Saturday, August 3, 2019

LAT 6:05 (Derek) 


Newsday 11:45 (Derek) 


NYT untimed (Amy) 


WSJ untimed (Jim P.) 


Universal untimed (Vic) 


Ryan McCarty’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 8 3 19, no. 0803

Mostly a nice 66-worder here, with highlights like that Canadian COWTOWN, SAME-SEX MARRIAGE, the S.S. MINNOW, WHIPSAWED, THE TERMINATOR (there’s a new Terminator movie coming up starring Linda Hamilton, picking up where she left off several movies back), a DEVIL DOG, and the interesting but new-to-me A.A. ONLINE.

There were also some blah bits, like SIT AT, I SEE, TSARS, incomplete-without-“because” I SAID SO (the second “I” phrase), plural OPIUMS, and Mount OSSA.

Five more things:

  • 16a. [Where Sevastopol is], CRIMEA. Friend of mine did her Peace Corps stint in Sevastopol. She’d learned the Ukrainian language before going in country, and then it turned out that the people there mainly spoke Russian! She has since made her whole career in the Peace Corps, and spent years in Turkmenistan and Macedonia before bouncing back to Ukraine.
  • 30a. [It’s filled with energy], POWER STATION. Also the name of an ’80s supergroup with a couple Duran Duran members in it!
  • 35a. [Celebrated the birth of a child, perhaps], SMOKED CIGARS. This entry feels a bit green-painty to me. Is this any better than, say, ATE A BANANA? I know that there’s that (disgusting) tradition of dudes smoking cigars with the new papa, but it feels more “verb + object” than “solid lexical chunk.”
  • 1d. [Private practice?], COMBAT. Clever clue, relating to Army privates, but a tad dismal, no?
  • 31d. [Boarding points at amusement parks], TRAM STOPS. Oh! I was envisioning the loading platform for a roller coaster rather than the tram stops in the parking expanse.

3.5 stars from me.

Paul Coulter’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Escape Clause”—Jim P’s review

Quick write-up this time, my apologies. Lots of family activities going on this weekend.

Our theme is hobbies that have been slightly re-defined.

Wall St Journal crossword solution · Paul Coulter · “Escape Clause” · Sat., 8.3.19

  • 22a [The paparazzo’s favorite hobby was ___] STAR GAZING
  • 38a [The boxing promoter’s favorite hobby was ___] SCRAP BOOKING
  • 49a [The civil engineering department lawyer’s favorite hobby was ___] CONTRACT BRIDGE. I don’t know this phrase. Apparently it’s the same as the card game Bridge.
  • 64a [The AWOL soldier’s favorite hobby was ___] BASE JUMPING
  • 83a [The blackjack dealer’s favorite hobby was ___] CARD COLLECTING
  • 92a [The Boston Celtics fan’s favorite hobby was ___] BIRD WATCHING. Larry Bird.
  • 115a [The telenovela director’s favorite hobby was ___] SOAP MAKING

Nice theme. These all worked for me except the bridge one, and I’ll just put that down to the self-enforced bridge gap in my knowledge base. Plus the fact that it’s a non-gerund, unlike the others, makes it an outlier.


There were the usual kludgy bits, particularly MMMCC, TENO, and EDER, but I mostly worked around these, and it turned out fine.

Good puzzle. 3.8 stars.

Evan Kalish’s Universal Crossword, “Cashboxes”—Judge Vic’s write-up

Evan Kalish’s Universal Crossword, “Cashboxes,” Aug. 3, 2019, solution

ATM is … well, look at the reveal:

60a “You can get $$$ here” sign, and a hint to 17-, 25-, 36- and 51-Across ATM INSIDE

And, now, look at what is inside the other theme entries (what could it be?):

  • 17a Fictional vehicle with an ejection seat BAT MOBILE
  • 25a Place to buy cuts and chops MEAT MARKET
  • 36a It might make you invincible in a video game CHEAT MODE
  • 51a Tiny, crispy candy KIT KAT MINI

Clever. Entertaining. And, with five theme entries using just 47 letters, this should yield some nice stuff elsewhere. Let’s have a look:

  • 28a Curly plant strand TENDRIL
  • 49a Home of Angel Stadium ANAHEIM
  • 1d Experiment runners? LAB RATS
  • 2d Amazon is a massive one E-TAILER
  • 3d Scores 95 on the test, say GETS AN A
  • 11d Not abandon STICK BY
  • 12d Ray of charged particles ION BEAM
  • 13d Railway bridge TRESTLE
  • 39d “Hit me with your questions!” ASK AWAY
  • 40d Take advantage of UTILIZE
  • 44d Walking on two feet BIPEDAL
  • 45d “Personally …” I MYSELF

Nice going, Evan! 4 stars.

Kyle Dolan’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up


This was a rapid solve for me; I have done several Kyle Dolan puzzles in the last year or two, so his style seems comfy to me at this point. I count 72 words, and while there is a one or two toughies in there, most were in my wheelhouse. Some of these entries brought a literal smile to my face! 4.5 stars from me.

Some of those “smile-inducing” entries:

  • 1A [“The Howdy Doody Show” cry adopted by ’60s California surfers] COWABUNGA – You mean Bart Simpson didn’t come up with this?! Just kidding. Great 1-Across entry. Perhaps this was a seed entry … ?
  • 24A [Ancient provincial governor] SATRAP – I just saw this in another puzzle, but this is a word I know. Some others may find this harder.
  • 34A [British breakfast dish with an onomatopoeic name] BUBBLE AND SQUEAK – I have never had this, but I was certainly grinning once I solved it. I don’t think we had this dish when we were in London several years ago.
  • 52A [__ Unido: United Kingdom, in Spain] REINO – When I first glanced at this, I thought of Estados Unidos, which is the Spanish name for the US. The Spanish term for the UK is a new term for me, but my rudimentary Spanish got me through it!
  • 53A [“Darn!”] “HANG IT ALL!” – No one says this in Indiana that I know. Kyle is not too far away from me (I believe he is still in the Chicago area), but they sometimes talk quite differently there.
  • 56A [Pittsburgh Steelers’ founder] ART ROONEY – As a sports fan, this was a gimme for me. Again, others might find it tougher.
  • 5D [It has paths for runners] BASEBALL DIAMOND – Another smile here. One of the best clues in the puzzle.
  • 10D [Proposes] POPS THE QUESTION – Straightforward, but this and the clue mentioned previously are great 15-letter entries that open this grid up.
  • 25D [Home of Queen Beatrix International Airport] ARUBA – Someday. This is one of my dream destinations.
  • 32D [Jay Gatsby’s love] DAISY – I have never read The Great Gatsby or seen the recent movie starring DiCaprio. I think it is on Netflix now …

I could go on, but I will stop. Great puzzle, Kyle!

Lester Ruff’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up

Newsday 08/03/2019

I thought I might get a record time at first on this one. I don’t remember exactly what it is; I think I solved one of these Stumpers in around 8 1/2 minutes once. I will have to check the archives and find out! But this one fell in under 12, so I will take it. I definitely learned a new term or two, but a few of these answers were easy for me. The NW corner was the hardest, while everything else didn’t seem too bad. A solid 4.3 stars for Stan’s puzzle this week, and with an easier one here, it bodes for a torturous one next week. I better start on it now!

A few highlights for me:

  • 17A [World’s highest-paid actress in 2017] EMMA STONE – I guessed this, even though I didn’t think it would be her, but why not? According to imdb, La La Land was a ’16 movie, but between it and Battle of the Sexes, those two made a bunch in ’17, so it makes sense.
  • 28A [Billionaires, collectively] THREE COMMA CLUB – This was a new term for me. Why don’t I remember hearing this term before??
  • 38A [VIP at the George W. Bush Library opening] ROSALYNN CARTER – This clue seems to run a long way around for a relatively simple answer. It also seems to have little to do with Mrs. Carter, but this is a Stumper!
  • 47A [Keaton, in a 2016 biopic] KROC – This movie (The Founder) IS on free options to watch, and I do want to see it.
  • 50A [La Città Eterna] ROMA – This is a Netflix movie, so it should be there quite a while. I have not seen it yet, but it was highly touted in the Oscar awards season.
  • 54A [”The Sporting Life” airer] ESPN RADIO – This is hosted by Jeremy Schaap, the son of the late Dick Schaap, and they both produce sports story documentaries that have very little to do with sports sometimes but more about humanity. I love his work, and I listen to this radio show a lot when I am running in the morning.

    Jeremy and Dick Schaap

  • 2D [Certain Bluetooth device] CAR STEREO – This answer took waaay to long to get. My phone is attached to the radio in MY car by Bluetooth!
  • 12D [p as in Portsmouth or Plymouth] PENCE – Best clue in the bunch. We are talking pence as in money, not the Vice President!
  • 13D [Shipbuilding facilities of yore] SAWPITS – I didn’t know this term either.
  • 19D [Sprite, e.g.] NON-COLA – 7-Up is the “uncola”, but both are “non-colas”. If that is a word …
  • 33D [Mediterranean Diet fare] BEET SALAD – I have found I love Mediterranean food. I hadn’t had falafel until just a few years ago, and it is now one of my favorites. Those of you on the coasts are probably cringing, but in northern Indiana, there weren’t many places to get it until maybe the last couple of decades. It is a different world here.
  • 47D [Butlers have a stand for it] KNIFE – I don’t get this clue. I’ll have my wife explain it to me!

Have a great weekend!

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20 Responses to Saturday, August 3, 2019

  1. lk says:

    AAONLINE is completely contrived. There are meetings online, but no one would refer to this as “AA online.” That’s more like a heading of a brochure section than a stand-alone phrase.

    • Christopher Smith says:

      Also I don’t see how plural OPIUMS is even a thing. Lots of lazy pluralization in NYT of late.

    • Martin says:

      This AAOnline Meeting Schedule is one indication that someone uses the term.

      This UN document includes phrases like “morphine content of Iranian and Indian opiums as compared with Turkish and Yugoslav opiums…” It’s not a commonly used plural, but it’s certainly a word.

      • Christopher Smith says:

        Fair enough. It’s like “fishes” then. And apparently India, which is more than a million square miles, produces only one kind of it.

        • Martin says:

          Not necessarily. That citation would cover two kinds of Iranian and Indian opiums each, as well as one each.

  2. Pseudonym says:

    Due to a couple of spots, I think Lester’s sister Preety must’ve helped him on today’s Stumper

    • David L says:

      I had ONEPERCENTCLUB for a long time and only arrived at THREECOMMACLUB after a lot of agonizing. And I wanted MARINAS for SAWPITS – the latter, as far I know, is simply a place where large pieces of wood are cut into usable lumber. No specific connection to boat-building that I can find.

      And I couldn’t figure out the OSS/USC cross so that was a DNF.

  3. PJ Ward says:

    NYT 36A – The Bordelais have been doing remarkable things with grapes for a long time but are they actually growing wine now?

  4. 3bags says:

    Thank you lk for your comment on “A.A. Online”. Definitely no such “recovery program”. Clearly not a friend of Bill’s.

  5. DD says:

    Are the Newsday Saturday Stumpers available in Across Lite? It looks like the reviewer had access, but I don’t see a link on the “Today’s Puzzles” page. Thanks.

    • Pseudonym says:

      Stumper in Across Lite may be available through some app if memory serves but I’m not sure. Maybe someone who knows will kindly respond.

    • RunawayPancake says:

      I use the alphacross app to solve all Newsday puzzles. It’s free and it automatic provides daily puzzles from Newsday, LA Times, WSJ, Jonesin’ (weekly), Universal and USA Today. It also allows you to import .puz files (Across Lite) from other sites.

    • RSP64 says:

      Crosswords Classic by Stand Alone, Inc. is also an app that has the Saturday Stumpers, BEQ, Jonesin’, etc. It is much more user-friendly than Across Lite in my opinion. You can also add subscriptions to AVCX and others.

  6. Anne Fay says:

    LA Times, 18a: Clue is “Pigtails” (plural). Answer is “Plait” (singular). How does “Plait” follow from “Pigtails”? “Pigtail” I would understand!

  7. JohnH says:

    Good point that CONTRACT BRIDGE in the WSJ puzzle is the only non-gerund. A shame they couldn’t have mixed it up further or, barring that, changed that clue. But the term itself is definitely fair game, whether I can define it or not.

Comments are closed.