Hello! I got home from New Orleans this evening and hadn't been online all week—and wasn't even buying the NYT to keep up with this week's crosswords. I give rousing acclaim and appreciation to Joon and PuzzleGirl, who filled in ably and kept you entertained this week.
Karen Tracey's New York Times crossword
I do enjoy Karen's themeless confections so it's a nice welcome-home gift, having this puzzle to blog my first night back. It's filled with those trademark Tracey touches, the Scrabbly fill that sings to me. Without further ado, here's some of what's in it.
First, there's the fill with rare letters:
My favorite other answers and clues are these:
And last, a few gnarly bits:
Updated on Saturday morning:
Bruce Venzke and Stella Daily's Los Angeles Times crossword
This week's themeless Saturday L.A. Times puzzle is inching back towards the customary difficulty level, but is still on the easier side. The grid features eight (!) 15-letter entries, with triple-stacks at the top and bottom and two more 15's in the middle third. The shortish Down crossings tend towards the blah side, but the 15's have some color to them:
[FDR's Fala, e.g.] is an old-school crosswordese dog name. I don't recall learning the dog's breed, though: ABERDEEN TERRIER. WIkipedia tells me that's just another name for the Scottish terrier, or Scottie. Okay, so I did know Fala's breed—just not that anyone called it an Aberdeen terrier.
The classic OREO cookie gets a clue freshening: [Its parts may be eaten separately]. I also like the IVY clue: [Brown, but not white?] is an Ivy League university.
Over at L.A. Crossword Confidential, PuzzleGirl provides a more in-depth look at this puzzle. Today's Crosswordese 101 topic is 3-letter abbreviations of government agencies. I'm not sure if it was PuzzleGirl or Rex Parker who came up with the idea of having a Crosswordese 101 riff over there every day, but I love it. Seasoned solvers can enjoy the refresher courses, while newer solvers are getting handy lessons on the fill they'll be seeing a lot of.
Doug Peterson's Newsday "Saturday Stumper" puzzle
Once again, Doug Peterson demonstrates why he's become my favorite Stumper maker, with a puzzle that's fun and fresh and challenging without being annoying. Here are my favorite answers and clues:
(Complete solution here.)
There are also plenty of entries with clues that didn't point me in the right direction. [Nickname for "The King"] is ARNIE. Arnold Palmer? Do they call him "The King"? I have no idea. Dickens' Uriah HEEP is an [Exemplar of insincerity]. [Honest Abe's dad at al.] are ABNERS. [European union prename] is LECH—oh, wait, I just figured out that clue. Lech Walesa's Solidarity was a union in Europe, and the clue has nothing to do with the European Union. ["Rhapsody in Blue" introducer] isn't a person, it's an instrument—the CLARINET.
April 10, 2009