July 11, 2007

Thursday, 7/12

NYS 6:07
NYT 5:28
LAT 3:27
CS 3:06

(updated at 11:55 a.m. Thursday)

Did you know that 2007 is the 300th anniversary of the birth of the mathematician Leonhard Euler? A Swiss watchmaker, Oris, has honored Euler with a limited-edition Sudoku wristwatch. Perfect for the sudoku buff on your gift list—provided you've got about $1,700 to spare.

Don't you hate it when you're doing a crossword puzzle on the Times applet and the phone rings? I didn't want to let it keep ringing because my kid had just fallen asleep, so I answered it. Market research firm looking for Spanish-speaking adults. Is that really the best way for these groups to find their target audience, calling anyone with a somewhat Spanish-looking name? Pfft.

The interrupted puzzle was Michael Shteyman's NYT crossword for Thursday. The theme entries are interlocked, with STORM CENTER crossing the other three phrases starting with POWER, WASH, and TRUST; those first words can all follow 65-Across, BRAIN. Things I admired: FAUX PAS and MAX ERNST with their X-rated action, plus [Titillating] cluing JUICY; the tennis clue [Border in the court?] for SIDELINE; buying software ON CD but getting a CD (as in certificate of deposit) at an S AND L; MED school plus the anatomical HUMERI; the colloquial theme entry TRUST ME ON THIS sitting atop the even more colloquial ME EITHER; and the [Egg-laying mammal], theECHIDNA. The [Yellow spring flower] turned out to be OXLIP (etymology: Old English ox + slimy substance). Another spring flower, the tulip, ends with the same three letters but is unrelated (it's from the Persian for turban). ASH is clued as [Wood for oars] instead of the usual baseball bat; did you see the NYT article today about how ash trees may not always be a good source for bat wood? (The emerald ash borer from Asia kills the trees, and climate change may soften the wood.)

Karen Tracey's back with another Themeless Thursday puzzle in the Sun, with a number of her trademarks in evidence. The overall Scrabblosity, check: two Zs, a Q, an X, a J, and a few Ks. A touch of geography, check: AQABA ([Eilat's neighbor across the border]). Fresh phrases, check: a LIVE ONE, OLD SCHOOL ([Opposed to innovation]), MEXICAN-AMERICAN, HAZARD AN OPINION, NIKOLA TESLA's full name. I could've sworn I learned about the [Hungarian folk dance] called the CZARDAS from a Byron Walden puzzle, but it doesn't show up in the Cruciverb database; maybe a tournament puzzle? Favorite tidbits: [One who won't mix fleishig and milchig food] for JEW; [Small cells] for AAS (as in batteries); [Current in spot?] for ANODE; [Singer at Charles and Diana's wedding] for TE KANAWA ("Tek somebody? Wha?"); and [1800] for SIX PM. Plenty of unexpected and unfamiliar (to me) clues for names like LIZA, ETTA, SHAQ, and ILSA.

The crossword conspiracy rears its head today, with OPINION in Michael's puzzle too, and ABILENE being an answer in Karen's and part of a clue in Michael's. Let the record show that I have no opinion on Abilene.


Pancho Harrison's LA Times crossword takes 10 phrases that start or end with eye, changed the eye to a capital I, and clued the result as an autobiography. No I, Asimov here, but rather, the zombie's DEAD I, Chuck Yeager's I IN THE SKY, and a streaker's NAKED I. Cute! Bonus unrelated I action with IHOPS, [Blue-roofed franchises]—coincidentally where I had breakfast today. (Just at a single IHOP.)

Mel Rosen's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Rated AA," groups five two-word phrases with A.A. initials. I kinda liked the trio of two ["Shoo!"] clues and one ["Shoot!"]. Did you know one of the nicknames for ARKANSAS is the Bowie State> I didn't. It has to do with Bowie knives, apparently.