(updated at 10:30 p.m. Saturday)
Would you look at that? Matt Ginsberg's New York Times crossword is a 68-word puzzle, so it must be themeless—except that three 13-letter answers spell out [an Einstein quote that holds true when solving clever crosswords]. That quote splits up into these three chunks: IMAGINATION IS / MORE IMPORTANT / THAN KNOWLEDGE. I've never heard the quote, and my typing was all bollixed up tonight, and I took the wrong road for 32-Down, so this puzzle didn't feel very easy. I had the R from STRESS ([Type A problem]), so I figured [One might refuse to shake hands] meant a variant spelling, GERMPHOBE. That's not a word, turns out. The answer is a SORE LOSER.
There are some fun clue pairs here. [Rover's watcher] is NASA, while [Rover's reward] is a doggie TREAT. Two answers share the clue [Burning]: RED HOT and URGENT. (I made a wrong turn with ARDENT there.) [R.S.V.P., e.g.: Abbr.] is an ANS. (answer), while [R.S.V.P. facilitator: Abbr.] is an SAE (self-addressed envelope).
The clues I liked best are these:
Other answers I was fond of are NARCISSUS, a specific [Self-absorbed individual]; chicken NUGGETS; and ON PATROL, or [Making the rounds], because I so enjoyed the SpongeBob episode in which he sings "I'm on patro-o-ol." Things I hadn't known:
Robert Wolfe's themeless LA Times crossword puzzle was a bit easier than other recent Saturday LA Times offerings. Here's some of what it contained:
Tom Schier's CrosSynergy crossword, "Directional Humor," spells out a quip with zero Google hits, so I suspect the quip's of Schier's own devising. The [Comedian's quip] is "A STRAIGHT LINE IS / THE / SHORTEST / DISTANCE / BETWEEN TWO JOKES." That THE segment breaks the symmetry of the theme layout, but that's remedied by placing GAG, or [Comedian's offering, such as this puzzle's quip], opposite THE in the grid. The first three answers I filled in, 1- and 2-Down and 1-Across, were SPAS, WASP, and SWAPS, so for a moment I envisioned a puzzle filled in with only the letters found in those answers—but no. That wouldn't work. Who knew an INGATE was a [Molten metal channel]? Not I. The [Long-armed ape] or ORANG appears in both this puzzle and today's LAT.
Updated Saturday night:
Stan Newman's alter ego, Anna Stiga, constructed this week's Newsday "Saturday Stumper." It's got 72 words, the max for a themeless puzzle, so it's got pretty smooth fill. The difficulty arises in the clues, not the answers. (Complete solution grid is here in PDF form.) It's late, so allow me to intermingle my favorite clues and answers with some tough stuff:
October 03, 2008