Friday, 1/2/09

NYT (p) 4:38 ... SUN 14:00* ... LAT (p) 5:02 ... CS (p) 2:49 ... WSJ (p) 6:58 ... BEQ (p) 4:39

Martin Ashwood-Smith brings his patented triple-stacks to the NYT and a not-so-tough themeless. 1-Across, SALESRESISTANCE, is overly common as a 15-letter entry -- or so I thought, but the databases don't agree. I bet it's also been in some Longo cranium-crushers. Started this one with the MUNRO/ANNAN cross in the grid's dead center. Doing themelesses on paper, I tend to scan the clues for gimmes, while on other puzzles I'll start in the top left. Last letter was the B of THEROBE/BASED, which was pretty much a guess, though I see how [Grounded] can mean BASED.

I knew there'd be much erasing with the Sun's Vowelless Crossword by Frank Longo, so I didn't print it. My mom -- who can finish a Tuesday on her own, and was recently given a copy of Amy Reynaldo's book by her loving son -- was curious about the vowelless, so she kibitzed and helped with a bunch of answers. I also had Across Lite show me two wrong letters toward the end (we had Hungarian Rebellion instead of Revolution). I don't remember so many out-and-out gimmes in past vwllsss (e.g. US Senate, Scarlet Letter, The Verdict)... maybe after editing an entire book of these, Peter's more sensitive to how freakin' hard they can be! I took too long trying to fit the Patriots or Giants in 54-Across where the Colts belonged, and still don't get the first word of 52-Across.

Friday update... hopefully brief as I have to get to the airport and back to freezing New York City! It felt a bit odd to solve today's Quigley puzzle with a pencil, since it's not meant to exist in print. Brendan's got a potty mouth, but hides it well. Lots of good fill like BLITZER, YOUWHAT [!?], POTATOE, SOIGATHER...

I figured out the theme in the LAT much quicker than I normally do, but had trouble grasping the "hint" answer TEE-OFF TIME, fooled as I was by the word "Driver" in the clue. The WSJ has a crazy asymmetrical grid designed to look like an ANT farm, and apparently contains 30 ANTS (I didn't go looking). Great execution by ACME and PB2... This may be my fastest 21x21 time with a pencil, and I felt like the clues were easier than most WSJ puzzles. Perhaps because there are so many isolated sections, and Mike Shenk wanted to make sure solvers wouldn't get stuck.

1 comment:

Joon said...

yes, many gimmes in the vwllss, but i had a bad crossing at DSsCTS/sRLCS because apparently i don't know how to spell desiccates. (that still looks wrong. dessicates! come on!) and i had no chance of working out the crossing, which my wife looked at for 0.2 seconds and said, "curlicues." my god, i haven't thought about curlicues since about the fourth grade.