10.10.2009

SATURDAY, October 10, 2009—Brad Wilber



THEME: No theme today—Just a themeless Saturday puzzle or, if you prefer, a "freestyle" crossword

Time again for an assessment of "This Week in L.A. Times Crosswording": Monday was Monday. Tuesday was Tuesday. Wednesday was Monday again. Thursday was Tuesday. But—switching things up—both Friday and Saturday settled in at Wednesday level. This is progress! Last week maxed out at Tuesday. Is this week an outlier, or will we make it to Wednesday difficulty again next week? Tune in for updates.

I gotta start out here with the big "Wha??" answer: SQUIB KICK (29A: Football boot that takes unexpected bounces). Never heard of it! My son's been playing the Madden NFL '08 video game on Wii, though, and he's learned a lot about football from it. More than I know!

These are a few of my favorite answers:
  • 15A: Blackmailer in "David Copperfield" (URIAH HEEP). You'd be crooked too if your parents named you that. This is also the name of an old British rock band. I chose this video solely because the singer's wearing an orange satin suit. Orange! If you are prone to seizures, you should not watch this clip.



  • Great entry, but depressing. 20A: Wall Street down time? (BEAR MARKET).
  • 37A: Foliage-eating pest (GYPSY MOTH). With the PS in place, I blithely filled in SAPSUCKER, but that's a bird and sap ≠ foliage. Whoops.
  • I fear I am too old for this one: 45A: Closest pal, in texting shorthand (BFF). Short for "best friend forever." My kid? He's nine. He's the right age group to use "BFF."
  • Botany! 58A: Shrub with fluffy grayish flower clusters (SMOKE BUSH) is also called the smoke tree, and the flowers aren't always gray. It's closely related to 1D: "Poison" plant (SUMAC).
  • Oh, no! Look out! It's THE BLOB! (6D: Amoebalike movie alien). I kinda want to switch the clues for 6D and 9D, so that the Title gladiator played by Kirk Douglas is THE BLOB and the amoeba monster is SPARTACUS. My favorite Spartacus is Hank Azaria's Agador Spartacus in Birdcage:



  • 38A: Exuberant modern compliment {"YOU ROCK!"). Love it!
Not all the fill was as entertaining as those answers. INTERMESH and pretax SUBTOTALS and an oddly COCKED HAT didn't do much for me (though the dictionary tells me a COCKED HAT is a thing, a "brimless triangular hat pointed at the front, back, and top," is it a hat any of us have heard of?). The short stuff also seemed heavy. Five entire Across rows and three Downs containing nothing but three- to five-letter words? ANOS, TAS, DMS, OAS, ECK, IPO, Spanish URANO (2D: Seventh planeta), the old crosswordese 7D: Dreaded mosquito, AEDES? Meh.

Crosswordese 101: Today we turn our attention to
TASS (4D: Soviet news agency). Tass was the Soviet Union's official news agency, launched in 1925. It was renamed ITAR-Tass in 1992. You might see this clued as "Itar-___ news agency," or the clue might have other Russian references such as Sputnik, Pravda, the Cold War, or modern Russian rulers. A tougher clue might just call it an "old name in news." (The image is ITAR-Tass's logo in the Cyrillic alphabet.)

Everything Else — 1A: Pretax sums, e.g. (SUBTOTALS); 10A: Hero at the Battle of Cabra, 1079 (EL CID); 15A: Blackmailer in "David Copperfield" (URIAH HEEP); 16A: Actress Téa (LEONI); 17A: They reach very large audiences (MASS MEDIA); 18A: Agreements (PACTS); 19A: Yucatán years (AÑOS); 20A: Wall Street down time? (BEAR MARKET); 22A: Jailbird (CON); 23A: Trains overhead (ELS); 24A: Prof's aides (TAS); 25A: Memorable period (ERA); 26A: "Love Don't Cost a Thing" singer, familiarly (J. LO); 27A: City south of Fort Worth (WACO); 28A: Former Ger. currency (DMS); 29A: Football boot that takes unexpected bounces (SQUIB KICK); 32A: Newsman Huntley (CHET); 33A: Grinch creator (SEUSS); 34A: Bird Down Under (EMU); 35A: Poke fun at (TEASE); 36A: Fail to mention (OMIT); 37A: Foliage-eating pest (GYPSY MOTH); 39A: Lush's sound (HIC); 40A: Chatters (GABS); 41A: Western alliance: Abbr. (OAS); 42A: Luther opponent Johann __ (ECK); 43A: NASDAQ debut (IPO); 44A: Shooter (GUN); 45A: Closest pal, in texting shorthand (BFF); 48A: Product sold below cost to attract customers (LOSS LEADER); 51A: Jezebel's deity (BAAL); 52A: Flannel shirt pattern (PLAID); 53A: Booming voice quality (RESONANCE); 55A: __ Carlo (MONTE); 56A: "Cogito ergo sum" philosopher (DESCARTES); 57A: Came to a close (ENDED); 58A: Shrub with fluffy grayish flower clusters (SMOKEBUSH); 1D: "Poison" plant (SUMAC); 2D: Seventh planeta (URANO); 3D: Plains bovine (BISON); 4D: Soviet news agency (TASS); 5D: Resistance unit (OHM); 6D: Amoebalike movie alien (THE BLOB); 7D: Dreaded mosquito (AEDES); 8D: Darth's daughter (LEIA); 9D: Title gladiator played by Kirk Douglas (SPARTACUS); 10D: West Texas city (EL PASO); 11D: Goneril's father (LEAR); 12D: Old military topper with a turned-up brim (COCKED HAT); 13D: Fit together (INTERMESH); 14D: Repugnance (DISTASTE); 21D: Big truck name (MACK); 23D: Yale Bowl cheerers (ELIS); 26D: Equitable (JUST); 27D: Timid types (WIMPS); 29D: Long-sentence punctuation (SEMICOLON); 30D: Marsh hazard (QUICKSAND); 31D: Rows on pianos (KEYBOARDS); 32D: CNBC interviewees (CEOS); 33D: "... on my honor" ("...SO HELP ME"); 35D: Fed who tracks down money launderers (T-MAN); 37D: Rubberneck (GAPE); 38D: Exuberant modern compliment (YOU ROCK); 40D: Word before Age or cage (GILDED); 44D: Gypsum painting surface (GESSO); 45D: African language group (BANTU); 46D: Looks toward (FACES); 47D: It's pressed on the campaign trail, with "the" (FLESH); 49D: Place to build (SITE); 50D: Consider (DEEM); 51D: Cutting remark (BARB); 54D: Highland refusal (NAE).

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

Get over it Amy. I grow weary of the negativism of you and your twin Parker regarding the LAT. The puzzle is written for everybody, including us unwashed masses of recreational solvers -- not just for you elite snobs. Don't you know that newspapers are struggling to stay alive, needing all the readers they can get.

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

Brad Wlbur, YOU ROCK!
Nice puzzle, but it was rather tough for me... and that's good. Although I did get through it okay, it called up a lot of gray matter.

Looked like a Spanish lesson today, with ELCID, ANOS, JLO, WACO, MONTE Carlo, and URANO.

I have a figurine of URIAH HEEP on my den wall, don't ask me why. He wasn't a person to admire, but he has an interesting face... part of my Bosun Head collection.

Some snags: I had MKS for 28a instead of DMS. I always misspell LEIA (8d)... wanting to spell it like the biblical LEAH. Had to get BANTU (51a) from crosses because I had forgotten that African language. Spelling AEDES (7d).

BFF (Paris Hilton) Ugh!

I work at The Morton Arboretum's plant clinic and GYPSYMOTH is amongst the top 5 tree pests. Please, please, always check you travel trailers and RVs for egg masses before you head home from your campout. Also, be careful with interstate firewood. This pathogen is alarmingly on the rise in Northern Illinois.

As an artist, I knew GESSO (44d) right away, because I gesso my canvases before I paint with acrylics. It's a verb as well as a noun.

Faves: DESCARTES (56a)... my favorite philosopher.
THEBLOB (6d)... my favorite movie.
I guess you'd call this "from the sublime to the ridiculous".

Orange, nice lesson on TASS.
Nice writeup, but you really didn't explain that SQUIBKICK thing.

Orange said...

@John, I would have explained SQUIB KICK better but my kid wasn't very specific about it and he was my source.

@Anonymous, you fail to take into account the millions of newspaper readers nationwide who enjoyed the L.A. Times crossword the way it was. What are they, chopped liver?

Orange said...

P.S. Anonymous, please identify the negativism in this post. The only place I see it is in the paragraph about the less entertaining answers. Discussing the difficulty level? That's not negative. It's factual.

Orange said...

P.P.S. And why am I arguing with "Anonymous"? You want your arguments to carry any weight, use a name.

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

Why is it that those who always throw a BARB are Anonymous?

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

@Orange
Just don't listen to that miserable Anonymous person.
I thought your "It's Wednesday" commentary was very cute... absolutely no polemics or snobbery there!

Sfingi said...

Maybe "Anonymous" is a whiny CEO of a newspaper going under. Do what they all do. Take the $ and run. Or come out of the closet and defend yourself. Or buy USA Today where it's always a Wednesday.

This was easy for me, which was a huge surprise. Before I start, I mark the long words - those over 8 letters, and found 18. I also mark the ones I don't know. Didn't matter. Didn't have to Google a thing. Of course, I'm not a 5-minute solver.

My husband never heard of SQUIBKICK, I liked 40D GILDED. Uriah is another Biblical name that seems ugly to us, like Dorcas.

John - are you a volunteer or a highly paid botanist? - ha! I have a friend who's an overeducated botanist who laments the absence of a botany major these days.

toothdoc said...

Orange - you are spot on with the "Wednesday level" classification. I usually finish Monday's in 5:00 and did this puzzle in 8:10.

As for Anon6:00, if you believe criticism is "negtivity" and an enjoyment of solving to be "elitist" then simply quit clicking on the google link when you are trying to find the answer to a clue. Do you express similar opinions to movie review websites??

And while we are at it, who isn't a "recreational solver". No one "solves" to earn living. I'm sorry you had a rough time with what really is an easy Saturday puzzle (happens to me all the time) but I hope you enjoy the rest of your Saturday - that upset at 6:00 am is not healthy.

Carol said...

Was tickled by @Anonymous remark about newspapers going under as if that has anything to do with crosswords! Besides, how many of us solvers actually do the puzzle on line rather than in the newspaper! I know I do.

I also don't consider myself an elite snob. Just someone who enjoys a challenge and learning something new on a daily basis.

@Orange, you make a great point about using "Anonymous" to hide behind - it's difficult to take those remarks seriously.

Today's puzzle had some interesting clues. Never heard of a SQUIBKICK, but with a football weekend here, I'll be watching & listening for it.

@Orange - thanks for pointing out the fact this was a themeless puzzle. I really studied it after finishing to try and find the theme! Great write-up as usual.

The Corgi of Mystery said...

Was more like a Tuesday for me than a Wednesday, but perhaps that's just my elitist snobbery talking. Loved seeing YOU ROCK in the grid; very BEQ-esque.

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

@sfingi
No I'm just a highly paid volunteer ($0)... and one of those weird tree huggers. After retiring from Aerospace Engg, I decided to get my certificates in Nature Areas Management and in Horticulture. I so enjoy going into botany and the "soft sciences". So whenever I see a CW plant clue, I start salivating.

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

@sfingi
"....Biblical name that seems ugly to us, like Dorcas."
Ahem, Dorcas was an endearing biblical character. My mother was a member of the Dorcas Society... a very hoble & charitable organization. Read about her in the bible before you discount her along with Uriah.

JOHNSNEVER HOME said...

@sfingi
sorry,
hoble = noble

Tom said...

I love SQUIBKICK!

Hey Anonymous, how is it being an elitist snob to want a challenging crossword? I'm curious. What is it called when you want everything your way, you know like having a crossword be the same level every day of the week?
As to Orange's being negative, where? Well, I guess you could claim the start of her thread when she said, "No theme today," was negative, but you know what, for some of us that's a positive.

Sfingi said...

@John - sometime this week, I mentioned my relatives - Dorcas and Osmer Hollister - not the clothiers, but the hicks from the Catskills. Once more I and my lovely pigtailed sisters were laughing at names of things - (like the infamous Bide-a-Wee laughing spree). Of course, my mother, of the marginally famous ancestral pool, yelled at us for laughing at Biblical names. Because they are Biblical names. So Uriah might conjure up urine, and Dorcas, dork, but nasn't laugh! We also laughed at Fritz, Dieter, Hannelore, Krimhilda, Magdelina (with gutteral g), and some other Biblicals - Hezekiah, Nehemiah, Obediah, Nikodemus, - also, Pilgrim Simpkins, the Partridge who married a Crow, the Atwater who married a Trowbridge - I can't even remember them all.
So, take it easy. No one is safe from giggling girls.

Have a beautiful, colorful, leaf-strewn weekend!

Parsan said...

As a long time football fan, I'll try to explain a SQUIB KICK. Instead of the kicker kicking the ball high in the air to the opposing team after a score, he kicks it low so that it goes forward but bounces along the ground. The ball may be fielded by the "up" players (lineman), as opposed to the faster receivers nearer the end zone. This allows the kick-off team to get down field faster and may also result in a fumble because the linemen are not used to handling the ball.

The most famous SQUIB KICK was at the end of a Stanford-U.Cal game with Stanford winning. U.Cal received the kick with just seconds on the clock, kept lateraling (throwing backward) the ball to another player as each was about to be tackled, and took it into the end zone for a TD. It's notoriety is from the fact that the Stanford band, thinking they had won were lining up in the end zone, and the runner knocked down a trombone player as he scored. This is probably one of the most viewed sports video on the computer.

Sorry to be so long. Really liked the puzzle and it was not easy for me.

Orange said...

Here's the play Parsan mentioned. Long lead-up to it, so you can skip to the last minute if you're impatient.

Brendan Emmett Quigley said...

Difficulty aside, loved the new entries in there. SQUIB KICK = A+, but then again, I'm a football nut.

gespenst said...

Even those of us who aren't in the elite class of crossword puzzle solvers like a challenge! I never have to google anything anymore, which is almost a bummer ;)

Overall I thought it was a pretty good puzzle, even though it was, as you say, more like a Wednesday (or maybe Thursday) level.

Interestingly, I got "squibkick" once I had "...ibkick" and thought of "Squib" from Harry Potter. Why, I'm not sure, but since it worked, who's complaining???

Parsan said...

On the video, the player who kicked the Stanford field goal and then the SQUIB KICK was Mark Harmon, now the star of NCIS. The busted trombone is now in the College Hall of Fame in South Bend, IND.

bunny said...

@anonymous troll at 6:00 am. Glad you got up so early to spout off your hackneyed venom. You used the same "unwashed masses" and "elitist snobs" phrases in a post a couple of weeks ago. Get some new material.

chefbea said...

Fun themeless puzzle. Thanks Parsan for describing the squib kick

Love NCIS and Mark Harmon

imsdave said...

Don't skip the leadup to the squib kick - wow, I'd forgotten that incredible sports moment. Thanks Orange.

hazel said...

By my reckoning I had a Monday, 4 Tuesdays, and a Wednesday this week - based on my average solve times before August. This doesn't outrage me. It just is what it is, a puzzle. There are plenty of harder puzzles out there to kick my butt so, whatever.

Personally, I think we need to put a fork into the whole LA Times Easy Puzzle Philosophy issue. I urge everyone to redirect your outrage and channel your energy into issues that matter! - healthcare reform, climate change, fill in the blank.

Just one readers opinion.

For what its worth, I commend Rex, Orange, and PG for continuing to create a very entertaining read each and every day using "data" that is not always conducive to that goal!

bluebell said...

I filled in squibkick without help, then asked my football watching husband if it was a real word. He explained what it was, so now I have another entertaining word in my vocabulary.

I'm still learning how to think in crosswordese, and sometimes I think I am the slowest learner around. But if at the end there have been plays on words, and new words, then the effort has made for an entertaining time.

Greene said...

Whatever one may have thought of the puzzle, the Agador Spartacus clip was a riot. Thanks for that @Orange.

Dan Naddor said...

Hi everyone. As an avid constructor and charter member of the "educated elite" (LOL), sure, I would like to see my puzzles challenge even the cleverest of you. But the reality is, Rich Norris is at the mercy of his editor at the Herald Syndicate, who in turn is at the mercy of the "squeaky wheels" -- subscibers who write in to complain. Since he gets more "too hard" letters than "too easy" letters, he puts pressure on Rich to lighten up on the clues.

It's just business, folks, and these days people go to great lengths to keep their jobs. Unless those of you who like
tougher puzzles mount a massive letter campaign, I don't see it changing much. The average solver struggles with Monday-level puzzles as it is...

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

@hazel
FYI:
10/7: “Whatever…” Takes Top Honors as Most Annoying in Marist Poll.

http://maristpoll.marist.edu/107-whatever-takes-top-honors-as-most-annoying/

doc moreau said...

I, for one, after solving this one in an even shorter time than last Saturday's LAT puzzle, plan to spend some quality time watching tivo'd episodes of "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?". Those kids are sooo smart!

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

Dan, thanks for your explanation of what's going on at the LAT. It's pretty much what I suspected... that there's more of them writing letters than us writing letters. We just have to bear with it, these are tough times for everyone and I can understand what the newspapers are going through. I retired early back in 1991 from Rockwell/Goss, the world leader in manufacturing huge web presses for the newspaper industry. Way back then I saw the handwriting on the wall and retired just before the company went out of business due to lack of orders from the major newspaper companies. We can't fault the LAT for their actions... we can wish all we want, but big businesses are in a real bind and Sam isn't bailing out newspapers yet, thank God. Before everyone pounces on me, I'm not sympathizing with the LAT, just telling it like it is.

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

Before we point fingers at the LAT, remember there are 4 other fingers pointing at us.
Do we get our news from the newspaper or do we get it from CNN and Fox TV?
Do we write letters to the newspaper editorials, or do we blog and email?
Do we get our weather from Tom Skillings weather maps, or do we get it from The Weather Channel, or even from our laptop.
Do we place our want ads with the Tribune, or do we use Craig's List.
Do we shop from the newspaper inserts, or do we use Ebay.

If we're really honest, we'd place the blame for the newspaper dilemma squarely on ourselves.
How can we expect them to just kowtow to us "elites?" The "Titanics" are sinking and we, the esoterics, are asking that the orchestra keeps playing!!!!

Let's get real folks!

...And I agree with Hazel, about rediecting our outrages to things of real importance in this world.

shrub5 said...

I got a (squib) KICK out of this puzzle as well as the entertaining write-up and comments. Never heard of COCKEDHAT per se, so I ended up with COCKERHAT! I put the R in because it looked like RMS could be the former Ger. currency (correct = DMS). Learned something new! Also new for me were SMOKE BUSH, ECK and GESSO. I see that BAAL (Jezebel's deity) showed up again; yesterday the clue was "false god."

Whitney said...

P.P.S. And why am I arguing with "Anonymous"? You want your arguments to carry any weight, use a name.

@Orange too too funny. Seriously why even visit this website let alone comment on it if you don't like what it's all about - good old fashioned criticism???

I really enjoyed this freestyle puzzle (my boyfriend was one of the coiners of that phrase, btw!). YOUROCK is wonderful. Even if it was a tad on the easy side, it was still fun and fresh. Interesting info about newspapers/crosswords and @Johnsneverhome makes a good point :)

florida grandma said...

I enjoyed the puzzle today. It was a bit more difficult than recent Saturdays. Had to ask my husband for help with the squibkick, but no googles for me today!
I am wondering if a COCKEDHAT 12D is what my Marine son wore as part of his "brown" dress uniform? It is about the size of a business envelope and has a turned up brim. Seems like there was an insignia on one side like right above the eye. Must ask him and report back!
Good write up today! I really love the crosswordese lessons; unfortunately I often can't remember the lessons when they appear in a puzzle. Practice, practice, practice. . . .

Anonymous said...

Bruce Springsteen had a song about "a scarlet cloak and a fine cocked hat" or something like that. Can't remember anything else.

Anonymous said...

Generally I do the crossword while watching the morning news, having a cup of coffee, thinking about the new day. In pen and clipboard... not using a stopwatch ... or cyber site that indicates if I typed the correct letter.

Crossword puzzels to me are just a fun eyeopening gentle mental stimulation.

I like this site because of the "crosswordese" in the areas of arcane clues, repeating themes etc.

What I do not understand is why all the "ratings" and "bitchings" about these puzzles.

It is obvious the "tour-guides" are serious crossword champs. And so too are the "comment writers" and for some of us it was just a morning distraction.

Today's was an interesting nice little puzzle ... I finished by the end of my second cup of coffee and there was not a time-limit penalty NOR a quick-finish prize.

IT IS JUST A PUZZLE !!!

Orange, nice write up.

My only complaint was for the second day in a row there was the answer "baal" to a clue. A bit redundant on the part of the puzzle maker.

Orange said...

@Anonymous 2:34 (obviously not the same Anonymous from the morning): Rex, PuzzleGirl, and I might well not have started this blog six months ago if the puzzles were this easy then—what would be the point? Who would need that much help? Who would be looking to improve their skills if they don't need to be able to tackle anything harder than a Tuesday or Wednesday NYT? The L.A. Times puzzle with the sliding scale of difficulty is the one we signed up to write about.

John said...

Ive heard the phrase "Knocked into a Cocked Hat" before. Is a Cocked Hat the same thing as a Tri-cornered Hat worn by the colonists??

crazycatlady said...

My goodness the BARBs have been flying today. My fellow bloggers you are not a bunch of WIMPs. Loved the squibkick video. I was excited to see Cal win. Go BEARS (not BEARMARKET). My brother played high school and college ball and spent 7 years in the NFL. Do you think I knew what a SQUIBKICK was? Nah...as a child, I taught myself to go into a parallel universe when football was being discussed or watched. Thanks to Dan Naddor for explaining what we all suspected. This blog is always interesting and informative, today even more so. Keep up the good work and Thanks to Orange, PG and Rex P.

Anonymous said...

Rex, Puzzlegirl and Orange ... You all do a great job at this Blog. It is informative, insightful to "us" average crossword solvers. And the clips are most amusing and enjoyable.

What I find is when one does the crossword puzzles daily, over a period of time they become less challenging because you learn the trick clues, arcane answers etc.

Maybe the LAT has just hit a bump in the road. The last couple of months I seem to be able to complete almost every puzzle. Occasionally I need to check the Dictionary or maybe even Google something.

So maybe they are easier. But then again ... maybe I have just gotten back into "Crosswordese Heaven."

And the 3 of you ARE "at the top of the list" of those who do these contraptions.

So keep up the good work, have a little more fun providing insight, find even more oblique/obtuse clips ... just know there are those of us who DO appreciate your efforts.

2:34 pm

GLowe said...

"My puzzle is too hard ... my puzzle is too easy ... my puzzle is juuusst right".

I don't like 'entitlement thinking' very much - where someone demands to be successful in something, regardless of where the bar is. I've never solved a Friday NYT in my life, and although I might kvetch about it, I know that others do it all the time.

I've never shot par in golf either, but I don;t write letters to the PGA to complain about the rules, traps, length, etc. The fact is that if I ever did shoot par, it would probably be on a shitty course that I couldn't be bothered to return to.

The most comforting thing in solving that's happened, ever, was (Treedweller's Saturday guest blog I think)over on the Rex site a few months back. He's now my personal hero.

Orange said...

See? That's the thing, GLowe. We created the blog to do what Rex and I have done at our other blogs—help people build the skills to be able to master a Friday NYT. You could still hone your skills on other puzzles (and pick up reinforcement from Rex Parker Does the NYT Crossword Puzzle or Diary of a Crossword FIend), but the L.A. Times crossword is now doing diddly-squat towards improving anyone's skills beyond beginner/mid-range level.

hazel said...

@Orange - re: your 2:40 comments - i was thinking just that when I wrote my earlier comment - that its very commendable that you guys have stuck with this blog, given the fact that the rules changed significantly after you started it. it seems like it would be v. challenging to continuously make the blog more interesting than the puzzle. And you guys do just that day after day.

9 days out of 10 I can't find the first thing to say about the puzzle - which is not to criticize them. To me, they're just rather straightforward solving experiences. Period.

Bohica said...

The main reason I do the LAT puzzle is to come this blog after solving it and peruse the musings of Orange, Puzzle Girl and Rex. I do other puzzles as well but this is the highlight of the day, even if it is Monday a good part of the week. Please don't give up the blog and leave me stranded.

As for the puzzle, I thought it was better than the last few Saturdays with some fresh fill (SQUIBKICK, YOUROCK and SOHELPME all very clever and new) and decent cluing.

A little tougher would be good but I won't complain any more. I did write an e-mail to the editor of our local paper (The News Tribune of Tacoma) and didn't even get the courtesy of a reply, so I'm not tilting at wind mills again. Whatever, at the end of the day, it is what it is.

mac said...

At least this was a better LAT puzzle week than the last couple of them...

I had never heard of the "squibkick", but I thought it had something to do with soccer English style because of the clue. A football boot is what they their shoes, cleats as we call them here. Got the word from crosses and hadn't heard it ever in either country.

@Johnsnever....: I had to laugh when you mentioned that poll! I thought the same when I read the post. There's something off-hand about it, like: I don't care.

@Dan Naddor: thank you for chiming in. I'm afraid you are right about this, and Johnsn.... confirms it. Too bad, since our son graduated from Columbia School of Journalism and can't find a job.......

hazel said...

@mac & @Johnsnever - Sorry to have annoyed you both with my opinion, I guess. My comment didn't really seem that annoying when I was writing it. Maybe I didn't communicate clearly - so I'll try again.

The LA Times puzzle policy is not something I care about. The fact that the puzzle is not as much fun as it used to be to me is just a fact of life, and one that doesn't particularly bother me. If that's annoying, then all I can say is - whatever!

mac said...

@Hazel: it's not your comment, that is just fine, it's your opinion and we may even agree with it. It's the "whatever"

GLowe said...

@Orange, that's my point exactly. The blog exists because you and PG and Rex make it so, just like Phil and Tiger (and VJ and Ernie,FWIW) make 'good golf' so.

Can one not clap for a nice shot, guitar riff, or a virtuoso (sp?) performance, without being able to reproduce it oneself? How big a society of sore losers have we become? (I won't watch the early exits on Amer.Idol for that very reason - why do they think they don't suck when they clearly do? AH yes, we know why: entitlement ....)

A person is *NOT* entitled to solve a puzzle, bake a perfect cake, ace an exam, or get the sweet performance review. You gotta werk for it ....

Or if I'm wrong, well, I'm owed a lot of stuff.

BTW puzzle constructors RULE - and I won't allow any argument here - and puzzle critics rule DOUBLE, cuz they disagree, intelligently, with the above.

That's how it works, right?

Djinn said...

Late log-in due to weekend family obligations, but enjoyed reading today's commentary after working the Saturday puzzle. Not much to add here except my own gratitude for the experts' dedication, patience and kind encouragement. If you will continue the blog a little longer, I promise to write a request to the LA Times to reinstate its former CW policy of gradually increasing difficulty. Deal?

Anonymous said...

IPSO ? - the other day there was a clue, I think it was 'accusation without evidence' but answer was NOT Facto. anybody remember ?

ddbmc said...

Ipso Dixit.

Been away for a few days. Missed this blog. Just catching up!
Saw the Honk Festival in Cambridge, MA! Pretty phantasmagoric and chimeral.....put that in your crossword and smoke it! The puzzle is a means to the blog! Thanks O,GP and RP for continuing this!

cheezguyty said...

@Parsan 9:10 - You stated that the kicker who made the field goal and the SQUIB KICK during the final seconds of the Cal-Stanford game was the actor Mark Harmon of NCIS. This is certainly not true. They are two completely different people who happen to have a share a first and last name. Interestingly enough, the actor Mark Harmon was the starting quarterback for UCLA 10 years earlier. Small world.

@Orange - I personally believe that negativity leads toward hatred and nothing better. I love this blog and I appreciate the effort to return the LAT crossword to its former glory, but you can't deny the negative overtone in the posts during the last few weeks. It seems a bit ridiculous to be complaining about something so insignificant as a free crossword puzzle when millions, if not billions, of people don't even get to eat let alone enjoy a crossword puzzle. Let's all think of a positive way we can bring about change to our beloved puzzles without a negative attitude, and let's all try to do a little something each day to help those more unfortunate, the ones with real problems.

God bless! :)