Mar 25, 2012

Sunday March 25, 2011 Sam Ezersky

Theme: Greg's List (Craigslist) - Hard C sound is changed into Hard G sound, resulting in significant spelling change in each key word.

23A. Uses Knorr packets instead of poker chips? : GAMBLES SOUP. Campbell's soup.

29A. Lard display site? : FAT GALLERY. Fat calorie.

31A. Apparition with a proboscis? : MOSQUITO GHOST. Mosquito Coast.

57A. One putting up framed stone carvings? : GLYPH HANGER. Cliff hanger.

69A. Stories told by rapt storytellers? : TALES FROM THE GRIPPED. "Tales from the Crypt."

85A. Superior vis-à-vis Huron? : GREATER LAKE. Crater Lake.

112A. Trade war group? : GUILD IN BATTLE. Killed in battle.

115A. 24 undeveloped photos of Old Faithful? : GEYSER ROLL. Kaiser roll.

122A. Baby's wake-up gadget? : GOO GOO CLOCK. Cuckoo clock. Two part change.

18D. "Don't come any closer, Zombie!"? : STAY, GHOUL. Stay cool.

80D. Prison workers' respite? : GUARD GAME. Card game.

Heavy themage.

Normally we don't see non-theme entries have the same number of letters as the theme entries. Constructors and editors do not want to confuse solvers which are theme entries. Today we have quite a few long Downs. Since the theme entries all have clear question marks, so no confusion here. Plus, those long Downs are all quite sparkling.

This is Sam Ezersky's first published puzzle. And a Sunday. Amazing feat. Congrats!


1. Scavenged, as the fridge : RAIDED

7. Lines at the register? : UPCS. The scannable lines.

11. Nabokov novel : ADA

14. Throat clearers : AHEMs. I think Argyle's first comment on the blog is "Ahem", right, Santa?

19. Verdi title bandit : ERNANI. Hard to remember.

20. X-Men enemy who can control fire : PYRO. "Fire" prefix.

21. Sniggler's catch : EEL

22. Didn't participate, with "out" : SAT IT

25. Stat for 30-Down : RBI. And 30 Down. MLBer with the most career seasons of 100-plus 25-Across : A-ROD. 14, to be exact.

26. New Mexico's state flower : YUCCA

27. ''Here __ again!'' : I GO

28. Jazzman Al and sportscaster Linda : COHNS. Linda Cohn is with ESPN's SportsCenter.

35. Piece activist's gp.? : NRA. Nice clue.

36. Dress (up) : TOG

37. Pencil maze word : ENTER

38. Teen's room, to many a mom : STY

39. Sailor's patron, briefly : ST. ELMO

41. Gym shorts material : MESH

42. Calendario entry : DIA. Day.

44. "Peek-__!" : A BOO

46. Brit. lexicon : OED

47. Sock end? : EROO. Sockeroo.

48. Penn of "Harold & Kumar" films : KAL

51. Entrée feature : ACCENT.

54. One of a game's 16 : PAWN. Know nothing about Chess. It has 16 pawns?

56. Real mess : SNAFU

60. Do not disturb : LET BE

62. Cards' home: Abbr. : STL. Cardinals. Pujols-less.

63. Windbag : BORE

64. Taina of "Les Girls" : ELG. Another difficult to remember name. Same with her given TAINA. Finnish.

65. Race of Norse gods : AESIR

67. War on Poverty org. : OEO (Office of Economic Opportunity)

75. Upbeat Progressive Insurance spokeswoman : FLO. No idea.

76. Looped handles, in archaeology : ANSAE. Plural of "Ansa".

77. Wasser in Winter : EIS. Ice. Wasser = Water.

78. Type of poll : EXIT. Exit poll.

80. Understand : GET. For Splynter.

83. Noted tart stealer : KNAVE. "The Queen of Hearts" poem.

88. "I'm at your disposal" : USE ME

90. Aqueduct Racetrack nickname : BIG A. Who knows? OK, maybe eddyB.

92. Sequel title words : PART II

93. See 79-Down : MEX. 79. With 93-Across, spicy cuisine : TEX. So what kind of salsa do you prefer? Mild, medium or hot? Medium is the highest I can stomach.

94. Done to __ : A TEE

95. Arabic "son of" : IBN

96. One of the orig. Southern Colonies : N CAR

98. Material studied by Watson and Crick : DNA

100. Durban dollar : RAND. Durban is third largest city in South Africa, says Wiki.

101. Meat shunners : VEGANS. I want to be a vegan, but I'm not that morally high.

103. __ pop: Weezer genre : EMO. Emo pop is also called called "emo pop punk". Whatever. Kids stuff.

106. Plot : GRAPH

110. 24-Down malady : DTS. Delirium tremens. And 24D. Plastered ones : SOTS

111. Lad : BOY

118. More peculiar : ODDER

119. Non-PC? : MAC. I'm a PC.

120. Taking some cuts, say : AT BAT. Baseball.

121. Corrida cheer : OLE

125. Setting for many King novels : MAINE

126. Palindromic pooh-bah : AGA. Turkish pooh-bah.

127. Seedy joint : DIVE

128. __ the bud : NIPS IN

129. Glorify : EXTOL

130. Hoover, e.g. : DAM. Not vacuum cleaner or the president.

131. Amanda of "The Whole Ten Yards" : PEET. Very pretty. Look at her eyes! I think she can launch 900 ships, Lemonade!

132. Lacks the skills for : CAN'T DO


1. Ruling group : REGIME

2. Catherine of __ : ARAGON

3. Secret to the max : IN MOST. This answer looks odd to me.

4. A little one will "do ya," in old ads : DAB

5. Blowup: Abbr. : ENL

6. Perfect score, to Paolo : DIECI. "Ten" in Italian.

7. Consequence : UPSHOT

8. Taedong River capital : PYONGYANG. North Korea. Pyongyang literally means "flat land". Pyong has the same character as Chinese "Ping", meaning "flat".

9. Valentine recipient, perhaps : CRUSH. Remember your first Valentine's gift?

10. Bribe : SOP

11. Infuse with oxygen : AERATE

12. It's tough to be in a lot of it : DEBT

13. Garage job : ALIGNMENT

14. Places of refuge : ASYLA. Plural of "asylum".

15. U-__ : HAUL. Probably what Dennis used to move his stuff.

16. Odds and ends : ET CETERAS

17. Word coiner? : MICROSOFT. Great clue.

29. Photog's setting : F STOP

32. End-of-proof letters : QED

33. Bathsheba's husband : URIAH. Or Heep from "David Copperfield".

34. Bolivian bear : OSO

40. It'll help you slow down : LOWER GEAR

41. Game pieces : MEN

43. Truman's secretary of state : ACHESON (Dean). Stranger to me.

45. Second-string squads : B TEAMS

48. Old 123-Down foe : KGB. 123D. Cold War foe of 48-Down : CIA

49. Immensely : A LOT

50. Vega's constellation : LYRA

52. Farm newborn : CALF

53. Dürer work : ENGRAVING

55. "I cannot tell __" : A LIE

56. Trickle : SEEP

58. Ill-gotten gains : PELF. LOOT, SWAG too.

59. Mark up or down, maybe : RETAG

61. NW city nicknamed "The City of Trees" : BOISE, ID. NW indicates a shortened name.

66. Everest aide : SHERPA

68. Autobahn auto : OPEL

70. Sommer of "A Shot in the Dark" : ELKE

71. Universal donor's type, for short : O NEG

72. Director Martin : RITT. "Norma Rae", "Hud", etc.

73. Student stressor : EXAM

74. Bank manager? : DIKE. River bank.

81. Heir's burden : ESTATE TAX. Nice answer.

82. Skosh : TEENSY BIT. Good one too.

84. 1960s album with a cover photo of its band crossing the street : ABBEY ROAD. Another good one.

86. Pigeonlike South American bird : EARED DOVE. I can't see her ears.

87. "Does this __ bell?" : RING A

89. __ school : MED

91. Quash : ANNUL

95. Actor/composer Novello : IVOR. I simply forgot his name. My brain remembers what I want to remember.

97. "__: Miami" : CSI

99. Creative output : ART

102. Sparkly : AGLEAM

104. Like some small racecars : MIDGET

105. __-cat: sandlot game : ONE O

107. Maximally : AT MOST

108. Adirondacks lake : PLACID

109. Emphatic refusal : HECK, NO!

111. Medicinal Asian leaf : BETEL. Stimulant.

113. Sarge's superior : LOOIE

114. Tough mount to mount : BRONC

116. Not loco : SANO. Spanish for "sane". Loco is Spanish for "nuts".

117. Gymnast Korbut : OLGA

122. Econ. yardstick : GDP

124. Hosp. employee : LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse)

Answer grid.



Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Man, this one really slapped me around. And this time my head is bloodied and bowed, since I finally had to turn on the red-letter help to finish in two places.

I grokked the theme early on, which helped in some places but not all. One of my major fails was the crossing of MOSQUITO COAST with DIECI, caused in part by my complete ignorance of AL and Linda COHNS and my lack of familiarity with Portuguese. I guessed JOHNS, which seemed reasonable enough, but it gave me DIEJ_ for 6D. And so I went with DIEJE, since MOSQUE seemed reasonable at 31A. Of course, then I tried to figure out what MOSQUE TO GHOST was supposed to be (let alone MOSQUE TO COAST).

I should have gotten DIESI from my knowledge of Spanish (DIES), but it just didn't come to me.

Elsewhere, I was tripped up by OEO crossing BOISE ID. I flat out didn't know OEO and was looking for just a city name (no state) for 61D. I think I tried BRISEID at some point...

Lots of other unknowns in the puzzle, including ELG, RITT, EMO pop and EARED DOVE, but the perps got me through those.

Never heard of "Done to A TEE," only "suit to A TEE."

Lots of wonderfully tricky clues today, though, which was nice.

Hahtoolah said...

Good Morning, C.C. and friends. This was a toughie for me. I got some of the theme answers, but others seemed somewhat obscure, so it took quite a while to figure out.

I thought Piece Activist Gp = NRA was a very clever clue.

Being a MAC fan, I liked the clue for Non-PC.

I first thought of U-Turn instead of U-HAUL.

Stephen King lives in Bangor, MAINE, and graduated from the University of Maine (where are you Mainaic?), so that explains why so many of his stories are set there.

Paul Theroux wrote a novel entitled The Mosquito Coast.

I go for the Medium spiciness of TEX-MEX, but I use salsa in everything.

QOD: The only reason some people get lost in thought is because it's unfamiliar territory. ~ Paul Fix

desper-otto said...

Oh no! My luck runneth out. My WAGs were side-swiped, and I shall spend the rest of today in ignominy. Yes, the dreaded DNF came home to roost today.

I had DIEJI/JOHNS instead of DIECI/COHNS, and also ACHISON/ILG instead of ACHESON/ELG (I must have been thinking of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe). My only over-write was changing START to ENTER.

C.C., in chess the entire front row consists of pawns -- 8 white, 8 black. And you must have seen Flo. She's dressed in white, wears a big name tag, and sells "boxes" of insurance products in her Progressive "store."

Off to sulk...

Anonymous said...

It should be noted that Sam Ezersky is a 16 year old high school student in Fairfax VA. This is his first published puzzle.

Argyle said...

"Ahem" was my first comment with an avatar, this one.

emjay said...

Wow! Sam, you're a 16 year old genius!!! (You probably already know that.) I found this puzzle difficult and fun.
Had a sense of accomplishment by finishing with only a couple of errors.

Lemonade714 said...

A very diverse mix from another very young, very creative constructor. The cluing was fresh as well and to include Dean Acheson, a real blast from the past certainly showed this young man did his research.

C.C. thanks for the reference to our beauty indicator, millihelens (if Helen's could launch 1000 ships, how many would ___ launch) with Amanda Peet who was not only very decorative but quite funny in the two movies with Bruce Willis and Matthew Perry. Eyes are spectacular.

Thanks Sam and C.C.

Grumpy 1 said...

Good morning C.C. and the gang. This one took a long time. The DIE_I/_OHNS cross was the last to fall. Like Barry, JOHNS looked OK, but I just couldn't accept DIEjI. I thought we might be looking for a perfect ten, so the 'C' seemed like the best choice.

I wanted utMOST and opted, but perps steered me to INMOST and SAT IT. The title gave me an idea about the theme and STAY GHOUL confirmed it.

Several unknowns, but perps to the rescue. ANSAE, PYRO, ELG, AESIR... Dang! What has our prodigy constructor been studying? Great job, Sam.

I hear NRA members start training their kids young with a GooGoo Glock.

Tinbeni, I'll match your inkblot mess against mine. Not a pretty sight with all of the writeovers.

Splynter said...

Hi There~!

Like BarryG, I had to turn on red-letter help as well, all in the proper noun areas; ACHESON, COHNS, ELG, and B-ISE, ID, which I could not see for being "Down", and I have not heard of OEO.

Loved the way the theme changes the spelling, very funny, and a "well done" to our young constructor~!

Sallie, from last night:

I do not have drink cravings, as I beat myself up pretty good there, but I also quit smoking 4+ years ago, and now I can tell when a driver in front of me at a stop light is smoking....I still feel the urge when friends smoke around me, but the smell puts me off.

C.C. - I don't "GET" that, but I could GO for it, and some time soon, too ~!


Fly_Navy said...

A nice puzzle, but "sano" is not the Spanish word for "sane". Spanish "sano" is English "healthy", and English "sane" is Spanish "cuerdo". The closest you could get is the idiomatic "en sano juicio".

the redanman said...

This was a loopy one! Hard and mostly good, but some bad fill marred it. I worked damn near 1:45 on this.

If this kid is 16, there's hope. I don't have grid in front of me as I did it on paper yesterday and I am in a Hotel Room with limited Int Access.

Since it's a kid I'll offer kudos, but tidy it up a bit and you'll really have something!

the redanman said...

IN MOST was "most ugly"

A TEE? Why not "on A TEE" if we're to be snarky, at least that makes sense.

NIP(S) IN bud, given the top of puzzle I got stuck with SNIP in bud for a bit

U-TURN -> U-BOLT -> U-Haul? Well done!

agree NRA was well clued.

Again, kudos since it's a kid. Half the NYT puzzles should be this good with the garbage that Shortz lets through these days.

Irish Miss said...

Good morning everyone:

This was a toughie for me and my first DNF in a long time.
Couldn't see Boise, ID although it should have been obvious. I'll blame it on my now full-fledged head/chest cold with a suspected sinus infection. Today is definitely a day of rest for me.

Congrats to our young Sam-good job! And to CC as always for a fine write-up.

Happy Sunday to all.

CrossEyedDave said...

I just could not get on the Constructors wavelength, and i just came up empty on so many clues that i only got a foothold in scattered areas. Unfortunately, my paper prints the answers to Sunday's puzzles, and i found myself "peeking" so much that i gave up and came to the Blog. I must say this puzzle contained many learning moments for me. The Blog is indispensable for making sense of the incomprehensible, and reading CC's write up made everything make sense. My only regret is giving up too soon...

zersky20 said...

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to say a huge thanks to all of your praise and constructive criticism, it really means a lot!!! I hope to entertain you all with more puzzles in the near future :)

Thanks again,

Sam Ezersky

Anonymous said...

Still do not understand 3A INMOST, perhaps inner most secret.

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

Hand up for Technical DNF today. Got my butt kicked solidly. In my defense I'll add that I did the puzzle in the wee hours while unable to get back to sleep; I thus imagine that I didn't bring my A game.


Congratulations, Sam! Send more please.

eddyB said...

Green!, Green! Green!

zersky20 said...

Y'know what's funny?

I, the constructor, am not so sure myself, as I had a different fill there in my original submission!

However, I think it is like "IN-MOST", like most "in," so I guess most on the down-low

LaLaLinda said...

Hi All ~~

Congrats, Sam, on a wonderful debut puzzle! I really liked the theme and had a lot of fun with it. And thank you C.C. for showing me the error of my ways I thought I had completed this and felt pretty good about it. After checking in here I found a number of mistakes, most often the wrong vowel, 'I' instead of 'E' in ATCHESON and in the spelling of AESIR and ANSAE.

~~ Like others, I struggled with the DIECI - COHNS - PYONGYANG crossings. Nothing familiar there, but I did guess the 'C' and 'N' correctly. Also was thrown off with 61D needing the state name. That took a while.

~~ I had a few favorites: 51A 'Entree feature' - ACCENT (I was thinking food) ~ 35A Piece activist's gp. - NRA and 120A ' Taking cuts' - ATBAT. (Opening Day - 11 days away!)

~~ At 109D 'Emphatic refusal' I immediately filled in 'Hell no' and after a few perps realized that I had to be a little less emphatic.

All in all an enjoyable Sunday!

B Meunier said...

Been lurking on this blog for some time without contributing....usually am able to complete without "cheating'. But today's was the toughest I have ever encountered...Fun though...Thanks for the great challenge...

desper-otto said...

Sam@11:48 -- Thanks for dropping by. You gave us a real challenge today. We may gripe about it, but we actually like it when the puzzle is difficult and the clues are misleading. Besides, who doesn't like a CW with NIPS IN it?

Congrats on your first effort. I hope to see more of your work in the future.

Spitzboov said...

Good afternoon C.C. and all.

Interesting puzzle and theme. Must have taken some effort to cobble it together. Favorite theme fill was the allusion to Mosquito Coast. Somehow remembered Dean ACHESON. Got the TEX/MEX crossing OK. PLACID was a gimme and EARED DOVE was a WAG. I thought the clues for NRA and PAWN were quite clever. Used red letter help for EMO crossing ONE O.

In spite of the ? mark alert to 74d, Bank manager, I did not like its clueing. A DYKE just sits there on top of the bank or as part of the bank and contains a flood with a certain return frequency; typically 20 to 50 years or so. The 'manager' is really the river engineer or agency/entity that designed and constructed it. Something like "bank manager's tool" would have been a better, more accurate clue, IMHO.

Thanks to Sam for dropping by. Good job and hope to see another offering by you before too long.

Yellowrocks said...

This is a fabulous puzzle, Sam, one any constructor could be proud of regardless of age. I enjoyed all the puns everyone has already noted. I found no awkward fill. There were some WAGS, due to spelling. It was a nice Sunday challenge. My first theme answer was STAY GHOUL. It set the pattern very early on.

Inmost was a gimme. Inmost being, inmost thoughts, inmost heart are all familiar phrases with a religious connotation. A quote from The Psalms: "You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb." The thesaurus gives secret as a one synonym.

TO A TEE was another gimme. It means exactly or precisely and can follow many verbs: done to a tee, suit to a tee, follow to a tee.

I do my puzzle every day at the coffee shop. Imagine my chagrin this morning when the section containing the puzzle was missing from my newspaper. Eventually I caught up with it. It was worth waiting for.

Spitzboov said...

Re: MAC. If you have ever thought of giving your parents an IPad, you may want to check out this clip. At the end of the clip, Father asks: ”What’s wrong?” . (It's in German but the visual says it all.)

Steve said...

WBS for BOISE, I thought I was looking at a personal Natick for BOISEID and OEO and flat-out didn't see the City/Abbreviated State before I waved the red-letter flag.

Otherwise very nice indeed, congrats on a sterling debut! Like CC, I loved MICROSOFT.

It's raining here in LA today - what's up with that?

Bill G. said...

Wow! This was hard for me. One of the hardest I would say. Good job Sam. Thanks C.C.

That "GET" link for Splynter is kinda sad. I hope the poor girl can get her money back for those shorts that shrunk.

Yep, it's raining here. As usual, less than was predicted though. Still, every little bit helps.

Yellowrocks said...

OEO Office of Economic Opportunity was part of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society program. Wikipedia says:

The office was created by R. Sargent Shriver (with the assistance of William B. Mullins[1]) who also served as its first director.[2]

Programs such as VISTA, Job Corps, Community Action Program, and Head Start (though that program was later transferred to the Department of Health, Education and Welfare) were all administered by the OEO. It was established in 1964, but quickly became a target of both left-wing and right-wing critics of the War on Poverty.

I was sure that Boise was the answer to 61D, but wondered about the 2 extra letters. Getting the I led me to see the state IDaho was included. Aha! Very clever.

I did not understand GREG'S LIST until CC mentioned CRAIG'S LIST.
GREG/CREG WTF?? OHH, another of those regional pronunciation differences.

Jayce said...

Hello everybody. This was a toughie today, but I quite liked it. I had to finally turn on the red letters in order to finish, though, so a technical DNF, or rather, a DIW.

Like some of you, I simply couldn't figure out the NW "City of Trees." The EID at the end got my brain going in totally the wrong direction, thinking of things like perseid, the recent nereid, and the like. Wanting EEO instead of OEO didn't help, of course.

Didn't know EMO at all, and wanted igi. Bzzt, wrong, and besides, isn't iggi spelled iggi or iggy?

MICROSOFT fooled me because I kept thinking, "Nah, it can't be right, it's too easy."

Good puzzle!

Best wishes to you all. May you all be blessed with good health and success in your endeavors.

Snorkley said...

I am a confused puzzler. The crossword I see in the Sunday paper does not match what you are discussing. Nor did it last Sunday. Please advise.

Matt said...

I read the blog every Sunday after finishing the puzzle but this is my first post.
Had to comment when I read the constructor was 16 years-old.
I found this one of the most challenging Sunday LAT puzzles ever.
Congratulations, Sam. 9-letter fill in the NE and SW corners!
Well done

Matt said...

I read the blog every Sunday after finishing the puzzle but this is my first post.
Had to comment when I read the constructor was 16 years-old.
I found this one of the most challenging Sunday LAT puzzles ever.
Congratulations, Sam. 9-letter fill in the NE and SW corners!
Well done

Anonymous said...

@Sam - when was this puzzle accepted?

Jayce said...

Spitzboov, thanks for the iPad clip. Funny :)

Lemonade, I love your milliHelen measurement metric.

As for salsa, I like it medium-hot, and will mix medium with hot to obtain just the degree of heat that I like.

Now to tackle the NYT puzzle that is printed in our local paper, and see what week-old garbage Will has let through :)


Hahtoolah said...

Congratulations, Sam. I hope we see more of your work.

Spitzboov: Your iPad clip was so cute. I would hope my Mom wouldn't use an iPad in that manner, but who knows ...

Lucina said...

Hola, C.C. and all. Thank you so much for shedding some light on this puzzle.

Yowza! Sam is 16! Can't wait to see what he sends us at 20.

No sashaying today and found it hard to GET on his wave length. Loved the theme answers, though, and got all except IN of GUILD IN BATTLE.

It was an uphill climb all the way but BOISE ID was one of the easiest fill. Had many incorrect vowels along the way which C.C. changed for me.

HELL NO was my emphatic no, too, LaLaLinda.

Like all of you I struggled with DIECI until I realized it must be Portuguese.

Congratulations, Sam!
Enjoy this Sunday, everyone! I shall be cooking for my fam to celebrate my SIL's BD.

Manac said...

@ Snorkley
The la times has two puzzles on Sunday.
Both available online but I believe only
one in print You probably did Mearl
Reagle's enthusiasism one,right?
I got the concept but the format would
not let me enter any numbers for letters

Anonymous said...

deiz is portuguese for 10.

Lucina said...

I concur with Fly_Navy at 10:25. SANO is not the opposite of "not loco." It would be better clued as "not enfermo," not healthy.

zersky20 said...

Rich responded on 1/3, asking for a slight revision of getting rid of sone questional fill as well as cutting back on abbreviations before he could officially accept it.

I revised the grid, and he said it was good on 2/14.

Yay :)

Snorkley said...

Thanks, Manac - But when I go to the crossword link online it says there is no puzzle - This is puzzling since a whole bunch of you have already done this and are parsing it all to pieces. Yes, I can only find Merle's cleverly insidious work in print. What have I missed here?

zersky20 said...

I'm seeing confusion with DIECI at 6-down.

That clue wasn't my own, but DIECI is 10 in Italian, not Portuguese...Paolo I guess is an Italian person in this context, but that's a toughie. Oh well.

Also, my previous comment was directed to Anonymous@3:46...

Manac said...

Sorry, I forgot to mention to
go to the Chicargo Tribune
puzzle page for this one.

eddyB said...


Thks for the SO CC. Did know it was
called the Big A. Aqueduct is in Queens and not part of the Tripple Crown.

Have been to the Preakness (Pimlico) - the seecond jewel.
Was stationed in MD for a year.

Helio gets another trophy to go with the Disco Ball.


Jayce said...

Welp, the NYT puzzle was crap.

Bill G. said...

Jayce, I've heard you complain about the NYT puzzles before. Since you and I seem to agree on many things, I will trust you on this one too. What do you think is going on? I don't try the NYT puzzles these days. I tried a couple of them several years ago and didn't like them much. Also, I asked myself why should I pay for CW puzzles when there are so many good ones available for free (Cruciverb and others)? I started off with Timothy Parker's Universal CWs on After a while I graduated from them to the LAT puzzles which seemed to be of obvious higher quality. But the NYT puzzles have always been considered by many to be the gold standard. Do you think they have slipped lately? Maybe Will Shortz has so many irons in the fire that he doesn't give them as much attention as he used to? Or maybe you and I have gotten used to Rich's LAT style. I'm curious about your opinion.

~ Bill G.

CrossEyedDave said...

LaLaLinda,,,luv yr avatar!

Yellowrocks said...

JAYCE, were you doing the NYT puzzle REAR END COLLISSIONS (really last week's) or TWO FOR ONE (actually this week's)? I did not like last week's NYT at all. I got many of the non-theme answers, but thought the theme clues were unfair, which is quite unusual for me. Did you see the answer grid? After seeing the answers I was even more put out.

I liked this week's NYT puzzle and found it much easier than usual. I even found the theme easy and helpful. Rex rated it medium and did not get the theme until the end. He thought the puzzle was meh. I, OTOH enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...

Had a lot of rewrites in this one. If it hadn't been that this was the first time I did it online, my dead-tree version would look like my cat spilled the inkwell on it (I buy Wite-Out by the gallon).

Lot of stuff I didn't know, especially actors/actresses in movies I never heard of, Taedong River, Truman's secretary. Looked for a NW city ending in eid (I live in Washington). Figured it must be referring to some European NW. Didn't parse out Boise ID intil the end.

Also had trouble with loco; Didn't think sano was a word, so thought there was a mistake there, somewhere.

Liked the puzzle very much, was able to keep plugging along, making changes until things worked out. That's the good thing of doing it online. I still prefer the dead-tree version!

PK said...

Yikes! What a brutal puzzle. I was relieved to find out Sam is 16 with all his mental neurons buzzing full strength. My synapses have snapped. I've done forgot all those things he's still studying, I guess. This gets an A+ for Stump the Seniors, Sweetie!

Early when FLO was the only entry I was sure of, I decided I watch too much TV. Erased AHEM thrice.

The only theme entry I got without perps was GEYSERROLL. Filled in the entire SW quarter and was so proud. Had to have C.C.'s wonderful input to get anywhere else. Remembered Acheson, but was spelling it with a "T" and "I", so thought it wrong.

I thought Durer was an EtchING artist.

My daughter and granddaughter took me out for my final lunch in the birthday series. Went to Red Lobster. Had stuffed sole, asparagus, cole slaw with one coconut shrimp for dessert (off my daughter's plate). They brought me a yellow rose bush blooming nicely and will come dig a hole for it later.

Jayce said...

Bill G, you are right; I have complained about the NYT puzzles before. I honestly don't know why I bother with them. Today, I think it's because I had nothing much else to do and there it was right on the TV schedule page so I picked it up. My opinion that this one was crap was evinced by the same gimmickry trick they have used in the past and which always seems to fool me, namely putting more than one letter into a square. Personally I think that's playing dirty, but I suppose people like it. I said yesterday and I'll say it again now: I admire the extremely high quality and "user friendliness" of the LAT puzzles. Like today's, they can be hard, but they are always what I call fair. The LA times is, in my opinion, as high-quality a newspaper as is the NY Times, and I think the reason the NYT is considered the gold standard is inertia: it always has been ergo always will be, until and unless they mess up very badly or a usurper comes along who clearly *is* better.

Jayce said...

Yellowrocks, yes, it was the Rear End Collisions one (last week's). Really PISTE me off. Looking at the answer grid I had two thoughts. 1: "Jeeez." 2: "There's no way I could solve it even if I looked up all the things I didn't know." As an example, I "knew" one of the answers just had to be CROWD PLEASERS, and I even had the CROWD part filled in. If I was too stupid to figure out that the only way to squeeze PLEASERS into 4 squares was to write 2 letters into each square, then so be it, I'm stupid. Frankly I don't think I'm stupid, I just expect the rule to be one letter in each square. To me it is totally arbitrary to expect one letter in some of the squares and require more than one letter (I've seen up to four!) in some other squares.

Jayce said...

NW George, exactly. I also kept asking myself what Washington state city ends with EID.

Also, I over-confidently pencilled in PHNOM PENH for 8D. Good thing I use pencil!

Dudley said...

Jayce - maybe time for an iPad?


Bill G. said...

Only a crazy person would go out in this weather if they didn't have to. So..., I went out for a macchiato. At least I didn't ride my bicycle. While I was getting in and out of the car in the rain, something occurred to me. Older cars used to have a little rain gutter at both edges of the roof. At least our old VW did. My 1993 Camry doesn't have that but it did have rubber door molding that had a little groove built into it that also caught the rain that might be about to drip into the car and channeled it backward and down. It worked pretty well in that I never noticed water dripping into the car when the door was open. My new Camry doesn't have anything like that. As a result, water drips onto me and into the car when the door is open. It's not a big problem since it doesn't rain here that often. I think it would be a bigger deal in Seattle. If you have a newer car, is it missing those rain diverters too? What's the reason for it? It couldn't cost much to have a groove designed into the door molding.

Irish Miss said...

Jace and Bill G re NY Times Sunday puzzle:

Jace, I agree with you 100 per cent. I started doing the Times Sunday puzzle over 30 years ago, more or less on a whim because I had never done crosswords at all. (Nothing like biting off more than you can chew).

Those were the days when the Editor was Eugene T. Maleska who enjoyed a well-earned reputation for being a stickler for fair but tough cluing and a polished, if difficult puzzle. Because I was a rookie, it would take me several hours, over several days to come even close to completion.

As with everything, the more I did, the better I got, but none of them were easy. And none of them were gimmicky, cutesy, or just plain silly like so many of today's offerings. To me, they are not true crossword puzzles with, as Jace says, one letter to one square.

I don't know when they started going downhill but I think the LA Times cw's are superior. As Jace said, even when they're tough, they're fair.

Anonymous said...

Re: NY Times XWords

I have been doing the NY Times xwords half the time for years while I worked and all the time since I retired (about 2 years). I agree; I think they have gone downhill. Probably because of the new format where the puzzles are prescripted and the constructors bid against each other. Many constructors have left because of this. There are still many good constructors, but the puzzles have changed.

Grumpy 1 said...

@ Jayce, I usually do the NYT (a week late) since it is published in my local paper along with the LAT. Most of the time I can figure them out, even when they pull stunts like the "rear end collisions". The title gave me the idea to looked for a crumpled rear end, i.e., the second word in a phrase squashed into half the space. That let me make quite a bit of headway but I still got tired of it and quit with about half of it filled.

Some people like that kind of puzzle, some don't. They just aren't my cup of tea, but kudos to the constructors that are able to pull off a puzzle like that.

Avg Joe said...

What Grumpy said about the week old NTY puzzle. Rebus puzzles can be fun, but there has to be some consistency. Today's was just frustrating. I gave up with about half the spaces filled and went about productive work.

Today's LAT puzzle was challenging, but fair, and I got most of it done. Had two blanks in the NW. I don't do these online, and don't omit a mention of relying on red letter assistance (since I'm unable to use it with my method). There's a lot to be said about a #2 pencil and a Boston sharpener.

Manac said...

Your comments about the NYT
made me think of this. Can't
believe I remembered it.

Grumpy 1 said...

Manac, that was a terrific link! Funny how Bill Watterson knew, twenty years ago, what was going to happen in puzzle land.

After I wrote my previous post, I picked up the puzzle again and managed to finish it. It was mostly a matter of figuring out the symmetry and pairing up the crash locations. Find one and you know where another one is.

Bill G. said...

Another nice surprise from Britain's Got Talent.

See if you can read lips to figure out what that smug egotist, Simon Cowell, said under his breath as they were being introduced.

Abejo said...

Good evening, folks. Thank you, Sam, for a tough puzzle. Thank you, C.C., for the write-up.

It is late. I finally got through it. It was tough and I had to get a little help on this.

The crossing of DIECI, ERNANI, and COHNS messed up that corner. Still not happy about the use of foreign words.

Liked the theme once I figured it out. The Two G's in GOO GOO CLOCK threw me off for a while.

Finally got SANO after the four perps.

Some good clues, Bank Manager/DIKE

It is getting late, I am outta here.


Lucina said...

Thank you for the clarification. Paolo sounded Portuguese to me so I assumed DIECI was as well, wrongly I see.

JD said...


Steven J. St. John said...

Sadly my paper doesn't carry the LAT Sunday and so I didn't see it until today (Tues). I say sadly because I had "met" Sam on another crossword forum when he was still working out this particular puzzle. I'm surprised to know he is 16 because he solicits and takes constructive feedback so well, which makes me think we may be seeing many sparkling puzzles from him in the future. Well done Sam! (Hope you see this.)