May 05, 2006


Three weeks ago, James Buell had another Saturday NYT—only it ran on a Friday. Now he's got an actual Saturday puzzle,'s nowhere near as fearsome as that previous one. Mostly I was on Buell's wavelength—except for where the answers were completely unfamiliar. There's jazz trumpeter Ziggy ELMAN, the Ohio county and town of Van WERT, and the "compound used to treat chiggers and scabies," ROTENONE. Clues I liked included "cutting-edge features" = SAWTEETH, "sounding" = DEPTH, "hit list" = TOP TEN, "it's detected by the Marsh test, in forensics" = ARSENIC (maybe I should watch more "CSI"?), "like some dads" = STAY-AT-HOME, and "Where visitors can barely relax?" = NUDIST CAMP. Nifty entries included PASTA SALAD, BACKPEDALS, RAW BAR, COKED up, READY TO EAT, BOOK EDITOR, and PRESENT DAY. Now, I'm sure there are plenty of people who don't enjoy quasi-crosswordese entries like the ever-popular SMEW (clued here as "merganser relative"). But I appreciate having a quick toehold like that in the opening corner of a puzzle—SMEW yielded SAWTEETH crossing at the W, and coaxed out ARMORPLATE and DEEPSEATED. The southwest section had APU and the ARAL Sea as quick hits, and the southeast had RONA ("first name in gossip," Rona Barrett—read the Wikipedia article for a great quote from her autobiography; turns out she's been retired from the media for 15 years and now farms lavender) and NORA ("romance novelist Roberts"). A couple easy fill-in-the-blanks (KRISS Kringle and CREME caramel) helped things along, too.

Updated, finally:

Harvey Estes' "Win Some, Lose Some" CrosSynergy puzzle has a kinda fun theme.

LAT 4:30
NYT 4:27
Newsday Saturday Stumper 17:29—but I kept dozing off because it's been a long day
CS 3:02