September 05, 2008

Saturday, 9/6

Newsday 13:06
LAT 6:14
NYT 5:48
CS 3:24

(updated at 10:15 a.m. Saturday)

Barry Silk's byline appears atop the Saturday New York Times crossword. That usually means there'll be plenty of Scrabbly letters and indeed, such is the case now. Namely:

  • WHIZ KID is [Westinghouse/Intel award winner, e.g.]. I think that's a nationwide high school science fair sort of thing.
  • MAJESTY is [Stateliness].
  • KIXX is an [Aptly named Philadelphia indoor soccer team] I haven't heard of.
  • A [Librarian, at times] is an INDEXER.
  • X-RAY LAB doesn't resonate for me as a phrase. It's clued as [Where inside info is revealed?].
  • One of the Q's joins QUASI, or [Seeming], and QATAR, a specific [Land on a peninsula].
  • The other Q is in QUACKED, or [Sounded like a bufflehead] (I presume that's a duck), crossing the trade name QUAALUDE, clued with [It's a downer].
  • UNZIPPED means [Open, as a jacket], and the crossing AZERA is the [Luxury Hyundai sedan]. I rarely see Azeras, but saw one this morning.
  • Double-X XEROXED has a great clue: [Ran off, in a way]. It crosses CLIMAXED, or [Reached the peak] (...heh), and FLEXOR, or [Biceps, e.g.].

I feel compelled to point out the double use of hockey ice in intersecting answers—ICERS who are [Some players in penalty boxes] crossing HOME ICE, or [Place for a skating edge]. There are also intersecting eggs—OVI is the Latin prefix, or [Egg head?], while OOCYTE ([An egg develops from it]) uses the Greek prefix.

Mystery answer: RUFFS is clued as [Plays a trump card]. I'm not sure why the biblical-era EDOMITE, or [Ancient Negev dweller], was a gimme with just the first letter. Lots of crossword training, I guess! Answers and clues I liked:
  • DARN IT, or ["Phooey!"].
  • [They come out in the spring] means GEMINIS, not spring flowers! Though if you're born on June 21, you could be a summer Gemini, couldn't you?
  • [Their feet don't walk] refers to POEMS.
  • CUT-RATE means [Discounted].
  • FOMENT means to [Stir up]. I just like the word.
  • [Jobs in technology?] is STEVE Jobs of Apple, of course.

It's a pretty grid, ain't it?


Randall Hartman's CrosSynergy puzzle, "In Like Flint," interjects a FLINT into three phrases or compound words, forming a new phrase with the FLINT joined to a new compound word:
  • [Philanthropist Elihu's gun?] is YALE FLINTLOCK. Elihu Yale, Yale brand locks, and flintlock guns come into play here.
  • [Salute Bedrock's first family?] is HAIL FLINTSTONES. Hailstones, the verb "hail," and the cartoon Flintstones all enter into this one.
  • [Scrooge's noggin?] is SKINFLINT HEAD. Skinheads, a miserly skinflint like Scrooge, and a regular old head go into this answer.

Freshest fill: TONY HAWK, the [Big name in skateboarding].

Michael Wiesenberg's themeless LA Times crossword came together in backwards fashion—from right to left and from bottom to top. There are eight 15-letter entries (two sets of triple-stacked answers and two more 15s in the midsection), and not a single one of 'em was a gimme for me:
  • [Atone for a hasty marriage, in an old saying] is REPENT AT LEISURE. I should've gotten this one sooner than "at the very end."
  • To [Evangelize] is to PREACH THE GOSPEL.
  • [City on the Clark Fork River] is...wait, what river? I don't know this river. It's MISSOULA, MONTANA.
  • [Meg Cabot best-seller, with "The"] is PRINCESS DIARIES. Haven't read it, nor have I seen the movie.
  • I don't know why [Rocker tools?] are KNITTING NEEDLES. Is it because knitters are deemed to be old ladies who sit in rocking chairs? Actually, if you Google bad-ass knitting, you get 164,000 hits, like this. There's a whole movement of young hipsters who knit.
  • [Stock redemption calculation] is CONVERSION RATIO.
  • [Sam Peckinpah's last film, with "The"] is OSTERMAN WEEKEND.
  • [Like sad sacks] is WELL-INTENTIONED.

Trickiest clues: [Burns and more] are SCOTS, as in Scottish people. I can't tell you how long I clung to CHARS or SEARS. [Rec. measures] made no sense to me. RPMS? Then rec. must be short for record, as in a record album. I was thinking prepositionally and about physical location for [Not under], but it's AT LEAST, as in an amount.

The Newsday "Saturday Stumper" is by S.N. (Stan Newman). Sometimes his Stumpers have the Anna Stiga ("Stan again") byline, and I've heard that Stan reserves the S.N. byline for his toughest puzzles. It took me a good long while to grasp where Stan was going with the clues, but eventually everything fell together. Here's a substantial sampling of answers that eluded me for a time:
  • [Latin American delicacy] is ABALONE. With ONE in place, I wanted TOSTONE, but that wasn't going to work with the crossings.
  • [Where the "Staten Generaal" meets] is DEN HAAG, Dutch for "the Hague." I had the Hague in mind, but the Dutch wasn't coming to me.
  • [Hollyhock and okra] are MALLOWS. I have the vague sense that the okra/mallow combination was in another puzzle I did recently, maybe an acrostic?
  • [Old hat] means an old hat of a specific kind, not the adjective "old hat": BICORNE.
  • [Midnight Poison and Fahrenheit 32] are DIORS in that they're Dior fragrances. Why do they sound like heavy metal bands?
  • [Rejector of "isms"] is a RASTA. I don't know why.
  • [Put together together] was perhaps the most mystifying clue. The answer is COEDITED. "The two coeditors worked together closely to put that book together."
  • CASABA melon is a [Sweet dessert]? Blech. The only melon I like is watermelon.
  • [Fancy dip] in dance is PLIE. Did you think of a fancy edible dip as I did?
  • [Watch-window letters] are THU. Why? Probably because a teeny wristwatch window that shows the day of the week would display only a three-letter abbreviation for the day.
  • [Batter's beginnings, perhaps] is CAKE MIX. Now that's a dessert I can stand behind.
  • [Calliope kin] refers not to the musical instrument, but the Muses of Greek mythology. One of Calliope's sisters is EUTERPE.
  • [Inverted omega, symbolically] is MHO. Is the right-side-up omega the ohm?
  • [Service selection] is a POEM. If you're putting together a wedding or funeral service, you might be selecting a poem to be read aloud.
  • [Name coined by Jonathan Swift] is VANESSA. Really? Yes, indeed! I never knew that. I had all his crazy names in mind, like Yahoos and Lilliputians, but they didn't fit the space available.
  • [Cheese partner] is MAC, as in macaroni. This one looks so easy, and yet...
  • I figured [It's rigid on trailer trucks] was looking for an obscure truck part. Nope, just a REAR AXLE.
  • [Vodka cocktail] is an unusual clue for CAPE COD.
  • [Shows dissatisfaction with one's shoes] mystified me for so long. It's REDYES.
  • I didn't know the [Headquarters of LG Electronics] was SEOUL. I love my LG enV phone with its full QWERTY keyboard to make texting easy. (If only I could persuade all my friends to sign up for text messaging service...)