October 27, 2006

Saturday, 10/28

NYT 6:06
Newsday 5:27
LAT 5:02
CS 3:22

(post updated 9:15 a.m. Saturday)

What, what? (Read with Nigel Hawthorne's intonation from The Madness of King George.) Another David Quarfoot puzzle? We just had one last Saturday, and here's his byline again. Which is louder, the rejoicing throughout the land or the wailing and gnashing of teeth? On my end, it's the rejoicing, since I'm done with the crossword. I am a firm believer in the idea of doing a crapload of crosswords to tone your cruciverbal muscles, and this week I've done a bunch of Rich Norris themelesses. Coincidentally, this Saturday's 14-Across appeared in one of the Norrises, so that tricky letter sequence—EXHIBIT A ending with an A—popped into my head quickly. And another Norris puzzle had a word related to UXORIAL in it (clued there in relation to a husband, here as [Wifely]), so that helped, too. DQ always finds a way to sandwich in plenty of zippy entries, like YOU DA MAN (["Way to go, bro!"], SO HAVE I, the (TV) movie OMEN IV: The Awakening, and the liqueur TIA MARIA. There's the mini-theme in the center, two professional wrestlers pinning one another. Then there's the category of obscurities, fair game for a Saturday puzzle—the [Russian fermented drink] KVASS, the standby basket-weaving material OSIER (willow branches, really), the NEOGENE period (starting 23 million years ago), an [Anatomical term that's Latin for "hollow"] that makes perfect sense (CAVA, the root for the word cave), and the finch SERIN. My favorite type of clue—in full blossom here—is wickedly deceptive or otherwise tough. [Followers of ducks, sheep or pigs] is EIEIO, [Heady?] is CRANIAL, [Warren resident] is OHIOAN (not rabbit), [River tower] is TUG, and [Cursed] for DOGGONE. Not to mention [Lake in Mist County, Minn.], which seems to require knowledge of geography but doesn't (Lake WOBEGON is fictional). All in all, another great offering from David Quarfoot and Will Shortz.


The Newsday Saturday Stumper this week is by Doug Peterson. A sprinkling of Z's, X's, and K's enlivens the grid. My favorite clue here was [Sort of blue] for CERULEAN—are you feeling a little cerulean today? Or maybe more cobalt?

Bruce Venzke and Stella Daily's LA Times themeless crossword beefs up two triple stacks of 15-letter entries by topping (or bottoming) them with a pair of 7-letter words (including tasty, tasty CHEETOS)—that means eight rows of the puzzle contain a total of just two black squares.