Saturday, July 20, 2013

NYT 8:22 
Newsday 7:03 
LAT 4:05 (Andy) 
CS 5:57 (Dave) 

Happy puzzlebloggiversary to Neville Fogarty! His weekly crossword site celebrates its first birthday this weekend. If you’ve never visited, you have dozens of puzzles to catch up on. Knock yourself out!

Tim Croce’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 7 20 13, no. 0720

Eh. I didn’t much enjoy solving this puzzle. Lots of things that I didn’t know (and did not feel particularly enlightened to learn) and a fair number of entries that triggered the Scowl-o-Meter. But first, my favorite bits:

  • 17a. [A guillotine is used to remove them], TONSILS. That may be outmoded surgical technology, judging from cursory Googling. Would you like to watch a YouTube of a tonsillectomy performed with some sort of ablation device? (Sorry, I like medical stuff.)
  • 27a. [Friday, e.g.], RIGHT-HAND MAN. Irksomely gendered phrase.
  • 58a. [Speaker of the house, perhaps], BOSE. Did you read the obituary for Amar Bose, inventor of those Bose stereo speakers? I’d always assumed Bose was a northern European name, but Bose’s dad was from India.
  • 65a. [ABC's first color program, with "The"], JETSONS.
  • 47d. [Jordache alternative], GITANO. Kind of a terrible entry, actually, but I enjoy a good flashback to the early-’80s designer jeans craze. Raise your hand if you had Jordache, Sasson, Gloria Vanderbilt, or Calvin Klein jeans back in the day.

Don’t really know:

  • 1a. [1993 hit with the lyric "Keep playin' that song all night"], HEY MR DJ. Learned this one from a crossword.
  • 15a. [Gross, to a toddler], ICKYPOO. Tough to clue, no?
  • 46a. [1957 Dell-Vikings hit], COME GO WITH ME. Huh?
  • 9d. [He hit 106 more home runs than Barry Bonds], SADAHARU OH. It was looking like somebody RUTH for a while there.
  • 51d. ["Orfeo" composer Luigi], ROSSI.
  • 54d. [Setting of "Love Me Do": Abbr.], G MAJ. Man, I hate this sort of entry.

Felt sort of contrived:

  • 18a. [Good with], ADEPT AT. The “at” feels needlessly tacked on here.
  • 44a. [Seeking], OUT FOR. Feels naked without “blood” afterwards.
  • 66a. [Big spinning effort], PR BLITZ. It Googles up okay but felt a tad off to me.
  • 29d. [Audi model retired in 2005], A TWO. The weird contrivance of spelling out a numeral. It’s the Audi A2, of course.
  • 33d. [Meanie's lack], WARM HEART.

The Scowl-o-Meter clanked and juddered when it hit ONER and NEB ([Tortoise's beak]) beside one another.

3.33 stars.

Tom Heilman’s Los Angeles Times crossword—Andy’s review

LAT Puzzle 07.20.13 by Tom Heilman

Quick review this week from me: I’m studying for the Bar exam, so I haven’t had a lot of time to solve.

A very nice puzzle from Tom Heilman. What I noticed immediately was how Scrabbly it is: at a glance I count 1 Q, 4 Zs, 1 X, and 3 Ks. In particular, the SW corner is jampacked with pizzazz: JUAREZ, ZINES, ENOKI, ZEKE, JEDIS, JUNKET, and BLAZON. 

The NW and SE are all 8s and 9s. All solid entries, but nothing jumps out at me as stellar. I like LA CROSSE clued as the Wisconsin city rather than the sport, and I thought the clue for LIP READER [One who may confuse cees and zees] was clever.

Ever seen a TREE TOAD [Arboreal hopper]? I’d never heard of it, but a cursory Google search tells me it’s just a less common name for the tree frog.

Faves: YUK IT UP, DCON, Kenneth TYNAN (your mileage may vary), THORAX, and everything in the SW corner.

Unfaves: Not a lot to put here. All BETZ are off, nickel ODEONS. Liked the RED TAG sale on hot brands including ARMANI, but I don’t like hot brands that go on STERE BUTS. LYTE and DERM are meh, CEN is kinda bad.

Another 3.8 stars from me. Until next week!

Updated Saturday morning:

Tony Orbach’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “To Bursting” – Dave Sullivan’s review

This puzzle feels like it would have best run the day after Thanksgiving as it features four theme phrases that begin with a synonym of how one feels after pigging out:

CrosSynergy / Washington Post crossword solution – 07/20/13

  • A [Big crowd] is a PACKED HOUSE
  • A [Pompous dullard] is a STUFFED SHIRT
  • [A gun ready to be fired, for example] is a LOADED WEAPON
  • And finally, one of my FAVEs, [One of a baker's dozen, perhaps] is a FILLED DONUT – not sure I’ve ever heard this phase without it being preceded by what the filling in–jelly, creme, etc.

These kind of themes work best when the operative word doesn’t have its traditional “title-implied” meaning (as in yesterday’s “Melancholy, Baby” puzzle, “blue” as in “BLUE RIBBON PANEL,” does not mean sad). But here, I think the words just have the meaning implied by the title. Anywho, the phrases were PACKED with some fun and punch, and that always makes for an enjoyable solve.

The puzzle actually made me kind of hungry–not only with the FILLED DONUT, but there was [Milk thickened with a butter and flour roux] for BECHAMEL crossing [Pushover] or CREAM PUFF (there’s that filling I was missing!). When I think of bechamel sauce, I think of the Greek eggplant dish of moussaka…share your favorite recipes in the comments below. Other nice entries are CRAZY IDEA, SNOOZED, DR. SEUSS, KNAPSACK and “TEN-FOUR”, the last I always want to append with “good buddy.” My FAVE fill was both the word [Crotchety] and what it clued, PECKISH. I think of being hungry if I’m peckish (there’s that food again!), but of course, if you’re hungry, you also tend to be crotchety as well.

The fill in this one is good enough to not merit an UNFAVE, so congrats to Tony on that.

Jeffrey Harris’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper”

Newsday crossword solution, 7 20 13 “Saturday Stumper” by Jeffrey Harris

Super-smooth fill, challenging Stumper-grade clues, 72-worder, a dozen long answers, minimal abbreviations, reasonable number of proper nouns? 4.5 stars. Here’s hoping that Jeffrey Harris becomes a regular member of Stan’s Stumper stable of constructors.

My favorite bits:

  • 15a. [Model for an '85 Warhol painting], BARBIE DOLL. Great entry.
  • 39a. [What a toxoid can prevent], TETANUS. If you haven’t had a tetanus toxoid vaccination in the last 10 years, get one from your doctor or at a drugstore clinic. /servicejournalism
  • 44a. [Feature of some watches], GPS. Fresh clue. Good for runners and hikers; can be used to track the distance and route traveled. Anyone got a recommendation for a good GPS watch for runners? My husband wants one.
  • 52a. [___ America (cable station)], BBC. Love this because Gordon Ramsay is my TV boyfriend. I do enjoy Kitchen Nightmares.
  • 55a. [Victim called Dr. Black in Britain], MR. BODDY. The victim in the board game Clue (the limeys call it Cluedo, and I want to know if that’s pronounced Clue-dew or Clue-dough. Clue-eh-doh?)
  • 65a. [Home of ''Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant''] EURODISNEY. I didn’t translate the French (The Castle of Sleeping Beauty,” I think) and assumed it was a painting in a French museum. Crossings didn’t work for Musée Orsay, which is Musée d’Orsay anyway. D’Oh.
  • 67a. [Game with a Blitz variation], SPEED CHESS. Great answer. For a 9, we would have accepted BEJEWELED.
  • 13d. [Splits], DIVVIES UP. Great entry.
  • 14d. [High-grade quality], STEEPNESS. Dull answer with a great clue. As in a steep grade on a mountain road.
  • 32d. [''Whichever''], EITHER WAY. Colloquial.
  • 33d. [Top-10 duet of 1960], LET IT BE ME. See, I’ve heard of this song.
  • 50d. [It flows from some fountains], SYRUP. As in soft drink fountains dispensing sodapop syrup and fizzy water. I like the Coke-branded machine with the touchscreen that lets me combine Diet Coke, orange, and root beer.
  • 58d. [Nobelist role that won an Oscar], NASH. One of my Facebook friends just chatted with John NASH (who was played by Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind) at a conference in New York. “Got to talk to John Nash on a walk back from lunch. The topics were west virginia, nebraska, the etymology of my first name, and alaska,” he reported.

Things I liked rather less (or didn’t know):

  • 2d. [One of the Cavalier poets], CAREW. Baseball’s Rod Carew was a Cavalier poet? No, Thomas Carew, pronounced “Carey,” 1595-1640.
  • 10d. [Pipers of song], ELEVEN. I don’t care for a number being clued as a noun this way.
  • 34d. [Lose one's touch], GO COLD. This is a stand-alone phrase? I’m feeling cool towards it.
  • 52d. [Capital near Köniz], BERNE. Never heard of Köniz. Population of less than 40,000? Pfft. The town’s job here is just to say “5-letter capital in a country where German is spoken.”

Keep on stumpin’, Jeffrey.

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16 Responses to Saturday, July 20, 2013

  1. Gareth says:

    Easily the hardest NYT of the year for me… Timewise, I just scraped in under 40 minutes (next slowest is around the 22 mark). Tough clues, tough names (SADAHARU “you can’t guess any of my letters if you don’t know me” OH) and the one gimme I should’ve had, COMEGOWITHME (Immediate thought: can only be Come Go With ME or WEdding Bells), I obscured for 20 minutes with wrong answers: REAL Mexico and SOTO speak plus other less sure answers. Before that I got the top-left without much trouble and then spiderwebs elsewhere! Favourite misstep: I had MORMONS in blue dresses for a while! The final mire was bottom-right, 10 minutes sitting with REELSIN, TSGARP, ONER and GSUIT and taking out and putting in HEINZ! Had never heard of ANNASUI and vaguely knew ROSSI (Motorcycle racing great Valentino is more my speed!). Last two letters were a complete guess: TEA??LL. What the hell is a teaball??? Don’t Americans use bags like everyone else???

    I think this is going to be voted down more than it should because it was hard… Biggest clunk was ATWO… My immediate thought “Audi has short names like A2 or TT, but that can’t fit.”

  2. Huda says:

    I got ICKYPOO right off the bat, and that’s where my inspiration ended (!)

  3. Matt says:

    I liked the NYT, on the whole. Couple of trivia/clunkers (ATWO, ANNASUI), but a lot of good entries. Pretty tough, though.

  4. sbmanion says:

    Extremely tough for me as well and I missed a letter. I solved it NW, SW, NE, SE. I knew SADAHARU OH, but even in sections where I knew an entry or two, I still found it to be a grind. When I finally got ONER and ANNA SUI, I was left with the crossing of TSGAR_ and _RBLITZ. I should have seen PR BLITZ, but I was so relieved to get it down to one letter that I filled in an O without thinking.

    I am not sure how to spell his name, but I took a long time to unravel the SW because I was thinking of the field goal kicker TOM DEMPSEY who once had the record long field goal. He had something major wrong with his kicking foot and wore a square-toed shoe. I am not sure if it was a club foot, but that seemed logical at the time.

    Steve

  5. Papa John says:

    I agree with Amy’s Scowl-O-Meter results and her overall assessment of today’s NYT and I would like to add to her list of nits.

    As well as those cited by Amy, these clue/fills, too, seemed incomplete:

    16A Blue dress [uniform] wearers= MARINES

    Are you going to tell a marine he wears a dress? Before someone argues that there are females in the Marine Corp, let me repeat the Marine slogan, “There are no woman marines — just marines!” I doubt the ladies call their dress blues a dress.

    23A Took to the ground = HEWED [down]

    To hew a tree is quite different than hewing it down.

    63A Hydrocortisone producer = ADRENAL [gland]

    Can the adjective stand for the noun?

    4D What often comes with a twist? = MYSTERY [story, novel, book]

    Maybe the inclusion of the definite article “A” before MYSTERY would help.

    28D Some-holds-barred sport = GREGOROMAN [wrestling]

    Again – can the adjective stand for the noun?

    Other things that bugged me:

    42D Gets hot = SEETHES

    Seethes is a state of being, not becoming; except, specifically, in “come to a boil”.

    50A [Why me?] AARGH

    Really? Aargh is used to express annoyance or disgust at something or somebody — not self-pity.

    • pannonica says:

      • It makes sense if you think of the MARINES clue as referring to their dress blues.
      • Yes, ADRENAL is also a noun; see definition 1 at m-w.com.
      • With you on GRECO-ROMAN, though.

      (edit: I see that you implied that “dress” interpretation by using “uniform” in your comment.)

      • Papa John says:

        Yeah, I know what dress blues are. My quip about female marines not calling their “dress blues a dress” indicates that. If the clue had said “Dress blues wearers”, instead of trying to mislead with “Blue dress wearers”, I’d have had no beef.

        With me, it’s not so much whether or not I’m right that a clue is wrong — it’s having so many clicks on Amy’s Scowl-O-Meter. It’s not often that I actually do the research to determine if I’m right or not, except when there are so many doubts in one puzzle, as today. (I still don’t do a complete job. Thanks, pannonica, for looking up “adrenal”. I cudda/shudda done that.)

      • Martin says:

        The main authority, the RHUD, lists Greco-Roman as a noun. It’s used that way in real life, as well.

    • Richard says:

      At best, interpreting the clue for 50A (WHY ME), as indicting self-pity seems narrow to me. I can see this as indicating frustration with something happening to a person and AARGH can be an expression of frustration. (My first thought with 50A was OH VEY.)

      It also seems to me that including (down) with hewing is rather redundant and, thus, unnecessary.

      • Papa John says:

        Ah, Richard, I did look this one up and the example given was “hew down a forest or tree”. To hew a tree means more to cut it up after it’s been fallen.

        Amy’s metaphor of a Scowl-O-Meter is apt. I’ve done many puzzles when I never register a scowl and many that register one or two. It’s only when that number hits a sweet spot that it distracts from the flow of the puzzle. It’s a personal response. Others may not have hit the same bumps.

        I’d love to stay and chat but I gotta run. I’m spending the day with my grandson. Trust me, he takes precedence over my crossword hobby and he’s a lot more fun!

        • Richard says:

          I am nit-picking here, but I, too, have looked up definitions of HEW and have found two that refer to cutting down without using the word “down.”

          I totally agree with you on spending time with grandkids taking precedence over a crossword hobby. I spend a lot of time with my four grandkids (2-7 years old) and love it. I actually will be watching all four next weekend while my two daughters and their husbands are going to Las Vegas.

    • Gary R says:

      From the Marine Corps Uniform Regulations, Chapter 2: Designated Uniforms and Occasions for Their Wear –

      “Authorized uniforms for Marine officers are designated as evening dress, BLUE DRESS, white dress (until year 2000), blue-white dress, service, and utility.” (Emphasis added.)

      I think Mr. Croce is on solid ground with this one.

  6. Martin says:

    Amy, “Cluedo” is pronounced “clue-dough”. FYI, the game was invented in the UK and is called Cluedo worldwide, except in the US and Canada. It’s a portmanteau word of LUDO and CLUE. Ludo is a common board game in the UK,

    -MAS

  7. sandirhodes says:

    Re: ELEVEN in both LAT & Stumper

    Liked the clue in LAT, because I used to be a craps dealer. Had a co-worker who, every single time someone bet the Eleven (“YO!”), and the dice rolled Ace-Ace (Snake-eyes, or One-One), he invariably said, “Looks like Eleven on paper!” and chuckled to himself, standing there evidently looking around for non-existent applause.

    Hope he didn’t change careers and become a crossword constructor!

  8. RK says:

    Never heard of HITCH, RPI, TONSILS for guillotine, the DJ song, thought clog over clot so….. If I didn’t put in winch for hitch or clog for clot I woulda’ sussed it all out. Drat.

  9. Greg says:

    Very tough but fair, I thought. I also was confident with “Dempsey.” I was surprised to learn that the superb Ms. Hamm has a club foot.

    “Come Go with Me” was a gimme for me (great song), as Sadaharu Oh (although I had trouble with a few of the vowels in his first name). I wandered off into the wilderness with “martini” instead of “mystery,” but eventually found the path again.

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