(updated at 10:50 a.m. Saturday)
What? Another flip-flop in the New York Times? The Saturday puzzle, a Patrick Berry 68-worder, turns out to be easier than the Friday one. Maybe it's because there's more flow between sections, or maybe it's that the clues are more straightforward. Random riffing on things in this crossword: I missed learning JODIE Henry's name during the 2004 Summer Olympics (though she set three world records and won three swimming gold medals for Australia). Didn't really know that Van Gogh's Starry Night was joined by his Starry Night on the Rhone, which included the Big Dipper (URSA MAJOR) in the sky. Doesn't O PIONEERS (the [First novel in Cather's "prairie trilogy"]) look like it needs another IN? Then it could describe editorial columnists and TV pundits: the Opinioneers. Would you have guessed that the Wikipedia article on SUTRAs (a SUTRA is a [Collection of aphorisms]) doesn't mention the Kama Sutra? How about that word at 8-Down, clued simply as [Circle]? The answer's RONDURE, and doing a Google image search gets you nowhere. It's a word! But I don't know in what circumstances one might use the word. Anyone? HOTSPUR is clued as [Hot-tempered sort]; read all about medieval England's "Harry Hotspur". Curious about why EBON is [Like japanned woord]? See here.
Doug Peterson's Newsday Saturday Stumper didn't feel too tough. Lots of lively fill (KING'S RANSOM, HEDGE FUND, DEWDROP, ON THE MONEY, ESKIMO PIES, MINT JULEP). Favorite clues: [Loads of lettuce] for KING'S RANSOM; [Bead on a blade] for DEWDROP; [Laughs] for FUN; [Chester, for Charles] for EARLDOM (a factoid I did not pick up whilst in Chester last month—read about the nine-century history of the Earldom of Chester if you wish); [Edwards, sometimes] for NEDS; and the nonmilitary [Base character], a KNAVE. I had no idea what a Kremlin Colonel was—it's a drink with vodka, lime juice, simple syrup, and mint. A MINT JULEP has bourbon rather than vodka. Sign me up for the Colonel, please.
June 22, 2007