(post updated at 9:30 Friday)
My kid just coined a portmanteau word. Sporting a milk mustache, he announced that he would call it a "milkstache."
Barry Silk's byline has been popping up more often lately. This time, it's the Friday New York Times puzzle. The construction's salient features are five fairly Scrabbly 15-letter entries, one across the middle and four more in stacked pairs. Two Q's, an X, and two K's? Good stuff. More to come on this puzzle after my milkstachioed boy is asleep.
Okay, I'm back. The aforementioned long entries include an EARTHQUAKE ALARM, or [Detector of some potentially dangerous waves]; "ARE YOU DOING OKAY?" or [Question of concern after someone has had a bad experience]; an EXPONENTIAL RATE, or [Rapidly increasing pace]; CIA HEADQUARTERS, or [Where moles might be found] (THE DERMATOLOGIST'S won't fit); and an ATTORNEY GENERAL, or [Creator of big suits?]. The very toughest spots:
Other potential snags:
The New York Sun crossword, 'Which Way Am I Going?," is a joint production from two guys fond of making twisty puzzles, Matt Ginsberg and Pete Muller. This one's a two-way rebus puzzle, with the four corners and the center square containing both UP and DOWN, it seemed—UP for the Across answer, DOWN for the Down. I couldn't for the life of me figure out what Across Lite wanted in the rebus squares—I tried UP, DOWN, UPDOWN, and UD. Then I told it to reveal the correct solution, and it showed me AcrDn in those squares. because guess what? It's an ACROSS and DOWN rebus, not an UP and DOWN one. D'oh! The theme answers are as follows:
There's no shortage of yummy bits in this crossword:
Sigh. I can't believe I convinced myself the rebus was UP and DOWN. That solving time includes filling the grid correctly with the exception of having some wrongness in the five rebus squares.
Usually on a Friday morning, I'll start with the LA Times or CrosSynergy puzzle before I move on to the Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, so I was feeling comparatively dim when I forgot I was solving a CHE puzzle. Annemarie Brethauer's "Vice Squad" theme is historical trivia—in particular, the names of the first five U.S. vice presidents. When I see the name GEORGE CLINTON, I think of the seminal funk musician and not the nation's fourth and largely forgotten V.P. There were gnarly spots in the grid—[Fish also called a goggle-eye] is SCAD, even though SHAD's also a fish and SCAD's also a non-fish word. [Full-length] means UNCUT, as in a long movie. BLAINE is [Home to Washington's Peace Arch Park]. In D.C.? No, it's a border town in the state of Washington. Magician David Blaine was willing to appear, but was not asked. There's a [Christmas carol lyricist John Mason] NEALE. Isn't Zora NEALE Hurston much more important academically? [Novelist Marie Louise de la] RAMEE and EMU [oil (emollient used by Aborigines)] were the other mystery spots for me.
Donna Levin's LA Times crossword makes sport of Dutch-related puns:
Favorite fill: the HIBISCUS ([The yellow one in Hawaii's state flower]); SUKIYAKI, the [Japanese one-pot meal]; and the underused word HORRID, or [Repulsive].
Ray Hamel's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Luck of the Draw," is the easiest of today's offerings—I should've started with this one! The four theme entries are clued the same, simply [DRAW]. The four meanings of draw included here are GUNFIGHT COMMAND, DEADLOCKED GAME, MAIN ATTRACTION, and MAKE A COMIC STRIP. Least commonly seen answer: EFFENDI, [Literally, Turkish for "master"].
I had a sneak preview of Tyler Hinman's Wall Street Journal crossword theme a few months ago, and it still took me a good long while to solve the puzzle. In "Two for One," two letters (L and I) get squished together so that they look like one (a U). Tyler came up with eight theme entries in which a phrase that includes LI but can mean something else if the LI bcomes a U. City slickers who [play three-card monte?] are CITY SUCKERS, for instance. An elevator can provide UP SERVICE (lip service being the base phrase). Isn't that nifty? The Down answers that cross the two-for-one squares use the LI, not the U, as in [Barack Obama's home], IL[LI]NOIS.
No time for further blogging 'til tonight—ta ta.
August 14, 2008