January 05, 2007

Saturday, 1/6

NYT 8:19
Newsday 8:16
LAT 5:23
CS 3:04

post updated at 7:30 a.m. Saturday)

Stella Daily has already put the world on notice that she's begun her annual 20-crosswords-a-day Stamford training regimen. I can't fit in 20 a day, but yes, I'll be focusing on this as well. Those of you who are thinking of going to Stamford for the first time and wonder what you're supposed to do to get ready, my advice is twofold: Do plenty of extra crosswords (focusing on the Will Shortz–edited variety, since he also edits the ACPT puzzles—can't go wrong with the two book collections of Tournament Crosswords, Volume 2 from 2005 and Volume 1 from 1997), and make sure you can function on little sleep for a weekend.

The Saturday NYT puzzle's a 60-worder by Robert Wolfe, and I made a number of ill-advised commitments to wrong letters and wrong interpretations of clues. There were also a few unfamiliar terms, such as TORPEDO NET (literally a net around a battleship to ward off torpedoes); Sir Frank STENTON, the historian who wrote Anglo-Saxon England; and I love the word PASHA but didn't know there was a Doctor Zhivago character called that. Favorite clues and entries: [Cranberry center] for CAPE COD (oh, how I wanted to make that some sort of SEEDPOD), [Not spontaneous] for STUDIED, [Toast, after "a"] for GONER (I couldn't get beyond thinking of the "à votre santé" type of toast as opposed to the "Ooh, you're toast!" usage), PICCALILLI (I thank my grandmother for keeping that in her fridge a couple years ago), and [Didn't stay dry] for PERSPIRED. Not crazy about TALL AND SLIM, though.


Tough Saturday Stumper from Stan Newman in today's Newsday.

Maybe I'm not the only one who doesn't know the name of the [Gardening tool] in Randall Hartman's CrosSynergy puzzle, DIBBLE. Turns out it's used to poke holes in th dirt for planting.