September 08, 2006

Saturday the 9th

NYT 7:35
LAT 5:27
Newsday untimed
CS 3:00

The often wicked Bob Klahn constructed this week's Saturday NYT crossword, and as the byline would suggest, many people found it a toughie. There were a lot of words you don't generally see in your average crossword puzzle—like SOIGNÉE, SILICA GEL ([Absorbent component of some cat litter] as well as what's in those little pouches in a box of new shoes, OPEN-TOED or otherwise), Archibald MACLEISH (I thank my high-school teacher for assigning J.B.), NUTCASE, and SHIVAREE. A handful of tricky clues gave up their secrets easily; with one letter, [Makings of a hero, maybe] shouted SALAMI, and [Having digital display?] insisted on OPEN-TOED. The other hard clues put up more of a fight, for me—[Base figure] sounded military, but it's baseball (INFIELDER). [Victorian] was three quarters easy, but adjective PRIM or noun PRIG? (Turned out to be PRIG—sitting right on top of PORN, no less.) There were many wonderfully misleading clues, including [Self-guided "tour"] for EGO TRIP, [Extra boots] for RESTARTS, [Thorny subject] is ROSE, "Remains to be seen?" for RUIN, and the one that duped me the longest, [Hamlet's cousin] for VILLAGE. And SHORT A, the [Fan sound], also eluded me. Young celebrity name alert: KENAN Thompson has mainly shown up in crossword clues for KEL, e.g. [Kenan's comedy partner]. The Nickelodeon show Kenan and Kel only ran from 1996 to 1999, and Kenan's now on Saturday Night Live, so his name may be around for some time. (I don't know if Kel Mitchell, with that handy 3-letter name, will be as lucky.) Last and least, 32-Across is ASS and 35-Across is PAN, and my mind keeps reading them as a unit. However, a cursory Google search hints that there is no such thing as an ass pan.


Lynn Lempel's themeless LA Times puzzle has plenty of great clues, among them [Removes a curse, say] for CENSOR and [Ones in pairs] for ELEVENS.

The Newsday Saturday Stumper by Daniel Stark is smooth and easy—definitely easier than the Klahn NYT, and probably easier than Lynn's LAT.

If you're in the mood for an even easier themed puzzle, you've got Harvey Estes' CrosSynergy puzzle.