(updated at 11:15 Saturday morning)
Misha! It's been too long since we've seen a crossword by Michael Shteyman in the New York Times, and I gotta tell you, it reminds me of yesterday's Nothnagel: Lots of interesting entries and no garbage. Of course, it's a Saturday puzzle, so it's not unusual to encounter something you just plain don't know. For me, that's TALOS, the [Brass guardian of Crete, in myth]. Luckily, the crossings for that answer didn't put up any roadblocks for me. Oh, and PENNI, the [Old Finnish coin], again with reasonable crossings.
Michael built the grid around a lattice of 15-letter answers, three running across and three down:
Favorite clues and answers:
Clues that may be a tad more vexing than the others:
Doug Peterson's themeless Newsday "Saturday Stumper" doesn't have all the zip of today's NYT puzzle, but it's just as low on the junk-o-meter. RESIT, or [Pose again], is as bad as it gets, and it's neither obscure nor ungettable. Favorite clues:
To get a solution grid for the blog, I typed my answers into the Newsday applet. It was fine for typing in a series of Across answers one after the other. Filling in crossword answers piecemeal on this applet? That would drive me bonkers.
Robert Wolfe's themeless LA Times crossword is braced by three 15-letter answers in plain language. A disbelieving "YOU'RE NOT SERIOUS" means ["This must be a joke"]. ["Better!"] means "THAT'S MORE LIKE IT." And something [Honoring a former friendship] is FOR OLD TIMES' SAKE. After you REOIL something, or [Quiet more squeaks], you may need to give it a REWASH ([Second cleaning]). There are two messes, a STY that [doesn't get picked up often] and a RAT'S NEST, or [Cluttered place]. [Yarn material?] is LIES, as in "spinning a yarn" or tall tale. Less familiar answers abound:
Thomas Schier's CrosSynergy crossword, "Boys Will Be Boys," runs together three words that can precede boy in each theme entry:
[A trio of boys] is COW STABLE GOLDEN. At first I thought all three would be agricultural/ranching in nature, but no.
The first [Three more boys] are WATER CHOIR PAPER.
The last [Three more boys] are WHIPPING PLAY FLY.
You know what would be fun? If the boys were arranged into groups of words that could double as an intelligible phrase. Say, a GOLDEN FRAT BUS (though that's not a 15). Or MAMA'S PRETTY LOVER (also not 15). You get the idea. Something more amusing than a series of words in random order.
August 29, 2008