Saturday, April 20, 2013

Saturday, April 20, 2013, David Steinberg



We finished up everything but the SE, and after staring at that, and trying different things for a long while, we finally gave up.

We are not on the same wavelength as Mr. Steinberg. I called his puzzle of March 23, 2013, "more of a boring slog than an enjoyable brain-flexing." Frannie's quote today: "This was a 'ball-buster,' and just for the sole purpose of being a 'ball-buster.'"

I suppose if you're a veteran crossword puzzler, these obscure, never-seen words and questionable constructions make it a little tougher for you. For the rest of us, it's just not very much fun.

ZASINZEBRA? How about "Z is for Zebra?" Find me a children's book with the former and I'll eat it. And HEADTOTAIL? What about "Head to Toe?"



- Horace


  1. DNG (aka TITT) but only gave it 54:08 before knowing it was hopeless.

    I finished the West and Southwest with tidbits elsewhere that didn't have enough crosses for any hard verification. So far these Saturday puzzles have been a waste of paper. Onward. Vive la Frannie! for that quote of the day.

  2. Did anyone look up etymology of "invertebrate" - the online etymology dictionary does not credit Lamarck, but rather a French naturalist
    1805 by French naturalist Georges Léopole Chrétien Frédéric Dagobert, Baron Cuvier (1769-1832

  3. Online sources do not agree. lists the same person you mentioned, while several other sites credit Lamarck.

    I am not qualified to give a definitive answer at this time.

  4. I had many of the same issues as you, Tom. Z as in Zebra is really, really weak. As is rantan, which doesn't appear in my Random House unabridged dictionary. The clue for aeon is just dreadful. Not at all crazy about H's being etas. I was very discouraged at first because this is the worst I have done on a puzzle in as long as I can remember. Seriously. Even though I had considered sard and video, I had absolutely nothing in the SE corner. I was missing a total of 45 squares down there. My biggest problem, perhaps, is that I was sure the meat-stuffed pastry was pirogies. At least, i was pretty certain that the fifth letter of that word was G. After seeing the "correct" answers, I'm not quite as discouraged. Sure, Indonesian should have been gettable. I was hung up on Hawaiian or something over in Africa (his dad was from Kenya, right?). I should know Bari by now, but it's one of those crosswordy answers that I can never quite pin down. Calzone never occurred to me. That would have helped immensely, but I kept wanting cannoli. Yes, I'm pissed that I did so poorly, but aeon, rantan, etas, z as in zebra, and head to tail leave me somewhat mollified.

  5. Well, I'm sort of glad to hear it. This was brutal, that's for sure. I had the same problem, wanting pierogies and cannoli, but the second didn't really make sense. We didn't think of Indonesian either, and if KoreanArmy had been at all gettable, we might have had a chance. Alas.

    After this one, the thought of David Steinberg's name struck fear in me, but he redeemed himself with the Saturday that ran in the NYT the same day this ran in the syndicated slot. Still tricky, but a much more enjoyable experience. (Also, he commented on our blog after I complimented the puzzle on the Wordplay blog. (!!))

    Saturday's should be tough, of course, and I don't mind having an occasional DNF if I just don't know things, but like you, I thought this one was a little less than fair.

    So it goes.

  6. Yes, to your DNF thought. I have been thinking a lot about this of late (I have done every puzzle since I caught up with your blog). Realistically, I shouldn't be able to finish every Friday and Saturday puzzle. I'm not a genius, or anywhere near it. I also don't have an incredibly extensive breadth of knowledge. It would really be better if I had more DNFs; that way I would learn more from the puzzles. Puzzle difficulty, though, is a very tricky thing. How hard is "ramjet," for instance? Or "rantan"? For me, the latter is completely unfair, the former is outside my knowledge, but fair enough, I guess. "Etas," "Bari," "Rima," and "Alyn" are all varying degrees of obscure, but they are crossed with familiar phrases--whether of not we feel "Z as in zebra" would ever really be in any children's book, or whether "Head to tail" is used all that often in conversation or print. One thing I liked about this puzzle was the side-by-side juxtaposition of Nicki Minaj and Barney Fife.