Newsday untimed (but not too tough by Stumper standards)
CS untimed (solved with "Downs")
Karen Tracey's New York Times crossword
I had just done the Saturday L.A. Times crossword and appreciated it for its KarenTraceyosity, so it was a lovely surprise to launch the NYT and find a bona fide Karen Tracey puzzle. It's got her hallmarks—Scrabbly letters, names, geography, lively phrases. Highlights:
One demerit: 31D: BLAS could've used a Gil Blas clue rather than [Panama's San ___ Islands] since SAN is in SAN REMO, [Italian city with an annual music festival].
This puzzle seemed of standard Saturday difficulty to me, but I'm seeing some uncommonly long finishing times on the applet. Where did people get hung up? I'm guessing it was the northwest corner.
Updated Saturday morning:
Lynn Lempel's CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, "Poetry Reading"—Janie's review
Do you remember the first time you realized that you really liked poetry? For me, it was in my junior year of high school English and the introduction to Walt Whitman as part of our American Literature unit. Whitman was very free with all of the elements I'd previously understood to be part of "good poetry"—and what a great discovery that was! The elements in question? Why, you'll find them at the end of each of today's theme-phrases:
Poetry not your thing? Don't worry. Lynn also gives you sports fans the ASTROS [Houston celebs] and PLACE [Come in second at the track] to contemplate, or musical genius (madman?) Peter Schickele a/k/a [J.S. Bach's fictional descendent] P.D.Q. for you music lovers.
Two households both alike in dignityAll definitions, by the way, courtesy of the glossary in Poets and Poems, edited by Herbert Goldstone and Irving Cummings.)
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene...
But I gotta tell ya, I admire the poetic balance in such clues/fill as: [Loads]/LOTS and [Loads]/TONS; [Word on a Lipton box]/TEA and [Word on a Lipton box]/PEKOE; the two (possibly CATERED) events, BBQS [Many summer cookouts] and the LUAU [Maui meal]; and [Emits forcefully]/SPEWS and "BLAST IT!"/["Rats!"].
This morning I'm going to HIE TO the SUBWAY [Underground railway] headed for Queens, for Ryan and Brian's Lollapuzzoola 2. Given the PACE of my solving "talent," it won't take a TAROT reading to predict my results. But it'll be great to socialize-and-solve on what's predicted to be a pretty soggy Saturday here in NYC!
Peter Wentz's Los Angeles Times crossword
I loved the fill in this puzzle. I know my fondness for having people's names in the grid is not a universal fondness, so this crossword might drive some solvers nuts...but I love it. The juxtaposition of [Leader with a bouffant hairdo]—not Margaret Thatcher but KIM JONG-IL—with LIL JON, the ["Crunk Juice" rapper], is inordinately pleasing to me. "Kim Jong-il and Lil Jon, together again!" Throw in the [Stadium vendor's cry] "COLD BEER!" and the cheesy '80s Shatner series T.J. HOOKER, not to mention the JEB BUSH/TED DANSON combo, the slanginess of "You BETCHA!" and RECKON/[S'pose], and cool words/phrases like THWART and KNEE-JERK, and you've got yourself a winner.
More on this puzzle in my L.A. Crossword Confidential writeup.
Merle Baker's Newsday "Saturday Stumper"
(PDF solution here.)
This one felt like it relied heavily on word endings. -ED x 5, -S x 19, -ER x 3 (UTTERER and AIRER are seldom used in English), -EST x 2. See? It's a 66-worder, and those are hard to make without tacking on word endings. Patrick Berry's 66-word Friday NYT crossword had 11 such endings, vs. this one's 29. I don't know how Berry does it.
August 21, 2009