Saturday, September 26, 2020

LAT 5:39 (Derek) 


Newsday 11:46 (Derek) 


NYT 5:13 (Amy) 


Universal untimed (Jim Q) 


WSJ untimed (pannonica) 


Kristian House’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 9 26 20, no. 0926

Plenty of fun fill, mainly in the Acrosses. I’m partial to DUCT TAPE, KIMCHI, GLAMPING, CORNHOLE, Megan RAPINOE, OXYMORON (good clue: [Unbiased opinion, e.g.]), RAGE-QUIT, LUCINDA Williams, and CHEERIOS (which I need another box of).

Just four more things, because those pots and pans aren’t going to wash themselves and it’s getting late:

  • 52a. [Man’s name that rhymes with a number], NATE. We would also have accepted Drew, Thor, Evan, Tate, or Sven.
  • 55a. [Collection of seeds?], BRACKET. As in the March Madness bracket, or the US Open bracket.
  • 67a. [Something you might earn by having a long crossword-solving streak, informally], NERD CRED. Not sure how much this is out there as an in-the-language phrase, but this is definitely something I have. I’ve got crossword tournament trophies, after all, and I’m in the A rundle (level) in the Learned League trivia competition. What’s your best claim to nerd cred?
  • 7d. [Ink saver], PEN CAP. I tried PENCIL first. Anyone else?

Four stars from me. Happy imminent Saturday!

Craig Stowe’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up

LAT 09/26/2020

A nice 70-worder this week for the Saturday LAT challenge puzzle. Not nearly as hard as Stella Zawistowski’s offering last week, but that’s OK! They cannot all be super tough. I have done a fair amount of Craig Stowe puzzles at this point, so perhaps I get his style to a degree. This grid only has 28 black squares, which is a bit on the low side, and there are tons of long answers intertwined nicely. Great puzzle! 4.4 stars from me.

Stuff I found interesting:

  • 5A [1996 romcom titled after a 1963 hit song] ONE FINE DAY – Admit it: you’re singing this in your head right now!
  • 23A [Hand-played drum] TOM-TOM – They used to make GPS equipment. I guess people use their phones now, or it’s already in the car! We have a decent Garmin GPS somewhere that I haven’t used in forever.
  • 27A [Post-9/11 musical about the diversion of flights to Newfoundland] COME FROM AWAY – I don’t know
  • 61A [Witness to Padmé and Anakin’s wedding] ARTOO DETOO – This robot was everywhere for all the big moments in the Star Wars universe.
  • 7D [Piccadilly Circus statue] EROS – I have seen this before. One of these days I will travel there to see it. I missed it the last time I was in London. But this comes up in puzzles all the time.
  • 9D [“That. Is. Amazing.”] “I’M IN AWE” – Now THIS is a casual phrase
  • 10D [Peabody Award-winning Robertson] NIC – This is a CNN personality I have never heard of. But that would mean I watched CNN a lot, which I do not.
  • 29D [Cite as proof] ADDUCE – Time to re-learn a word! Don’t use this one much at all.
  • 33D [Sounds about right] RINGS TRUE – This is almost a casual phrase.
  • 39D [Menu venue, perhaps] PLACE MAT – At a diner, perhaps. Or if you’re 4 years old!
  • 43D [Best thing since sliced bread, so to speak] PARAGON – Nicely done. If you’re called a paragon, consider it a compliment!

That is all! Let’s close with something I know you’re thinking about …

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

Newsday 09/26/2020

Under 12 minutes! I’ll take it! Make no mistake, this one was not easy. Note all of the error marks! The SW and SE corners fell the easiest, but the S sector has a plethora of error marks. There is a shape of about 14 squares that I had no idea how to fill. Needless to say, I wrapped this puzzle up there. Similar issues where had in the NE corner, as is also evident. But the parts that didn’t trip me up quite as bad went rather quickly, so the overall time isn’t horrible at all. Still a typical Stumper. 4.5 stars.

A few more things:

  • 5A [Rice cakes, e.g.] DISCS – I got this one rather quickly. Perhaps because I don’t like them!
  • 25A [Musical about Charlemagne’s son] PIPPIN – I don’t know what this is, but it somehow was in my subconscious. This was a weird feeling. I’ll Google it later!
  • 27A [Laser, circa 1960] NEOLOGISM – I think this means it was a new word in 1960.
  • 38A [Ovoid collectible knockoff] FAUXBERGE – Great entry!
  • 49A [It’s not Balboa’s name] ROCCO – Yes, I had ROCKY in here at first, but that is the point of the clue!
  • 57A [Child’s blanket] WHITE SAUCE – I had sauce, and the “Child” portion of the clue tripped me up for a while until I figured out it was referring to the chef. And it was STILL hard because this is not the first sauce I think of when I think of French cuisine!
  • 1D [Group with a washboard] JUG BAND – Another great entry.
  • 4D [Opera role for a young mezzo-soprano] HANSEL – I don’t know opera at all, but I assume there is one about Hansel and Gretel?
  • 31D [Chili sauce sweetener] MANGO – My wife put some of these in some rice a week or so ago. Not bad!
  • 52D [Kind of candy] CHEW – Also tough. I think ROCK candy. They don’t say this in Indiana! There is Charleston Chew, I suppose. I’ll let it slide!

Have a safe and healthy weekend!

Zhouqin Burnikel’s Universal crossword — “Closing Remarks” – Jim Q’s Write-up

THEME: Phrases that end with a “parting word”

Universal crossword solution · “Closing Remarks” · Zhouqin Burnikel · Sat., 9.26.20


  • 17A [*Signed a treaty, say] MADE PEACE. “Peace!” as in “See ya!”
  • 11D [*”Everything’s OK”] NO HARM DONE. 
  • 29D [*”I can live with that”] FAIR ENOUGH. 
  • 39A [*Common source of buyer’s remorse] BAD DEAL. 
  • 64A [Closing comments, or what the ends of the starred answers are] LAST WORDS. 

I liked this one just fine, probably because of the overall smooth grid. All the theme phrases are solidly in-language and fill like IPAD PRO and MET GALA kept in interesting. I FOR ONE took me a while to see… looks so strange in the grid to me!

Does anyone say DONE as a final word? Feels like it need’s to be I’M DONE, whereas the others stand alone.

3.5 stars. Enjoy the weekend!

Gary Larson’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Job Fare” — pannonica’s write-up

WSJ • 9/26/20 • Fri • “Job Fare” • Larson • solution • 20200926

Food puns, outfitted with an occupational spin. That’s a hefty overlap in the Venn diagram of crossword themes.

  • 22a. [Snack for a banker?] SAFECRACKER.
  • 24a. [Salsa for a diet doctor?] SKINNY DIP.
  • 43a. [Entree for a movie star?] CELEBRITY ROAST.
  • 83a. [Side dish for a politician?] BALLOT STUFFING.
  • 105a. [Bakery item for a judge?] HONOR ROLL.
  • 107a. [Beverage for a get-rich-quick guru?] SUCKER PUNCH.
  • 31d. [Breakfast cereal for a ski instructor?] SNOWFLAKES.
  • 51d. [Condiment for an Uber driver?] TRAFFIC JAM.

Despite the well-trod nature of the theme subjects (if not this precise combination), there’s good variety and distribution of the foodstuffs: no real duplication of categories. I appreciate that kind of care in sculpting a theme.

Let’s just dive in to my video share today. It’s a long one! 35a [Film sequences] MONTAGES. Dziga Vertov’s seminal Man with a Movie Camera (Человек с киноаппаратом) is—more than 90 years on—still one of the most amazing and modern cinematic experiences. Essentially one long montage, it’s essential humanism. The version below is accompanied by the 1995 Alloy Orchestra soundtrack.

    • 47a [Forth] ONWARDS. Subtly tricky. Relatedly, it took me some time to realize 55a [Where skydivers plummet] was seeking a prepositional phrase as its answer: TO EARTH.
    • 77a [The navy has one in Groton, Connecticut] SUB BASE. It’s this one.
    • 80a [Shot blocker, at times] LENS CAP. Nothing to do with basketball. Factette: my custom icon for the camera block app on my phone is a lens cap.
    • 87a [Brown who was a Brown] JIM. Everything to do with football.
    • 96a [Frost victim] BUD. I was certain this clue was about someone named Frost (Jack?) and their folktale victim. When the answer turned out to be BUD, I was truly perplexed: “Bud? Bud who?” Yes, this one fooled me good and long.
    • 116a [Wrench namesake] ALLEN. Sure, let’s look it up today. I mean, what else is the internet for? “In 1909–1910, William G. Allen … patented a method of cold-forming screw heads around a hexagonal die (U.S. Patent 960,244). Published advertisements for the ‘Allen safety set screw’ by the Allen Manufacturing Company of Hartford, Connecticut, exist from 1910. Although it is unlikely that Allen was the first person to think of a hex socket drive, his patent for a manufacturing method and his realized product appear to be the first.” (Wikipedia)
    • 5d [Small denomination] SECT. Nothing to do with currency.
    • 8d [Randi of TV’s “CHiPs”] OAKES. Wow, she was a cast member from 1979–82. Not exactly A-list clue material. 78d [Jack of “Barney Miller”] SOO, 1975–1979 (he died midway through Season 5), but I knew this one easily.
    • 60d [Long-running NPR show] CAR TALK. 1987–2012
    • 11d [Mortarboard bearer] MASON. Namesake of the stereotypical graduation headgear.
    • 37d [Tree sanctuaries] ARBORETA. Unusual plural siting!
    • 38d [One with no loving attraction to others, for short] ARO, as in aromantic. I have no idea whether they smell good.
    • 39d [Communicable playground malady] COOTIES. We all know that this likely derives from the Malay language, yes?
    • 54d [Black-and-blue] BEATEN UP. Back in 2016, Sarah Kendzior wrote “Missouri is a purple state – purple, like a bruise.” I think about that a lot, and also how—in an expanded sense (obviously)—it describes a lot else that’s going on in the world.
    • 85d [Sun spot] FRECKLE. Good misdirection.
    • 76d [Summon] SEND FOR.

      Kids, the subject and sentiment of this historic song are horrific, but damn if it isn’t a great song.

Feel as if I rambled more than usual today. Apologies if that’s a problem.

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25 Responses to Saturday, September 26, 2020

  1. huda says:

    NYT: Yup, PENcil first …
    Very good puzzle… It felt very easy for a Saturday, probably because it was not stuffed with obscure names.
    I love RAGE QUIT (which I believe was invented by gamers)
    I also like that type of Noun-Verb construction- for example Binge Watch (invented by Netflix), that seems to have increased of late. It feels very descriptive.
    Can’t think of other examples at the moment…

    • Lise says:

      PENCil here too, and Evan for the man’s name. I didn’t know INSANA or ZANE, but the crosses were fair.

      PURGATION was interesting. All in all, it was a good Saturday puzzle.

  2. Seamus says:

    Never heard of ISOTONES, and I’d say my Nerd Cred in all things realted to the elements is fairly high.
    Went pretty easy for Sat.
    And yes to PENCIL.

  3. PJ says:

    NYT 60a – I confidently entered GMT. That made 49d a mess. I finally decided on GST. What is GST? My first thought was Greenwich Standard Time but that would have been a dupe with the clue. Plus, it doesn’t get any love when I search for it or GST Greenwich.

    • pannonica says:

      I made this mistake some years ago and have internalized the lesson: it’s Greenwich Sidereal Time.

      • PJ says:

        Thank you! After looking at a Wikipedia article it rings a very distant bell.

      • David Grant says:

        I’ve read both the Wikipedia entries for both GST and GMT. The clue mentions the Prime Meridian. That only applies to GMT. Are you all 100% positive that GST is correct here? Why is there no mention of the prime meridian in the discussion of GST?

        • John N says:

          Agree that this is a stretch. I think the answer is just about justifiable as GST seems to be sidereal time on the Prime Meridian. But the natural answer to the clue is just so squarely GMT, and GST feels too obscure (and not fun enough) to be an alternative, even on a Saturday. (But perhaps this is just crossword-ese I’m not familiar with.). Sidereal is a wonderful word worth being used in full.

          But this is some unconscionable pedantry given how fun the puzzle was!

  4. Billy Boy says:

    I already had SALK and SAC so PENCAP wasn’t an issue.

    Top half so quick, half of bottom pretty quick, last quarter was a morass for me. Good puzzle.
    I can never remember RAGE QUIT, never a gamer, none in my life.


  5. Mr. Grumpy says:

    Never heard of BALLOT STUFFING as opposed to ballot BOX stuffing, but it appears to be a valid term. Still sounds off to me.

  6. marciem says:

    WSJ 11d got me with “mortarboard Bearer” not wearer, slowed me down since grad didn’t fit and I didn’t know who passed out the mortarboards LOL.

    Enjoyable puzzle for me. I do love puns.

  7. golfballman says:

    LAT I call foul on21 across house VIP is not a senator. It is the house of reps.

  8. MichaelinChelsea says:

    Re the Stumper: how is Peak in Tibet TEE? If this is an allusion to the capital t, that is stretching the meaning of peak pretty far. Maybe there’s a Mt Tee I don’t know about…?

    • David L says:

      I believe your first guess is correct and, yes, it’s a stretch

      • Pilgrim says:

        That was a tough one. From looking on Wikipedia, trying to get a hint, it appears “tse” might be Tibetan for “peak” (i.e., Lhotse – “South Peak,” Nuptse – “West Peak”), but that was a dead end.

  9. R says:

    NYT: I liked most of this, but was disappointed when “Sent” was clued twice to that woefully obsolete sense (ELATED and IN HEAVEN).

  10. Crotchety Doug says:

    WSJ – 3.5 stars for the puzzle, 5.0 stars for the review.

    @Pannonica, go ahead and ramble. I haven’t finished reading it and I’ve already made myself a note to find out what a camera block app is and maybe download one if it’s a good thing, and learned how they manufacture a hex socket drive by “cold-forming screw heads around a hexagonal die”,. Then you come with a few more jokes including new information for me, interspersed with some melancholy for me and so many others. Best review/essay I’ve ever read in this forum. Thanks

  11. GiftedButSlow says:

    Missed ONE square, wrote (P)agequit without ever having heard of the phrase, oh well. This was a 4-star puzzle for me, kept me thinking all the way thru. Also messing up the beginning of 43-A (N)nw made finishing it up a bit longer than it should have (oops!).

  12. C. Y. Hollander says:

    Re the Newsday Stumper’s clue for MANKIND, I know it’s supported by dictionaries, but I have to say that I have never seen that word used to refer to males as distinct from females.

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