February 03, 2006


The Saturday NYT appears to be Philip Ordway's first NYT puzzle—debuting on a Saturday? Nice work if you can get it! It's an eye-pleasing grid with plenty of interesting longer entries—HUSH HUSH, PETUNIAS, COSTA RICA, NEPALESE. When I had ***EHERE for "concurring comment," for a moment I railed against the wrongness of "here, here"; then I saw that it was SAME HERE. The PLAY DEAD/CANINE row is a cute combo. Let's see, what clues might particularly vex solvers? What are people likely to Google when they're stuck? Maybe the botanical "funnelform flora" (PETUNIAS—and via that link, I learned that petunia leaves are "somewhat sticky and pubescent," pubescent being botany jargon for "hairy"), "flowering plant with prickly leaves" (TEASEL), and "cousin of a sego" (MARIPOSA lily).


Vic Fleming and Bonnie Gentry's LA Times puzzle put up a valiant fight Saturday morning. The triple-stacked 15's didn't all yield quickly, and while I was familiar with almost all the people's and characters' names included, a few had difficult clues that made me work the crossings—and in the left center of the puzzle, the crossings were also names that didn't come to mind quickly. KNOWALL (the same thing as a know-it-all) eluded me for the longest time, even though the Cruciverb database indicates that I've seen it in a crossword before. (How can I be a KNOWALL if I forget this term?) Favorite clue: "Old bread, briefly" for DMARK.

Daniel Stark's "Stumper" was one of the easiest Saturday Newsdays in a long while. BUNDT ("cake pan") has a peculiar origin; read about it in the Wikipedia article.

LAT 8:10
NYT 6:18
Newsday Saturday Stumper 3:34 paper
CS 3:18