Josh Knapp’s New York Times crossword
Hello! Greetings from Midtown Manhattan. I went to the Lollapuzzoola pre-party on the Upper West Side and chatted with Team Fiend’s Andy and Janie, along with assorted other puzzle luminaries/friends. And now … I am sleepy and I want to get my mental beauty rest for the tournament (that’s A Beautiful Mind rest), so just a quick post tonight.
Likes: SWAMP clue, NAUTILUS and its clue, SHAVES clue, ALBANIAN clue (total gimme), VOODOO DOLL, the LASCAUX cave paintings, SEA SERPENT in the HOT TUBS (watch out below!), [British footballer Wayne] ROONEY, CUBAN CIGAR, the TATTOO clue, ROBERT E. LEE’s whole name instead of the dreadful ELEE partial, and a LAST STAND.
Lots to appreciate in this puzzle, and not much junk as far as I recall. 4.1 stars from me.
I expect to see some of you at Lollapuzzoola 7 tomorrow, not that those of you who are attending are going to be reading this blog before then.
Martin Ashwood-Smith’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Clothes Line”—Ade’s write-up
Hello everyone, and a happy weekend to all of you!
Can’t spend too long here today, as I’m getting ready to finish somewhere in the nether regions at the seventh edition of the Lollapuzzoola crossword puzzle competition, but today’s grid, offered up to us by Mr. Martin Ashwood-Smith, is another tribute to a character from The Simpsons. This time, it’s our favorite animated fourth-grader, and one of his most recognizable catch phrases, “Eat my shorts.” Each of the theme answers start with one of those three words in that quote.
- EAT LIKE A PIG: (17A: [Stuff oneself]) – Last time I age like a pig? Tuesday, while having spaghetti and a couple too many meatballs. It was real good, though.
- MY LIPS ARE SEALED: (28A: ["Mum's the word!"])
- SHORTS THE MARKET: (46A: [Is bearish on WAll Street, perhaps])
- BART SIMPSON: (61A: [Homer's boy, and a hint to the first words of 17-, 28-, and 46-Across])
We’re used to seeing a triple or quad stack of 15-letter entries from Martin, but this time, there’s pretty much a stack of three-letter entries right in the middle to make this grid possible. With that, comes a lot of abbreviations and short names: SEN, PGA, SOC, DJS, ELY, NIA, USE, PIE, ERR. Hope you like your three-letter entries right in the heart. Our family never used CRISCO and always used (and still use) Mazola to this day for cooking (15A: [Mazola competitor]). Loved ARKANSAN (39: [Little Rocker]), and now I think people should take more pride in being from Little Rock, just so they can call themselves Little Rockers. Though what would be the demonym if people were from Hot Springs, Ark.? Hot Springsian??? Guess so.
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: SARK (65A: [Cutty ____ (J&B alternative)]) – The 2014 college football season is less than three weeks away form starting anew, and one of the most storied schools in college football is the University of Southern California (USC). The Trojans have a new head coach starting this season, former BYU quarterback and Univ. of Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian, whose nickname is SARK.
See you all on Sunday!
Lars G. Doubleday’s Newsday Saturday Stumper — pannonica’s write-up
The duo of Brad Wilber and Doug Peterson deliver another offering that lives up to the sobriquet. Really had to wrestle this one into submission. More than one section needed re-solving before resolving properly, thanks to the trademark oblique cluing.
Most notable was 4-down [Lacking teeth]. For reasons of length I was in short order able to determine it wasn’t EDENTATED, EDENTULATE, EDENTULOUS, or anything literal like that. With some crossings established it was on to INEFFICIENT, which was later revised to INEFFECTIVE, and finally to the correct INEFFECTUAL.
Another rough spot was the lower left, where I failed to get a toehold for the longest time. The approach from the top was hampered by the litany of incorrect suffixes mentioned just above, by the deceptive non-plural (and hence no S) 44a [Charges for 47-Across], which was [Base figure], for which I considered UMP, then tried SGT, and finally landed upon NCO; the other answer was SQUAD. Add to that my shaky landfall attempt with 61a [When to sing "My Favorite Things"] as EASTER rather than ACT ONE and you can see how the whole region was so recalcitrant.
Every section had a hearty share of those clues that initially seem mysterious and impregnable, requiring a lateral interpretation or leap of faith—and maybe a few crossing letters—before they yield to the solver. 17a [Tongue crosser], say what? Oh, SHOELACE. 50d [It's a little above 6] CARET. 49a [Train station installation, perhaps] PUBLIC ART. 23d [What may be done with a tuck] LIPO. 39a [Green] – is this raw? Ecologically responsible? Oh, there’s a V, so maybe along the lines of ENVIOUS? Turned out to be the first, but with the unusual UNSAVVY. 29a [Well-supplied areas] beginning with O … OIL-something? Newp, OASES. And many more. You put enough of these things in a crossword puzzle, and you’ve built yourself (and your solvers) a hard nut to crack.
Interesting trivia and quotes: 46d [The only things that ''really frightened'' Churchill during WWII] U-BOATS; 48D ”All idealization makes life __”: Conrad] POORER. 45d [Fruit in the etymology of "marmalade"] QUINCE: “Middle English marmelat quince conserve, Portuguese marmelada, from marmelo quince, from Latin melimelum, a sweet apple, from Greek melimēlon, from meli honey + mēlon apple — more at mellifluous” – from m-w.com.
60d [What Brits call "casualty departments"] ERS, though I’ve primarily heard them called A AND Es (for Accidents and Emergencies, as opposed to Arts & Entertainment).
Last crossing to fall: 31a [San Diego suburb] EL CAJON (“the Big Box”, “the Drawer”) and 32d [Schiller's "Daughter of Elysium"] JOY – both were completely unknown to me. So that’s what the “Ode to Joy” is all about.
Strong puzzle, just what we’ve come to expect from Saturday Stumpers.
Mark Bickham’s Los Angeles Times crossword—Andy’s review
In preparation for Lollapuzzoola! tomorrow, I decided to solve this one on paper. Unrelatedly, also in preparation for Lollapuzzoola, I had a few adult beverages before printing this one out. So this was a fun ride.
The grid feels a bit block-heavy/white-square sparse for a weekend puzzle. But I really enjoyed the fill, so “meh.” GET FUZZY is one of my all-time favorite comic strips. NOAH’S ARK looks nice at 1-Across, but I was pretty angry about NAG, NAG at 1-Down because is that even a real phrase?
Similarly, is NO HAIR a lexical unit? [Bald statement?]? Like, “Look, Ma! No hair!” I dunno.
[Update: I have mozzarella sticks! Blogging's way better with mozzarella sticks.]
Wanted LADY DI to be MONROE (not enough to actually write that into the grid, mind you), and I think the trap was intentional. GLENDA crossing LINDA seems right. The SE is fun: RED DAWN, WHOVILLE, NINETEEN (sadly, the Tegan and Sara song isn’t well known enough to be a crossword clue), ACT OF GOD — all lovely. Can you believe the XBOX is 13 years old? I can, but only because I am a man of facts and science. OH MY!
I see zero flaws in the NE, too. IQ TEST, MUUMUU, “I’M STAYING!”, QUEST, TURKEY, “TSK, TSK”, etc. Beautiful.
If you don’t like NED Rorem, then you have an opinion I disagree with. (Not my favorite recording of this violin concerto. For a real treat, get the Gidon Kremer version.)
Aside from the weird non-phrases, this is a superb puzzle. I’m feeling generous, so 4.33 stars from me. Hope to see many of you today at LPZ!