March 02, 2007

Saturday, 3/3

NYT 6:41
LAT 5:24
Newsday 5:05
CS 2:52

(post updated at 8:45 a.m. Saturday)

Another fun Karen Tracey Saturday NYT, though I'd fallen asleep before crossword launch time so I was off my peak while solving and I'm still yawn-prone. (Not the puzzle's fault.) Karen's last NYT puzzle provoked so much grumbling (not from me!) because of the density of names and pop culture; this one also has a fair number. Interestingly, several are first/last name combos: JIM MORRISON of the Doors fame and poetry semi-fame; IAN FLEMING (James Bond and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, a natural connection); NORAH JONES of the soporific hit, "Don't Know Why"; and cross-referenced DALE / EVANS (whom I left blank for far too long, thinking that I had no idea who'd written "Happy Trails"). Other people in the grid are rapper XZIBIT (who hosted the MTV car show, Pimp My Ride), physicist Enrico FERMI, author Margaret ATWOOD, actor Billy ZANE, crossword-fill notable Josephine TEY, and musician Gene KRUPA. Something for everyone!

Favorite non-human bits of fill: the rude MAKE ME crossing the conciliatory I'M GOOD; HONEYSUCKLE, clued as [Woodbine or twinberry], which gave me no help at all other than that it was a plant (the Wikipedia entry includes this trivia factoid: "During Victorian times, teenage girls were forbidden to bring honeysuckle home because it was thought to induce erotic dreams." Which reminds me—this blog got a couple hits via Google-type searches for anais nun!); REUNITED and it feels so good (who doesn't like random evocations of the Peaches and Herb hit song from the early '80s?); IHOPS several columns to the left of DELISH (I cannot explain why [Finger-lickin' good] initially prompted me to enter GREASY); and that 2x2 square of O's in the lower right corner of the grid.

The clues that stand out: [What some bars provide] for ENERGY (anyone who claims that energy bars taste good is probably lying or deeply confused); [Place for a flock] for NAVE (I was thinking sheep and COTE); [They make charts] for HITS (that GREASY mistake made that YITS, which gave me pause); [Start to date?] for ANTE (as in antedate); [What a lot may have a lot of] for USED CARS; [Freeboot] for MARAUD ("freebooter" comes to us from the Dutch); [Like the Danish language] for GERMANIC (Dutch and English are also in the Germanic family of languages); [Etymologist's concern] for ROOT, speaking of etymologies; and the sort of confusing [Showers of purchases] for STATEMENTS.


The Newsday Saturday Stumper by "Anna Stiga" (anagram of Stan [Newman] again has plenty of lively fill and clues. Nothing overtly funny, but an entertaining crossword all the same.

Yay! Another Karen Tracey puzzle! Karen's also got today's themeless LA Times crossword. A bit of Scrabbly goodness, some interesting clues, some lively phrases in the grid. It's not Karen's best work, in my opinion (some iffy abbreviations), but I still like her style and enjoyed the puzzle.

Randall Hartman's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Corporate America," has a straightforward theme and pretty easy clues.