Next weekend, I leave for a week's vacation in the Caribbean—on a cruise where wireless access would cost $20 an hour so I'm leaving the laptop and crossword addiction at home. Starting next Thursday night, this blog will be in the capable hands of Puzzle Girl. Isn't she swell?
Frank Longo follows up his Friday Sun with the Saturday New York Times crossword. It seems that Will Shortz swapped Friday and Saturday this week, as Frank's puzzle is a good bit easier than yesterday's chewy Nothnagel. This 66-worder has a triple stack of 15's in the middle and two more 15's above and below. Those long puppies are rather factual:
Two 11-letter answers connect the triple stacks to the other 15's: Something [Shrill] is EAR-PIERCING and [Many quiz show fans] are TRIVIA BUFFS.
These ones are my favorite answers and clues:
Quibbles, unknowns, and little-knowns:
Grr! I was a moment away from republishing this post with the LA Times puzzle section added when the browser hung up, so I'll have to recreate what I had. Barry Silk's LA Times crossword has some of his trademark Scrabbliness—BAZOOKAS are [Big guns], JIMMIE FOXX was the [First right-handed batter to reach 500 home runs], [Old times] are ANTIQUITY, and some [Brass band members] are SAXHORNS. (There are eight members of the saxhorn family. Who knew?) There are two 15's, less Scrabbly—the BETSY ROSS BRIDGE is a [Delaware span] I've never heard of, and HEARTBREAK HOTEL was [Elvis's first #1 hit].
Things I didn't know:
Dan Stark's Newsday "Saturday Stumper" has, like most Stark themelesses, mostly single words rather than phrases. (Solution here.) Longo's NYT has about 14 multi-word answers, vs. just 3 in the Stumper. The fill tends towards the dry side, with some word endings and beginnings:
My favorite clue was [Its flag has an Osage shield] for OKLAHOMA. Here's what it looks like. [Asian titles] usually seems to clue emirs, ranis, rajas, amirs, shahs...something along those lines. This time it's KHANS, as in Genghis and friends. [Where Birmingham is] is ENGLAND; the trap is that Alabama also has 7 letters and a city called Birmingham.
Lynn Lempel's CrosSynergy crossword, "Hit Bottom," has four vertical theme entries with HIT at the bottom as part of longer words:
STINK BUGS are [Insects with an olfactory weapon]. I misinterpreted [Writer's fixer-upper] as meaning the first draft in need of fixing, like a fixer-upper of a house; instead, it's the EDITOR who fixes up the writer's work. HOT WEATHER is a [Typical forecast in the tropics]—hey! I'll be there soon.
December 12, 2008