Saturday, August 3, 2013

Newsday 12:44 
NYT 7:09 
LAT 4:20 (Andy) 
CS 6:17 (Dave) 

Rows Garden fans, take note: The Saturday puzzle at the Wall Street Journal is a new Rows Garden by Patrick Berry.

Brad Wilber and Doug Peterson’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 8 3 13, no. 0803

Another themeless gem from the dynamic duo of Bro-hug Wilberson. First up, my favorite fill:

  • 16a. [Transported], ON CLOUD NINE.
  • 18a. ["Poor Little Fool" hitmaker, 1958], RICKY NELSON. Dreamboat for my mother’s generation.
  • 32a. [Treadmill runners, maybe], PET MICE. Interesting entry. Also considered PET RATS and feel good about the mice.
  • 34a. ["Sex is an emotion in motion" speaker], MAE WEST. Full name #2, plus a lively quote clue.
  • 37a. [Not reliable], HIT OR MISS. I.e., unlike Bro-hug Wilberson.
  • 50a. [Inventor's undoing?], LIE DETECTOR.
  • 2d. ["You've got to be kidding!"], OH, PLEASE!
  • 12d. [1899 painting used to promote gramophones], HIS MASTER’S VOICE. The dog is Tige, right? Even though that’s better suited to a cat?
  • 24d. [Hybrid menswear], BOXER BRIEFS. 
  • 38d. [Banana Republic defender, maybe], MALL COP. Terrific answer!

And now, we present my favorite clues (along with 34a and 38d):

  • 15a. [Start of many a "Jeopardy!" response], WHO. As in “Who is HANS Asperger?”
  • 26a. [A choli may be worn under this], SARI. The choli is the short-sleeved, supra-midriff top worn beneath the sari.
  • 4d. [Wedding rings?], HORAS. I was over 40 before I experienced my first wedding hora. #shiksa
  • 14d. [National service], RENTAL. As in the National car rental agency.
  • 40d. [Ersatz blazer], GAS LOG. The blazing is real, but there is a definite ersatzitude involved.
  • 51d. [Got out of the way], DID. As in “Well, I got that out of the way.”

Botanical business:

  • 1d. [Tree also known as a sugar apple], SWEETSOP. Vaguely knew this. With the SW- start, it came together.
  • 56a. [Image on Utah's state quarter], GOLDEN SPIKE. Wait, I was assuming this was a plant. Is it a railroad spike? To the Google machine! Yes, railroad. The spike driven to complete the transcontinental railroad in 1869, in Utah Territory. “Immediately afterwards, the golden spike and the laurel tie were removed, lest they be stolen, and replaced with a regular iron spike and normal tie.” Aha! Still botanical—the special railroad tie was made of the California laurel. And I learned a little Utah/transportation history.

Did not know: 3d. [Perfectly], TO A FINE FARE-THEE-WELL. Much better than a fine how-do-you-do, which is a bad thing. A fine greeting is bad and a fine goodbye is perfect? Okay, English idiom. Go home; you’re drunk.

4.5 stars.

Updated Saturday morning:

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

Five people whose names include a type of boat:

CrosSynergy / Washington Post crossword solution – 08/03/13

  • A ["Knots Landing" costar] clues JOAN VAN ARK – I was more of a Dallas and Dynasty fan in my day, but am familiar with the actress.
  • [Academy Award-nominated lyricist of "Come Saturday Morning"] is DORY PREVIN – know the song, not the lyricist. Any relation to the conductor André? Dories are rowboats, I think, or at least they are on the smaller side.
  • A [MLB relief pitcher who was country singer Tim's father] clues TUG MCGRAW – more familiar with Tim than Tug, but have heard both names before. I think “tug” and “tugboat” are used synonymously, no?
  • [Actor who played a coin-flipping killer in the 1932 movie "Scarface"] clues GEORGE RAFT – is this his most famous role? I do recognize the actor’s name, but not the 1932 movie, thinking there is a more recent remake.
  • [Roxy Music lead singer] clues BRYAN FERRYLove Is The Drug was one of my college anthems way back when. I think there is an association with the very crossword-friendly Brian Eno with this group.

Very tight theme, I congratulate Tony on finding 5 symmetric names that have a type of boat in them. I also enjoyed the appropriate entry MOOR for [Drop anchor] that tailed off the M of the thematic TUG MCGRAW. A few partials and abbreviations, but I don’t want to detract from what is a very solid and enjoyable theme presentation.

Barry C. Silk’s Los Angeles Times crossword—Andy’s review

LAT Puzzle 08.03.13 by Barry C. Silk

BUSH HOG looks weird in the grid, doesn’t it? I think it’s probably the double-H. Kind of like fishhook. But today I learned that BUSH HOG is apparently a [Brand of attachable rotary mower].

What a pleasant surprise to see the full name of 9d, YMA SUMAC [Singer known as the "Peruvian Songbird"]! She gets a bum rap because her first name is such a staple of crosswordese, but I’m a fan.

Here’s a quick rundown of my five faves and five unfaves. Faves (other than YMA SUMAC, that is):

  • 37d, HONEYDEW [Muskmelon cultivar]. Delicious!
  • 64a, WOODSY OWL ["Lend a Hand -- Care for the Land" spokescritter]. When is SPOKESCRITTER going to show up in a grid?
  • 21a, SAT IN ON [Audited]. I like entries like this, where the usual fill becomes the clue and vice versa.
  • 42d, OHM’S LAW [Current principle]. As in, Current = Voltage / Resistance.
  • 44d, POPEYE [Robin Williams title role]. With Shelley Duvall in the role she was born to play, Olive Oyl.

Unfaves:

  • 43d, RESPELL [Edit, in a way]. I don’t mind this so much, given the high quality of that corner.
  • 57a, EILAT [Israel's southernmost city]. Nice trivia clue, but EILAT shows up an awful ei-lot for a city with a population roughly the size of Mankato, Minnesota.
  • 11d, WAS I ["How __ to know?"].
  • 8d, LUI [That guy, to Guy].
  • 23a, MISE [___ en scène].

There were a lot of other highlights: DOG PADDLE, SCHULZ, ICE HOCKEY / OPEN NET, PLUTONIUM, PROGENY, “I SAID NO”. Nice clues for 10a, SWORD [There's a point to it] and 16a, TAPER [Get to the point?]. It took me a while to remember there was a car company called STUTZ. Didn’t care for NRC, ALECKS, MST. On the fence about DEHORN.

3.33 stars from me. Until next week!

Stan Newman’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper” (writing as Anna Stiga)

Newsday crossword solution, “Saturday Stumper,” 8 3 13 Anna Stiga

Oof! Just me, or was this one a killer too? So many recent Stumpers have slaughtered me. This one let me finish the southwest and the northeast quadrants, but the northwest and especially the southeast corner were downright HOSTILE ([Antagonist]).

There were, in fact, some lovely entries in this grid. They were just so hard to get to.

  • 1a. [Really bad], THE PITS.
  • 28a. [There could be a future in it], CRYSTAL BALL.
  • 39a. [Pesto essential], PINE NUTS. I think I’ll add some to my caprese salad/sandwich at lunch today.
  • 43a. [Traditional egg source], EASTER BUNNY. The Easter Bunny is, of course, a monotreme like the platypus and echidna, native to Australia and New Guinea but bred elsewhere.
  • 1d. [Till now], THUS FAR.
  • 25d. [How some shortcuts start], ALT KEY. I’m more of a Mac person, and we have an option key in lieu of an alt key.

Ten of the clues that kept me guessing the longest:

  • 40d. [High-school physics prop], U MAGNET. Kinda wanted UV-something-or-other.
  • 46a. [Wet __] MOP. Considered HEN and VAC as well. Without knowing 40d’s second letter, I erased 41d: TO TASTE once or twice.
  • 56a. [v], AGAINST. As in the legalese abbreviation for “versus.”
  • 53d. [Vino Bello Resort city], NAPA. Wine country in California, not Italy.
  • 57d. [Quasi-opposite of astro-], GEO. Earth vs. stars.
  • 49d. [Digital display], NAILS. Toenails, fingernails, that kind of digit.
  • 6d. [Generations from Adam through Noah], TEN. There is nothing in that clue that suggests you need a number, is there?
  • 10d. [Part of Greenstreet's ''Casablanca'' costume], FEZ. I should watch that movie again, huh? I remember nothing. Probably watched it before closed captioning was around.
  • 34a. [Apt name for a stand-up comic], MIKE. As in “open-mic night.” People are spelling it “mic” now and not “mike.” There’s been a whole hubbub about that.
  • 34d. [Hog's grunt], “MINE!”

As I said before, oof. I did finish the puzzle without Googling and without taking a break, so I can’t say that it is unfair. The struggle was sometimes unpleasant, but the “AAH!” (52a. ["That's better!"]) when it all came together was good. Four stars.

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19 Responses to Saturday, August 3, 2013

  1. Martin says:

    HMV dog is “Nipper”, I think. Tige was Buster Brown’s dog.

    Great puzzle!

    -MAS

    • Brucenm says:

      In fact weren’t there two dogs — Chipper and Nipper — one a pup? Seems to ring a bell.

      If that’s not a 5* puzzle, I don’t know what would be.

  2. RK says:

    Wow, a fight for me at the bottom west with GASLOG, ORSINO, WOUK, TORME, GOLDENSPIKE, TOAFARETHEEWELL, and it didn’t help that I had mallrat instead of MALLCOP. Glad I stayed with this one, though, and redeemed myself from yesterday when my patience wore thin.

    What do I know (not much if you’ve read most of my posts lol) but I think this puzzle, while exuding a freshness, is hurt by too much trivia. Along with what I already listed, we have ELFMAN, RICKYNELSON, HISMASTERSVOICE, SWEETSOP, KAMA, WORF and more.

  3. Huda says:

    NYT: Fine puzzle, but the bottom stack felt impenetrable for a good while. Had to cheat to get WOUK (I had the W but then, Nada). I love reading GAIL Collins, but here name did not pop up immediately. And the M at the MSRP/MIN cross, no idea! What’s all that?

    Had Lab MICE as the treadmill runners. You know, like us, lab rodents have definite preferences regarding running. Some love it and others hate it.

    The clue for DUNNE made me laugh. I was riding in a cab with my 6 yo grand daughter last weekend in NYC. She made her fingers into a triangle in front of her face, squinted with one eye and then the other and declared : “Yep, that’s my Dominic eye!” She was doing the test for ocular dominance!

  4. Matt says:

    Good NYT, but that SW corner… Only finished once I’d convinced myself that ‘Avatar’ had nothing to do with the movie. Had GATE/GENE, HID/DID, MALLREP/MALLCOP, and ‘Head of state?’ was just a mystery.

  5. Gareth says:

    A tale of two (top-notch) puzzles in the NYT: had 3/5 done in aroudn 5 minutes – the north-west, north-east, and south-east fell easily aided by long gimmes like OHPLEASE (off the H), RICKYNELSON, ROYALFAMILY and HISMASTERSVOICE. Then I hit a brick wall. Had to chip off the rest of the puzzle (middle and south-west) almost a letter at a time! I’ve never heard of TOAFARETHEEWELL (and it doesn’t even seem to make grammatical sense!), GOLDENSPIKE or BOXERBRIEFS. Others had Saturday-tough clues like LIEDETECTOR, GASLOG, INTERNETFORUM (me too re Avatar) and many of the short answers. I too had MALLrat :(. Still, like always, a well-made, interesting, crunchy puzzle from Bro-hug!

  6. John from Chicago says:

    THE DOG

    • Nipper was a terrier, but sources are unclear about which breed. Some sources claim he was part bull terrier, others claim he was a Jack Russell terrier and still others claim he was a mutt mix of bull and fox terriers or some other combination. Whatever breed he was, he was born in 1884. His first owner, Mark Barraud, passed away in 1887 and Nipper was given to Barraud’s younger brother Francis. Nipper died in 1895 and was buried in Kingston, England, where a plaque in a Lloyd’s Bank there states that he is buried under the back parking area.

    THE PAINTER

    • Francis Barraud — Nipper’s new owner after the death of his master — noticed that when he played his phonograph, Nipper would cock his head and look quizzically towards the machine to try and gauge where the disembodied sounds were coming from. After selling the logo and painting, Barraud continued to work until his death in 1924, recreating 24 copies of the original portrait. In 1916, Barraud said in an interview, “If Nipper only knew that, he would wag his little stumpy tail so proudly. He did not know he was going to be handed down to posterity. No more did I.”

    THE PAINTING

    • It wasn’t until three years after Nipper’s death that Barraud was inspired to paint a portrait of the dog staring into the trumpet of a phonograph. The initial portrait was named “Dog Looking At and Listening to a Phonograph” and included an Edison-Bell phonograph, but that company turned down the portrait when Barraud tried to sell it to them. After showing the portrait to a representative of Berlin Gramophone Company Ltd., the representative agreed to buy the portrait if Barraud repainted it with one of the company’s own gramophones. Barraud consented and was given a gramophone to model for the painting. He renamed the painting “His Master’s Voice” and eventually received the equivalent to about $700 for the painting and its copyright. The company trademarked the image successfully in 1900.

    CHIPPER

    • Chipper was a puppy added to the concept of Nipper in 1990 by RCA, supposedly representing Nipper’s son. Where Chipper’s name came from is not stated, but obviously the name rhymes with “Nipper” and invokes the concept of “a chip off the old block.” According to RCA, “Chipper represents the youthful energy of RCA, which is always offering the newest innovations which capture the youthful spirit of awe and adventure.”

    Read more: http://www.ehow.com/info_12283520_name-rca-victor-dog.html#ixzz2aupUqO6J

  7. Jason F says:

    Expected a great puzzle when I saw the byline – wasn’t disappointed.

  8. Jeff says:

    Can someone explain EPS in the New York Times puzzle? I thought EP could be “extended play” record, but why would it be plural?

  9. Alan D. says:

    Anyone else think the crossing of OMARR with DORY in the CrosSynergy was a near Natick? A blemish in an otherwise excellent puzzle.

    • Evad says:

      I was a bit stumped by that as well, but since I was familiar with the DORY as a type of boat and I knew PREVIN wasn’t, I ended up figuring out that square.

      • pannonica says:

        Ya, I think with the triple-check it was very fair. However, I knew all three, and only OMARR from crosswords.

    • Art Shapiro says:

      Agreed, not to mention several other obscure (to me) Hollywood types. Not a fun puzzle.

      Art

  10. Sarah says:

    “Hog’s grunt” in Newsday is just such a great misdirect. Perhaps one of my favourite clues ever.

  11. Golfballman says:

    Buster Brown ” That’s my dog Tige, he lives in a shoe” Thom Mcan shoes.

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