March 10, 2006

Saturday pains

Oh. Ow. That was unfortunate. I launched Saturday's NYT puzzle and rejoiced that it was by David Quarfoot, whose previous Saturday outings this winter took me less than 5 minutes apiece. This puzzle was a little trickier throughout, I thought, but it was that little northeast corner that killed me. I got GETA and KNEES and TEETHE ("Go from 0 to 20 in three years?"), but the rest of it eluded me for far too long. I spent most of my solving time trapped in that little corner, in fact. Aargh. "Draft choices?" is OXEN, not ALES. "Actively trading" is OPEN, which I would have had within seconds if only I'd asked my husband (but I solve solo). "Inflict upon" may lead to a mere 4-letter entry, but dang it, it's two words (DO TO). And "Gets to" isn't about being allowed to, or attaining—it's ANNOYS. It all makes perfect sense now, but during that eternity, it all eluded me. I blame the hidden DEVIL within GOOD AND EVIL for misleading me. Outside of the hell corner, kudos to Quarfoot for more Q's in QUID PRO QUO and for SEE IF I CARE. Great clues abounded; "Baby shower" for ULTRASOUND, "It was uncommon at the Forum" for RARA, "Love, e.g." for NO SCORE, "Pair from a deck, maybe" for MASTS, "Some cause laughter" for GASES.


James Buell's LA Times themeless might have felt like a killer if I hadn't already been slaughtered by brain freeze during Quarfoot's puzzle. Plenty of great clues, like "most recent box office arrival, probably" for LAST IN LINE, and "cells don't have them" for DIAL TONES, and assorted tough/interesting clues. Much more challenging than today's Saturday Stumper.

NYT 12:34
LAT 8:15
Newsday Saturday Stumper 3:31 (on paper)
CS 3:08