March 03, 2006

Sneon (Frisian Saturday)

I’d been feeling we were overdue for really tough Saturday NYTs from Bob Peoples and David Kahn. We’ve got the Bob Peoples this week, but either I’ve cracked his code or this is nowhere near as hard as some of his previous outings. Without further ado: I’m always fond of entries like SILENT K (“start to knit”), and reasonably obscure proper names that I know (“Rachel of ‘General Hospital’” is, of course, AMES. She’s been playing Audrey since 19-freakin’-64, people. She’s a soap legend.). There are some fantastic clues, such as “King’s bane” for RACISM, “very violent, say” for RATED R, “frequent raid target” for PIGGYBANK, and the vaguish “green light” for CLEARANCE. (By the time the end of the week rolls around, the vaguer the better, as far as I’m concerned.) As for “ignis fatuus, the fair maid of ___” IRELAND, read this if you want to learn more about the ghostly phenomenon (which some folks call spunkie or hinkypunk). I.ASIMOV (“1994 literary autobiography whose first chapter is titled ‘Infant Prodigy?’”) is Isaac Asimov’s memoir; not to be confused with I, Robot, his book of short stories. YEAN, a verb meaning “birth,” applies to sheep and goats, so don’t ask a pregnant woman when she’s due to yean.

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Today's Newsday Saturday Stumper by Anna Stiga ("Stan again") is a good one. Nothing particularly showy; just a solid themeless puzzle.

Newsday 6:29 (on paper)
NYT 6:10
LAT 5:21
CS 3:33