September 09, 2005

The Wrath of Kahn

Well, what fun! I returned home after dinner to find a roster of alarmingly slow applet times for the Saturday NYT. Psychologically, it's got to be better to approach a hard puzzle knowing that it's hard, rather than wondering if one has somehow grown stupid.

I'm too sleepy to do the research, but I'm guessing that David Kahn has a handful (or two) of brand-new entries, such as INK SLINGER, WHITE ROSES, MOTT ST, and MOOSE CALLS. I really like the duplicitous clues he and Will concocted: "tip reducer" for EMERY, "one working with a crook" for BO PEEP, "struck" for TOLLED, "wolf" for both RAKE and ROUE, "a pearly white" for CAN(ine), "16" for F[our] SQUARED, "put away" for ICE, "creature with many sharp teeth" for EEL (anyone else consider EMU, ELK, and ERN first?), "butterfly, e.g." for STROKE, "specifically" for BY NAME, "18 through 20, in a run" for RST, "Melba, e.g." for DAME, "those who prefer suspense?" for POSTPONERS, "passed quickly" for SHOT BY, "like Mars nowadays" for MAPPED, the old riddle for ALASKA, "sharp" for SHREWD, "shellac finish" for CEE (as opposed to HARD C), "big shot" for BELT, and "carry on" for ACT UP. The last section I filled in was BELT crossing ICE, EEL, and SET; then I figured out that 1994 needed to be entered rebus-style as O(ne)N(ine)N(ine)F(our), and voila.

Although the puzzle certainly took longer than the average puzzle that gives me the wavelength vibe, I still felt the vibe for some of the puzzle. Things like BO PEEP and TOLLED and DAME seemed fairly obvious, while I had to fight for plenty of other entries (CEE, POSTPONERS, what the trouble with BASEBALL was—not STRIKE, not LOCKOUT...).

What was your worst killer spot?

Times added below:

NYT 11:27
LAT 4:56
Newsday "Stumper" 4:04
CS 3:31