SATURDAY, June 6, 2009—Doug Peterson

THEME: The Saturday puzzle is themeless—the game is decoding tougher clues and figuring out a slew of longer words and phrases.

All right, I'm happy. This one's a couple notches tougher than the last several Saturday L.A. Times crosswords have been, and I do like 'em challenging. I'd be happier if it were 20% harder, but I don't see that happening. Now, often a crossword with "triple stacks"—trios of 15-letter entries stacked up in the grid—is a good bit easier than the norm, because the Down answers crossing the triple stack tend to be short and gettable, and once you get a handful of letters in a 15 and see what that answer is, you blow the whole section wide open. But not this time! Doug has done a fantastic job of constructing this puzzle, having 8 of the 15 Downs crossing each triple stack in the 6- to 8-letter range. That, I tell you, takes some ovarios—wouldn't want to be SEXIST (Like much wage discrimination) and say it takes cojones. Or it takes gender-neutral chops, crossword-fu.

This puzzle's definitely got some tough words in it (notably in the southwest corner), but I don't see anything I'd assign to the "crappy fill" category. I mean, I make allowances for some crap, but I'm not seeing any here. This baby is super-solid. Doug, you are entering the ranks of crossword AUTEURs (Stylish filmmaker).

Theme entries: The triple-stacked 15's sure don't qualify as theme entries, but let's feature them up top anyway because they're smooooth:
  • 1A: Winner of 49 Pulitzer Prizes (ASSOCIATED PRESS). Did you notice that THENEWYORKTIMES is also 15 letters long?
  • 16A: Diner order (SPANISH OMELETTE). Does anyone prepare Spanish or Denver omelets (the spelling I prefer) at home. or do you just order them at restaurants?
  • 17A: 200-mph swooper (PEREGRINE FALCON). I know darn well that trains do not swoop, but I still wanted this to be some sort of bullet train, like the ones in Europe and Japan. Wow! A 200-mph bird? If you are a mouse hoping to avoid being the falcon's next meal, I'm sorry, but you don't stand a chance.
  • 46A: Two-generation groups (NUCLEAR FAMILIES). Some of them tend to have atomic interpersonal relationships, but that has nothing to do with the phrase's origin, I'm sure.
  • 50A: State collections (INTERNAL REVENUE). I just got my IRS refund this week. That money could buy a lot of crossword books...if only I weren't still trying to work through a backlog of puzzle publications.
  • 51A: Some decks (CASSETTE PLAYERS). Tape decks! Not boat decks.
Crosswordese 101: Feudalism's greatest contribution to Western culture is crosswordese. Today, we have 22A: Loyal subject, or LIEGE. This word is kind of like cleave in that it can mean two opposite things: a feudal lord or a feudal subject. Sometimes the clue acknowledges this duality by reading Lord, or his subject. The lord's subject can also be called (1) a SERF; (2) in XXX-treme crosswordese, an ESNE; or (3) in ancient Sparta, a HELOT.

And now, today's most insane answers:
  • 30D: Highest rank in sumo (YOKOZUNA). Do you know this word? I sure didn't.
  • 31D: "The __ of Confucius" (ANALECTS). Hmm? Analects (or analecta) are "a collection of short literary or philosophical extracts." Is it too late to call this blog "Analects About the L.A. Times Crossword Puzzle"?
  • 33D: Patron saint of astronomers (DOMINIC). I know there was a Dominic West on The Wire, and Dominic Monaghan played Charlie on Lost and Meriadoc Brandybuck in Lord of the Rings. This St. DOMINIC is the one the Dominican order is named after.
How about some more clues and answers?
  • 18A: Menu items (ICONS). Aha! Computer menu, not a restaurant menu.
  • 20A: MLB stat (HRS). It's probably short for home runs, but when a game goes into extra innings, my, how the hours drag on.
  • 26A: Breakdown (PARSE). When it comes to making sense of multi-word answers in the crossword, especially short ones, you need to PARSE them.
  • 27A: General drift (TENOR). Who doesn't admire The Three General Drifts? Here they are:

  • 29A: Heavy (BAD GUY)—this one's right above the SEXIST, aptly enough.
  • 40A: Sake brewer's need (MOLD). Ew! When out for Japanese food, I will stick with the plum wine, thanks. And if wine is made with MOLD too, please don't tell me.
  • 45A: Eponymous Italian physicist (VOLTA). What would you call a 9-volt battery without VOLTA? Maybe a 9-smith battery?
  • 2D: Change (SPECIE). That's change as in coins, metal money.
  • 8D: Tops in chic (TONIEST). My goodness, that clue is nutty. Would anyone ever use that phrase? "Wow, that Hermès bag is tops in chic!"
  • 10D: "Captain Singleton" author (DEFOE). OK, I know who Daniel DeFoe is. But this "Captain Singleton," I don't know.
Everything Else — 18A: Menu items (ICONS); 19A: Nutrient in lentils (IRON); 20A: MLB stat (HRS); 21A: Peel (RIND); 24A: Premiere arrival (LIMO); 25A: Lines on "ER"? (EEG); 26A: Break down (PARSE); 27A: General drift (TENOR); 28A: Gem feature (FACET); 29A: Heavy (BAD GUY); 30A: Fans of the bulldog Handsome Dan (YALIES); 33A: Generous types (DONORS); 34A: Beau (SWAIN); 35A: Clearances (OKAYS); 36A: Doesn't stay put (ROAMS); 37A: Sallie __ (MAE); 40A: Sake brewer's need (MOLD); 41A: Overcharge (GOUGE); 42A: __ Corners (FOUR); 43A: Sermon ending? (-IZE); 44A: Cotillard's Oscar-winning role (PIAF); 45A: Eponymous Italian physicist (VOLTA); 1D: Have high hopes (ASPIRE); 2D: Change (SPECIE); 3D: Java wrap (SARONG); 4D: Standing up (ON END); 5D: Bummed things, briefly (CIGS); 6D: Country on the Medit. (ISR.); 7D: Sushi staple (AHI); 8D: Tops in chic (TONIEST); 9D: Appear (EMERGE); 10D: "Captain Singleton" author (DEFOE); 11D: Outline (PLAN); 12D: Xmas visitor, say (REL.); 13D: Some Rembrandts (ETCHINGS); 14D: Make a dramatic exit (STORM OUT); 15D: Tactile, e.g. (SENSORY); 22D: Velcro alternative (LACES); 23D: Red states? (IRES); 24D: Ushered (LED IN); 26D: Not very strong hands (PAIRS); 27D: Airport lineup (TAXIS); 28D: Two-time heavyweight champ Patterson (FLOYD); 29D: New York mayor before Koch (BEAME); 32D: Loot (SWAG); 34D: Fluffy fare (SOUFFLÉ); 36D: Obviously enjoy, as humor (ROAR AT); 37D: Quad Cities city (MOLINE); 38D: Stylish filmmaker (AUTEUR); 39D: Removes, in a way (ERASES); 41D: Huge (GIANT); 42D: "The Unit" actor Scott (FOLEY); 44D: Nice old man? (PÉRE); 45D: Bounty rival (VIVA); 47D: __ Fauves: Matisse group (LES); 48D: Grünwald associate (ARP); 49D: Filmmaker Brooks (MEL).


janie said...

>Did you notice that THENEWYORKTIMES is also 15 letters long?

yes -- and while i thought "maybe" (ditto [the] LOSANGELESTIMES), it was hard for me to believe that the former had garnered "a mere" 49 pulitzers. in fact, the nyt has now won just over 100:

this site


this site

the lat, 39...

this site

another terrific peterson puzzle!


docmoreau said...

Much too foggy headed for this one this morning. I couldn’t even discern that Google, which, I’ll admit, I visited a few times, used Tetris lettering for its masthead today. At any rate, for 20A: MLB stat (HRS) I wanted ERA; for 16A: Diner order (SPANISH OMELETTE) I wanted SPINACH OMELETTE; for 3D: Java wrap (SARONG) I wanted JACKET; for 7D: Sushi staple (AHI) I wanted EEL; for Sake brewer's need (MOLD) I wanted RICE...etc. So you can see that with these false starts I was at sixes and sevens. Alas and alack.

Geek said...

Loved it! I thought there might be a double-letters theme, as in the two Ss, two Ts in CASSETTE, the two Ts in OMELETTE, and the two Fs in SOUFFLE. As a result I almost spelled PEREGRIN as perregr... - nope, that won't work. Then the other long answers didn't cooperate, so maybe a mini-theme? I counted squares for NYT as well, but waited it out until the crosses revealed enoough to get ASSOCIATED PRESS. Really fun puzzle!

Geek said...

Hey - I just noticed! Two Ss in both ASSOCIATED and PRESS, too! Gotta count as a mini-theme fo' sho.

gjelizabeth said...

Wonderful puzzle! Loved "Heavy" BADGUY and "Not very strong hands" PAIRS. SEXIST was timely given yesterday's discussion of Pixar's sad lack of leading female characters. The situation continues with UP, which I saw yesterday. However, it was still a perfect movie experience. UP is a magnificent balance of Heart and Art.
I wanted "Some decks" to refer to playing cards or backyard patios. The last word I put in was SPECIE which I knew, of course, because of the discussion here earlier this week.

This comment has been removed by the author.

A fairly easy Stack Puzzle, once I did a few Google & Wikipedia lookups. Never heard of Sumo YOKOZUNA or astronomer's saint DOMINIC and I kept thinking of the "sayings" of Confucious. Yes, SW needed a lot of help from outside my brain.
Now, when it comes to American auteurs, I immediately think of Woody Allen and Stanley Kubrick.
Who are you favorite auteurs? Anyone? Anyone?
In Chicago and Milwaukee there are numerous Peregrine Falcons nesting on skyscrapers and high structures. I'm fascinated by these amazing creatures and I've been monitoring them via a webcam.
Here's a link to one of many webcams you can watch them on. https://cms.uwm.edu/letsci/biologicalsciences/falcon/
Watch out though, they will swoop your heart away. Now over my couch I have a huge photo print of a gorgeous Peregrine Falcon (taken by Ken Jenkins, famous Smoky Mountains photographer).


How often do we see the same nebulous word appear in another constructor's puzzle in the same week? I never before heard of the word SPECIE (for coinage), but now I have twice in a row. A little plagarism goes on in this biz I'm sure.

Gary Lowe said...

"Specie" has occured 20-odd times the last decade in major publications. Constructors submit puzzles several months before they're published, and have no say in when that might be.
So what you have here is coincidence, and not necessarily such a rare one.

Joon said...

i blazed through this one starting with SARONG/PEREGRINE FALCON. when we teach drag forces and terminal velocity, we show videos of diving peregrines, which reach the highest speeds of any living creatures. no, i didn't know YOKOZUNA, but both DOMINIC and the ANALECTS were familiar enough. my brief hangup was actually in the SE, where neither VIVA nor FOLEY were familiar (as clued), so i needed the crosses.

it's really a terrific construction. great work, doug!

Doug P said...

Embarrassing revelation here. I knew the term YOKOZUNA because I used to watch pro wrestling many, many years ago. There was a wrestler called YOKOZUNA who was billed as a sumo champ from Japan. I just checked his wikipedia article, and of course he was Samoan and never sumo wrestled in his life.

@JOHNSNEVERHOME - Seeing SPECIE twice in the same week is great for solvers. Now you'll never forget what it means.

Charlie said...

SW was tough, but Yalies was my starting point and I did know Yokozuna, so that was a huge help.

As a native Angeleno still in my thirties, the only pre-Koch NYC mayors ingrained in my consciousness are La Guardia and Van Wyck, and only because they have major infrastructure pieces named after them. Beame was my only cheat and it really broke the dam for me -- led to SEXIST which confirmed TAXIS and led me to BADGUY.

embien said...

@Doug P: I must have been channeling you. I got YOKOZUNA because I misremembered the name of the champion sumo wrestler from Hawaii a few years back (was it Akebono? I forget). Turns out his title was YOKOZUNA, yet that is what I remembered when I thought I was recalling his name. D'oh.

Many paths lead to enlightenment, Grasshopper...

Fantastic puzzle, Doug. I loved it!

mac said...

Another great Doug P. puzzle! I had some trouble in the SE as well, because of Foley and Four. For a while I wanted Pooh. Auteur posed a problem as well, because in Dutch the word means author or writer, nothing to do with films except maybe the screenwriter. A filmmaker is called a cineast.

I also thought NYT for 1A, and am happy to hear that they have twice as many Pulitzers. As if it will help....

I seem to remember that some years ago a flock of Peregrine falcons was brought to NY to take care of the pigeon problem - they did.
When I lived in Boise, Idaho in the 80's some friends were involved in saving the Peregrine falcons. I guess they succeeded.

I think I had a spinach omelet when I had lunch with Doug, Barry Silk, imsdave and Ulrich in Brooklyn. Hi Acme!

Anonymous said...

Beware!! Googling "200mph swooper" causes virus firewall to go blinko! Froze my puter for 15 min.

Mike said...

Tremendous puzzle, Doug P.! I loved both of your puzzles today, and both had me set personal records for Saturday puzzles, probably because the cluing and fill were lively and directly on my wavelength. My hands down favorite non triple stack entry here was YOKOZUNA; I have a friend who is obsessed with sumo, and I've picked up some of the terminology as a result, including Yokozuna.

This particular puzzle gave me one of my all-time crossword miracle moments, as I somehow, out of nowhere, got PEREGRINE FALCON...with no letters! It reminds me of when, during my first week of solving crosswords, I was foolishly trying out a Saturday (I think I got about five or six answers before giving up in frustration) and got AMFMRADIO with no letters (the clue was something like "It has bands").

Thanks for two terrific puzzles, Doug! Can't wait to see more.

Carol said...

Very good, very tough puzzle. Please don't dummy down for the whiners. I'm very challenged by a puzzle like today's, but wouldn't want to wimp out with a gimme. Thanks for making it tough - challenges are good for us older folks who are trying to keep their brains from turning to mush.

Charlie said...


Yes, it was Akebono (nee Chad Rowan) who became the first foreigner to reach the rank of Yokozuna.

Charles Bogle said...

Better late than never...stopped at 11:59 pm est

My first exposure to Orange and to Doug Peterson and am immediate fan of both!

Very challenging for me but w exception of a few little goobers in the NW quad, feel great I got through it

Another CA slant-SPANISH OMELETTE. Not on most east coast diner lists..

Loved: BADGUY; knowing SPECIE from earlier; IRAS for "Red States"; VOLTA--who knew?

Not comfortable w SWAIN for "Beau" and ICONS for "Menu Items" but didn't detract from my enjoyment, many thanks!

Btw I recommend the Wall Street Journal puzzle in Friday's Weekend section, answers in today's 'tho you practically need a magnifying glass the font is so small-

JaJaJoe said...

Ditto some of y'all above, this puzzle
coincided with:

http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2009/06/04 "It was on this day in 1917 that the first Pulitzer Prizes were awarded" enumerateds 10 aspects including that the NYT won 101 Pulitzers, and

recently peering down on the Linville River gorge here in the mtns of western NC, we saw Peregrine Falcons, which remind me too that during the 1960s such were released in the tall-building canyons also of downtown Detroit, ala johnsneverhome whose link-sharing is a keeper.