CS 6:55 (J—paper)
Doug Peterson's New York Times crossword
Oho! Doug Peterson is busting out all over—you'll be seeing his byline on the L.A. Times puzzle too, and I warmly recommend both of these themelesses. The NYT one is s 72-worder with three and a half fantastic 15-letter answers. I gotta dock half a fantasticness unit for the colorful baseball term I've never heard of, but the other three 15's are beauts:
Let us take a gander at the Scrabbly pieces of this puzzle. The Q answres double-dip in the Scrabble pond—POP QUIZ is a [Classroom groan elicitor], while QUIXOTIC means [Not at all practical]. The QUIZ's Z is also in DOZY, which is clued as [On the way out?], and QUIXOTIC's X is shared by [Swim cap material] LATEX. There's another Z in ZLOTYS, which has an awesome clue: [Poles work for them]. Did you think of magnets here? Me, too. PENZANCE is a [Cornwall resort port], home of fictional pirates if not real ones.
Did you know that CCI, or 201, was the [Year the emperor Decius was born]? Me, too! (Just kidding.) My favorite clues and answers in the rest of this puzzle include these ones:
Tougher stuff, for me:
Updated Saturday morning:
Randolph Ross's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Boston Accent"—Janie's review
Before I knew exactly how the theme of yesterday's "Across Beantown" puzzle was going to play out, I thought it might have to do with the city for which "Beantown" is the nickname: Boston. Today we really do get Boston—or rather, we get the sound of the city, as in "I pocked my cah in the Hahvahd Yahd." Like other constructors before him who have used this gimmick (and no doubt like many who will follow...), Randy has created a puzzle with phrases and names that swap out one telling sound for another—in this case, "ark" for "ock"—with some highly successful (and highly amusing) results. In this way:
As I mentioned, "Boston Accent" puzzles have been appearing for years. Under those circumstances it's even more impressive that four of the five theme phrases are appearing for the first time in a major puzzle and AFRAID OF THE DOCK is making its first CS showing.
Elsewhere in the puzzle, I love how (CS debut) ROCK OPERA cuts a swath through TORI, IROC and MOCK...; and how we get a mini-math theme (overlapping and) running from top to bottom with ONE-THIRD [Ratio of a foot to a yard] and (CS debut) COTANGENT [Adjacent-over-opposite in right angles].
We also get a quintet of famed (if not all equally talented or deservedly famous...) females by way of their first names: ISAK (Dinesen), SONIA (Braga), TAMA (Janowitz), ENYA (yes-she-has-a-last-name Brennan), and TORI ([Spelling in Hollywood]).
Fave non-theme clue: [Site of many Spanish hangings] for EL PRADO. I let myself get completely misdirected by this one and was trying to come up with something Inquisition-related. Wrong.
And some words that I simply loved seeing in the grid—for their own sakes: DORIC, SWANK, PATIO, ICKIER, WOWS. And FOIST. Maybe we'll see this clued as [Initial ordinal] in a puzzle called "Brooklyn Accent"...
Doug Peterson's Los Angeles Times crossword
Well, I slept in until 9 this morning and need to get on with my day, so I will mostly plagiarize from L.A. Crossword Confidential post. I really enjoyed this puzzle, which took me three seconds less time than Doug's NYT puzzle. The two triple-stacks of 15's were terrific, and 8 of each stack's 15 crossings were 6- to 8-letter words. That makes for a much livelier solve than having a tremendous expanse of 3's and 4's, doesn't it? The fill was smooth, workable, and familiar, except for those three "huh?" answers in the southwest corner, where I had to work, work, work the crossings to assemble those answers:
And here are the six terrific 15's:
Thanks for the double-dip cruciverbal treat, Doug!
S.N./Stan Newman's Newsday "Saturday Stumper"
Most constructors are happiest when solvers may have to struggle with their puzzles, but can eventually finish. Stan Newman, it is rumored, lives to frustrate solvers and is happiest when someone can't finish his puzzle. Well, congrats, Stan, you got me on this one. But I'll explain why I didn't like the experience and we'll call it even. (Here's the solution.)
First problem: The grid's pretty much lopped into two separate puzzles. Only squares 24 and 44 connect the two halves of the grid, so all you're getting to lead you into the other half is a single D or S. Second problem: The southwest corner is anchored by [Steel product], which clues DROP SAFE. Say what? Apparently a drop safe is a safe that a business can drop money into and avoid having said money stolen throughout the day. Never heard of it—I think many convenience stores use these, but their "employees can't open safe" signs don't call 'em "drop safes." Then there are all sorts of vague clues. [Line of descent] is that SIDE of your family, ["Macbeth" excerpt] is apparently an opera ARIA (there's an opera by that name?), [Bauhaus course] is OP ART (didn't know Bauhaus and op art were connected, nor that there are classes in op art), and [Back online] is REPAIRED (but could easily be RESTORED, REBOOTED, or RE-other things-ED. Third problem: I'm simply too young for this puzzle. ["Divided We Fail" org.] is the AARP? I didn't know that. ["The Guns of Navarone" setting] is GREECE? Never saw it. A POLTROON is a [Big baby], a.k.a. a coward, in archaic language, and yet the clue is quite contemporary—alas, I was born after archaic language had already become archaic. Sure, 50D CAFE is a [Meeting place], but saying that the way one [Works at a 50 Down, perhaps] is that one SURFS is clunky. Nobody says they're "surfing the net" to work anymore. That usage is now archaic.
The northeast corner is where POLTROON held court with ANNO [___ Hegirae (Moslem reckoning)]. [At or I] is a HALOGEN element, but the atomic symbols are essentially abbreviations and HALOGEN is not abbreviated. Erik SATIE gets clued as a Jean [Cocteau collaborator]. The flower the DAHLIA is clued as an [Aztec food staple], which seems to be minor piece of trivia. Likewise, EDWARD VIII is the [Bahamas' wartime governor, previously].
June 05, 2009