(post updated at 10:30 Saturday morning)
All righty, I (barely) finished the NYT crossword before it was time to put my kid to bed. I took a diagramless puzzle with me—I'm test-solving for an upcoming book of diagramlesses. If you dig 17x17 grids that don't tell you where the black squares go, you're gonna like that book, which I'm guessing will come out next year sometime. Anyway, my head is in that frame of mind...going to finish it...okay, now I'm back and will don my standard crossword blogging hat.
Ach! Barry Silk's New York Times puzzle really was quite reasonable, but I had a typo that eluded my vision for the longest time. The [Hunter of fish] is a SEA EAGLE, but I had SEE EAGLE for a ridiculous amount of time. No, WEENERS didn't look right, but what know I of [Stockbreeding devices]? Yeah, those were supposed to be WEANERS. THERE NOW sure seemed to be [Words of solace], but that errant WEENERS and the less-familiar variant RHEBOKS ([Cousins of oribis and dik-diks]) threw me. I'm wondering if Will Shortz is a big Mick Jagger fan, because Sir Mick just celebrated his 65th (!) birthday, yesterday's puzzle included a Stones song title, and ROLLING STONE is in this one, clued generically as a [Drifter]. This STONE is partnered with ELEANOR RIGBY, [Title woman of a song who "lived in a dream"]. These long entries are crossed by ["Let ___"], which surely must be the Beatles' "Let IT BE," except it isn't—it's "Let IT GO."
Favorite entries and clues here:
Clues I dispute:
Patrick Jordan's themed CrosSynergy puzzle, "Bar Stars," isn't about lawyers or drinking. No, it's much tastier than that—the theme entries are famous(ish) people whose last names are also the names of candy bars. SIR EDWARD HEATH was a [1970s British prime minister]. PETULA CLARK is the ["Don't Sleep in the Subway" singer]. KENNETH MARS [was Inspector Kemp in "Young Frankenstein"]; who? I may have seen the movie when I was a kid, but the name Kenneth Mars doesn't ring a bell. BARBARA HERSHEY was ["The Portrait of a Lady" Oscar nominee]. Yum, chocolate! Outside of the theme, fill I like includes the real SLIM SHADY, [Nickname for Eminem]; TOURMALINE, [One of October's birthstones] (usually a crossword cites October and birthstones for the opal); CHAIN GANGS, or [Groups of linked convicts]; and ITZHAK, [violin virtuoso Perlman]. I used to always forget which of the ARNO and EBRO is in Italy and which is in Spain; they're both here, only ARNO is clued as [Cartoonish Peter]. (The EBRO is in Spain, and Iberia's name derives from the river's name; the ARNO is in Italy.)
Doug Peterson's themeless Newsday "Saturday Stumper" was pretty tough. SHARKSKIN JACKET ([Hepcat's attire]) anchors the grid along the middle, and the other entries I liked most include JETTISON ([Toss]), HOME BREW ([Do-it-yourself draft]), ZEPPO Marx ([Brother-act nickname]), and SCREE ([Crater debris]), just because I'm fond of those SK-sounding words of Scandinavian origin (cf. skulk, skid). Favorite clues:
My favorite entry in Mark Milhet's themeless LA Times crossword is JACK SQUAT, or [Zilch]—three uncommon letters plus colloquial? Win-win. The fill was surprisingly dense with prepositions (some used as adverbs here, but they're also prepositions):
There are other entries that contain the same letter sequences as those prepositions—INGRATE, OTRANTO, ATE A LOT, AKRON OHIO, PLATEAU, SALONGA, HEATHER—so there's an overall feel of sameness in the grid. But! This grid's got only 64 answers, so it's got a fairly low word count. MY personal preference is for a higher word count and more answers in the delightful JACK SQUAT vein.
July 25, 2008