February 23, 2007

Saturday, 2/24

NYT 6:12
Newsday 5:36

I'm leaving the house at 7:45 tomorrow morning, so I rather doubt I'll find time for the LA Times and CrosSynergy puzzles before I take off for the weekend. You all behave yourselves, okay? If you find yourselves compelled to comment here on the Sunday puzzle because I won't have blogged about that before Sunday afternoon, feel free to do so. But somebody should send me an e-mail and remind me not to read those automatic e-mails HaloScan sends me with the comments before I've gotten around to doing the puzzle. (I am prone to spoilerizing myself that way—I just can't bring myself to steer clear of e-mail.)

So. This week, the Saturday NYT comes from the atelier of Byron Walden, who hit us up with quotation trivia right off the bat with 3-Down. Although there's a noted Twain quote, apparently the concept popped up earlier in BYRON's "Don Juan" in a slightly different form. (Way to put your name in the grid, Byron!) Other than that, the only entry that was flat-out unknown to me was the basketball player BOB MCADOO. I may have seen the name before, but good gravy, that's not the sort of trivia I know. I wouldn't have necessarily known that the [Family Guy mom] was LOIS, except that I recently saw this clip that depicts the behavior of a small child with terrifying accuracy. Speaking of funny YouTube clips, here's one from HBO's Extras featuring DANIEL RADCLIFFE from 7-Down (don't show it to your kids who like Harry Potter). What the hell, here's a video depicting JENGA. (Okay, I need to stop before I explode the Internet.) Favorite clues and entries: TABLOID TV; the glad-I-pieced-it-together-from-vague-memories RURITANIA; [Seat of generative power] for LOINS (that "generative" is key, isn't it?); [Hanky-panky] for DALLIANCE, which may occur during the TRIAL SEPARATION it crosses (with a great clue, [First step in division?]); [Study aid?] for NO-DOZ; straightforward [Place for a pin] for JACKET LAPEL; and [It has a certain ring to it] for ATOLL. MUSIC ROLLS did not come readily to mind for [Calliope filler], nor did POISON PEN for [Vitriolic]. Overall, this was tougher than yesterday's fun NYT by Pat Merrell, but certainly not among the toughest Byron puzzles.

Daniel Stark's Newsday Saturday Stumper contains a ton of just-plain-words—nothing crazy, nothing obscure, quite smooth. Maybe a slight surfeit of -ED words, but none of those "roll-your-own words" (I forget who coined that usage about a week ago—someone at the NYT forum, maybe Bruce Morton?—but it's brilliant) formed with assorted prefixes and suffixes, words that are seldom used in those forms. The short clues are both straightforward and oblique, neither too challenging nor too easy.