March 28, 2008

Saturday, 3/29

Newsday 8:34
NYT 6:07
LAT 5:47
CS 2:45

Shot in the dark/cry for help here: Anyone know why Yahoo keeps sending me this—

We noticed that you are accessing email using non-secure settings in your email software.

We would like to ensure that your AT&T Yahoo! Member ID, password, and email messages are transmitted securely between your mail software (such as Outlook or Outlook Express) and the AT&T Yahoo! Mail servers. In order to meet this need, please enable SSL via the instructions that are available on the Help site.

Since multiple email notifications have already been sent out about this, we request that you please make the necessary changes immediately. Remember, you need to make these changes if you want to continue to send/receive email using a mail client.

—no matter how many times I make the requested changes? I'm getting my and mail forwarded to my gmail account (where I've incorporated Yahoo's desired settings), so I'm not even using Yahoo's POP/SMTP servers for the mail in my Mac's Mail application. It's all coming from my gmail account now.

Secondary Yahoo question: If my gmail spam folder used to get about 50 spam messages a day, pretty much all addressed to my Yahoo addresses, why did that drop to one or two a day this week? Did Yahoo suddenly get better at spam filtering, or is it withholding mail from me because it thinks I am not cooperating with its SSL demands?

Thanks for any counsel you may have to offer.

Now, on with the crosswords.

The Saturday New York Times puzzle is by Mike Nothnagel. I didn't love it as much as most of Mike's puzzles because I had trouble tuning into the right wavelength tonight. (I blame Yahoo!) I slowed myself down by entering SHORT for [In ___ (briefly)] rather than A WORD and TUPELO for [Seat of Shawnee County] instead of TOPEKA, and by sloppy typing (sure, you see BUZZLIGGHTYEA is wrong right away, but you still have to back up and fix it). Favorite answers: the intersecting BUZZ LIGHTYEAR ([Cinematic captain of Star Command]) and SWEATING BULLETS ([Very worried]); PSHAWS ([Concerned dismissals]); WHIZ KID ([Small wonder?]); HATE MAIL ([Form of intimidation]); HARD TIME ([It's done in the slammer]); and EAR-TO-EAR ([Very wide, in a way], like a grin). RAMSES II ([Son and successor of Seti I]) also looks cool in the grid.

My favorite of Mike and Will Shortz's clues: [Linebacker Brian banned from the 1987 Orange Bowl for steroid use] for BOSWORTH (speaking of steroids, see what happens when a writer tries to profile Jose Canseco—it's funny); [Sports stat specification] for CAREER; [Claptrap] for ROT; [Calls in the field] for CAWS (I considered OUTS); [Neighbor of Telescopium] for ARA (3-letter constellation? It's almost always ARA—and crosswords have taught me that ARA looks like an altar and is near Telescopium, Scorpius, Norma, and Pavo); [1/192 qt.] for TSP; [Point and click, e.g.] for VERBS (that trick didn't fool me this time); [Series finale?] for ET CETERA; [Caped combatant] for TOREADOR (I figured it would be some superhero); [Children's Bargain Town, today] for TOYS R US; [Indy sights since 1911] for PACE CARS (I've seen three different ex-pace cars around town in recent years); [Lines on planes] for the geometric AXES, crossing ETDS with an airplane-related clue; [It may rain in these] for SHEETS; [Start putting stuff away?] for DIG IN; and [Words said when one's hand is shaky?] for "I'M OUT" (a hand in cards, that is).


I've only got time for the LA Times crossword this morning—10:00 breakfast plans will take me either to IHOP (corn cakes!) or to m. henry (blackberry bliss cakes, which are indeed blissful). But imsdave issued a cry for help in the comments. Let's see...the northwest corner? I like the apt intersection of HOT AIR ([Just talk]) and TALK SHOWS ([Gas outlets?]). Had no idea where [Divorce parties, perhaps] was pointing until the crossings suggested MEDIATORS. Not sure why [Disapproving sound] is SSS; usually it's TSK or TUT, but it couldn't be [Air leak sound] because AIR is part of the fill nearby. [Manx mews] was not British meowing at all—Mews is a British term for a row of STABLES. Favorite word in the grid: BAMBOOZLE ([Trick]). Kinda like FM BANDS ([They range from 88 to 108 MHz]) and KOALA BEAR, too. Favorite clue: [Bust measurements?] for KILOS of illicit drugs. Metric also chimes in with TEN-K, clued as [About 6.2 mi.]. BE GOOD is hardly [Mom's admonition]—that is 100% ET's admonition. Who remembered that an [Armored helmet] is called an ARMET? Not I. We've also got [Toot] and [Toots] for BINGE and the pet name HON. The northeast corner dragged a bit when I put in OUT OF TUNE for [Like junior high orchestras, at times] rather than the correct NOT IN TUNE. I like my answer better, but James BARRIE insisted on that I, so out went NOT IN.

Updated again:

Mel Rosen's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Hidden Role Models," hides a HERO (63-Across) within each theme entry (as in MIDDLE OF THE ROAD). The crossings in Mike Nothnagel's NYT puzzle duped me into filling in TUPELO where it didn't belong—and where it did belong was in this crossword, clued as [Presley was born there]. I like the Greek O words: OMICRONS and Aeschylus's ORESTEIA. [Seuss's "Horton Hears ___"] A WHO gets a shout-out here—we saw the movie last week, and it was cute. None of the sly grown-up references usually tossed into cartoons as a sop to parents—just a good, Seussian cartoon that holds the interest of kids and parents alike.

Dan Stark's Newsday "Saturday Stumper" was the day's toughest crossword. For this 72-word grid, 53 clues contained just one or two words, so the difficulty arises in figuring out which nuance of a word is needed. Nearly all the answers are single words, so you have very little of the "wait, is this a two- or three-word phrases?" pondering. For example:
  • 51A [One way to tell a story] for HULA—not an adverb like "aloud" or verb like "recount"
  • 18A [Volumes] for AMOUNTS—not books, not sound levels
  • 26A [Dig] for SLUR—the noun, not the verb meaning "to delve" or "to like" or "to understand"
  • 31A [Sources of culture] for YOGURTS—not museums
  • 52A [Receive] for GREET—not the opposite of "give"
  • 55A [Monitor of a sort] for METER—not a person such as a hall monitor
  • 29D [Ram] for ARIES—the zodiac sign/constellation rather than the animal or the verb
  • 42D [Still] for SILENCE—not the adjective, nor the noun sense of a distillery device, nor the adverb meaning "all the same" 

My favorite clue was [Literally, "little house"] for CASINO. I tried the Spanish CASITA, which didn't pan out. You can read the interesting word history of CASINO, from the Italian, here. And my favorite answer was the verb BIRD-DOG, clued as [Watch carefully]. Elsewhere in the deceptively animal kingdom is [Racer relative] for ASP—somewhere along the way, likely via crosswords, I learned that a racer is a kind of snake, and so, of course, is an asp.