February 24, 2006

Disadorn (that's Breton for Saturday)

It's a delightful surprise to open up the Saturday NYT and find that it's by Henry Hook. Do you think it's merely a coincidence that POSTERIORS and UP IN THE SKY are in the same puzzle with a phrase containing "moon" (MOONWALK—sadly, not the more apt MOONSHINE)? Anyway, this puzzle's crammed full of unusual entries and challenging clues. With just the ND portion, "High, in a way" led me straight to ON DOPE as one of the first few entries I filled in (what does this say about me?), although having AZUL instead of AZUR ("shade of bleu") below it ended up slowing me down. I learned a new bit of medical terminology with "renal : kidney :: amygdaline : ___"—TONSIL. Turns out amygdaline can refer to the tonsils, the amygdala in the brain, or almonds. Try not to think about eating tonsils the next time you've having a chocolate bar with almonds, okay? I never saw Gypsy, so I didn't know Mama Rose's declaration was I HAD A DREAM. I await an explanation from one of you about MONADS: in what sense is that "One and the same"? "208 people" seems like a tricky clue for IDAHOANS. "Bluejackets" are SAILORS in the U.S. or British Navy, apparently. Last, "Flex, for example" is a patently nonobvious clue for SHAMPOO. Congrats to Henry and Will on putting out a puzzle that pleased me so.


Henry Hook shows you the money in this weekend's LA Weekly puzzle, which is a good puzzle but has one pain-inducing obscurity: the "city on the Volga," TVER. If you haven't heard of it, you might know it as Kalinin (its name from 1931 to 1990), but the current name dates at least as far back as 1164 and the city's got a long and interesting history—so I suppose one can't complain too much about its use in a crossword.

Frequent Crossword Fiend commenter Bob Mackey makes his construction debut with today's themeless LA Times puzzle. Congrats, Robair! My favorite entries were AVENUE Q and TMOBILE.

The February 10 Chronicle of Higher Education puzzle by Michael Ashley is timely—if you do it this weekend. It's got a Winter Olympics theme.

NYT 8:01
LAT 4:12
Newsday Saturday Stumper 3:52 (on paper)
CS 3:22
2/10 CHE 3:22

2/26 LA Weekly 9:52
2/26 WaPo 8:22