Saturday, November 30, 2013

Newsday 6:34 (Amy) 
NYT 5:49 (Amy) 
LAT 3:30 (Andy) 
CS 5:39 (Dave) 

Byron Walden and Brad Wilber’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 11 30 13, no. 1130

Lots of fresh fill in this 68-worder. My favorites are:

  • 1a. [1960s sitcom character with the catchphrase "I see nothing!"], SGT. SCHULTZ. Ten letters, nine of them consonants.
  • 17a. [Singles collection?], DATING POOL.
  • 33a. [Ingredient in Worcestershire sauce], TAMARIND.
  • 56a. [Where filing work is done], NAIL SALONS.
  • 61a. [Accent for plus fours, often], ARGYLE SOCK. Plural would be better, though. One sock makes for an odd accent.
  • 14d. [Early riser?], BOY WONDER.
  • 29d. [Clear one's way, in a way], BUSHWHACK.
  • 39d. [Blue label], X RATING.

Both Brad and Byron are gifted writers of clues that work your mind. In addition to the half of the clues already mentioned, here are a few others I liked:

  • 7d. [One paid to make calls], UMPIRE.
  • 13d. [Minor payment], ALLOWANCE. As in a weekly payment to a kid/minor.
  • 23d. [Locales that may be well-supplied?], OASES.
  • 57d. [Show on Sen. Franken's résumé], SNL.

Vocabulary words of the day:

  • 45d. [Medieval merchants' guild], HANSA. If you’ve heard of the Hanseatic League, it’s the same thing. Thing I never put together in my head: That the airline Lufthansa is Luft (“air”) + Hansa.
  • 29a. [Result of some fermentation], BIOGAS. Think methane.

The closest thing this puzzle has to poor fill is … hmm, TROI? UNMATED? Super smooth, despite two corners with quad-stacked 9s and two with triple-stacked 10s. 4.33 stars.

Julian Lim’s Los Angeles Times crossword—Andy’s review

LAT Puzzle 11.30.13 by Julian Lim

Happy leftovers day, part 2! Here’s a nice puzzle to solve while eating a cold turkey leg slathered in cranberry sauce.

My favorite entries: LIFE OF PI, “I CAN DO IT!”, PR BLITZ (nothing new, but it always looks good in a grid), SWARTHY, BOSNIAN WAR, SHERMAN (clued as [Mr. Peabody's boy]!), DA VINCI, ODOR EATERS, FOSTER HOME, PS I LOVE YOU, LOWBROW, PLAN B. That’s a good long list!

The groaners: IVER alone (Bon Iver? Sure! Iver? Nah.), ALETA, NALDI, and IRAE and ETRE in the same corner. That’s a short list!

Pleasantly surprised to see? LOLO Jones, USE ME clued in a way other than the Bill Withers song, PAN AM clued as the ill-fated ABC series.

Wish I’d seen? TIMBER clued as the Pitbull/Ke$ha top-ten hit.

Learned? That beloved mega-corporation SARA LEE owns Ball Park Franks.

3.75 stars from me. Until next week!


Updated Saturday morning:

Donna S. Levin’s CrosSynergy / Washington Post crossword, “Green Party” – Dave Sullivan’s review

Let’s see…thirty days hath November…so we’re at the end of another month, folks! Today’s CrosSynergy has four phrases that end with a word that can follow GREEN. Let’s get this party started:

CrosSynergy / Washington Post crossword solution – 11/30/13

  • [Roseanne Barr's self-anointed title] was DOMESTIC GODDESS – a title that many think she stole from our blog’s hostess. Green goddess is a type of salad dressing, I think.
  • [Mail for one with a malady] clued GET WELL CARD – “green cards” are given to immigrants on their path to citizenship.
  • [Time to begin implementing one's resolutions] clued NEW YEAR’S DAY – Green Day is a punk band, producing the rock opera and B’way musical American Idiot, which is what I feel like sometimes.
  • [Paper-clad light source on a patio, perhaps] clued JAPANESE LANTERN – the Green Lantern is a comic book character with a magic ring and other superhuman powers.

Nice eco-friendly theme today, I liked the female vibe of Roseanne, LEONA Helmsley, Sarah PALIN and the Olivia de Havilland movie, The Heiress. I found it odd that ANDROID wasn’t clued as the more recent Google operating system, but instead got the old-timey [Robot in human form] moniker. GSTAAD looks all kind of wrong to me–I guess it’s because I’ve never been jet-setting with high society in the Swiss Alps. Not such a big fan of the S action in SDS and SSNS, which has a tendency to put me to sleep, especially after the somnolent effect of too much tryptophan.

Stan Newman’s Newsday crossword, “Saturday Stumper”

Newsday crossword solution, 11 30 13 “Saturday Stumper” by S.N.

I like the elided beginnings of 8d: ‘SCUSE ME, [Push preceder], and 37d: ‘FRAID NOT, [Informal refusal]. Smooth grid overall, with a modicum of sparkle. Here are the clues and answers I liked best:

  • 1a. [It may put pressure on you], “THINK FAST!”
  • 17a. [Off the record], ENTRE NOUS, “between us.”
  • 19a. [Aristotle's "ornament to the young"], SHAME. Somebody explain this to me. It’s interesting but I don’t know what Aristotle’s getting at.
  • 54a. [Quasi-opposite of "flash"], EON. I was reading this as an adjective, like “flash mob,” but it’s the noun as in “I’ll be back in a flash.”
  • 60a. [You'll find it in 180,000+ Wikipedia articles], ESPERANTO. I think I’ve seen this factoid before.
  • 1d. [Fashion statement], “TRES CHIC!”
  • 44d. [Its logo has three tuning forks], YAMAHA. Did not know that.
  • 58d. [Word from the Sanskrit for "absorption"], ZEN. Did not know that either, but it was inferrable.

I don’t know about the clue for 62a: TEEN ANGST, [Goodreads.com genre]. I navigated to goodreads.com and clicked the link to view a list of genres, and that was not included. You can search for “teen angst” and get a bunch of books that have been tagged with the phrase, but I don’t know that it qualifies as a genre per se.

Least familiar entry to non-astronomers: 55d: MIRA, [First-known variable star].

4.25 stars.

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18 Responses to Saturday, November 30, 2013

  1. Gareth says:

    Outside of the top-right and bottom-left corners, not a challenging Saturday – but boy those corners more than made up for it! They’re wonderfully constructed, with no 3-letter answers and interesting long answers in the stack to boot! Even with the rest of the puzzle completed (at around the 5 minute mark) there was just no way in! In the bottom corner I only had HATH but eventually guessed ALPO and clawed my way to completion. My first attempt at the even harder top stack involved the wrong imArET/ToMAtoes/macho combo. I still don’t understand the clues for CLUSTERED and BOYWONDER but I assume they’re fair and very good. The other two corners were far easier, but had very good answers nonetheless. I gave it a 5 (it seems I’m not alone).

    • You’d think after the STEVE SAX gimme, the bottom left would open up, but you’d think wrong. I didn’t understand BIO GAS until long after I had all the letters, and OMELET PAN just wasn’t coming.

      In other failures, I considered BOY WONDER far earlier than I realized it fit the clever clue. Gareth: Early riser as in rises to fame/prominence at a young age.

  2. Brucenm says:

    Also loved the puzzle. SW not a problem for me, with Steve Sax, Helen, Alpo, hath, Kant; but NE *definitely* was. (I will refrain from an extended disquisition on Kant’s ‘Transcendental Aesthetic’ — an early section in the 1st Critique — relating to our understanding of space and time. They are “a priori forms of intuition,” not entities in or properties of the external world, but “transcendentally ideal,” contributed subjectively by the human mind and forming a frame, or necessary condition for our understanding of the world; but preceding (in both a logical and temporal sense) the full derivation of the categories of the understanding.) Hope that’s crystal clear.) :-) You haven’t lived until you’ve tried explaining the Transcendental Aesthetic to a class of undergraduates with a hangover, at 9:00 AM on a Monday. (You and/or them.)

    I too am unable to put together {All set} for “clustered.” I can see as much (or as little) connection with “cluttered.” Things are not quite set neatly where they belong, so they are cluttered ??? clustered ??? I must be missing something but am relieved that I’m not the only one.

  3. Peter Collins says:

    Here’s what killed me in the SE — and a fun little fact: reNoNevada and saNaNtonio both have N’s in positions 3 and 5. Both seem like plausible homes for the Silver Stars. Since I landed on Reno first, I dug myself a hole I couldn’t get out of. So I was Bush Whacked by the Boy Wonders on this one.

    • Huda says:

      I know it’s awfully late, but I wanted to say that I had exactly the same problem, for exactly the same reasons!

  4. mitchs says:

    Unfortunately, pUSHaside and bUSHwhack have that USH in common. Couldn’t climb out of that one in the SW.

  5. Animalheart says:

    Eight-ninths of a surprisingly easy Saturday for me, but the extreme NE just wouldn’t come. I’m not sure I like RIGHTMIND as an answer to Judicious state, and that, combined with the utterly opaque (to me, during the solve) clue for CLUSTERED, just did me in. Too much tryptophan still in my system, maybe…

  6. Bob Blake says:

    I thought that Robin was the Boy Wonder and the robin is the early bird that gets the worm. It’s okay if you get it right for the wrong reason, though, isn’t it?

  7. Davis says:

    Today’s NYT is the best sort of challenging puzzle–difficult because of challenging cluing, and not because of a bunch of obscure proper names. I find it really gratifying to struggle with a clue, then suddenly see the answer and *know* I’m right because the result makes sense in the grid. Bravo!

    • Stan Newman says:

      So that means you’re a Saturday Stumper fan. Or should be.

    • RK says:

      I’m sure this won’t be read but I disagree with regard to the NE corner. I won’t get into details, but the difference in difficulty there is huge depending if one knows tamarind and Lilo (especially) or not.

  8. Brucenm says:

    Amy — Aristotle – youth – shame.

    I don’t recall the phrase “ornament to the young.” But I do vaguely recall that he introduces the concept of *shame* at the end of the list of virtues in the Nicomachean Ethics. Each of the virtues properly so called, is the mean, or the midpoint between excess and deficiency — e.g the virtue of bravery is the mean between foolhardiness and timidity — (the “Golden Mean”). “Shame,” he says, is not a virtue, but it is a trait found in the young, akin to fear in an adult. It is not in any way a commendable trait in an adult, but is to be understood and tolerated given the inexperience and uncertainty as to the ways of the world in the young. I don’t recall clearly the context in which, or the purpose for which, he introduces the concept. Nor can I recall or discern the significance of the term “ornament”, or the Greek equivalent thereof. (I’m fuzzy about this, and am operating on recollection.)

  9. Bob Bruesch says:

    Fun today – Liked “PR BLITZ” as real clever

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