Saturday, July 6, 2019

LAT 7:23 (Derek) 


Newsday 18:30 (Derek) 


NYT 5:48 (Amy) 


WSJ 21:29 (Jim P.) 


Universal untimed (Vic) 


John Lampkin’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “The Best Teacher”—Jim P’s review

Theme: Phrases generally equated with a newbie are associated with a specific career field based on the redefinition of a keyword.

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “The Best Teacher” · John Lampkin · Sat., 7.6.19

  • 17a [Inexperienced auctioneer?] NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
  • 39a [Inexperienced genealogist?] YOUNG BLOOD
  • 48a [Inexperienced emoticon designer?] FRESH FACE
  • 66a [Inexperienced deodorant developer?] RANK AMATEUR
  • 83a [Inexperienced trumpet player?] GREEN HORN
  • 91a [Inexperienced oyster bar shucker?] RAW RECRUIT
  • 20d [Inexperienced placekicker?] TENDER FOOT
  • 65a [Inexperienced gunsmith?] BABE IN ARMS
  • And a revealerish 114a [Experienced spice purveyors? And, with experience, what the inexperienced can become] SEASONED VETERANS

Most of these worked well enough for me, but some felt a little off. For example, “face” defining an “emoticon designer” and “blood” defining a “genealogist” seem a little loose.

More than the theme, I think I enjoyed the fill like GENESIS, NO CIGAR, SEESAWS, “SO IT IS“, HOTTIE, PINKISH, “HOP TO IT“, WATERLOO, GREMLIN, and WATCHDOG.

Brand new to me is SHAKO [Drum major’s topper], which comes from the Hungarian word csákó. I would never ever have guessed that was a word, but I’m glad to learn it.

I particularly enjoyed the cluing today, especially these clues OF NOTE:

  • 1a [Clapton finished his Live Aid set with it]. LAYLA. Good bit of trivia there.
  • 6a [Nontoxic insecticide?]. SWAT.
  • 18a [Appropriate game?]. POACH.
  • 42a [Reward for being close?]. NO CIGAR. Sure, it feels like a partial, but I found this humorous.
  • 52a [They have their ups and downs]. SEESAWS.
  • 62a [Letters to an opinionated neighbor]. MYOB.
  • 69a [Insurance for an outdoor wedding]. TENT. I recently attended an outdoor wedding on Guam. It didn’t rain, but it had to have been at least 95 degrees and humid as all get out. How the wedding party didn’t wilt during the 1.5 hour service is beyond me.
  • 123a [Looks for bunnies?] DUSTS.
  • 67d [Key that does nothing alone]. ALT.
  • 100d [Super dupers?]. LIARS. Took me a long time to suss this one out.

Strong theme and stronger fill and cluing. 3.8 stars.

Erik Agard’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 7 6 19, no. 0706

Yay, Erik! Look at that gorgeous staggered stack of five 11s in the middle, with 1000% solid crossings, plus assorted juicy fill scattered throughout the rest of the grid. NARCOLEPTIC with a factual, non-judgy clue. Catalan legend PABLO CASALS. Well, DECLARATORY isn’t too fun. But singer DARLENE LOVE, featured in the Oscar-winning documentary 20 Feet From Stardom, and “DONE AND DONE,” I love. Also nifty: DIDJA, WOOKIEE (I’m never quite positive that it’s IEE rather than IIE), POOP EMOJI, “I’M DOWN,” “AND HOW!”, TIMBERLANDS, PLATONIC, LATINX (I’ll bet you didn’t know that Filipinx is now a word, too—and if you don’t know LATINX, it’s a gender-neutral replacement for Latino/Latina/Latin@, pronounced “la-teen-ex”) and poet Anne SEXTON.

Seven more things:

  • 10a. [Activity that might elicit stares, for short], PDA. Public display of affection. No making out in the public way, please. But do go ahead and hold hands with your sweetie, no matter the genders involved.
  • 21a. [Construction piece that describes what happens when you compliment me?], I-BEAM. This is an adorable clue. (Looking a tad askance at this clue alongside I’M DOWN, I PASS, and I’M ON. Also, when will Illinois’s I-Pass make it into a crossword? It’s compatible with the E-ZPass.)
  • 35a. [“___ Mañanitas” (traditional Mexican birthday song)], LAS. Well! I did not know that—despite my favorite place for margaritas being called Las Mañanitas.
  • 45a. [Pixy ___], STIX. What a terrible excuse for candy, and yet I loved it as a kid and was happy to get a Pixy Stix at the Pride Parade last Sunday. (I gave it to my kid and his gf.)
  • 8d. [With 4-Down, someone who might repossess your car when you go bankrupt?], PAT / SAJAK. Ha! Great mislead in the clue.
  • 20d. [English breakfast, for example], TEA BLEND. Feels like an unfamiliar phrase/crossword entry, and yet it makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?
  • 23d. [“Ninotchka” actress, 1939], INA CLAIRE. We had actress-of-yore EVA Le Gallienne the other day, and over the years we’ve seen crosswordese INA with her last name tucked in the clue. I was so glad to have looked up Le Gallienne, so let’s see what I can learn about Claire now … eh, a less dramatic life than Le Gallienne, but still a bit interesting.

4.5 stars from me. Good night, folks!

Jeff Eddings’s Universal Crossword, “In Suspense”—Judge Vic’s write-up

Jeff Eddings’s Universal Crossword, “In Suspense”–7/6/19, solution

THEME: The word ROPE spans three known phrases and is featured in a reveal:

  • 17a [Golf tournament for the 50+] SENIOR OPEN
  • 26a [Extremely spicy chilis] HABANERO PEPPERS
  • 46a [Source of a puddle jumper’s thrust] TURBO-PROP ENGINE
  • 62a [Certain cavern crosser, or what crosses a word break in 17-, 26- or 46-Across] ROPE BRIDGE

The puzzle also features:

  • 20a [Levy system] TAX PLAN
  • 21a [IRA, perhaps] NEST EGG
  • 36a [Got muddy] DIRTIED
  • 40a [Topped with a scoop] A LA MODE
  • 53a [Pressurized spray type] AEROSOL
  • 57a [Kauai cocktails] MAI TAIS
  • 4d [Go unnoticed] SLIP PAST–a first-time crossword entry, per Ginsberg; kudos!
  • 9d [Signed agreement] DONE DEAL
  • 10d [“You’re making me blush!”] OH STOP
  • 38d [On cloud nine] EUPHORIC
  • 47d [Campy fare] B MOVIE

Nice going! 4 stars.

Jeffrey Wechsler’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up

LAT 07/06/2019

Fun! Not a chance of trying Downs Only on this one, and I am glad I didn’t. This one took me over 7 minutes, which I think for me means it is a tad on the tough side for a Saturday LAT challenge puzzle. I like Jeffrey’s puzzles a lot, and this one is right up with there with the best of his themeless editions that I have seen. 4.6 stars for a smooth 70-worder.

Some highlights:

  • 25A [2002 Soderbergh film based on a 1961 sci-fi novel] SOLARIS – Never saw it. Perhaps I will rent it!
  • 27A [“Stone walls do not a prison make” poet] LOVELACE – This would be Richard Lovelace, not Ada Lovelace!
  • 46A [Like pens designed for detailed work] FINE NIB – I prefer medium nibs on my fountain pens, but I do own a couple of fine nibs. The wider ones are usually smoother.
  • 57A [Dismissed lightly] POOH-POOHED – This is the best entry in the grid. I have no idea if this is hyphenated or not!
  • 2D [“Just tell me already!”] “OK,I GIVE UP!” – As always, I love casual phrases, and this is a great example of one.
  • 10D [Niels Bohr, to Victor Borge] COMPATRIOT – I think both of these people are Danish.
  • 13D [Prominent Lincoln Memorial features] STEPS – Wasn’t there something that happened on the Lincoln Memorial on the 4th … ?
  • 26D [“And another thing, buddy … “] “LOOK, YOU …” – ANOTHER great casual phrase, albeit a partial one.
  • 28D [Typical Bond foe] EVIL GENIUS – When you hear this phrase, is the first thing you see Dr. Evil too? I know I am not alone!
  • 44D [Repetitive British farewell] PIP PIP – Hooray!

The next LAT puzzle I review is on Tuesday. Until then!

Erik Agard & Wyna Liu’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up

Newsday 07/06/2019

Always a joy to see Erik’s byline, as you know you are in for a fun puzzle. I have also seen Wyna’s byline a few times, and this looks like a collaboration that will produce great puzzles! I have worked with Erik personally, and he is wise beyond his years. This gem of a puzzle is only 66 words, and has virtually nothing difficult, except for the two squares that I messed up, which you can see in the image where the cursor is! I will discuss those trouble entries below, but all-in-all I found this to be tremendous. You two can make all the Stumpers! 4.7 stars from me.

Some high points:

  • 7A [Where to pick up rolls] SUSHI BAR – Best clue in the puzzle. And there are a lot of good clues here.
  • 23A [Calls for relief?] TELETHON – Ah, I remember watching the Jerry Lewis Telethon every Labor Day weekend when I was younger. I haven’t seen to many telethons since, other than the public television fundraiser every now and then. I suppose I will see more when Netflix has a telethon!
  • 50A [Small plug-in adapters] DONGLES – I have a Macbook with more ports than the newer ones, so I am not in dongle confusion like some are, but I have my fair share of peripherals anyway!
  • 53A [Adds competitions, as for product promotion] GAMIFIES – Is this a word??
  • 3D [Shout after a too-bookish discourse] NERD ALERT! – I say this all the time during the Jeopardy! interview portion, but it is said with love since I also am a huge nerd!
  • 7D [Common tourist-trap purchases] SOUVENIR GLASSES – I pictured sunglasses when I first solved this, but this is actually referring to something like the shot glasses you can buy literally everywhere when on vacation.
  • 11D [Response to inapt advice] “I’M NOT YOU” – I thought this was a great entry, both in originality and as a casual phrase, which I love to see.
  • 30D [Match box of pro sports] STEEL CAGE – This could have been clued with a negative connotation, especially with what is going on in the news recently. Gladly, it just references a violent sport. (Maybe not so “gladly?”)
  • 47D [Ingredients in a winter salad] POMES – This is a type of fruit, right? What is a winter salad??
  • 53D [Cohort, for short] GEN – I don’t think I understand this one. Help!

I could literally go on and on. I only scratched the surface of this puzzle! Have a great weekend!

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18 Responses to Saturday, July 6, 2019

  1. David L says:

    NYT was tough for me because of the excessive number of names, INACLAIRE and IDS was the last cross I filled and I had to run the alphabet. “Walletful” seems like a stretch — I have my driver’s license in my wallet but that’s it for IDS. RISESOVER feels unidiomatic to me.

    Not my favorite kind of puzzle. But I learned how to pronounce LATINX.

    • Norm says:

      This was a typical Agard puzzle. I thought of just ignoring it when I saw the constructor’s name, but he’s had a few nice ones lately, so I figured, what the heck. Ugh. Trivia trash.
      Eh. I did like the Pat Sajak clue. Gotta give him that one.

  2. Christopher Smith says:

    NYT: Ninotchka is a favorite old movie of mine but INA CLAIRE seems like a deep cut for a longish clue, even on a Saturday.

    Any idea why TEXAN was a singular answer? Didn’t seem to be clued that way. Usually they use “player on” to indicate. It was a problem because COLTS in a natural fit there.

    • DH says:

      I did a double take on the TEXAN answer also – but figured it was OK by the clue referencing the “55-Acrosses”. Clumsy, IMO, but I guess it works.

  3. M483 says:

    Universal: I’ve never heard of a rope bridge spanning a cavern. A canyon, a creek, a river maybe, but not underground.

    • Norm says:

      Indeed. Maybe they string a rope to help you navigate across an underground creek/river, but that does not fit my image of a rope BRIDGE and the clue was unnecessarily off. Cute puzzle otherwise.

  4. Billy Boy says:

    LATINEX and the like

    Put me down for an IPASS, I’m tired of these EMOJIX and revisionism

  5. Ethan says:

    At the risk of sounding like an old man chasing kids off his lawn, I am not thrilled about POOP EMOJI appearing in the puzzle. What is the justification now for keeping ENEMA or URINE off constructor wordlists?

  6. Twangster says:

    I haven’t been able to complete a Stumper in a quite some time and that streak remains unbroken but at least today I came pretty close. I was done in by the DONGLES, GAMIFIES, POMES area … had CLAIRE instead of CELINE (thanks to Clair de Lune). The other 5/6 was challenging and fun.

  7. “When will Illinois’s I-Pass make it into a crossword?”

    On January 24, 2016. Clue was [Chicago driver’s toll-paying convenience].

  8. Sheik Yerbouti says:

    When did the Saturday Stumper (or Newsday puzzles generally) go behind a paywall? Is there a workaround?

  9. Phil says:

    Loved the WSJ, other than MEGS. Been a long time since computer memory has been measured in megs rather than gigs.

  10. A+ Sight-Reader; C- Rhythm says:

    Loved the WSJ puzzle by Mr. Lampkin. For me an apt title “The Best Teacher” since he was my Best Piano Teacher many years ago. Congrats on nearly 4 Stars!!

  11. Gene says:

    Re: Newsday – I didn’t understand GEN for “Cohort, for short” either until, reading Derek’s question, I realized it’s short for Generation, as in GEN X.

Comments are closed.