Saturday, October 3, 2020

LAT 7:48 (Derek) 


Newsday 20:00 (Derek) 


NYT 5:20 (Amy) 


Universal tk (Jim Q) 


WSJ untimed (pannonica) 


Brad Wilber & Doug Peterson’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up

NY Times crossword solution, 10 03 20, no. 1003

I’m distracted. Between Twitter and the news and also the second episode of the new season of Great British Bake Off (thanks to Brad for the hot tip that there was a new season!), I am without focus. I liked the puzzle … a half hour ago. And now I barely remember it. Let me refresh my memory! Ah, yes. A glance at the puzzle is always helpful.

With ONEF filled in already, I confess to you that I read 15a. [When “the arms I long for will open wide,” in a 1963 top 5 hit] and filled in ONE FIFTEEN, thinking it was some weird hands-of-a-clock thing. Urp. It’s ONE FINE DAY. Please tell us one of your goofiest wrong answer attempts.

I noticed a nice, inclusive vibe in this crossword. Fictional LUCY from Peanuts and BIANCA from Shakespeare, PELE, Julius “Dr. J” ERVING, LOLA Falana, Elton John and Lady Gaga in the STAGE NAMES clue (Reginald Dwight and Stefania Germanotta, respectively), INES Di Santo, EDITH Wharton (what academic word came to mind for that [Wharton, for one] clue?), Issa RAE. On the “straight men of European descent” side, we have REAGAN and possibly Mario Vargas LLOSA (his mom was of Spanish descent, not sure about his dad). Good job, gentlemen!

Six more things:

  • 38d. [Quick buck, say], ANTELOPE. Nice clue. Had me stumped.
  • 20a. [Sticky pad?], NEST. Sticky meaning made of sticks, here. Have we seen this NEST clue before?
  • 50a. [Sauce ingredient in a Londoner’s “pie and mash”], EEL. Aagh, no. Do not want. Not after reading that New Yorker article about eel sex.
  • 57a. [___ Fronteras (area where Brazil, Peru and Colombia meet)], TRES. Neat clue for TRES. I Googled that term and Google Maps gave me a Tres Fronteras where Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil meet at the confluence of two rivers. How many Tres Fronteras spots are there? Why aren’t Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil in this clue?
  • 3d. [Neighbor of a Belarusian], LETT. Lett is crosswordese for Latvian. I consider TARN to be crosswordese too, since we call ’em lakes here in the U.S.
  • 25d. [Chemical compounds in bubble gum], ESTERS. This is the most important thing I’ve ever learned about ESTERS (which also feels like crosswordese to me).

3.8 stars from me. Would’ve been over 4 without LETT, TARN, and ESTERS.

Evan Kalish’s LA Times crossword – Derek’s write-up

LAT 10/03/2020

This one put up a little more resistance than normal! This is a fine 70-worder by Evan, who I don’t think I have had the pleasure of meeting at the ACPT. I have solved several of his puzzles at this point, and they area all of fine quality. Lots of fun stuff in this one, including several casual phrases, which I love! A good warmup to the Boswords Crosswords League, which I think starts this Monday! 4.3 stars for this one.

Some of the fun stuff:

  • 1A [Handle the roasting] TAKE A JOKE – It seems as if this is a lost art these days …
  • 15A [Words of exasperation] “I CAN’T EVEN!” – Great casual phrase, as I mentioned!
  • 20A [Request while extending a glass] “I’LL HAVE SOME” – And another one!
  • 30A [Territory from 1861 to 1889] DAKOTA – This took a minute to think about. Weirdly, this was not that long ago.
  • 44A [Alma mater of about half the Supreme Court] YALE LAW – I read recently that the elitism (for lack of a better word) of not even considering people for certain positions that haven’t gone to Ivy League schools is quite prevalent. For presidents since Carter, only Reagan and Clinton did not attend Ivy League schools, and since the passing of RBG, this clue should read [Alma mater of exactly half the Supreme Court]. the other half went to Harvard Law School. If the new nominee makes it, she will be the first one from Notre Dame Law School, which is making huge news where I live, about 15 minutes from their campus.
  • 62A [“Dang!”] “CON-SARN IT!” – No idea how to spell this, but another great casual phrase that Yosemite Sam might say!
  • 3D [Jet Ski maker] KAWASAKI – Did not think of this immediately. They’re more known for their motorcycles!
  • 8D [“Die Young” singer] KE$HA – Did I spell THIS right? ;-)
  • 31D [Slopeside sight] A-FRAME – I think they use these types of roofs where it snows a lot. Fun fact: the recently deceased Gale Sayers also lived in my area in his later years in a small A-FRAME in Wakarusa, IN, where I had the privilege of delivering to his house in my last years at UPS!
  • 37D [“Cool Hand Luke” restraints] LEG IRONS – Another movie to watch in the shutdown, and one I haven’t seen since I was younger. “What we have, here, is a failure to communicate!”
  • 38D [Chase Field team, on scoreboards] ARI – My 8-year-old son Chase enjoys watching stadiums  and arenas that have his name plastered all over it due the the bank sponsorhip, so Diamondback games, along with Warriors and Knicks games in the NBA always delight him!
  • 45D [“The Suburbs” Grammy-winning indie rock band __ Fire] ARCADE – I actually know this band! Barely …

That is all! Happy puzzling!

Greg Johnson’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” – Derek’s write-up

Newsday 10/03/2020

I had a really slow start with this week’s Stumper. The lower end fell first, then the NW corner, and I finally finished in the upper left area, where all of the error marks are! This one was thorny in spots. I still think I need a vacation to reset the brain. I have been back to running in the last couple of weeks, and I feel a tad better now that I have lost a few pounds. Perhaps that can continue during this crazy isolation/quarantine period that appears to be the norm for the next several months. Even a home-body like myself is ready to go SOMEWHERE, but there aren’t many places to go, and the virus seems to be kicking up steam where I live, so let’s all hang in there! Do a puzzle or two to save your sanity! 4.5 stars for this one, which I hope you enjoyed as much as I did.

Some highlights:

  • 13A [Decor in ”That ’70s Show”] LAVA LAMP – Did someone watch an actual episode and verify this??
  • 32A [Tourist trap?] HEDGE MAZE – It is the time of year for corn mazes, but with the pandemic I don’t know if they will pop up this year. Along with everything else that isn’t happening either! Great clue, though!
  • 36A [Tablet smaller than a smartphone] LOZENGE – Another great clue! I was totally fooled.

    Example of a hedge maze.

  • 54A [First Family member, 50 years ago] PAT – Math is hard! 50 years ago would be the Nixon era, so this is referencing the First Lady from then.
  • 3D [__ pool] VAN – This is the last word I would have thought to put here. Hard!
  • 6D [It’s planted in home gardens] OMEGA – Someone please explain this. I have no idea why this is correct.
  • 8D [Eero Saarinen designed its Michigan Tech Center] GM CORP – This is TOO hard. It is an abbreviation which is not indicated, and it is a term that I don’t think is widely used. Not my favorite.
  • 23D [Where Marilyn sang to JFK in NYC] MSG – After a crossing letter or two, this made sense. A little before my time, but I know the reference, as do many of you.
  • 31D [Female pilot in ”Futurama”] LEELA – I have never seen Futurama, but I should know this name from crosswords!
  • 45D [Carell, in ”Battle of the Sexes”] RIGGS – I started the puzzle here. A movie that I actually saw!
  • 57D [Baryshnikov, by birth] LETT – He is Latvian, so this makes sense. One of these days I will travel to that area; it seems like a nice place to visit.

Everyone have a safe and healthy weekend!

Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Living in the Past” — pannonica’s write-up

WSJ • 10/3/20 • Sat • “Living in the Past” • Shenk • solution • 20201003

Phrases featuring past participles that are homonyms of nouns are treated as if they were in fact nouns.

  • 22a. [Acolyte’s work on Palm Sunday, say?] LENT ASSISTANCE.
  • 27a. [Fur vault?] STOLE HOME.
  • 43a. [Flower high up on an arbor?] ROSE ABOVE.
  • 51a. [Bike repair manuals?] SPOKE VOLUMES. This one’s by far my favorite, partly because VOLUMES has also significantly shifted its meaning.
  • 65a. [Audience member at a tedious lecture?] BORE WITNESS.
  • 79a. [Position of the liberals?] LEFT STANDING.
  • 88a. [Result of crafting a fine fedora?] FELT PRIDE. LEFT and FELT are anagrams.
  • 102a. [To cut a board, duh!?] SAW REASON.
  • 109a. [Providing subscribers with several operas per year and the like?] MET OBLIGATIONS. Tacitly NYC-centric, this one.

This puzzle felt bigger than it is.

Not part of the theme: 81a [Arrive casually] ROLLED IN. Not a homonym of a noun, and I’m just now realizing that all the thematic past participles are irregular.

Relatively quick tour around the rest of the grid, as there are still Many Things Going On.

  • 13a [May, say] MONTH, 14a [May with a Tony] ELAINE.
  • 29a [Savage] WILD MAN.
  • 57a [Shook upside down, for an Etch-A-Sketch] ERASED. Fresh clue.
  • 73a [Someone who puts up with you] GUEST. Great clue!
  • 98a [Physicist with a namesake effect] DOPPLER. 116a [Company offering little training?] LIONEL. Although it isn’t a feature offered by LIONEL, if you are model train enthusiast, you can  get a simulated doppler effect with MTH sets.
  • 1d [Norse goddess of death] HEL. 6d [Thompson of “Westworld”] TESSA.
  • 9d [Ferret’s kin] OTTER. I often complain about too many OTTER clues of the ‘playful river creature’ type, and while this is a change of pace, it’s of a different type of annoying (to me) clue, as it’s rather vague—there are quite a lot of mustelids out there, and many are good potential crossword fodder, including STOAT, ERMINE, MARTEN, FISHER, and RATEL. I mean, it’s the largest family in the order Carnivora.
  • 15d [Winner of all the events in the A.D. 67 Olympics] NERO. Just imagine how many holes-in-one he’d have scored if golf was around at the time!
  • 20d [Global thawing, of a sort] DETENTE. The only sort I can get behind. 72a [Something to fight for] CAUSE.
  • 41d [Beetles, in slang] VEE DUBS. Don’t believe I’ve ever seen this as a crossword entry.
  • 56d [Source of wisdom, some say] AGE. 82d [Poor learner, according to a proverb] OLD DOG.

This entry was posted in Daily Puzzles and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Saturday, October 3, 2020

  1. pseudonym says:

    Hardest NYT in memory. Some tough, clever cluing but also proper heavy in spots. Not a fun solve for me.

    • snappysammy says:

      different strokes for different folks
      this one fell pretty easy for me

      the stumper was a great workout
      lower left really bogged me down

  2. Sensitive Soul says:

    I wonder if there’s a way to be pro-inclusiveness, without having to be (or at least sound) anti-anything? I feel good when I see someone cheer all the mentions of disadvantaged people in this puzzle. But (personally) I don’t feel good when I read a jeer for inclusion of a “straight man of European descent”. If the review went from all the nice inclusive entries, straight (ha!) into “Good job, gentlemen!”, that would have been just as of a nice message, don’t you think? Wouldn’t people find inclusiveness more welcoming if we refrain from framing it as a zero-sum game?

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Which words constitute a “jeer,” I wonder? Because I’m not seeing any.

      • RunawayPancake says:

        That’s what you cherry-pick to respond to?

      • Sensitive Soul says:

        Hi Amy, thanks for responding. For me, it’s not about any specific words, it’s the implication. The review says that the constructors get a “good job” because there were 9 inclusive entries and only 2 “straight men of European descent.” I think it’s clear that if the numbers were 9 and 12, instead of 9 and 2, that would not be considered a good job. (Or at least, not *as* good of a job.) And it follows pretty directly that the fewer straight white men, the better. So that’s why that sentence reads as a jeer. Does that make sense?

        • Amy Reynaldo says:

          It doesn’t make sense from my perspective. Please put yourself in the shoes of a woman, person of color, or LGBTQ person who has gone decades mostly seeing references to men, white people, and straight people. Yes, it is time to see a broader spectrum of human achievement represented and not just what white men have done. There are centuries in which everyone else’s contributions were discouraged, overlooked, forgotten.

          Given that straight white men do NOT make up a majority of this country’s population and are an even smaller fraction of the world’s population, it would be disproportionate to have even half the people referenced in a puzzle be white men.

          Plus, let’s be candid: White men still make up a majority of our Senate, Fortune 500 executives, college presidents, etc. To overlook that societal power imbalance and pout that a crossword blogger is tired of that imbalance being shoved down our throats in crossword puzzles … can’t you just be heartened by the fact that white men pull the strings and get over having your feelings hurt by someone not praising white men?

          • Sensitive Soul says:

            Hi Amy. I do try to put myself in your shoes, and I agree completely — and I always favor underrepresented people in my puzzles. And you’ll get no argument from me about the continued dominance of straight white men in Western society. So I ask that you please don’t assume that I’m overlooking any of that, or that I’m pouting.

            If you do think it’s a good idea to frame it as a zero-sum game, that’s definitely one valid strategy. But I’m not sure it’s the most effective one, even if it does feel empowering. So, if I put myself in your shoes, would you be averse to putting yourself in the shoes of someone else for a moment? If you were a straight white man, would you be more open to the idea of inclusiveness in crossword puzzles if it were framed to you as “I’d prefer to see more underrepresented people in crosswords”, or if it included “also, I’d prefer to see fewer straight white men (i.e. people like you) in crosswords”? You can see how that doesn’t feel very good. And maybe you don’t care about straight white men, or how they feel? But as we know, they make (and edit) a lot of crossword puzzles, so I think it’s actually relevant to our cause.

            • Amy Reynaldo says:

              Frankly, I am all out of the energy needed to be extra empathetic to straight white men as a class. Can they not just sit down quietly and let everyone else catch up for a while? Can they not understand that the world need not continue to revolve around them? I’m done with this topic for today. There are better uses of my time than finding ways to be gentle towards the country’s single least marginalized faction. (Individuals, sure; I care about the ones I’m friends with. But not the entire class.)

          • Sensitive Soul says:

            P.S. It’s also worth noting that the original Bechdel test is not phrased as a zero-sum game.

            • Sensitive Soul says:

              P.P.S. I don’t want to overly nag, or make this comment section all about debate, and I think I’ve made my point as well as I can make it, so I’ll stop here. I look forward to your response.

            • Sensitive Soul says:

              That’s understandable. At the risk of invoking some weird variation on Godwin’s law, I’ll only note that there are a lot of people in swing states who are out of jobs and in debt, and are being told that they are privileged. But they don’t feel privileged, they feel poor and marginalized. So they vote for the guy who’s the only one to speak about their problems, whether they like his racism or not. Because they just don’t feel like anyone else cares about their very real problems.

              > Can they not just sit down quietly and let everyone else catch up for a while? Can they not understand that the world need not continue to revolve around them?

              The more we talk about all straight white men as a uniform group of “others”, full only of privilege and containing no individuals with any problems… well, that’s what made people run into the arms of you-know-who four years ago. So there’s that.

              I’m sorry to keep pestering about this. I just want both sides to spend a few minutes in each others’ shoes.

            • Jenni Levy says:

              OMFG. Dude. Our lives depend on understanding the viewpoint of straight white men. WE GET IT. Your tender little fee-fees are hurt at the very IDEA that someone else’s opinion might matter.

              Just shut up.

            • pannonica says:

              You might want to investigate some of the backlash to Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy (2016).

            • dhj says:

              Thank you for your comments, Sensitive Soul. Your sane and rational feedback is never going to win with this crowd, but it’s refreshing nonetheless to hear the sane and rational stuff. The essentializing of race and gender only furthers the divide and is bound to make things worse, not better. Hopefully we can someday shift to solutions in which everyone can benefit, rather than the zero-sum solutions that seem to be in vogue currently.

            • Gary R says:

              Your tender little fee-fees are hurt at the very IDEA that someone else’s opinion might matter.

              Right back at you, Jenni.

              Just shut up.

              Yup – there you go.

            • PL says:

              Jenni Levy, even Trump would be impressed by that response. You know a lot of people who are on your side are *cringing* when they read your response. Because when you use childish and Trump-like insults instead of sounding like a reasonable person who actually cares about making the world better, it tends to reflects badly on everyone. Of course one child in a crowd of adults shouldn’t implicate the whole crowd, but usually that’s how people think.

  3. David L says:

    Unusually tough for me too. I spent a long time filling in a short word here and there without getting much of a foothold, then finally made some progress in the NE. I had HUMANLABOR for a while before correcting it, TURK before LETT, GENX before XERS…

    EEL sauce isn’t correct, I would say. Traditionally pie and mash would be accompanied by a ‘liquor’ that’s made from the water used for stewing eels, which are then served as ‘jellied eels’ (i.e. in aspic). You might say yuck, and you would be right. But EEL sauce, according to Google, is a Japanese thing. No Londoner would describe the liquor as ‘eel sauce.’

  4. Samuel says:

    TARN isn’t crosswordese. It’s definitely used for alpine lakes out in the western US. Too many names for my liking. And ACTIONVERB spoiled the puzzle, such a bland answer.

  5. Dwayne says:

    Omega is the cryptic clue: hOME GArdens.

    Also… LETT in the NYT and Stumper on the same day!

  6. David L says:

    Stumper: I finished it except for LOZENGE in the middle. Ran the alphabet and couldn’t come up with HELOS (is that an abbreviation for helicopters? new to me); didn’t have any idea about AMO or what it stands for; ditto with GOB for a small piece of caviar; and I thought the character’s name was LEILA (never watched the show).

    “It’s planted in hOME GArdens” — the new rule seems to be that the Stumper has one of these clues every week.

  7. pannonica says:

    Stumper: 27a [Pat alternative] TRISHA; 54a [First Family member 50 years ago] PAT.


    • Jen Der Nootral says:

      Labels are for things, not for people.

    • Pilgrim says:

      I always wondered if they try to be even more Stumper-y by having the clues/answers violate this “meta-rule” regarding dupes. I thought to myself: “‘PAT’ is the obvious answer for 54a, but that can’t be right because ‘Pat’ was part of the clue for 27a. It must be something else. Who were the other Nixons? But wait, it is ‘PAT’! Had me stumped!”

  8. stmv says:

    Just to let you know, the links to the individual writeups are broken today, due to having “Sunday” in the URL where they should have “Saturday”. The only way I could get to them was by looking at one of yesterday’s posts and then selecting the link to the next day’s post, which did work.

Comments are closed.