Aug 30, 2014

Saturday, Aug 30th, 2014, Martin Ashwood-Smith

Theme: "Quad Stack 16x15"

Words: 69 (missing F,J,Q,U,Z)

Blocks: 36

  I did notice that today's grid was slightly larger than our normal fare, which I have missed in the past - Mr. Ashwood-Smith had a similar Saturday grid with a Quad Stack back in Nov 2012.  Mostly blank through my first pass, just a couple of three-letter fills, but I did know 57a.  Looking back, there really was not too much in the way of vagueness, nor obscurity, IMHO.  Ten-letter corners, two 12-letter spanners, and two 10-letter climbers, one of which I nailed (*).  The Quad Stack:

30. Give an essentials-only account : SPARE THE DETAILS - I had LEAVE OUT DETAILS

39. Exercises in futility : WILD GOOSE CHASES - ugh, took too long for me to get this one, especially having "-CHASES" filled in

40. Mortgagee's calculation : INTEREST PAYMENT - Started with MONTHLY PAYMENTS

41. Group project feedback : PEER ASSESSMENTS - I'd like your assessment on my solo project - here's the finished benches

Carry ONward~!


1. W. Coast force : LAPD - Police Force, Los Angeles

5. Trailer : MOBILE HOME - Dah~!  I had "MOVIE -----", and that was working for a while

15. "Superman" (1978) co-producer Salkind : ILYA

16. Guacamole maker's discard : AVOCADO PIT

17. Active : SPRY

18. Struggle for a 23-Across : SENATE RACE - circular references in Saturday puzzles are the bane of some here on the blog; 23a. Goal in an 18-Across : SEAT

19. Historic Greenwich Village club : THE BITTER END - I have 'heard' of it, but that's all; their website

21. Ivanhoe, e.g. : SAXON

22. Lao-__ : TSE

26. Volume One words, perhaps : A TO - A to Amer., e.g.

28. Blame : RAP

42. Singer's asset : EAR

43. Waste no time : HIE

44. Half-day exam given four times a yr. : LSAT

47. Welcome words : "HI's~!"

50. Mil. trial : N-TEST

54. One at the end of the line : WIDE RECEIVER - Football line

57. Band with the 1986 #1 hit "Venus" : BANANARAMA

60. Marquee time : NITE - "shorthand" for NIGHT: uses less tiles/letters and space - I had to change the marquee at a "NITE" club called Casanova's, so many years ago; see 38d.

61. Help in a stock exchange? : BROKER'S TIP

62. Old 442 rivals : GTOs

63. Fast-moving game : SPEED CHESS - not for me; I have to think about my moves

64. Lacking : SANS


1. Joggers of a sort : LISTS - I keep mine in the cel phone now

2. Top dog : ALPHA

3. Brand introduced by Corning in 1915 : PYREX

4. Certain prep schooler : DAY BOARDER

5. Caravel feature : MAST - Our constructor had a ship clue/answer in the Nov '12 puzzle, too

6. British miler Steve : OVETT

7. Crams, with "up" : BONES - put it in, took it out

8. Comforting comment : "I CARE"

9. Up-to-the-minute : LATE

10. Wonderlands : EDENS

11. Multitude : HORDE

12. WWII cost-stabilizing agcy. : OPA - Office of Price Administraion - the Wiki

13. Jack letters : MIC - DAH~! I shoulda known this kind of jack - music; usually a different ohm rating than say, "guitar".  I went with LBS, as in spare tire car jack

14. Time for les vacances : ETE - Frawnche - haven't seen much in a long, long time

20. Former Acura model : INTEGRA

24. Gotten up : ARISEN

25. Local __ : TALENT

27. Chiwere speakers : OTOEs

29. Attention getters : PSSTs

30. Take the wrong way? : SWIPE - dah~! Went with STEAL

31. __ gland: organ that secretes melatonin : PINEAL

32. Lets out, say : ALTERS - I bought me a suit this week - my first tailored get up, and it felt good - I've lost 30lbs this summer

33. Old West transport, in dialect : HOSS - Oater-speak for "horse" - I linked genuine frontier gibberish two weeks ago

34. Historic Padua neighbor : ESTE

35. Passbook amts. : DEPs - Deposits; don't hear much about passbooks anymore; I do all my banking with direct deposit, online transactions and mobile app functions

36. Net funds : eCASH - Dah~! Went with "GROSS"

37. DNA compound : THYMINE

38*. Sessions involving steps : A.A. MEETINGS - I did a second "Fourth Step" with a new sponsor this summer; still have NOT followed up on his suggestion....terrifying

45. Up : AWAKE

46. Like a rake : TINED

47. Pulitzer journalist Seymour : HERSH

48. Hot : IRATE

49. They occur before finals : SEMIs

51. "You Must Love Me" musical : EVITA

52. Place atop : SET ON

53. Bobby pin target : TRESS

55. Jeanne __ : D'ARC


57. Hardly big shots? : BBs - Cute

58. Klee contemporary : ARP

59. __ Valley: San Francisco area : NOE - map

I have one more surprise for my buddy Adam; his logo as a plaque to go opposite the benches on the bar wall of his restaurant;


Note from C.C.:

JD's grandson Truman turned 7 years old yesterday. Here he is with his brother Grady on the right and cousin Cameron on the left.


George Barany said...

Good morning, Splynter and all of C.C.'s loyal followers!

Since the end of 2013, Martin Ashwood-Smith has become a good friend, and every time he has had a themeless puzzle published in one of the major newspapers, he has generated a "bonus" puzzle for posting on my Friends crossword website. Today is no different, so we are proud to present a double quad called "Stack Options."

After completing the aforementioned bonus puzzle, be sure to read Martin's "midrash" about it. Have fun!

Argyle said...

A struggle to the bitter end. So many unknowns...and yet I finished unaided. I admit the "TADA" startled me when I made my last entry.

OwenKL said...

I once went on a WILD GOOSE CHASE,
The red herrings were firmly in place.
And all that entails;
That snipe hunt was a trial SENATE RACE!

Today was a "pet shop" of a puzzle;
A dog without even a muzzle.
There weren't many tags,
But boy, were there WAGs!
Sans red letters, I'd join Tin and guzzle!

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

This one was just too much for me. I knew ALEXANDER Salkind but never heard of ILYA and finally had to resort to IMDB to get it. That didn't help me much, however.

Some of my problems were causd total unknowns such as ILYA, THYMINE, OVETT, NOW, THEBITTEREND and ESTE (still don't get this one). Others were caused by missteps such as SAIL for MAST. But most of my problems were due to the cluing on many of the answers that I just couldn't get through.


desper-otto said...

Whew! Good morning, I think.

What a mess I made. I finished, thanks to plenty of Wite-Out. PYREX -- put it in, took it out, put it back in. BONES, ditto. Hand up for STEAL/SWIPE. Didn't help that at first I misspelled HORDE as HOARD.

Local TALENT can have a couple of different meanings. My Venus band was BANANAMAMA (didn't Frankie Avalon sing Venus?), but HEMSH looked really odd. An alphabet led me to wag the R.

I still haven't figured out how to get the TADA from my newspaper.

Those benches look great, Splynter. What's the purpose of the little inset on the front edge of the seat -- it was a bugger to put it in, so there had to be a good reason for it. Buster the Crabbe was cute.

PK said...

Hi Y'all! This is one of those puzzles that I wouldn't have got at all without red-letter help. Thanks for the challenge, Martin.

I had WILD & CHASE and felt real triumph when I got GOOSEd with the right middle answer.

Splynter, thanks once more for your Saturday duty. The benches look great. I like the triangular pieces between bench backs. Cute crab.

Gross is total income before expenses. Net is what's left after the bills are paid.

We have a hot SENATE RACE here that I'm already sick of. The gubernatorial race is worse. My remote mute gets a good workout when the tiresome commercials come on. If the candidates are really that despicable, we shouldn't vote for any of them.

thehondohurricane said...

Students at prep Schools are generally from out of the area and reside (board) at the school. DAYBOARDERS are students who live locally and reside at home with their families. When I was at Wilbraham, there were roughly a dozen DAYBORDERS enrolled.

HeartRx said...

Good morning Saturday solvers!

Splynter, the benches look fantastic. I love how you made the corners and backrests to match the angle - very decorative. The blue crab is hilarious! You are so talented.

Great interview with MAS, C.C.!

Hand up for "steal" before swipe. First pass looked mighty bleak. All I had in place for sure were **PD ("SF" or "LA"???), PYREX, AVOCADO PIT, INTEGRA and a couple others. I chipped away at it though, and once I could see some letter patterns emerge, it was easy to fill in the long stacks.

But in the end, a DNF - I misspelled AVaCADO. That second "a" became one of the BaNES of my solve. [sob]

Al Cyone said...


Like Barry G., I thought it sounded oxymoronic (if that's what he was thinking). If you're a day student, you're not boarding (sleeping) at the school. Then I thought of "room & board" and figured "board" might refer to meals that even day students get. But that seems a stretch (and, of course, I could always Google it).

Anonymous said...


You're right, the word DAYBOARDERS is a bit oxymoronic. However, that's what day students are called at private boarding schools. Rest assured, it's a real word (I never would have used it otherwise).


-Martin Ashwoid-Smith

Big Easy said...

I found it hard to get going on this puzzle but once I had a few letters the long fills came easily. I also had MOVIE for a bad start in 5A and OPA was not known. For some reason SPARE THE DETAILS and INTEREST PAYMENT were quickly filled after I got SWIPE instead of STEAL.

AVOCADO PIT and BANANARAMA were immediate fills and made the downs easier. Hands up for anybody who had ever heard of ILYA or HERSH.

Olds 442- 4 on the floor, 4 barrel carburetor, dual exhausts

Steve OVETT and Sebastian COE- two British middle distance runners who did not like each other.

I liked the clues in this puzzle except for Joggers (LISTS) and Welcome words (HIS). I've heard people say 'jog your memory' but thinking of a LIST doesn't appear in my simple brain.

Adios amigos

Al Cyone said...

In further support of "board" as meals I'm thinking of the "groaning board"; the table upon which a big feast is served. So I guess I'm disagreeing with hondo's equating of "board" with "reside" though that's a common understanding (and was, in fact, mine until today).

Edited to add: I feel honored by the constructor's prompt reply to my post. Thanks.

Big Easy said...

Maybe the clue for DAYBOARDERS should have been "children with rich parents who want their children to mingle with children who have RICHER parents'

Yellowrocks said...

I soon gave up and solved this almost completely with red letters on, unheard of for me. Red letters corrected some missteps before they went too far. I had many mental alphabet runs. I did three or four runs via red letters. Otherwise I used 1 to 3 guesses. Fine puzzle, plenty of clever clues, but not very satisfying for me to use so much help. The TA DA was cringe-worthy and false, in this case.
Unless I need help I much prefer paper and pen.
As Mr. Smith said, DAY BOARDERS is legit. BOARDERS refers to those who take daily meals only or lodging and meals. In room and board, the board is the meal part. One meaning of board is a table set for serving food. "It was a merry group sitting round the board."

SANS In the French Revolution Sans-culotte referred to the lower class, radical left wingers.
It seems sans-culotte would mean a person without pants and I have seen derisive illustrations of rebels without pants.
However,"sans culotte" means ones without a particular type of pants. Culottes were fashionable silk knee breeches worn by the upper class.

Avg Joe said...

Started as a wagfest and quickly turned into a google fest. Some very clever clueing, but it beat the snot out of me. Uncle!

On a brighter note, there is a game to attend today.

Lemonade714 said...

As a child I went to boarding school from my first day of school, though 8th grade as a DAY student at first and as a DAY BOARDER who ate my meals there in order to participate in sports and other activities, going home to sleep. We were not rich but went on a full scholarship, though the other students were often there because their parents were too rich and sent them away at 7 or 8 years old. I ended up in boarding school for high school. If you look up the term it is used by schools in their advertising.

Oddly I found this an easy Saturday, the 1915 start to PYREX was just on Jeopardy and the rest just fit my eye.

Martin thanks for stopping by and the great interview.

Splynter you do great work here and there

tiptoethru said...

A cartoon bubble over my head, "ARRRRRHH!" Today, this puzzle hurt. I was so happy with my avocado pit and then everything fell apart. So, thank you all for your explanations and answers. I'm going out to my mobile (movie) home to play speed chess, listen to Bananarama, watch a few wide receivers and drink to the bitter end. There will be no peer assessment required as I seem to always be on a wild goose chase. The senators and brokers have done me in. Have a great Labor Day weekend all.

Anonymous said...

Lemony, I see that the boarding school did a fine job of teaching you proper syntax.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

After the first pass, with very little filled in, I was a tad discouraged but, as I have learned from doing Silkie's, patience and perserverance usually pay off. I did finish w/o help but it took me 1 1/2 hours.

I was familiar with Seymour Hersh but thought the spelling was Hirsch. I bet CED got The Bitter End immediately, as he went there not too long ago. Thanks MAS for a very challenging but rewarding solve and for dropping by, and thanks, Splynter, for your spot-on review. The benches look fantastic-nice

Have a great day.

Bill G. said...

I'm not a fan of Saturday themeless puzzles but I liked this one better than most. Thanks Martin and Splynter. (Really nice benches!)

Big Easy wrote: "children with rich parents who want their children to mingle with children who have RICHER parents' That reminded my of the tennis pro who taught me how to hit a good backhand. When he changed clubs to one with a more upscale clientele, I asked him how he liked the new place. He replied, "It's great. It's a bunch of really old people and their parents."

Splynter said...

Hi again~!

Thanks for the compliments, everyone - to answer your question, D-Otto, the 'reveal' along the perimeter of the benches comes from the original bench design; the owner did not want to change the style in order to match the ones he was keeping. They are comprised of 2x12s with a 2x4 at the front edge.


Misty said...

Well, I was really going to grouch about this puzzle--four grid-spanners, give me a break! But then Martin kindly checked in, and so I just can't say anything mean. But what a toughie. I did get AVOCADO PIT right away--thank goodness I know how to make guacamole. And I got the SW corner, even though I've never heard of BANANARAMA. Also got SAXON and PYREX. But that was just about it before I had to start cheating. Still, I have to admit that a lot of the misdirections were really funny. Martin, I'll have to put you in the "dreaded Silkie" category for now, but since I got a Silkie last Saturday, I guess there's hope.

Splynter, helpful expo and great benches!

JD, adorable grand-kids!

Have a great holiday weekend, everybody!

Ol' Man Keith said...

I learned a lot today. Quad stacks are a perfect example of the kind of pzl that keeps me going. You all know what I mean--the kind that at first glance (and 2nd, 3rd, & 4th takes) you are pretty sure you haven't got a prayer of solving, BUT then you DO!
Every time I have this experience, it emboldens me to face the next "impossible" task.
I admit I had to do one lookup, right at the end. I had the hardest time in the SE corner because I couldn't place EVITA and the perps weren't working for me. The key there was EVITA, which cleared up the end of WIDE RECEIVERS for me and Ta-DAH!
But otherwise this was a great solve -- I'd say a 98% perfect solve, and I thank Mr Ashwood-Smith for the challenge!

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

Must have been off my game today. I couldn't grok Alpha or Spry even when most letters were in place, and that was right after I went in desperation to Imdb to get Ilya. Technical DNF.

About Pyrex: the Corning company has a superb glass museum in Corning, NY. During a visit there I learned the official story behind Pyrex as bakeware - apparently the heat-tolerant glass had been developed for some other industrial purpose, and it was the insightful wife of an engineer who thought to try baking in a sample piece that just happened to be the right shape. Her innovation triggered the most successful product of its type in world history.

Kevin said...


Thanks for the delightful Saturday puzzle. It was a real challenge, yet completely satisfying to solve; at first, I thought there was no way I was going to make it through all the stacks.

I loved AAMEETINGS. Before I got 40a, I stared at the nearly adjacent AA and EE and was worried that I would have to rework the quad stack. When I finally got AAMEETINGS, I was very impressed with your handiwork.

Also, I enjoyed WIDE RECEIVER and SPEED CHESS; for me, it was refreshing to not have to WAG a bunch of baseball players and race car drivers in this puzzle.

All in all, a superb puzzle!

Anonymous T said...

Hi All:

I didn't comment on yesterday's puzzle - DW & I went to the cantina and she retained my focus.

Re: Friday - Let's just say that if you draw a line from 32a and 51d you'd find the great squid's doing.

Bill G. - Pancakes were cake, but didn't see it until today. Keep 'em commin'

Today's puzzle hurt badly. I got LAPD, PYREX, EAR, ?SAT, and knew PIT fit somewhere itn 16a, but nothing would cross. Total Fail.

Fail? - not Splyter's bench. Wow! Wanna come to HOU for some clapboard reconstruction?

MAS - Thanks for the interview w/ C.C. perhaps next time I'll catch your frequency.

Cheers, -T

Unknown said...

This was a tough but a very enjoyable and doable puzzle. Got MOBILE HOME, AVOCADO PIT, THE BITTER END, and BANARAMA right away. Otherwise, there was a lot of white for a while. My only write-over was pSAT before LSAT.

Great job on the benches, Splynter.

Bill G. said...

A sneaky kitten and a little dog holding his own.
Kitten vs dog

PK said...

The DAYBOARDER conversation was interesting. Out here in the middle of the country, we're pretty much stuck with our kids until high school graduation. I liked mine too much to let go of them. I've never known anyone who voluntarily shipped a kid off at age 7 to live with strangers unless the child welfare authorities took them by force. I've personally felt that not having a mother's steady corrections is why some upper class Englishmen are so rude and unfeeling (such as we've seen on TV contests whose judges will remain nameless). With a lot of little boys it takes a lot of motherly coaching to bring out their empathy and damp down their aggressiveness to civilize them.

SwampCat said...

Is it too late to say I really liked this puzzle? No I didn't finish it....too many clues...and answers ...waaaay above my head. But it was fair, fun and do-able. Thanks, Martin, and Splynter for the informative review.

And PK , I so agree with you that boys need a mama to civilize them! Dads are great for taming the aggression...or do they just teach how to handle it in a socially acceptable manner? But mamas add civility...or no supper! I not sure what boarding school do.

Anonymous said...

Not only rude and unfeeling but also lack morals and freely commit crimes such as embezzlement.

Husker Gary said...

Subbing yesterday and a fabulous day at the State Fair today definitely cut into my blogging but what great two puzzles there were - LEM ON ADE yesterday and this imposing exercise today that had more wide open spaces than what we saw on the way to the fair today. Wow!

-Lots of alternate possibilities today but patience and persistence saved the day
-My best friend’s son in a SENATE RACE for a SEAT
-THE BITTER END was very famous in my salad days
-I loved WIDE RECIEVER cluing
-Great (only?) SPEED CHESS scene in a movie
-Great memories of OVETT vs Coe
-Bonanza had HOSS on a HOSS
-For some reason I remember the four bases of DNA - A, T, C and G
-Great products Splynter and JD! ;-)

Avg Joe said...

Dennis, if you're out there, the Cornhusker's hosted the Boca team today. Sorry about the outcome

Gary, I have to ask. How can you possibly see shamelessly plugging a senate candidate multiple times as not being a violation of blog protocol?

Anonymous said...

Sheessh Joe, lighten up. Did you consume too much today watching the Husker's play a not-so-worthy opponent today?

I don't see Gary's proud bragging about his friend's son as proselytism. We all know he unabashedly promotes all things Nebraska.

Husker Gary said...

Joe, Joe, Joe, calm down! I have never advocated any politics and have only mentioned that I am very familiar with a candidate for the U.S. Senate. It also seems like it fit the fill of today’s puzzle – SENATE RACE, SEAT. Don’t ya think? It will hardly affect many eligible voters, which would have to be the very few Nebraska readers we have here, and I give you license to mention any candidates or other significant people in your life that fit any current puzzle as many of us do.

I am certain that most of the readers of this blog saw the obvious connection and were not infected by any of Ben’s positions, which they probably did not read and which I did not advocate.

Anonymous T said...

HG - You sucked me in w/ speed chess... I've not seen Charlie Wilson's War but read about the real thing in the paper when he passed. Now I have to put it in my Netflix queue.

Ave Joe - Most of us don't have a dog in the fight so we don't care about the ad but I see your point.

This is the last weekend of 24/7 Simpsons. Daughters and I wasted at least 4 hours believing our couch was theirs.

On college football - My LA. Tech Bulldogs were whipped by my Sooners*. I don't know how to feel :-)

Cheers, -T
*undergrad & grad respectively.

Abejo said...

Good evening, folks. Thank you, Martin Ashwood-Smith, for a fine puzzle. Thank you, Splynter, for a fine review.

Well, I worked on this on and off the whole day, between other things. Finally finished a few minutes ago. Had to get help in the north. No idea about ILYA. Or OVETT. Or HERSH (perped him) Or PINEAL (peeped) Or NOE Or THYMINE

Anyhow, this puzzle was a masterpiece. Never saw that it was 15 x 16. Splynter helped me with that.

Liked BBS for 57D.


The four long ones in the center were unbelievable.

Anyhow, I am hitting the hay. Parade tomorrow.

See you tomorrow, sometime.



Husker Chuck (a.k.a. Ergo) said...

Just for the record, I'll be voting for the other guy.