December 29, 2006

Saturday, 12/30

NYT 7:43
LAT 6:10
Newsday (untimed, mediumish hard)
CS 3:44

Rich Norris gathers up some terrific entries in his Saturday NYT crossword. Yes, I got whomped by at least a couple other applet solvers (oh, speaking of whomping—did y'all notice that Tyler Hinman finished Friday's puzzle in 2:35? Mm-hmm, that's right), partly because I either couldn't type or couldn't see. Do we all recognize that it's wrong to write TONE-DEAD and NINTELDO? Yes, I think so. Highlights of this puzzle, for me: 1-Across's ICK FACTOR, [Didn't stir at the right time?] for OVERSLEPT, [Unable to hit a pitch] for TONE-DEAF, the vague [Parade] for FLAUNT, [One who doesn't go past a semi?] for LOSER (as in loser of a semifinal match), [Cry while shaking] for IT'S A DEAL (don't you like to picture someone quivering with fright saying, "It's a deal"?), [Hide] for CLOAK, EYE OPENER, SQUEEZED, the petulant DOES TOO, [They can fix shortages] for ATMS, and the shout-out to the movie, EVE'S Bayou. I do recommend the movie—and not just because one of the stars is Debbi Morgan, who I used to watch of All My Children in the '80s. The young actress, Jurnee Smollett, was terrific (now she's all of 20 years old, and had a recent guest appearance on House). Movies and typing tribulations aside, I enjoyed this puzzle, as I do most Norris themelesses.


Today's LA Times themeless is by Bonnie Gentry. Plenty of short gimmes helped me get a foothold, but other short answers vexed me for the longest time. (I had it in my head that Eleanor Roosevelt was originally named SARA rather than ANNA, and I didn't know IVAR Krueger but reckoned he was OTTO or ALDO for whatever reason.) I liked the pair of loop/Loop clues (for the CTA and CC'ED), the nifty GOOGLE HITS, [Pan handler] for CHEF, and [Simple life?] for AMEBA. FLOE is timely given yesterday's news story about a larger-than-Manhattan floe that's broken off from an Arctic ice shelf.

Favorite clue in Bob Klahn's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Copper Heads": [50 Cent pieces] for RAPS. (Elsewhere, UNUM is [Twenty-five-cent word].)