September 01, 2006

Saturday, 9/2

NYT 6:34
Newsday 6:05
LAT 5:28
CS 3:06

Part of me hoped that David Quarfoot's Saturday-tough Friday NYT would be followed by an inhuman challenge for the Saturday puzzle, but what do you know? Mel Rosen's crossword is roughly...Saturday level. And I made it harder on myself by not getting enough sleep last night—that only seems to work out when there's enough adrenaline to counteract the sleep loss, as at Stamford. This puzzle combined a few gimmes with a lot more entries I questioned myself on, so it actually felt like more of a struggle than the solving time reflects. NEEDLENOSE pliers came quickly, and I extracted LEAF-EATING out of the root words in "Folivorous," but the rest of the long entries made me work for them, even SPIKE JONZE, whose name I blanked on until enough crossings made it obvious. I sent myself down some crazy wrong paths (deciding the "Devon river" was Ayr rather than the EXE, placing Scheherezade on the Greek Mt. Ida rather than in an ODA), and I also erased ONE for "Not split" because ONE O ("Clock starter?") was already in the grid—duplicated entries don't bother me if I don't notice them, but jeeze, if you notice it mid-solve, it can throw you. There were a few things that eluded me—like SLOWLY for "Larghetto" (a music term unfamiliar to me) and ESSE for "Sum, ___, fui" (some Latin I never knew).


Stan Newman (as "Anna Stiga") put together a good Newsday Saturday Stumper. Maybe a few more less-than-smooth word forms (e.g., EXCITERS) than would be ideal, but a fantastic set of clues offsets that.