June 15, 2007

Saturday, 6/16

Newsday 6:52
NYT 6:10
LAT 4:41
CS 2:37

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

So, Saturday afternoon I plan to head down to Hyde Park for the New Word Open Mic. Much more my speed than a standup comedy open mic, or a singer-songwriter open mic.

Joe DiPietro's 72-word Saturday NYT crossword had a few spots of levity, but seemed pretty straightforward as far as themeless crosswords go. Tons of phrases—NEXT UP, GO AFTER, LOSES TO, AIMED AT, and ACHE FOR all sort of mesh together. The upper right has a trio of answers containign 3- and 5-letter syllables: SAWHORSE, ICE QUEEN, and THE STAND. One of my favorite clues is the one for IQ TEST: [It might ask "What comes next?"]. (Does the "next" cue tat NEXT UP elsewhere, though?) I like the batch of entries that include letters as words: SCENE I, TO A T, A TO B, A PLUS, and EXHIBIT B. Apparently Delaware became known as the DIAMOND STATE because Jefferson called it a "jewel" with a strategically advantageous location. Here's the ORTEGA site, complete with the sun smackdab in the logo's middle. (Rival taco company Old El Paso gets short shrift here, with the EL PASO clue being [It's near Fort Bliss].) The trickiest clue for me was [Bologna oils], which sounded vaguely culinary in nature but turned out to be the Italian word for "art" (as in oil paintings), ARTE. The T was the last square I filled in, since [Nonsense] can be bosh just as easily as the chiefly British TOSH, and TOSH could also be clued with reggae's Peter Tosh. Extra bonus points for the non-ED past tense of LEAPT, clued as [Acted impulsively].


Karen Tracey's LA Times themeless crossword has a grid that can inspure a dash of vertigo, but if you can piece together the four 10-letter answers that spiral around the center, you've got a leg up into each of the quadrants. (Conversely, if any of those elude you, you'll be starting from scratch with a mini-puzzle in that corner.) Favorite bits: [It's shaken but not stirred] for TAMBOURINE; my ONE AND ONLY; [First name in toasting?] for DOM (took me a while to connect that to Dom Perignon champagne); [Gossip] for WHISPERING; and [One way to be taken] for ABACK.

Raymond Hamel's Newsday Saturday Stumper was a little more of a Saturday Irker for me today. The [Symptom suffix] ATIC crossing the ol’ ETUI? (I see that the clue's a mislead, making the solver think of suffixes used with specific symptoms rather than with the word symptom—symptomATIC—but I didn't see that when I was solving and it seemed rather random at the time.) [Not ___ (not really)] as a clue for HALF? Is not half a stand-alone phrase, or is it generally not half bad? According to the idiom listing in the dictionary entry for half, not half can precede something other than bad...though it seldom does. ["Westworld" name] as a clue for YUL? Never saw the movie, and "name" in the clue made me think it referred to the name of a character rather than an actor. ELARA, one of Jupiter's 63 known moons, and far from the biggest)? Three French words commonly seen in crosswords (ETUDE, ECOLE, ETRE)? NO I.D. as [Reason for a bouncing]? COATLESS? (PANTSLESS is funny. COATLESS, not so much.) This puzzle made me kinda grumpy.