September 23, 2006

Sunday, 9/24

NYT 10:52
WaPo 9:18
BG 8:31
LAT 8:21
Newsday 6:06
CS 4:27

The NYT puzzle by Mark Diehl and Kevin McCann, "All-Knowing," ups the ante by being a quote puzzle, meaning you've got to work harder on the Down clues (unless you happen to have memorized this particular quote—I didn't). The quip is from OSCAR/WILDE, and it's accompanied by some difficult clues and unusual fill. Raise your hand (mine isn't raised) if you knew that the [Fish that may someday spawn] was the SAMLET, a young salmon. The M, where it crossed NMI (short for "no middle initial") was the very last square I filled in. [Stain] led me straight to DISCOLOR, which differs by only two letters from the correct answer, DISHONOR. The clue [Just firm enough] put me in mind of mattress-related adjectives, so henceforth I'll be referring to mattresses with just the right firmness as AL DENTE. [Scout leader?] had me wondering for a bit until the crossings gave up the REIN, the reins for Tonto's horse, Scout. I'm always pleased with a shout-out to a retired Crayola color like RAW UMBER.


Today's themeless CrosSynergy puzzle's by Harvey Estes, as is the Washington Post Sunday puzzle, "Named for the Proprietor. The LA Times Syndicate puzzle's credited to Nora Pearlstone (anagram of "not a real person," i.e., editor Rich Norris).

A few of the squares in Henry Hook's Boston Globe puzzle, "Numbers Racket," were flat-out lucky guesses. In square 59, the [Numerical prefix] could plausibly be HEXA or SEXA (as in sexagenarian), and it crosses [Ancient 1.5-gallon measure], the obscure HIN. Rationally, if the crossing were an S, there would have been a less obscure clue for SIN. An even trickier spot was where the ["Alice in Wonderland" illustrator] John TENNIEL crosses the not-too-common MINIFIES and CONGE.

For an easier crossword, try Fred Piscop's Newsday puzzle, "Vault Disney: Fun facts about Disney films."