October 28, 2005

Grr, for two reasons. First, I was hoping for a super-tough Saturday NYT, rather than one that I could do a couple seconds faster than the Friday puzzle. Second, while Joe DiPietro's puzzle wasn't as hard as I'd hoped, I still found it hard enough that I was a couple minutes slower than the fastest solver, and I'd rather be off by :05 than 2:05. So anyway...I like to think of this as the BOB COSTAS/EGGBEATER puzzle, because those parallel entries are so great together. (I've had a special fondness for Bob ever since that "Saturday Night Live" skit where the TV newsroom folks overpronounced everything that was Spanish, like Neee-caragua and en-chee-lah-da, as well as the Greek-American name Bob Costas.) Another parallel pair, ACTS NAIVE with its four consecutive consonants and SEA OTTERS with three vowels in a row, is also nice. And then there are CORDIAL and STINGER (which should have been clued as a cocktail). But let me ask you this: Did you ever clap when doing "one potato, TWO POTATO..."?


I liked Karen M. Tracey's LAT puzzle, which crossed two Scrabblicious 13-letter entries (JUXTAPOSITION and SIX OCLOCK NEWS) and interwove other goodies like WHIZBANG and GAZPACHO, COMANECI and US SENATE. Really the only thing I didn't like was the Moby Dick character PELEG, who must be obscure because I have forgotten him (Q.E.D.).

Stan Newman's Saturday Stumper was hard, but I threw away the Post-it with my solving time on it so I can't say how hard. The grid's got five meaty chunks to it, and the SW and NE corners connect to the rest of the puzzle through only a single entry. The uniformly tough clues should slow you down in every section.

NYT 7:39
Stumper ?:??
LAT 4:27
CS 3:19

WaPo 10:29
LA Weekly 7:26