February 16, 2007

Saturday, 2/17

NYT 7:21
LAT 4:28
Newsday 4:18
CS 3:23

(post updated at 9:45 a.m. Saturday)

Another crosswordese renaissance is in the offing! A fat double issue of the New Yorker arrived this afternoon, bearing glad tidings to crossword constructors everywhere. Contributor Susan Orlean, author of The Orchid Thief, is said to be working on a book about Rin Tin Tin. Just when RIN had largely been extinguished in the mainline newspaper puzzles…

Robert Wolfe's Saturday NYT is a doozy. Not the dooziest of doozies, no, but still a doozy. Plenty of oddball words and phrases you don't see much, including a batch of prefixed and suffixed words: RETROCEDE (clued as [Go back]), REAROUSAL ([Further stirring]), SWASHER ([Daring adventurer]), DRESSERS ([Valets, at times]), AMUSERS ([Toys, for tots]—hey, I liked that clue when it was for TYPO), SORER ([Less likely to reconcile]), and SEDUCER ([Don Juan]). Oddballs include ARSENICAL poisoning, the hunter's GAME CALL, FULL (vs. half) SISTER, IVIE Anderson (who sang with Duke Ellington's band), and the Derby's HORSEWOMAN. Here's some ribbed silk FAILLE for you. Favorite clues and answers: [One using the metric system?] for BARD; [Decorate] for SMARTEN UP (in counterpoint to STUPID); the ALFA ROMEO Spider; the Belgian geography of ANTWERP, clued [It's across the Albert Canal from Liège; ["On a similar note," e.g.] for SEGUE; [Landing place] for STAIR; and BURNS DOWN. Raise your hand if, like me, you tried APOSTLE for [Jude, e.g.]; fortunately (or unfortunately), the correct EPISTLE shares five letters.


Robert Wolfe also has today's LA Times puzzle. The grids are different—this one has a 15-letter entry in each third—but the lower right corner of each contains the letter string LATESTA (LATE START in the LA Times, LATE STAGE in the NYT). Doug Peterson's Newsday puzzle was, for me, the easiest of the day's themeless trio.