we haven't seen manny's byline recently, have we? his friday NYT puzzle is a good one, though, as you'd have every right to expect. it's anchored by a central triple-stack of 15s, all of them good:
to me, though, the marquee answer is the one i've highlighted in the screenshot: MINESWEEPER! it's clued as the [Popular computer logic/guessing game]. i won't divulge how many hours of my existence i wasted on this popular computer logic/guessing game back in high school. (was it that long ago? goodness.) my physics teacher aptly dubbed it "mindsweeper."
this wasn't exactly a smooth solve for me, but i got through it okay. fits and starts included TANG for MING, the [Chinese dynasty during which trade with Portugal began]. that was kind of a dumb guess, because the TANG was way too early (i think it ended in the 8th century), but then i had the G confirmed by INGEST for [Swallow]. of course, INGEST wasn't right either (ENGULF), although ironically, the G was.
other answers that caught my eye:
clues that caught my eye:
clue i did not like: [Electric device with terminals] is an ELEMENT, i guess like the heating ELEMENT in an electric kettle. guess what, though: every electric device has terminals. am i missing something clever, or was this clue just indescribably lame?
john lampkin's chronicle of higher education crossword, "Geometric Progression"
fun math theme in the CHE puzzle today:
the grid has stacks of 8-letter fill abutting the 9-letter theme answers in the NE and SW, and several other fill words of 7 or more letters. there seem to be matched pairs of interesting answers:
clever clue: [Something you get on your birthday?] is OLDER. true dat.
brendan emmett quigley's blog crossword, "Ze Puzzle"
brendan has a light, fun theme today, which involves changing an S-spelled Z sound into a Z-spelled Z sound:
the fill skews much more literate/cultural than i normally associate with a BEQ puzzle:
of course, it wouldn't be a BEQ puzzle without its share of pop culture names and modern fill. these include the GZA, the [Wu-Tang Clan member who released the classic album "Liquid Swords," 1995], OMAR little from the wire, and IRISH rockers U2 (or in the grid, U-TWO), plus the ridiculous acronym ROTFLMAO and the wonderful verb SNARK, or [Make catty remarks]. and scrabble enthusiasts everywhere (a group which does not include brendan himself) will rejoice to see ZAS ([Brick oven pies, for short]) in the grid.
favorite clue: [Rules of music?] for STAFF LINES.
nora pearlstone's LA times crossword
nora pearlstone (anagram of "not a real person") is one of rich norris's crossword aliases. as is often the case with the friday LA times, there's a tricky wordplay theme, and as is often the case with rich's puzzles, the clues are pretty tricky as well. let's look at the theme first, which involves insertion of a K after an R:
the fill contains some good stuff, including GRAND PRIX (recently seen as a crossword answer on "jeopardy!") next to CRIKEY, SKULK crossing two theme answers (both at the K), and a composer i'm not familiar with named MOZART. is he as famous as thomas ARNE or erik SATIE? or maybe a lesser light, like camille saint-SAENS?
there were also several names i didn't know. [Swing era bandleader Cates] is a new clue for OPIE. two swedish names, ["La Dolce Vita" actress] EKBERG and actress ESSY persson, were totally unfamiliar. ["L.A. Law" co-creator] BOCHCO... well, i might have seen it before, but there's no letter in it that i could guess if i had the other five. well, maybe the H.
for more on this puzzle, which featured some knotty clever clues, check out LA crossword confidential.
raymond hamel's crossynergy crossword, "Sleepy Heads"
the theme here is phrases whose first word starts with a place to sleep:
the clues were kind of knotty in places (it took me a full minute longer than most CS weekdays), but not really much fun. [Rose by any other name?] for ALIAS is kind of cute, i guess. [Uses a straw] isn't how i'd clue SUCKS, but i guess that's how you have to clue it in mainstream newspaper puzzles.
myles callum's wall street journal crossword, "Tax Breaks"
myles's puzzle has 8 answers of varying lengths which include the letters T, A, and X in order. the most entertaining one has got to be GRODY TO THE MAX, and i like the unusual consonant clustering in FRENCH CHATEAUX, but the others left me a little cold. and i'm sure i'm a little grumpy because when i finished, i had some mistakes, which were a combination of words i didn't know ([Character actor J. Carrol] NAISH; [Salad bar tidbits] = BACOS), clues i don't get ([Took a position] = HIRED ON? [Dodger base] = CORN?), stuff i know i've seen but can never remember ([Papuan port in which Amelia Earhart was last seen] = LAE; [Icelandic post-rock band Sigur] ROS) and careless errors (RATIES? why would i think that could be an answer?).
lest i be all negative, let me add that i enjoyed much of the fill in this puzzle, including the place where LIESL crossed KVASS (KVASS! again!) and the EXTRA EXTRA-scrabbly NW. but i am just about blogged out. luckily, there's only one more puzzle i have to do today, and i don't have to blog it until tuesday.
see you tomorrow.
last updated: 11:50 am eastern
April 09, 2009