Newsday (not timed, but not so tough)
I liked how Joe Krozel's New York Times crossword broke the "no unchecked letters" rule with four single squares located in the middle of each edge of the grid. The pattern of black squares looks a little bit like a compass rose, with diagonals between centered straight black lines made of two squares pointing to the N, E, S, and W—and those are, in fact, the letters in the unchecked boxes. So those squares are checked, sort of, since the direction letters are not so hard to divine.
I only have a few minutes to blog now, so let me dispose of a few clues straightaway:
Frederick Healy's LA Times crossword skews colloquial with answers like these:
We get a little inventor trivia. [They were invented by 15-year-old Chester Greenwood in the winter of 1873] clues EARMUFFS, and the first half of SKEE-Ball is [Part of a game name reportedly chosen because the game surface resembled a slope]. [Octet member with the shortest name] looks like it could be pop culture, but it's science—the planet MARS. Ask my kid how many planets there are and he says "eight," no hesitation. I tell ya, this scientific progress with planetary demotions makes me feel old. Another clue I liked is [Hit with a joint] for the past-tense KNEED.
Miscellaneous clues that may cause a stumble:
Patrick Blindauer's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Full House," has a quip theme. I filled in the last two thirds of the [parent's wry quip] first, and it turned out that discovering the beginning last also gives a good punchline this time. The line is I CHILD-PROOFED / MY HOME BUT THEY / KEEP GETTING IN. This amused my husband and me. Favorite clues:
The [Court reporter's machine] isn't a very familiar word: STENOTYPE.
Doug Peterson's been making some enjoyable Newsday "Saturday Stumpers," hasn't he? I'm glad Stanley Newman has expanded his Saturday stable. They tell me Doug is also a new member of the CrosSynergy team, so that should mean a few easier themelesses from Doug each year too. (But I want the tougher ones.) I didn't time myself while doing today's Stumper, but it didn't feel that hard, so I'd guesstimate maybe the 5:30 to 6:00 range. The full solution is here for those who want to peek. My favorite fill and clues:
From the category of "dated pop culture I know only from crosswords," we have the [Richard Boone TV role], HEC Ramsey. It was a TV Western back in the early '70s.
March 06, 2009