(post finally updated at 5:00 Saturday afternoon)
Karen Tracey's New York Times Saturday crossword took me only a little longer than the Friday puzzle, but it did feel harder and I felt luckier. I wouldn't have been surprised if the applet had snarled at me that my solution was wrong, because the top middle and bottom middle both stymied me to a degree. The roughest spot was at the bottom, where the [Perennial herb with florets sometimes called "ham and eggs"] ran alongside [Dan ___, 1948 Best Actor nominee for "When My Baby Smiles at Me"] and crossed [___ Robbins, co-lyricist of the #1 "Rocky" theme song "Gonna Fly Now"]. Yow! What, who, and who? I was just buying some herbs at the garden center last weekend, and LANTANA was not in the herb section. It was in the flower section, and its multicolored florets are stunning. Indeed, the Wikipedia article I linked to doesn't call Lantana an herb. The actor is Dan DAILEY, and the co-lyricist is AYN Robbins. A non-Rand AYN? My goodness! Up at the top, I wanted SCHNOZZ or SCHNOZZOLA to fit for [Beak], but the less-familiar-to-me SCHNOZZLE turned out to be the answer. Crossing that were SLOANE, [Title role in a Joe Orton play], and AZIMUTH, clued as [Reading from a surveyor's compass]. Is that what those surveyors are doing? Next time I see one, I'll ask what the azimuth is.
No shortage of excellent entries in Karen's 68-worder:
Other clues of note:
Today's themed CrosSynergy crossword is by Bob Klahn, so it's tougher than usual. "Ay, There's the Rub" has a quip theme: IT'S EASIER TO / START FROM / SCRATCH IF / YOU HAVE SOME. (Scratch is also slang for money.) My favorite clues:
My favorite answer in Robert Wolfe's 70-word LA Times crossword is DOG EAT DOG, or [Ruthless]. Props to Mr. Wolfe and editor Rich Norris for cluing EMOTES with [Works in plays]; yes, not overacting, just acting and conveying emotion to the audience. PAISANOS, or [Pals], is nice too. I'm less pleased by OPEN A SHOP, or [Get started in business]; that seems more like ordinary language and less like the kind of idiomatic phrase that stands alone (compare "open up shop"). THE WAY serves more or less as a 6-letter partial here, clued as [Something to show or lead?]. THE WAY as a standalone phrase has plenty of other cluing options. Clues that may be apt to stymie solvers:
Stan Newman, writing as "Sally R. Stein," constructed this week's Newsday Saturday Stumper, a 72-worder. It wasn't such a hard puzzle, really, but my brain was set on lackadaisical mode when I solved it. My favorite part was the stack at the bottom with NYPD BLUE ([Three-time Emmy winner of '99]) atop AU GRATIN ([Literally, "with the scraping"]) atop SPAMBOTS ([Automated address collectors]). [Lou Grant's paper], obviously, was the TRIBUNE. Except that didn't work—it turned out to be THE TRIB. Other nice entries and clues include:
Weird entry: ECOLABEL, clued as ["Dolphin-safe," for one]. Not familiar with the term ECOLABEL.
August 01, 2008