Saturday, September 16, 2023

LAT 3:20 (Stella) 


Newsday 26:58 (pannonica) 


NYT 6:26 (Amy) 


Universal tk (norah)  


USA Today tk (Matthew) 


WSJ untimed (pannonica) 


Jonathan Kaufman’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 9/1/6/23 – no. 0916

We just saw a BALD CAP and DID (or DO) A SOLID this week in other puzzles. Apparently bald caps are in vogue! Better go get yourself one and start sporting it.

Fave fill: HERD MENTALITY, “WHAT’S THE POINT?”, a Chinese EGG TART (apparently kin to the Portuguese nata egg custard tart, yum!), SOLANGE Knowles (she’s Beyonce’s sister), SPA TREATMENTS, GOING TOE TO TOE, LIL BABY, and IRIDIUM.

Food for thought: 1a. [“In all chaos there is a ___, in all disorder a secret order”: Carl Jung], COSMOS. This is what I say to anyone casting aspersions on my workspace.

Three more things:

  • 28a. [Remover of dirt … or spreader of dirt], RAG. As in a cloth cleaning rag vs a tabloid spreading tawdry rumors.
  • 29d. [Awards for great pitchers?], CLIOS. Pitchers as in salespeople, as in an ad agency’s creative types. Anyone much encounter the Clio award outside of crosswords? Can’t say I do.
  • 53d. [Wireless network std.], LTE. Stands for “long-term evolution” and it’s roughly equivalent to 4G phone service, apparently. I’m on 5G, no idea if I ever had LTE. Sounds faintly familiar?

Four stars from me.

Brynn & Mark Diehl’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Stella’s write-up

Los Angeles Times 9/16/23 by Brynn & Mark Diehl

Los Angeles Times 9/16/23 by Brynn & Mark Diehl

I don’t have a ton of time to write this one up, but I thought there were a lot of lovely clues for short answers in this one, and on the whole enjoyed those more than I did the clues for some of the marquee entries. Favorites:

  • 15A [Complex concerns?] for RENTS.
  • 27A [Tennis clinic topic] for GRIP. Also a powerlifting clinic topic!
  • 29A [Dinosaur in the den] is a fantastic clue for VCR.
  • 39A [Take a turn for the worse] for SPRAIN is also very clever.
  • 42A [Wanders around the airport?] for TSA made me guffaw. Get it? Wanders! People who wave a wand at you!
  • 50A [Cops who need collars] is CANINE UNIT.
  • 9D [Zedonk parent] is ASS. First of all, I love putting ASS into a puzzle, and second, the word “zedonk” is fun to say.
  • 25D [Greek equivalent of the Hindu god Kamadeva] feels fresh for the very common fill EROS.
  • 31D [Works in a hotel lobby] is ART PRINTS. The misdirect with “works” didn’t fool me very long, but I still needed a lot of crossings to determine that it was ART PRINTS and not ART-something-else.

Gary Larson and Amy Ensz’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Done With Ease” — pannonica’s write-up

WSJ • 9/16/23 • Sat • Larson, Ensz • Done With Ease • solution • 20230916

The ENDINGS (53d) of the theme phrases have been augmented with an /-ēz/ sound

  • 22a. [Actually living the lifestyle one depicts on Instagram?] TRUE TO YOUR SELFIES (… yourself).
  • 33a. [Pacts with the Netherlands?] DUTCH TREATIES (… treat).
  • 67a. [Deliciously creepy feeling one gets while watching a horror movie?] GOOD WILLIES (goodwill).
  • 67a. [Bambi and Thumper?] FLOWER BUDDIES (… bud). Flower, you will recall, was the little skunk’s name.
  • 110a. [“A friend of a friend told me…” rumors?] SECONDHAND STORIES (…store). (4d [Rumor has it…”] I HEAR.)
  • 3d. [Small change for making wishes?] FOUNTAIN PENNIES (… pen).
  • 48d. [Snacks for stress eaters?] PRESSURE COOKIES (… cook).

A few of these require a doubled letter, so it isn’t as straightforward as just adding -IES.

  • 41d [Serious and unadventurous] STAID, for which I first had SOBER.
  • 51d [Wisconsin native] BADGER. That’s a demonymous nickname.
  • 64d [Sentence segment] YEAR, as in a prison sentence.
  • 105d [T choice] LARGE. Shirts.
  • 40a [Cork masses] IRISH. The county.
  • 50a [Oxonian’s rival] CANTAB, short for Cantabrigian.
  • 58a [Sailor of legend] SINBAD.
  • 107a [Carrier in “Back in the USSR”] BOAC. Haven’t seen that in a crossword in quite some time. British Overseas Airways Corporation. 56a [China Clipper flier] PAN AM.
  • 123a [Black Sea port] ODESSA. Most style guides are now spelling it ODESA, the Ukrainian way. Strange that the clue isn’t qualified in some way.

Steve Mossberg’s Newsday crossword, Saturday Stumper — pannonica’s write-up

Newsday • 9/16/23 • Saturday Stumper • Mossberg • solution • 20230916

This one felt rather resistant, with the top left and bottom right being the final areas to be filled in.

For the latter, letting go of DEBATE CLUB for 29d [Summer academic workshop] in favor of DEBATE CAMP allowed me to finish up that section without any trouble.

For the former, I’ve never heard of 1a [Sharp-turn rollercoaster] WILD MOUSE, so that required heavy crossing. This was not helped by interpreting 1d [From Washington to Lincoln] as state-to-city, which would be EAST. I’m now presuming there’s a city or town in Nebraska called Washington, which Lincoln is WEST of? Experienced another turnaround in interpreting 5d [Went 1 for 2?] MERGED, for which I first ventured HALVED.

  • 42a [Spicy quesadilla items] TOSTITOS. (1) Tostitos are spicy? (2) they’re part of quesadillas??
  • 36a [Have something] AIL. 34a [36 Across, picked up the wrong way] ALE; picked up as in heard; these are homophones.
  • 45a [Boarded] FED, as in room and board.
  • 49a [Space starter first seen in an ’82 sci-fi story] CYBER-, which is Greek for pilot. If my trivia memory is correct, the work is Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash.
  • 60a [Crown jewel] PREAKNESS. One of the three races constituting the Triple Crown.
  • 3d [Scottish soup staple] LEEK, but that’s the national symbol of Wales.
  • 12d [Collegiate quarters] ELITE EIGHT. NCAA quarterfinals. Really sneaky clue.
  • 24d [ __ Scarlett O’Hara] KATIE. I did not know this, having never seen the film nor read the book. Full version: Katie Scarlett O’Hara Hamilton Kennedy Butler.
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30 Responses to Saturday, September 16, 2023

  1. Pat says:

    Back when I used to do some ad illustrations, I remember the Clio Awards being a really big deal. It all blew up in the 1990s, though. Chaos ensued at one of the ceremonies, including the MC not showing up and the caterer taking over. Nobody knew who won what, so execs just started grabbing awards off the table. The org. went bankrupt and was resurrected a few years later, but I have no idea if it’s gained back the importance it once had.

  2. MattF says:

    Hard to get a foothold in NYT, but finally got one in SE, then slowly moved upwards to NW. Several less-than-obvious entries, but a good Saturday puzzle.

    • huda says:

      Same for me. I found it quite challenging to get going.

    • Mr. [not at all] Grumpy says:

      Exactamento. I had EGALITE but could not do anything with it. I had IRAs but did not know the metal. Guessed that it would be some sort of IUM word and worked SE to SW diagonally to NE and was finally able to suss out the NW. The Jung quote alone made the puzzle a treat. Totally new to me, but I like it.

    • Eric H says:

      I didn’t think the NYT was all that hard. I was within two seconds of my Saturday average.

      It was the kind of puzzle I like most: A few gimmes to get me started (_ CLASS, NBA TEAM, ÉGALITÉ), and then chipping away at the longer answers a letter or two at a time. I never got really stuck anywhere.

      The clue for HAT TIPS is clever.

  3. marciem says:

    NYT: 8d: Derivative, maybe? = rate… is this some math context? I don’t understand the connection. TIA! :)

    • David L says:

      Yes, the derivative of distance with respect to time is velocity, for example — a mathematical rate.

      I found today’s puzzle about twice as hard as yesterday’s, measured by time taken to complete. I put EARRING in at 16A with great confidence, so that slowed me down.

      • marciem says:

        Thanks! I figured it might be math-ish, my total unknown .

        Yes, today’s was rough but workable. 16a. I got the bald… right away since it had appeared so recently, but wasn’t sure if it was hat or cap. For whatever silly thinking of mine, I wanted spatreatments (what is a spat reatment? hah) to be spaghetti something (they use zucchini etc. for noodles, why not cukes and seaweed?) for too long, and as you see I had trouble parsing it correctly for a sec. even when I had it.

  4. Dallas says:

    Great Saturday—with supersymmetry (I believe :-)). NW took the longest, and I tried Eric’s trick of switching over to my iPhone to check the mistakes after I’d filled it all in, using the list version, and it was much quicker to find my error. Really great fill, top notch!

    • Eric H says:

      Yes, today’s NYT has supersymmetry.

      I’m glad to hear that you tried the iPhone trick to find your mistake. It really saves a lot of time and frustration.

  5. David L says:

    Stumper: no spoilers since there won’t be a review until later. I found it relatively easy, by Stumper standards. The NW was the last to go, with 1A being very strange (to me) but confirmed by the Google. The clue for 8D is hard to parse, even after getting it right by running the alphabet at the cross with 1A.

    • Eric H says:

      I’m glad you found it easy. I didn’t: Nearly 45 minutes (though I think the timer kept running while I wasn’t actively solving) and enough checks and reveals that I only got credit for solving 95% of it.

      Never heard of the roller coaster type, Scarlett O’Hara’s first name, “Africa’s Big Five” (which had me thinking of countries or political leaders) . . .

      I did like the misdirection in “Collegiate quarters.”

      • Eric H says:

        But I didn’t like SEEPIER. Ugh. That’s the kind of garbage my computer Scrabble game plays.

      • Michael Leddy says:

        Re: “Africa’s Big Five”: it’s esp. tricky if you have the H and N in place. I was sure the answer had to be GHANA.

        My first guess for “Collegiate quarters” was UNIVERSITY, which would also make for a nice instance of misdirection.

        • Eric H says:

          In case you were wondering: Africa’s “big five,” per Wikipedia , are the “animals said to be most difficult to hunt: lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and Cape buffalo.”

          I’d have guessed lion and elephant, and probably leopard, but I’m not sure I would have come up with the Cape buffalo.

          I’m not fond of big game hunting, especially when it’s just for the trophies. There’s certainly ways to clue RHINO that don’t invoke images of dead animals.

    • steve says:

      wow, for me, that took longer than usual, had a hard time getting a good toe-hold

  6. Mr. [not at all] Grumpy says:

    Universal 53A: Is this still a thing now that Twittter is X? X-Storm doesn’t have quite the same resonance — and might violate a Marvel Comics copyright.

    WSJ 48D: PRESSURE COOKER, yes. PRESSURE COOK, no. Would anyone actually say pressure cook this as opposed to make this in a pressure cooker? That one struck a wrong note with me, although the puzzle was otherwise entertaining enough.

  7. DougC says:

    NYT: This puzzle is reaching back pretty far into the archive of slang with the clue for 38A. Collins dictionary says “tittle-tattle” peaked in use in 1719, which makes it even older than the recent FOOTPAD. It actually has (or had) a rather more pejorative sense than the innocuous CHAT, implying something more like malicious gossip.

    I enjoyed the puzzle in spite of that, particularly HERD MENTALITY and WHATS THE POINT. DID A SOLID, maybe not so much. :)

  8. Eric H says:

    Stumper review:

    Spiciness, of course, being in the eye (or mouth) of the beholder. I’ve never had them.

    I assumed WEST meant that Lincoln NE is west of Washington D.C. I don’t know (or really care) if there’s a Washington in Nebraska.

  9. Seth Cohen says:

    Finally finished the Stumper! Another one that took a full day of putting it down and picking it up later. Always pleasantly surprised at how often that helps. Things just jump out that were totally invisible before.

  10. GG says:

    Stumper… “BADGER. That’s a demonymous nickname. ” Love reading Pannonica’s reviews. Always learn a new word!

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