Don't miss the Crossword Fiend Fourth Bloggiversary dreadful-theme contest! (That's the post right below this one.)
Barry Silk's New York Times crossword
You know what I like about this puzzle? I mean, aside from the interesting answers with Q's and Z's in them. And the central 15's. And the stacks of 8's and 9's in the four corners. I like the overall geographic slant to the crossword. Look at all the places:
If these answers stumped you, well, then you ought to learn more geography, oughtn't you?
These ones were my favorite answers and clues:
A special shout-out to 49D. [Much-needed donations] are ORGANS. Yes! Sign the organ donor line on your driver's license, and let your family know that you want to be an organ donor. My Facebook friends include a woman who recently received her second life-saving kidney transplant (and in exchange, her husband donated a kidney to someone else via a matching program), as well as a man who donated one of his kidneys. Live kidney donors are even more heroic than those of us who are willing to donate as cadavers. Three cheers for live donors! And hooray for Barry and Will Shortz for a socially beneficial clue for ORGANS.
Updated Saturday morning:
I'm woefully short on time this morning because I'm meeting my mother at the Apple Store to help buy her first computer. She sets great store by Consumer Reports, and they always rave about the Mac's superior reliability and customer service. Gotta get in before the crowds show up for the new iPhone, right?
Brad Wilber's Los Angeles Times crossword
This puppy's got some colorful fill in every corner, plus RED SONJA (["She-devil with a sword" of comics]) and DOS EQUIS cerveza ([Mexican beer with XX on its label]) in the middle. For the rest of what I've got to say about this puzzle, please divert your attention to L.A. Crossword Confidential. Trust me, I was much perkier when writing that post last night than I am this morning after five hours of sleep.
Paula Gamache's CrosSynergy puzzle, "It's a Gift"
Once a month, our Janie heads to her beloved Baltimore and I return to blogging about the Saturday CS crossword. Paula's theme is FREE, [Like a gift, and word that can precede the last parts of 17- and 57-Across and 11- and 25-Down]. [Statement of means to the end?] is a LIVING WILL (free will). Public service announcement: You should have a living will. I don't, no, but I should. POWER LUNCH is a [Meal for wheelers and dealers]. Who doesn't love a free lunch? STUMP SPEECH is clued as [Campaigner's delivery]. Free speech is good too, but less filling than a free lunch. FLOOR SAMPLE is a [Showroom sale item]; free samples are as beloved as free lunches. The theme is none too thrilling, but the fill includes "I GUESS SO" and "YEAH, MAN," SHOT UP clued as [Grew like crazy], OB-GYNS ([Docs who deliver]), and an ODD JOB ([Task for a handyman]). Geography brings us ZAMBIAN, or [Neighbor of a Tanzanian] (I defy anyone to say they filled this one in with no crossings at all), and old crosswordese AINU, a [Japanese aborigine].
Updated Saturday afternoon:
Doug Peterson's Newsday "Saturday Stumper"
Once again, Doug Peterson demonstrates why he has become my favorite Stumper-maker. Now, last week's Stumper had its charms—I heard through the grapevine that Dan and Ellen finished Stan Newman's killer puzzle in the range of 9 to 10 minutes, another top solver took 17 minutes, and several other top solvers just plain didn't finish or finished with more than one wrong square. The Stumper is like a Gumpian box of chocolates—you never know what you're gonna get. Maybe a solid semisweet chocolate piece, not a wishy-washy milk chocolate one; that's today's puzzle by Doug. Maybe a chocolate with a hard nut inside; that'd be a puzzle that takes maybe 40% more effort than this one. Then there's the one with the cyanide in it, and depending on your personal constitution it may or may not be survivable; that was last weekend's.
Here's the solution grid for today's offering. Stuff I was fond of:
Did you know a CUTLER is a [Grindstone user]? Did you know that CUTLER was a word? Cutlery, I know, but CUTLER was new to me. I don't know [Novelist Amelia] BARR. Looking at her Wikipedia write-up...no, nope, none of those book titles ring a bell. I didn't know the [Name in the Cartoon Hall of Fame] based on the clue, but the crossings gave me DIK Browne of "Hägar the Horrible" and "Hi and Lois" fame.
June 12, 2009