CS untimed (double-Doug!)
NYT diagramless tba
Doug Peterson's New York Times crossword
Did you know that COMEDIAN fits perfectly into the space for 15A: [Stand-up guy]? And yet the answer is FUNNYMAN, but I had the last letter in place so I promptly filled in COMEDIAN. Thank goodness for psychopaths behaving AMORALLY or it would've taken me longer to see the error in my ways. And thank goodness for the NYT's difficulty level remaining intact as an American treasure—I did the Saturday LAT puzzle just before this one, and it's a travesty how easy it was.
Lots of good stuff and hardly any junk in this grid. What's good? This:
You know, I thought this puzzle rolled in on the easier end of the Saturday spectrum, but I'm seeing longer-than-expected times on the applet and the widget in my sidebar. Deadly crossings? Tough clues? Traps? What gives?
"Birdhouse in Your Soul".
Updated Saturday morning:
Doug Peterson's CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, "Concealed Weapons"—Janie's review
You may recall that Monday's puzzle was "C & W" (by Paula Gamache), in which the words of the theme-phrases began with the title letters, and in which one of those theme-phrases was CONCEALED WEAPON. This last puzzle of the week goes one better by literally embedding the word arm, as in 57A. THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS [Constitutional guarantee...] in three more 15-letter phrases. And they just happen to be:
One "K" shy of a pangram, this puzzle is filled with lively, Scrabbly fill. Some of my faves include:
Was amused to see SUES right next to ARTE in the grid. While the former has been clued as [Brings actions against] and the latter as ["Laugh-In" regular Johnson], I was reminded that Alan Sues was also one of the regular (if perhaps less memorable) Laugh-In cast members.
Also smiled at the sequential, echoing clues [Newsman Newman]/EDWIN and [New, to Juan]/NUEVO.
Before I "AM-SCRAY!" (I do enjoy the slangy, ig-pay atin-Lay imperative), let me point out that ["Gunsmoke" star James] ARNESS always carried a weapon (if not necessarily a concealed one), and whether at the card table (where he would [Take from the deck]) or on the streets of Dodge City, might have uttered another imperative: "DRAW!"
Orange here. Imagine my surprise when it was nearly 9:30 when I woke up. That set the lackadaisical pace for my morning, in which I've made breakfast and downloaded a couple software updates but done no crosswords or blogging yet. I did the L.A. Times puzzle last night, so I'll start with that before moving on to the Newsday "Stumper" and Patrick Blindauer's NYT diagramless.
Bruce Venzke and Stella Daily's Los Angeles Times crossword
I can't help wondering if themeless (or, as Matt Gaffney wants to call 'em, "freestyle") crossword constructors are going to be hesitant to submit their creations to the L.A. Times knowing that the clues are likely to be gutted to Tuesday difficulty. I had complained last year when some Newsday "Saturday Stumpers" were hitting the 4-minute range and not stumping me at all—and now the L.A. Times themelesses are closer to the 3-minute mark. I just e-mailed a vague Tribune e-mail address (email@example.com) this morning to ask TMS to provide L.A. Times crosswords that appeal to solvers at all skill levels again, and not just easy puzzles.
Here's some of what I said in my L.A. Crossword Confidential post:
It's loaded with 15-letter answers—a triple-stack in the middle embraced by pairs of 15s above and below. They're all clued straightforwardly, as are the shorter answers. Not a single question-marked clue in the bunch! (And it's almost certain that Stella and Bruce originally wrote tougher clues for the puzzle.) Here are the big entries:
In the fill, there was a karate BROWN BELT with a clue that worked OK for BLACK BELT. Despite putting in that half-wrong answer early on, I still finished this puzzle in 3 minutes flat. That ain't right!
Stan Newman's alter ego Anna Stiga's Newsday "Saturday Stumper"
(PDF solution here.)
I may have spent half of my solving time trying to make sense out of the upper left corner of this puzzle. I hated it. It was patently unfair. I was tempted to Google the [Musical with Billy Joel songs] or [Sugar ___ (Monroe in "Some Like It Hot")], both of which I was blanking on. And then I figured out that [Pay back] was AVENGE and that [Yellow] must be GUTLESS (in another part of the puzzle, it's CRAVEN) and eventually everything fell into place (MOVIN' OUT, Sugar KANE). I kept thinking that 1A: [They go up in a plane] had something to do with airplanes (blame the [Fighter heroes], AVIATORS and AIR ACES, for that), but a plane is also a wood-shop tool that scrapes up SHAVINGS. Other clues in that corner that held me back but finally yielded: [Reveals, with "out"] is SMOKES, [Something paid] is HOMAGE, [Gave extra info on] is NOTATED. I ended up liking this quadrant of the puzzle best—lots of mental stretching and bending required to get to the intended meanings of the clues.
Time to put the blog away and play a geography board game with my kid. I may or may not get to the diagramless before tomorrow.
October 02, 2009