May 04, 2007

Saturday, 5/5

Newsday 10:20ish
NYT 6:29
LAT 5:21
CS 4:53

(updated 9:05 and 10:15 a.m. Sat.)

Remember Friday's wicked AUBE/EDESSA crossing? I came across a helpful hint at the NYT forum: "karenjane1" writes, When you need a vowel for the last letter of a French river, it's an "e" - since most of them end in e. There are many that end in consonants (Gers, Lot, Doubs) but if it's a vowel, chances are it's an "e." Duly noted! If you're reading this, Karen, merci beaucoup.

Okay, I'm wiped out. Between getting ready for my upcoming vacation (fear not, Dear Reader! Guest bloggers will keep the internet warm while I'm away.), waking up too early this morning, dealing with the cascading water coming down the walls (folks two floors up had a plumbing mishap while replacing a shower faucet), and this pesky new allergy thing (at least it's just bleary eyes and not sneezing, congestion, and itchiness), I want nothing more than to be asleep. (Having filled my tummy at IHOP for an anniversary dinner isn't waking me up any, either.) But, tireless blogger that I am, I will muddle on through a write-up about David Quarfoot's Saturday NYT (and hooray! Apparently DQ's been constructing more, because not long ago he'd said his pipeline was all tapped out). (Apparently when I'm sleepy, I'm irrationally prone to parenthetical remarks.) Anyway, it's got the classic DQ zip to it, with many apt combos: STEPHEN / COLBERT across the top row, plus three more full names (RIP TORN, MIA HAMM, "JANE ROE"—and the ARAL SEA); the happy Bs of BMX BIKES ([X Games racers]), BABY FAT ([It's usually lost before school age]), and BLUENOSE ([Victorian type]); SPIKE TV and XM RADIO (["Oprah and Friends" airer]) representing the media; NEAR BEER and an OPEN BAR ([Feature of some political parties?]); the MAN'S MAN and his TAN LINE ([Nudist's lack]); and the French LA DANSE et LA MODE. Tricky and/or likeable clues: [Entertainer whose last name is the past tense of a synonym of his first name] for RIP TORN; [Slice, e.g.] for SODAPOP; [They're between shoulders] for LANES; Nova Scotia's Bras D'OR Lake; [Hoot] for ULULATE (a word I'm uncommonly fond of); [Ajman, for one] is an EMIRATE; [Decoration behind an altar] for REREDOS; [Boss's address?] for E STREET; and [Sons of, in Hebrew] for B'NAI (Bna'i Brith means "sons of the covenant." Definitely a worthy opponent and/or companion, this Saturday puzzle, and also entertainingly crisp.


Must be brief, for there is much to do the day before vacation.

Lots of very good stuff in Seth Abel's themeless LA Times puzzle. Not too hard, but not too easy, either.

Randolph Ross's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Or Else," swaps an -or ending for -ER and redefines the theme phrases. Entertaining theme, good puzzle.

Printer is trying to fight me on getting the PDF of the Newsday Saturday Stumper. Will tend to that later.

A little later:

Okay, the Newsday puzzle by S.N. (Stanley Newman) dragged me around. Maybe I'm just distracted this morning, or maybe it's a knotty crossword. Plenty of lively entries (particularly the longer Across answers) and tough clues. Two sets of cross-referenced entries (9-Down/35-Across and the triple 6-Down/27-Down/26-Across) get in the way of plowing through the grid from top to bottom. 12-Down had an echo of Friday's Sun puzzle by Francis Heaney (TUVALU vs. [TUV]ALUAN), and 29-Down and 34-Across (AXON and SAXON) echoed each other. There were a couple names I didn't know off the top of my head (LEN and LEROY), but the crossings were fair. 4-Down, ["Welcome to" sign letters], may be tough for those with a Midwestern mindset; our town signs rarely mention ALTitude. [Diner drink] fooled me for far too long—I figured it had to be something coffee-related, but MOO JUICE is plain ol' milk. Will toss a copy of the puzzle into consideration for the year's top Saturday puzzles, just because it worked me over so well.