Friday, May 4, 2018

LAT 4:08 (Gareth) 


NYT 4:56 (Amy) 


Michael Hawkins’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 5 4 18, no 0504

Ooh, nice portmanteaux in the opening corner, with HACKTIVISM and STAYCATION. There’s more zippy stuff in here, some weird long fill, some junky shorter fill (TECS! WRIER!), and and plenty of ordinary stuff too. LET’S DO THIS! (That’s another of the cool entries.)

Lemme just say that I thought SET FEE was kinda junky fill when it appeared in Monday’s NYT, and here it is again. Google shows me that flat fee and fixed fee are both more common than SET FEE.

Seven more things:

  • 32d. [Freshwater minnow], REDFIN. Say what? I sure don’t know that fish, and I bet the constructor had the real estate company/website Redfin in mind. Wikipedia indicates that they don’t serve NYC (but do cover NJ and Philly), though.
  • 34a. [Dentist’s direction], OPEN WIDE. I went to the dentist today! She said “say aah” but not “open wide” during her oral exam.
  • 38a. [Gave secondhand?], REDEALT. Meh. Sort of a roll-your-own-word vibe, especially in the past tense, and the single word “secondhand” is too much of a stretch for “a second hand of cards.”
  • 22d. [French city where an English/French treaty was signed in 1420], TROYES. Vaguely familiar, and yes, I worked all the crossings here.
  • 24d. [What has a lot in store for you?], ONE-STOP SHOP. Hmm. I’m accustomed to the verb, one-stop shopping, but not this noun.
  • 28d. [Research done outside the lab], FIELD TRIAL. Not a familiar term for me, but I’m not a scientist. I just learned today that Lincoln Park Zoo has an Urban Wilderness Institute, but I don’t know if their work includes FIELD TRIALS rather than observations and data collection.
  • 12d. [Snack at a county fair or baseball park], CARAMEL CORN. People who are not in Chicagoland may not know how good the Chicago mix of popcorn is. Some swear by the mix of caramel corn and cheddar corn, but I prefer the triple mix of plain/buttered/whatever, caramel, and cheddar. I just might bring some to the Indie 500 crossword tournament from the Nuts on Clark shop at Midway Airport. If you don’t have popcorn shops that sell the mix, make your own!

3.9 stars from me. How’d the puzzle treat you?

David Alfred Bywaters’ LA Times crossword – Gareth’s write-up

LA Times

Letter addition is a Friday LA Times staple, though this one is bolstered by a clever revealer in EF-FRONTERY. The rest is solid, but more quantity than quality.

With six theme answers, the rest of the grid is constrained throughout. Despite this, the fill is largely clean. I liked the clue [Pitcher with no arms], EWER, though its misdirection was quite transparent.

3.5 Stars

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22 Responses to Friday, May 4, 2018

  1. Hawkins says:

    Confirmed– I clued REDFIN as the company, but I had a feeling it would get changed.

  2. CC says:

    I’m a copywriter, and I’ve used ONE-STOP SHOP aplenty over the years.

  3. David and Heather says:

    NYT: Zippy puzzle with a fun mix of old and new (I especially loved the NW), little if any crosswordese, and no clunkers. I thought REDEALT was fine and liked the clue. I didn’t know REDFIN except as a word from Scrabble (anagram of finder, friend, and refind). I loved seeing XYLEM in the grid, too.

    • jim hale says:

      I agree with you on xylem, perhaps one day we will see phloem as well. Phloem is attacked by the Huanglongbing bacterium, the vector being the Asian citrus psyllid insect.
      A cause of Florida’s serious citrus industry devastation of which there is no current cure.

  4. Lise says:

    I thought this puzzle was excellent. I loved the portmanteau words in the NW (which was the last to fall for me, and left me with a smile). I am thankful that REDFIN was clued as a fish.

    As it happens, I have not heard a dentist or hygienist say OPEN WIDE, ever. Usually they point some sort of sharp object at me and I open up, because that way I can move freely about the planet sooner. LET’S DO THIS.

    Somehow I knew XYLEM, and this is the second time in less than a week that my recent reading of the history of England has helped me in a crossword (the New Yorker was the other one) (and BTW I loved that puzzle!).

    We have kettle CORN at our fairs, but that wouldn’t fit. I see CARAMEL CORN more often as the snack that comes in the tins of three, as Amy said. Cheddar was always my favorite.

  5. Penguins says:

    Liked the NYT too. The NW was a standout as was the clue for KRYPTON.

    • David L says:

      Can you explain that KRYPTON clue for me? I know DC refers to DC comics, but I don’t get how ‘area’ works.

      • Ethan Friedman says:

        I think the idea is that Krypton is a planet (the source of Kryptonite and Superman, IIRC). So it’s an “area” in the “DC universe”

  6. PJ Ward says:

    I know FIELD TRIAL as a competition for bird dogs.

  7. Howard B says:

    Fun NYT puzzle.
    One question – What is up with the reusing of the old cluing style of “What’s ?”
    Simple example: (not from puzzle) “What’s up?” for SKY?
    There’s one of these clues in today’s NY Times, and they always just seem a bit off.
    I recall this being used in puzzles 30+ years ago (from transcribing old puzzles for the Times archive project), but we’re seeing them again. Is this just a quirky odd thing added recently, or is this just me?

  8. Jacob says:

    I had “AMT, ISAY, IRIS” input early which led me to DATAMINING… That derailed me for a good 20 minutes! Fun puzzle!

  9. Ethan Friedman says:

    Loved the Times. I didn’t think the “secondhand / second hand” pun was a stretch Amy, and made the roll-your-own RE-word work for me.

    FIELD TRIAL is also a commonly used word in the dog show world where it’s used for competitions for herding dogs.

  10. Karen says:

    I loved the NYT puzzle, particularly 1A and 15A. I once spoke to someone at the Lincoln Park Zoo’s Urban Wildlife Institute about the coyotes I saw in our neighborhood near the Zoo and in the park. At the time the Zoo was keeping track of a couple coyotes who made the Zoo their home.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      I saw a couple coyotes last weekend! They were in the street or in an alley right near Graceland Cemetery and Wunder’s Cemetery. I know they like to hang out in Graceland (I assume they appreciate the landscape architecture and history) but I don’t think they come out into the neighborhood all that often.

    • Martin says:

      My house is the border between the turfs of two coyote packs. For some reason, they pick 2:00 AM on cold winter nights to have a rumble on my lawn. The awful howling and yipping wakes me, but if it catches me at the right point in a REM cycle, cause some very weird dreams first.

  11. Zulema says:

    How does one go from “rhetoric is not enough” to MONEY TALKS except by cross letters? And is it a quotation from someone? Or am I just not with it? BAKED was also new to me.

  12. janie says:

    >Lemme just say that I thought SET FEE was kinda junky fill when it appeared in Monday’s NYT…

    and there i was just this morning, reading a new yorker article about manufacture by chinese-owned mills in italy (4/16/18), when i encountered:

    “Arturo took me through the economics of doing work for luxury-fashion brands. He was paid a SET FEE [my caps…] for an order, not matter how long it took to complete.” (p.56)

    a solver may not be in love w/ the phrase, but that doesn’t make it “junky,” simply not to your taste. we’re in decidedly subjective territory here. the phrase is definitely “in the language.”

    maybe it’s that we all have fill/cluing/editing issues that raise flags for us. now, it’s not likely that a typical n00b who’s solved monday’s puzz is going to be tackling friday’s — meaning it’s not like this solver is going to get a boost by encountering the same word twice in one week. and that’s my particular pet peeve. dole out the re-use of higher profile fill. however, i’d say the odds of will’s adapting his editing style to conform to my preference are approximately zero-to-none. ;-) i’ll live!

    to describe SET FEE as “kinda junky fill,” tho, kinda feels like “word shaming” and not appropriate to this particular non-green-paint phrase.

    and that’s what makes horse races, eh?


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