep, the top of the NYT was definitely full of Naticks for me. Pop culture is definitely not my thing. The bottom half seemed too easy for a Saturday.

    For 31D [Emperor Nero, by all accounts], they could have gone with someone much more current. I wonder if they were tempted?

  6. Gene says:

    ARUBAN – a resident of an Dutch island, and therefore “one of the Dutch” citizens.

  7. JohnH says:

    I’m afraid the Times was not possible for me to finish either, for the cluster already cited by others: LUTZ, FLAKE, UGLY, TRAP, and ZEKE. I somehow don’t feel to blame. Just weird fill without compensatory crossings.

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