31 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 16 Sep 21, Thursday”

    1. The problem with press clubs is that press doesn’t cover two words and is not sandwiched (hidden) in the answer. That being said it was a lousy clue.

  1. 8:36, 1 typo.

    @Lou lu
    It happens, but more a function of mental fatigue than anything else, and definitely notice a limit on doing any kind of crossword puzzles of any difficulty.

    Got some responses to other things, but not really in the mood to deal with all the sanctimonious moralizing that tends to center around crosswords in this place today. (Bad stuff otherwise)

    1. @Glenn
      Thanks for taking the time to comment on my question.

      An especially taking the time to Corky’s questions. I wanted to ask but didn’t want to bother you.

      Be Well

  2. 10:09

    The theme felt more like a meta that you figured out after you’re done.

    Nice to see AMANDA Gorman.

    Margaret Atwood also doesn’t like to be told that she’s writing science fiction, though there are plenty of SF readers who appreciate her work.

  3. Two errors today; spelled cuesta (caesta)wrong so had “randmc” instead of rundmc. Neither was familiar to me so I’m not surprised.
    Never did get the theme and probably never would without Bill’s

  4. I had the same two mistakes as Bill. Rundmc, whatever the heck that is and cylon, whatever the heck that is. How people can do these puzzles so fast is beyond me. I mean, do people really look at “Helen’s homeland” and IMMEDIATELY know what Helen they’re talking about and where she was from without even having to stop to think about it? Or even “disappearing sounds” — oh, that’s poofs, again without having to stop to think about it. Sorry, I just found out I have my fifth melanoma and that’s made me a bit cranky. Grrr! Oh, 23 minutes.

    1. Sorry to hear about your melanoma, Corky. I hope it’s at least caught early for a good chance at successful treatment.

      Many times, I don’t know an answer as a factoid, so I skip it and work on the intersecting answers. Oftentimes, getting just a few of the letters, especially the beginning letters, will clue me in to what the answer is and I can then fill in the rest. The two examples you gave were just like that for me, plus a few others.

    2. @Corky
      “How people can do these puzzles so fast is beyond me.”

      Mainly there’s an element of doing puzzles. You do more, you get more proficient at telling how many letters there are without stopping and counting (I did that starting out). You get better at locating items in the grid and scanning the clue set.

      Then mainly it’s a matter of free association of words probably more than factoid recall. Find what you know. Try out different meanings for the words presented in the clue. Then work through the rest the best you can. It’s not so much whether you know a clue right out, it’s using all the information there from the grid too. So in that sense, it’s not knowing answers to the clues, it’s knowing that the answer is a thing. Like if a clue references a song, I don’t have to know all of Beyonce’s collection and recall that information to come up with Beyonce as an answer, I just need to know that Beyonce is a thing. Of course, no harm with being well read enough to know more things are a thing.

      Then you look at the grid and other information present in the clue (singular, plural?) to make some educated guesses and trial them out. Words more or less have a few basic rules with a number of exceptions that you can utilize to trial balloon certain letters in certain spots if you get stuck.

      Hopefully at some point, you can have the clue snap with the answer and have something be confirmed and make sense to you (kind of where the topic above lies along). A lot of times, crosswords are written with some pretty bad cluing that doesn’t let you be certain a clue describes a word you have in the grid, so a certain clarity and accuracy is left to be desired.

      ” do people really look at … without even having to stop to think about it?”

      In a lot of respects, yes. [Helen’s homeland] being SPARTA wasn’t something I knew, but I gathered Helen was probably a historical figure given the context and then I thought of Helen of Troy and given the letters present it was probably looking for an old Greek city-state. SPARTA was the only choice given the number of other letters available in the grid at the time. Of course, not knowing it for sure makes that a requirement since the clue really isn’t that specific to weed out between SPARTA and say ATHENS.

      Of course, free association tends to snap right to specifics more on Monday’s than later in the week. Then as mentioned, it can help when you’re entry speed is good and you’re not having to erase anything (e.g. online)

      1. Bravo! Right on! I agree with everything you’ve said here, right up to to words “pretty bad cluing”, which I seem to see a lot less of than you do (and I think the point at which one thinks one sees bad cluing is pretty subjective).

        What I really object to on this blog (in my own sanctimonious, moralizing way 😜) is posts like “There’s no such word!” (when there is), “That’s not in the dictionary! (when it is), “Nobody ever says that!” (when it, nevertheless, can be said), “There’s a lot of horrible cluing in this puzzle” (when I didn’t see any), and “This puzzle was complete ****!” (when, in fact, I, and probably a lot of others who don’t post here, enjoyed it).

        It never fails to amaze me that would-be solvers become so angry with a puzzle they find challenging. I have a friend from college who is smart as a whip, with at least two MS degrees and a PhD; he loves words, he loves puns, but he gets horribly frustrated with crossword puzzles because he’s lousy at doing them; obviously, he shouldn’t take this as a blow to his ego, but, mysteriously, he does. Weird … 😳.

        I gave up on chess a long time ago, because I had absolutely no talent for it … but I don’t hate chess.

        I have trouble with some puzzles and I don’t care for the feeling, either, but I can accept it and move on.

        1. I like crosswords and I like puzzles. I’m pretty good at both. I do have a sense of what’s reasonable and what’s not and don’t have a problem pointing out when a puzzlemaker tries a bit too hard. It’s one thing to have obscure words and difficult clues. It’s another to get so far out in left field that even after the puzzle is filled in, the connection between the clue and the answer is still obscure. A clue, by definition is supposed to give an indication of the correct answer–if it can only be used as a check once the correct answer is already known–and even that use is of questionable value, then it’s clearly not a clue. I don’t really know what it is.

      1. Oh……chess club, math club. That’s a stretch but having built some puzzles myself…..I have stretched too.

  5. Just over 25 min. no errors…never figured out the theme.
    If you’re into hip hop, Spanish, the hunger games, and Harry Potter you have a heads up in crosswords
    Stay safe😀

  6. 12:58 with no errors or lookups. Had to change SASHA>MALIA. Started to write PROMO where PRESS goes, but realized that wouldn’t work with SERB at the intersection. Didn’t see the clubs until all was filled in, but couldn’t see how a SKIT club worked. Didn’t realize it was SKI club until I saw Bill’s explanation.

  7. No errors.. I was PERSICACIOUS!!!!

    didn’t know their was the study of ETS? Exobiology?? Is that a major or a rabbit hole you go down once you get an undergraduate degree and fall into a job with “other duties as assigned” role?

  8. No final error. I thought this was medium hard, but then again every crossword can be really difficult or easy peasy…it all depends on the subject matter and our own strengths or weaknesses. I enjoy learning new factoids through the puzzles. Foreign language clues/answers are interesting to me. New or little knows geography is great too. But really, over the years I’ve learned a lot about things I would never have picked up with crossword puzzles. So here’s to all you constructors who at times drive me bat guano crazy. I do really appreciate what you do, even when I’m gnashing my teeth in frustration. ;-D>

  9. Bill…Bill …never heard of rundmc..how old are you???…great puzzle nice job on the time Bill…10 min deduct for the errors!!!LOL

  10. I’m no English major so please correct me if I’m wrong. RE: 2D, “poetic adverb,” I thought o’er is a contraction for “over.” If so, isn’t “over” a preposition (not an adverb)?

    1. Hi Tim. Quick Google search yielded: “We can use over as an adverb to talk about movement above something or someone: We were sitting in the garden and a huge flock of geese flew over.”

  11. Nice to see so many comments and thanks Glenn for the tutorial! Also, it’s very humanizing that Bill made a mistake! Found this fairly easy but I too did not get the theme until bill explained it. I don’t time myself because I might get discouraged. It takes me as long as it takes me…PS nice to see a lot of cross talk today — don’t usually see people interacting here with each other so it’s a nice change.

  12. A little tricky for me; took 28:01 with no errors or peeks and only one short error check to find my one mistake before getting the “all done” banner. I had Im HERE/STAmDS which was easy enough to spot on my first go around.

    Made a lot of wrong choices today and had to revise a good quarter of the puzzle. I’ve never seen Battle Star Galactica but I have heard of Run DMC, although I’d be hard pressed to name any of their songs.

    Re Helen and POOF – I thought immediately of Helen of Troy and I knew she was abducted/left willingly from somewhere in Greece. It could have been Helen Keller, which would have been Alabama. Just needed a bit of crosses to nail it down. I did think immediately of POOF when I saw “disappearing sound”, so I put that in. You’d have to reach to come up with another answer for that, I believe.

    Other than that, I endorse Glenn’s tutorial. I’ve been trying to start with the Downs, but I always end up reverting Across before getting too far. I’m also more willing to put in guesses early in the week, and only checking maybe one cross, before moving on. As the week goes, I go with more crosses or only obvious fills at first.

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