Apr 11, 2015

Saturday, Apr 11th, 2015, David C. Duncan Dekker

Theme: None

Words: 72 (pangram~!)

Blocks: 27

  I can't believe I finished the whole thing - OK, I looked up two proper names - but I'm claiming victory, considering the clever and vague cluing.  I did not see Mr. Duncan Dekker's name in the blog list, so I have to assume this is his first publication for the LA Times; he maybe a regular for the NYT, but I wouldn't know - I am lucky to have had the time to work last Sunday's crossword in my local paper, Newsday ( BTW, Gail Grabowski).  Anyway, this grid started off very white, with big chunky corners and a staircase of answers up the middle.  Some of the longer fill;

17a. Tiny cylindrical structure : NANOTUBE - I had nanoDUCT, which was not working with my ideas for the crossings

12d. Scaly reproductive organ : PINE CONE - phew~! glad we're not talking about such an organ in the animalia taxonomy

53a. Title I of the Agricultural Act of 1956 : SOIL BANK - The Wiki

31d. Seat of Peru's Constitutional Court : AREQUIPA - Cheat #2 - I punched in "major cities of Peru" and this came up after Lima - and it meshed with my perps



1. Staples Center team : L.A. LAKERS - good start, as I know the LA Kings play there - but not this spring~!!  The Stanley Cup champions are out this year; the NY Rangers take the President's Trophy for the best record in the NHL; usually not a good sign for winning the whole thing

9. Not flat : SLOPED - SHARP was not long enough

15. Minor issue? : AGE LIMIT

16. Brazilian ballroom dance : MAXIXE - new word/dance for me; two "X"s, nice - I got them via the perps

18. Without a key : ATONAL

19. B's 5 and C's 6 : At. NoS - dah - got me this time - I did not think of Atomic Numbers when I read this clue; B = Boron, C = Carbon

20. Home entertainment option : CABLE - I was thinking SONOS

22. Label for the Poison album "Poison'd!" : EMI - WAGed MCA, was 100% wrong

23. Links acronym : IHOP - ah - not a golf links reference, but a sausage links one - International House of Pancakes

24. Crawford of the NBA's Clippers : JAMAL - looked him up; don't know from basketball - makes this clue a "fun sponge"

25. 40% of DX : CCIV - bust out Husker Gary's Roman calculator; 510 * .4 = 204

26. Common doo-wop soloist : SAX - ah, the instrument, not the player

27. Radar screen blip : BOGEY - yeah, PLANE seemed too easy

28. It has a ring to it : PHONE - BA dum tisss~!

29. Shoe attachment? : MAKER - I tried shoeLACES - Bzzzt~!

30. Clubby type : JOINER - says a "clubby" person joins in with members, but not so much outsiders; sounds a bit like me....

31. Works up : AROUSES
34. Places to see arrows : QUIVERS
35. Sat for a bit : RESTED - a WAG that lasted

36. Semblance : GUISE

37. Kitchen additions? : ETTES - kitchenETTEs

38. Prepare for winter flight, in a way : DE-ICE

39. Energy Reorg. Act of 1974 creation : NRC - Nuclear Regulatory Commission

42. Pounds : QUID - Oh, I am so disappointed with myself - parents born and raised in England, regular viewer of Top Gear, and I forgot about this definition of pounds - the colloquial name for the currency in Great Britain ( and elsewhere )

43. Elegant : RITZY

44. Krombacher output : BIER - sounded German, WAGed 'beer'

45. Keats' "Sylvan historian" : URN - "Ode on a Grecian" to be exact

46. Farm deliveries : FOALS - I had GRAIN at first - this is the birthing kind of delivery

47. "Taxi" actor : DANZA - Tony, who played Tony

48. "Soon" : IN A FEW

50. "You've got to be kidding me!" : "OH COME ON~!"

52. Debussy's "__ Suite" : PETITE

54. Dug : ADORED

55. Betrays : TWO-TIMES


1. Outdoor sitting areas : LANAIs - Bam~! right off the "L" in 1a.

2. Dame of mystery : AGATHA - Bam~! right off the "A" in 1a.

3. Former heavyweight champ __ Lewis : LENNOX - BAM~!  That's a powerful punch

4. Knock for __ : A LOOP - like, say, being in the ring with Lennox

5. Little beavers : KITS - had kiDs, which slowed me down

6. Cassowary cousin : EMU

7. Trunk structures : RIB CAGES - had it, took it out, put it back in, took it the hokey-pokey....and a semi-clecho with the next;

8. __ trunk : STEAMER - argh~!  I tried STORAGE

9. Insignificant : SMALL

10. How some busy people run : LATE

11. Maker of SteeL kitchen products : OXO - three-letters and kitchen utensils~? Try OXO

13. Free West Coast daily : EXAMINER - pondered a Spanish named paper - but couldn't think of one

14. Gets the job done : DELIVERS

21. Pound sound : BAY - this time, it's the "dog" type of pound

24. Wasn't serious : JOKED

25. Leek relative : CHIVE

27. Sacks of diamonds? : BASES - har-har

28. Presence : POISE

29. Soft : MUTED

30. Risqué : JUICY - minis, yes, Lemonade, fishnets, no - I am strictly pantyhose - but thanks for the images~!

32. Made a comeback? : RETURNED

33. Repeated musical pattern : OSTINATO - the Wiki

34. 1994 film about a scandal : QUIZ SHOW - IMDb

36. Demand to split : "GET LOST" - not D-I-V-O-R-C-E

38. Calendario entry : DIA - I took a Wild-Ass Adivinar

39. Time to flip the sign, perhaps : NINE A.M. - I went with "P.M.", but that was close enough

40. Change in boundaries : RE-ZONE

41. Stimulates, with "up" : CRANKS

43. Like many boats on lakes : ROWED

44. Tale of a whitetail : BAMBI - original way to phrase it

46. Big affair : FÊTE

47. Birdbrain : DOLT - ooops, not DODO, but 50% correct

49. Douglas __ : FIR

51. Labor gp. that initially supported FDR : CIO


Notes from today's constructor:

Greetings, Word Nerds!

Firstly, I hope everyone who took the time today to challenge my puzzle enjoyed their solve.

Secondly, there may be some folks out there that may be interested in doing a double-take on this one, as one may or may not have noticed - that, there is also a bit of a mini-theme that has been added to this puzzle...

Did you spot it? ...

If so, just post "Got It", so that others can also try to "Get It" on their own.

Happy puzzling y'all,

David C. Duncan Dekker


Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

I'm gonna add this to the "Cruel and unusual punishment" list. Not sour grapes this time, though, since I actually somehow managed to get through it unassisted.

The cluing was vague and difficult throughout and we had stuff like MAXIXE and OSTINATO to deal with. I had to make WAGs at stuff like PETITE Suite and EXAMINER.

Ah, that's enough time wasted on this. Since we have BABMI in the grid I should have just taken Thumper's advice. Sorry.

George Barany said...

This was a very tough puzzle by David C. Duncan Dekker (18 letters), and I appreciate Splynter's writeup. Today's L.A. Times constructor ties (in terms of number of letters) the constructor of today's New York Times puzzle--can you guess the name of latter constructor? That's a lead-in to my recommendation of another tough puzzle you can try today, called 4 Play. It was my privilege to co-construct this one, with the lead taken by the aforementioned 18-letter mystery constructor. Hope you enjoy it!

Manac said...

This is the last time
I try to do a Saturday puzzle
with a Sharpie marker!

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

I liked this one. There were just enough "knowns" that it allowed perping to victory. A few of my WAGs were wrong -- Patios/LANAIS, Gala/FETE, Replat/REZONE and Beer/BIER. There was some really nice stuff like RIB CAGES, PINE CONE and QUIZ SHOW. And some really esoteric stuff like AREQUIPA and OSTINATO -- I was sure those two were going to turn out to be wrong. And I'm sure I'll have forgotten them by lunch time.

25d reminds me of a bumper sticker -- "CHIVE On" -- anybody know what that's supposed to mean?

Madame Defarge said...

Thanks, David, for a real challenge. I was quite unsuccessful. Since I have lots to do today and was working on the computer, I switched to red letters. Ha!! Still a head banger for me. I should probably have left and come back this afternoon with fresh eyes. I couldn't wait for all the explanations. Thanks, Splynter!!

HeartRx said...

Salutations, stalwart Saturday solvers!

Ouch - my head hurts! I got MAXIXE and AREQUIPA entirely from perps - long after my allotted time ran out. But I did enjoy the clueing on this one, especially "Demand to split" for GET LOST. "Scaly reproductive organ" conjured up all kinds of weird images, but PINE CONE finally emerged.

Hand up for BeER before BIER, d-o! The Chive is a web site that has soft porn. "Chivers" are known for saying "Keep Calm - Chive On."

Well, I didn't get DCDD's "mini-theme," unless it's the fact that the puzzle is a pangram, which solvers might not notice. But Splynter already pointed it out, so I don't see anything else.

Barry G. said...

I'm pretty sure "CHIVE On" refers to a website ( which is sort of a fratboy humor type website. Or so I've been told...

Barry G. said...

Or what Marti said...

Inquiring Mind said...

If I was curious about what "Chive On" meant I'd ask Mr. Google.

Keep Calm and Carry On

Big Easy said...

Let me begin by saying I filled 1A with CLIPPERS and them saw 24A's clue and changed 1A to LA LAKERS. Then it was white, white, white with only CCIV, EMU and then DANZA. That was it.

WAGS were very necessary to even start this one. ATONAL allowed the L and V to become DELIVERED. Went back to the NW and remembered LENNOX Lewis. Then I had a V8- Atomic numbers- AT NOS. I wanted USGA but got sausage for links- IHOP. RIB BONES became CAGES. MAXIXE- 100% perps.

Great clues for QUID, GET LOST & TWO TIMES. I initially had LAND instead of SOIL BANK, RETORTED for RETURNED, and wanted DODO for DOLT. Mr. Duncan mustg live in CA. LAKERS, JAMAL, & EXAMINER, the last two were unknowns.

Now to the completely UNFAIR SW. SPANISH intersecting FRENCH intersecting ITALIAN. I had AREQUI_A, _ETI_E, OSTINA_O. PETITE is a word I know but not the 'Suite". The other two could have been anything.

A dreaded DNF due to the missing P and T.

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

Just barely crept across the finish line of this toothy bear of a puzzle. Had to set it down twice and come back with fresh eyes. Maxixe? All perps for sure. Same with Arequipa and Ostinato, which were hard to get because the perps were few.

Morning Splynter, glad you made the slog, your exposé cleared up some WTF's for me.

As for the mini-theme David mentioned, I don't see it yet.

HowardW said...

First off, I'm crazy -- I did this puzzle at 2 a.m. after spending 7 hours watching the Red Sox-Yankees game. The column wasn't posted yet (naturally) so I had to wait until I groggily roused myself just now.

Tough puzzle. Mr. Dekker went way "beyond the call" of pangram with 2 Qs, 2 Zs (and not together!), 3 Xs. Complete unknowns such as MAXIXE, JAMAL (Crawford), AREQUIPA. Somehow I guessed KITS first time around, but I also opted for DODO rather than DOLT, and BEER rather than BIER, among other virtual erasures.

This is the type of puzzle for which I really appreciate the "tada" sound of solving online -- otherwise I'd have spent a lot of time going back over the grid, checking.

Thanks David Decker for a challenge, and Splynter for an excellent writeup.
P.S. Still looking for the mini-theme.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

Well, this was quite a workout but I did finish w/o help, which was a surprise due to the wags on Arequipa and ostinato, both completely foreign to me. Getting the TADA was a shock.

Had retorted before returned and never heard of maxixe, Soil Bank, or bogey, as clued. I did realize it was a pangram, though.

Nice of Mr. Dekker to drop by. Have no clue about the mini theme. Nice job, Splynter, as usual.

desper-otto said...

I think I do see a mini-theme, but I'll shut up for now.

Yellowrocks said...

A Thumper today. I had no patience to try for very long.I've had enough curve balls otherwise so far this AM. I was turned off by all the obscurities and unknowns, so even with red lettering turned on I didn't try very hard. David surely psyched me out. Splynter, your blog was a pleasure.
It's a glorious day in North Jersey and promises to be a delightful week weather-wise, 60's during the day with plenty of sunshine and 40's at night. I wouldn't trade this kind of spring weather for having temps in the 80's and needing the AC turned on for all the tea in China, as Mom would say.

C6D6 Peg said...

Like Splynter, off to a great start in the NW with LALAKERS. I think there were only 2 fills for sure on first pass across. Didn't look promising. But, with some WAGS, completed the challenge.

David, thanks for the puzzle, and no I can't see a mini-theme.

Thanks, Splynter, for your usual wit on Saturday's. You can be so upbeat after being beaten up! Bravo!

Lemonade714 said...

SPLYNTER glad you enjoyed the pics.

DCDD this was an interesting introduction, some parts fell easily, then there were MAXIXE and OSTINATO.

I finished so now I will look for a mini theme

Thanks for the puzzle and the write up

Avg Joe said...

Beaten. Badly. And it started out so well. 1 and 15a as well as 1, 2, 4 6,7 and 8d were pretty easy. So that allowed that NW corner to fill with a couple of wags. After that, no such luck. Kept at it until it all fell except Arequipa, which I had to look up. Then took a flier where Urn should have been and guessed the only proper name that fit...Ari. So: One major cheat and still FIW. A bit too arcane to be truly enjoyable.

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

Did ok for a Saturday; but had to invoke red letter help in the NE with MAXIXE. Never heard of it. Knew the Portuguese like their X's so left them, just didn't know what to put with it. Had trouble coaxing out PINE CONE, too.
BOGEY - Brought back memories. More precisely it is an unidentified air contact. An unidentified surface contact is a 'skunk'.
FOALS - Brought back memories. Ours were 'calves'.

Thanks Splynter for a good intro to a difficult puzzle.

Anonymous said...

Thank you all. Just learning and these puzzles are certainly good teachers. Used to skip this one in the Lakeland FL Ledger but now jump right in.

VirginiaSycamore said...

Mr. Dekker gave us a puzzle that at first pass across seemed impossible. I got LA LAKERS and a couple others. But the downs gave AGATHA, EMU AND KITS right away so I was encouraged. I had to use red letters and guessing for many.

The Puzzle Society version had "40 of DX" for the clue for 25 across so I thought it was 20,400 not 204. Since I didn't know what Romans used for 10,000 I had to skip it and use perps and some Roman numeral guessing.

At one point I looked at the constructor's name again to be sure it wasn't Barry Silk. But this puzzle's difficulty seemed more words I didn't know than wicked cluing. And it had enough perps to be doable.

Thanks, Mr. Dekker

Husker Gary said...

The NW corner filled quickly and full of false security I trudged on but had to work hard to get the rest. Wow!

-Like others, I saw another Staples tenant that would fit
-With 1,000 CABLE channels how can there can still be nothing to watch
-If only someone had seen those BOGEYS on radar as Zeros on 12/7/41
-Pre decimalization, 4 quid, 8 shillings and fourpence would be £4/8/4d. Talk about hard to make change!
-The two jive talkers DUG Barbara Billingsley’s rap (:52)
-Did we have the month of March this year? I got knocked for A LOOP and couldn’t swear it happened.
-If they are running LATE because they are so busy, what does that make my time worth?
-KC Royals stole more Diamond Sacks last year than anyone
-The QUIZ SHOW scandal shows that all TV is just show bidness! They got Herb Stempel to throw the game to the much more photogenic Charles Van Doren
-What a DOLT, he could GET LOST in a phone booth.
-TV choices. We bought a “Smart TV” with a sound bar system. Everything got out of synch and even with all my tech knowledge we had to call for help. Turns out I needed to use the fourth remote not the other three!

Mini theme spotter said...

Got it, Got it.

Bill G. said...

Happy Saturday morning wishes to all of you. However, Thumper and I didn't have much fun today what with AREQUIPA, MAXIXE, OSTINATO, etc.

HowardW said...

I think I have the mini-theme. Not certain, though. I'll have to wait for Mr. Dekker to confirm.

coneyro said...

Not as difficult as most Saturday puzzles, but still a definite challenge.

The NW started off confidentlly. Then I wanted SHAPED instead of SLOPED at 9A, because I had S__PED. Did not know OXO or MAXIXE. Figured 10D was LATE, but the letter "X" never made it in. Smelled trouble brewing.

AREQUIPA and OSTINATO from perps. Wanted FANCY instead of RITZY at 43A, but perps didn't agree. 46D GALA/FETE? 25D ONION/CHIVE? Had to come back several times at various spots to get the correct entries. Gave me a real runaround.

In conclusion, a more than valient effort, but no cigar. Mini theme search is on.

A weekend of good health to all.

PK said...

Hi Y'all! This is one I couldn't have done without red-letter redirection and three alphabet runs. Whew! David, honey, don't tease us with hints of a mini-theme, just tell us. Our brains are overtaxed by the puzzle. I thought it was more enjoyable than a Silkie because there were more references to things I know.

SOIL BANK was fairly easy once I had a few perps. As a farmer, the continuing conservation practices post-1956 were much a part of our lives. My son got his start as an earth mover, aka dozer man, because of this.

Gimmees: LA LAKERS was first choice altho Clippers fit. As an NBA fan I also knew Jamal Crawford as a clutch shooter.

Has a ring to it= phone. Ha ha! I have a new cell phone that mostly doesn't. Ring that is. It sort of tweedles if it feels like it. Can't tell it has done anything if the TV is on. I've missed more calls...

C6D6 Peg: I did your puzzle yesterday and enjoyed it, but didn't get to the blog until today because I had company. sure had a plethora of words ending that way all in a bunch in the NW: NAMER, EMEER, WANDER, SNOOZER, EWER. Anyone else notice that? No problem with it.

Good job, Splynter! Surprise: "pounds" wasn't "beat" like with a hammer, my first try.

HowardW said...

PK - I hadn't spotted that. The theme entries dropped PER. You've found where the ERs went; the Ps must have rolled under the table.

PK said...

Howard, Good one! Probably true. I swept up a lot of peas from under the table.

Jayce said...

This would have been impossible for me to solve without looking some items up, such as that city in Peru and Title I of the Agricultural Act of 1956. Being unable even to get the perps to those answers, I couldn't get the answers. Once having looked them up, however, they became the perps enabling me to solve the, um, perps.
My mom, bless her heart, having been a super duper crossword puzzle and double-crostic afficionada, would have loved this puzzle.
Best wishes to you all.

Splash said...

Usual hard Saturday. Had 4 blank squares when I arrived looking for the answers, which I got. Thanks!

I believe I got the other theme. I like it! Then again I considered about 4 other themes too so I could be off... Thx for a 2nd challenge Mr. Duncan Decker!

Spitzboov said...

xwordinfo says DCDD had a NYT puzzle on March 7, 2015. Site gives the clues and answers.

Anonymous said...

As a Southern Californian and NBA fan, I quickly got LALAKERS and JAMAL Crawford (who's won Sixth Man of the Year twice now), along with AGATHA and LENNOX to help fill the NW corner, but found much of the remainder tough going. Recalling the Oscar nominee QUIZ SHOW helped get things going elsewhere. As for the mini-theme, I believe that I've also "got it, got it" after re-reviewing the completed grid, and in light of comments by the constructor and one of the solvers (who hadn't yet figured it out). Congrats on a masterful achievement and a real challenger, Mr. Dekker!

Lucina said...

Greetings word warriors!

Late, very late to the party. I worked on this on and off to refresh my perspective. The entire west end fell nicely without too much trouble once I got rid of PATIOS then LALAKERS arrived. AREQUIPA and OSTINATO were completely perped.

But since I didn't know JAMAL that held up progress heading east. Finally I looked him up as well as SOIL BANK and that enabled the SE to fill. Up north I gave up ROTUND for SLOPED, looked up MAXIXE (never heard of it) and finally finished. Whew!

Tough challenge, David, and splendid blogging, Splynter. Thank you both. No idea yet about the mini theme.

I hope you are having a wonderful day, everyone!

Irish Miss said...


Jerome said...

I went to a HOPI IHOP, but without a reservation I couldn't get served.

Anonymous said...

Tough one! Thumper says it All!

Avg Joe said...

Interesting day at Augusta. Tomorrow should be highly entertaining. Jordan Spieth has more poise at 21 than anyone I've seen (save for Tiger at that age, perhaps). While he lost some ground today, he can still do it if he maintains that cool. It should be good!

Anonymous said...

No love today…I came home from a cookout and had to face this mess, and it wasn't pretty. The SW was incomplete and the NW had errors. Have been doing puzzles since the mid 80s and this puzzle had arcane stuff never seen before. AREQUIPA, MAXIXE, OSTINATO among others. Oh well…

Rainman said...

Very nice Saturday offering. As an hon. Canadian and erstwhile seasonal resident, I was pleased to see that the constructor is from Ontario (sort of Baja Canada).

I saw several connections in the clues but no mini-theme stood out. What wuzzit?

Avg. Joe, yes, very interesting day at Augusta. I predict and hope that Phil comes through again tomorrow. But I welcome any great performance.

Jerome, good one. (IHOP takes reservations?) Love their crépes.

Splynter, good job!

Bill G. said...

Do you like to laugh? Get Dave Barry's new book called "Live Right and Find Happiness." Here are a couple of quotes: "The problem with winter sports is that — follow me closely here — they generally take place in winter."

"Thus the metric system did not really catch on in the States, unless you count the increasing popularity of the nine-millimeter bullet."

Those don't even do him justice. I was reading his book on my Nook at the local coffee shop and I was embarrassed how out of control I was. I was sitting next to this guy who appeared to be studying or doing something important on his laptop. Meanwhile I was snorting espresso out of my nose and tears were coming out of my eyes.

Please get his book and tell me how much you liked it...

David C. Duncan Dekker said...

Hello Again,

The mini-theme was that the puzzle was a double pangram & the last across entry was "TWOTIMES".

There's an actual greater story or extension to be told of why this puzzle came to be; however, let's just say, that the larger picture to why this puzzle is the way it is will eventually surface through another puzzle that I created for the NYT (yet to be published), as well as other puzzles (yet to be published) that will find their way into print at some point.

Till then... Keep on puzzlin'... You'll get it!

Anonymous T said...

Hi puzzle pals!

Oh, frogs. I should read the blog 1st and then take a crack at the puzzle. I still wouldn't help with stuff like 31d and 16a.

I'll quote that little rabbit in BAMBI. Thanks DCDD (that's not even proper Roman numerals) for the challenge. After reading from Splynter's grid I saw the TWOsies. Thanks to the both of you (esp. Splynter).

Since TWO TIMES is the theme did y'all see the UT study that showsDouble Fasehoods is the work of the Bard?

And for humour - 100 QUID / Pound bet at the IT Crowd.

Cheers, -T

Steve Lewis said...

It took me two days, but I finished the puzzle this morning. A puzzle this good is a work of art. Bravo!

Anonymous said...

All bow to the two-timing prince of the proper noun. Piece of ass.