Saturday, May 20, 2023

LAT 4:07 (Stella) 


Newsday 10:13 (pannonica) 


NYT 5:55 (Amy) 


Universal tk (Matt F)  


USA Today 2:02 (Matthew) 


WSJ untimed (pannonica) 


Erica Hsiung Wojcik’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 5 20 23, no. 0520

This grid reminds me a bit of KAC’s Monday New Yorker grid, with a wide-open center ringed by four corner sections, though here two of the sections connect to the middle through two avenues.

Fave fill: ONLY NOW, BEARD OIL, DANCE AROUND a difficult topic, fascinating SYNESTHESIA ([Neuropsychological trait in which one might ascribe colors to numbers or tastes to words]), ER NURSES, “SO CLOSE!”, “MY PRETTY,” WILLA CATHER, LOOSE CHANGE, SUE BIRD, REESE’S.

Puzzle felt easier than the Friday NYT to me. Was that your experience?

Most mystifying clue: 32D. [Capricorn’s symbol], SEA GOAT. I know Capricorn’s symbol is the goat, but SEA GOAT?? Apparently it’s a mythical half fish, half goat. A mergoat, if you will. Live and learn.

Apparently I don’t follow any MEME ACCOUNTs because 31A. [Source of some popular Instagram or Twitter postings] didn’t ring a bell for me.

Considering the entirety of the puzzle, four stars from me.

Kate Chin Park’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Stella’s write-up

Los Angeles Times 5/20/23 by Kate Chin Park

Los Angeles Times 5/20/23 by Kate Chin Park

I’m short on time today, so I’ll point out one thing I really liked and one I really disliked:

  • 1A [Staying safe, in a way] is MASKING UP. Almost nobody is doing it, even in NYC, these days. I’ll admit that I wasn’t, up until three months ago when my dad died of COVID-related complications. I’m all for getting on with our lives, but I am now also for putting a mask on when with a group in close quarters.
  • 56A/44D crossing of the awkward ENSHRINEE with the unfamiliar MACEO was the source of 30 seconds of my above-average time. (And as you can see from the screenshot, I gave up and picked the wrong letter.)

Freddie Cheng’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Do It Again!” — pannonica’s write-up

WSJ • 5/20/23 • Sat • “Do It Again!” • Cheng • solution • 20230520

Just some straight-ahead wordplay involving the prefix RE-.

  • 26a. [Put the vacation itinerary in order again?] RE-SORT DESTINATIONS.
  • 37a. [Follow venture capitalists again?] RE-TAIL INVESTORS.
  • 48a. [Hoodwink religious ministries again?] RE-CON MISSIONS.
  • 68a. [Frisk an aide again?] RE-SEARCH ASSISTANT.
  • 84a. [Match instructional books with each other again?] RE-PAIR MANUALS.
  • 94a. [Dole out pounds again?] RE-SERVE CURRENCY.
  • 104a. [Procure a new board again?] RE-SOURCE MANAGEMENT.

In each case the author tried clue the entries far removed from the definitional sense of the original re- word.

(Song below is NSFW, believe me. But it’s catchy.)

  • 7d [Finished edges] HEM. 43d [Be in a bee] SEW.
  • 11d [Prepare for the fair, say] FATTEN. A bit dark.
  • 20d [Chin-ups strengthen them] LATS, 61d [Shoulder presses strengthen it] DELT … I could’ve sworn there was a third clue like this.
  • 27d [Short way to go?] DIR. First I thought VIA, then AIR.
  • 33d [Carnival ride] CRUISERide seems a bit iffy to me. Wonder if there was editorial discussion about using a question mark.
  • 34d [“Tastes awful!”] BLEAH. Was expecting BLECH. Bleah is my preferred spelling, but I tend to use it more for describing situations rather than, say, flavors.
  • 39d [Brest bestie] AMI. 34a [Pals, in texts] BFFS.
  • 52d [Facial spots] was a misdirect for ACNE: SPAS.
  • 86d [Nice round number] PAR, 87d [Just a number, supposedly] AGE.
  • 95d [Crossword constructors, often] CLUERS. I genuinely thought this was going to be CLEVER, and was ready to opine on the cheekiness.
  • 106d [Breeze (through)] SAIL. 1a [Crushing, as a final] ACING.
  • 117d [Canal buildup] WAX. Specifically, an ear canal.
  • 24a [Modern hieroglyph] EMOJI. That’s how I think of them.
  • 74a [Dilute] THIN DOWN, with the THIN part being superfluous. But hey it’s idiomatic.
  • 81a [Where It.’s at] EUR. The capital letter and the period give the game away.

Lester Ruff’s Newsday crossword, Saturday Stumper — pannonica’s write-up

Newsday • 5/20/23 • Saturday Stumper • Ruff, Newman • solution • 20230520

Was surprised at how fast my time was, especially since I wasn’t hurrying. Truly a less rough offering!

  • 15a [Cleaner named for its “round-the-clock” value] DIAL. Was unaware of that aspect of its origin.
  • 17a [Magnetic north, to magnetic south] ANTIPOLE. First I got the -POLE, then the ANTI-.
  • 18a [’20s mentee of Gertrude] ERNEST. Stein, Hemingway. 14d [Creator of Olga, Masha and Irina] ANTON Chekov. We often see Three Sisters invoked as a means of cluing OLGA.
  • 19a [Top of Apple Records’ logo] STEM. Whereas the Apple Computer logo lacks a stem (but has a leaf).
  • 22a [Very briefly, these days] A MO. For “a moment”, presumably. That doesn’t strike me as a recent formulation, or even something that’s more commonly said now than in the past.
  • 31a [Human herbivores] VEGANS. Are herbivores still a descriptor for certain Japanese men? Wikipedia has a page on it.
  • 47a [Word before “!” on direct-mail order forms] YES, but I first tried YOU.
  • 51a [Take a dip] SWIM, 51d [Dipped] SLID.
  • 57a [Spiritual reader’s resource] LIFE LINE. 5d [Spiritual reader’s resource] ESP.
  • 1d [Android ancestors] PDAS. Isn’t Android the operating system and not the phone itself? Don’t we refer to an Android phone and not simply an Android?
  • 7d [Word from the Greek for “milk”] GALAXY. My first entry filled.
  • 9d [“Eezy Out” kitchen cooler] ICE TRAY. Are we laying groundwork for future use of EEZY in a crossword?
  • 11d [2016 Best Actor Saturn Award role] HAN. Okay, that seems obscure cluing to me. But since I never saw it, the crossings filled it in automagically.
  • 23d [No-cook fish dish] TUNA TARTARE. Spent a little too much time wondering how ceviche was going to work there.
  • 27d [One of the Twelve Olympians] HERA. Needed crossings to eliminate ZEUS and ARES.
  • 50d [Guy in a jeep on ’70s “TV Guide” covers] ALDA. Seemed tough at first, but a few moments’ reflection brought this crossword staple’s name to the fore.
  • 53d [Hurricane following Gerda (1969)] INGA. Made the mistake of popping in a leading H here, forgetting that not all named tropical depressions become fully-fledged hurricanes.

Bruce Haight’s USA Today crossword—Matthew’s recap

Bruce Haight’s USA Today crossword solution, “Bowl Game,” 5/20/2023

Three themers contain words associated with bowling:

17a [Reason for some picket lines] LABOR STRIKE
39a [Ice cream parlor order] BANANA SPLIT
64a [Gap between completion and a deadline] TIME TO SPARE

With only three themers and 78 words, most of my enjoyment here was finding nuggets in the clues. I quite liked [Iftar fruit] for DATE, in particular.

Have a good weekend!

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19 Responses to Saturday, May 20, 2023

  1. Seth Cohen says:

    Stumper: Those crosses of SAOIRSE RONAN with SPEER and ETTA are tough. If you don’t already know how to spell that actress’s name, you’re just guessing. The R could be many things, and the A could easily be an E.

    After I guessed right and finished, I had to look up who Hess and SPEER were. Aaaand they’re Nazis. Is that really how you want to clue SPEER? I mean, I don’t know how else you’d clue it, but if your grid necessitates a Nazi, maybe it’s time to pull some stuff out and refill it? What do others think about this?

    • David L says:

      I didn’t care for it either, although I knew the reference. Albert Speer rehabilitated himself, sort of, to the point that he was seen as an authority on Nazi history. But he was still a Nazi, and I don’t know to what extent his rehabilitation was genuine.

      I had ETTE before ETTA but fortunately knew how to spell SAOIRSERONAN.

      I thought AMO was a modern acronym that I’m unfamiliar with, not “a mo,” which was something my mother said as far back as I can remember.

    • The ETTA/SAORISERONAN cross did me in. I can’t decide whether it’s meant to be tricky.

      A less ambiguous clue for ETTA: “It cuts an aria short.”

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Nazis in the puzzle: Better than a grid that reminds some solvers of a swastika (unintended by the constructor), or worse?

      SAO Paulo and SAO Tome help me remember how SAOIRSE starts.

  2. Seth Cohen says:

    Stumper: To counter my earlier comment with something nicer, I love the clue on PASSED GO. I put in PASSED early, thinking it was something about passing a class, and only later got the GO part and realized what it meant. Very nice. (I had ANTIPOdE for a bit so GALAXY wasn’t jumping out at me at first.)

  3. Eric H. says:

    NYT: Much harder for me than Friday’s puzzle (it took me three times as long to solve).

    The SW corner almost did me in. I don’t recall ever hearing Capricorn called the SEA GOAT, MEME ACCOUNT is new to me, and it took forever to see MY PRETTY. I probably typed TEPID about five times before I finally got the crosses to work.

    KATANA was a gimme, and I was pretty sure about THANKS.

    Ah, well. At least the rest of the puzzle solved smoothly.

  4. PJ says:

    WSJ 88d – Whopper request – NO CHEESE. The default Whopper doesn’t have cheese. It has to be added. I recall adding, “with cheese” to my orders so many years ago.

  5. AmandaB says:

    NYT was the same as Friday for me. MEME ACCOUNT was new to me, too. LLANOS is one of those words I relearn over and over. And now I want to read Alexander’s Bridge, since I’ve only read Death Comes for the Archbishop, being in New Mexico and all.

  6. teedmn says:

    The Stumper was going so smoothly until I got to the SE. ELI was the only thing east of TSG and south of SAOIRSE RONAN (I got bit by ETTe/RONeN). I floundered around down there far too long. I don’t know why I resisted putting IAN in at the end of 43D for so long – once I did, SYRIAN seemed obvious and GARP came to mind, then ALDA which was a LIFELINE for finishing. INes before INGA didn’t help much. And who knew Galileo ever took his eyes off the skies long enough to drink WINE?!

  7. sanfranman59 says:

    NYT … I was about 6% faster completing today’s puzzle than I was yesterday’s. Like others, I struggled with the SEA GOAT/SYNESTHESIA cross (my last letter in the grid). I don’t think I’ve ever heard that Capricorn has anything to do with the sea.

  8. Margaret says:

    Stella, I’m sorry for your loss. All the best to you and your family.

  9. Pavel says:

    Stumper: On 11D: I had never heard of the Saturn Awards, but I was curious and looked them up just now. Turns out the clue is factually incorrect: Harrison Ford won the *2015* Best Actor award, not 2016 as stated in the clue. Obvs wouldn’t have mattered to my solve, but still.

  10. Eric H. says:

    Stumper: About 10 minutes faster than the NYT — possibly the quickest I’ve ever solved a Stumper. I’m sure I was helped by having seen PDA and SAOIRSE RONAN here before I started, but I’m pretty sure I would have gotten those anyway.

    It was the little stuff that I initially got wrong, like Hurricane INes and “little” ETnA. And when Chekhov didn’t fit, it never occurred to me to try ANTON until I had three or four letters from the crosses.

  11. Pilgrim says:

    Re Stumper: The National Hurricane Center shows “Holly” was the hurricane after “Gerda” in 1969 (reached hurricane status on 9/15/1969). But I guess Mr. Newman’s clue didn’t specify the hurricane “immediately” following Gerda (1969).

    This seems like a clue similar to “Name related to ____.” There were 5 named hurricanes “following Gerda” in 1969.

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