November 03, 2006

Saturday, 11/4

Newsday 7:53
NYT 4:14
LAT 4:12
CS 3:02

(post updated 9:15 a.m. Saturday)

I generally enjoy Rich Norris's themeless puzzles, so I was glad to see his byline on the Saturday NYT. The puzzle struck me as easier than most Saturdays, but it could be that I hit the right wavelength thanks to that book of his puzzles I've been working on. Good longer entries, such as ALL-NIGHTER, THIS JUST IN, SLUGGISHLY, AVERAGE JOE, and CAT'S CRADLE (anyone remember how to play that string game?). [Dickens' pen?] quickly settled into being GAOL, just a few weeks after another NYT crossword had GAOLBREAK; swap the halves of GAOL and you get OLGA, which appears just below it. Never heard of Italian composer LUIGI Boccherini, or the ["Drink to me only with thine eyes" dedicatee] poem by Ben Jonson,, "To CELIA." I can't believe SHRINKAGE was clued with respect to shoplifting rather than this classic "Seinfeld" episode. Nice to see the ANC (clued as [Anti-apartheid org.]) mere days after the death of the pro-apartheid ex-leader of South Africa, P.W. Botha (who refused to release Nelson Mandela from imprisonment). I love the word ARAWAK—clued here as [Antilles tribe]. I'm not sure why, exactly. But I just learned from Wikipedia that the word hammock derives from an Arawakan word, hamaca. Final random impression: The TITI>—[Capuchin monkey relative]—is awfully cute. What's more, after birth, a titi's dad is in charge of caring for the baby and brings it to the mom only for nursing. Clever genus of monkeys!


The Newsday Saturday Stumper by "Anna Stiga" (Stan again) is pretty tough, so put your thinking cap on and print it out.