Sunday, 5/16/10

NYT untimed…21 minutes but not exactly speed solving
NYT cryptic 9:03
BG 7:43 (joon—across lite)
LAT 7:35
Reagle 6:18
WaPo Puzzler 5:29
CS 8:45 (Evad)

Looking for the PDF of the Sunday NYT crossword? Click here to download.

If you want to do the puzzle on your computer rather than printing out, even though it will make for a subpar theme experience, Jim Horne has made an Across Lite version available here.

Matt Ginsberg’s New York Times crossword, “Double Crossers”

File0251gridMatt gives the term double-crosser a crossword twist times two, or maybe times four. Ten of the squares are further divided into quarters, and the top two squares complete the first word of the Across answer while the bottom two squares fill out the second word. Moving to the Down dimension, it’s the left and right square pairs that complete the words. So it’s kind of like a George Bredehorn “Split Decisions” puzzle on steroids. How awesome is that? (Answer: Very.) Think about the difficulty level of finding plausible phrases that differ by two letters in the same spot, and pairing them with other phrases that use the same variable letters but in a different order. And then find 20 such phrases that intersect this way and put it all into a standard crossword grid.

Here are the theme entries:

  • 1A. [*Winning dad in a race] is FASTER FATHER, which is impressive given that it looks like a 5-letter entry.
  • 6A. [*Like Enron] means IN THE RED IN THE END.
  • 20A. [*Whispers heard during an in-class test] make up CHEATER CHATTER.
  • 43A. [*Serving tray left next to the frying pan] is a SPATTER PLATTER.
  • 58A. [*Revival meeting] is a CONVERSION CONVENTION. Ooh, that’s a good one.
  • 73A. [*“You’re not that sorry!”] clues a CONTRITION CONTENTION.
  • 80A. [*One who apprentices woodworkers] is a STAINER TRAINER. Gah! Make it go away. Someone in my building is having her floors stained, and the hallways have reeked for days.
  • 90A. [*Bozo, for one] is a KIDDIE KIDDER. Would he kid a kid? Absolutely.
  • 105A. [*Singer Britney succeeds at the high jump] is SPEARS CLEARS. Do track and field commentators say “clears” or “clears it“? Is it dangling without a direct object?
  • 117A. [*Just one or two pups, say] would be a LITTLE LITTER. What, no teacup chihuahuas here?
  • 3D. [*Edberg enjoying a sports match] is STEFAN THE FAN. Cute! Did you notice, by the way, that the theme clues aren’t question-marked?
  • 11D. [*Knock again] is RETRY ENTRY.
  • 14D. [*Nectarine grove] clues its cousin, PEACH PATCH. Why not clue it as a fuzzy fruit? Nectarines aren’t peaches. Except I just looked it up in the dictionary, and it’s defined as a smooth-skinned variety of peach. Why am I just learning this now? Did everyone else know?
  • 26D. [*Stupid show from a cable TV giant] is TIME WARNER TIME-WASTER. Genius! I love this one, and wonder if it was the seed entry.
  • 43D. [*Orthodontist, at times] is a SPACER PLACER.
  • 68D. [*Oven, at times] is a COOKIE COOKER. Dang it, now I want to bake chocolate chip cookies. *shakes fist at Ginsberg*
  • 74D. [*Small-claims court] is a RESTITUTION INSTITUTION.
  • 80D. [*Lorry in a ditch] clues STUCK TRUCK. The clue suggests a British answer, which is distracting. I’d have gone with a moving van, which everyone knows is a big ol’ truck.
  • 97D. [*Vlasic employee] clues PICKLE PICKER.
  • 105D. [*Where Robert Burns and kin are buried] are SCOTS PLOTS.

My grade for the theme is 105%. Not every phrase sings, but the four-square gimmick is so cool, it brings the laggards up to speed. I’ll give the fill a 90%, with points off for a few trouble spots. I have never encountered the phrase FIT TO KILL (61D: [Strikingly, as in dress]). There’s a TIME LIMIT (76D: [Exam constraint]) southwest of the TIME WARNER TIME-WASTER. AND NOT is awkward (83A: [Excepting]). And how about TOLUENES (99A: [Solvents often found in antiknock additives])—is that properly pluralizable? Singular or plural, it’s “meh.”

On the plus side, we get gems like tasty SANGRIAS (29A: [Wine drinks], and yes, the plural is fine, because it comes in white and red varieties. JENNIFER hardly ever makes it into the grid (60A: [Tennis’s Capriati]). CELERITY is a great word (94A: [Speed]). NAME-DROPS is cool (78D: [Tries to impress, as in conversation]). And remember back when we still liked Mel Gibson? GALLIPOLI is a [1981 Mel Gibson film] (75D).

Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon’s New York Times second Sunday puzzle, a cryptic crossword

Region capture 2Oh! Because Matt’s puzzle wouldn’t work in the applet, they put the cryptic in there instead. I’ve never done a cryptic in a timed race against other people. I would feel better about my solving time if it weren’t for Byron Walden being on the board at 4:08 (!). It probably helps to know the Red Sox player at 1-Across, huh? I had RICHIE PEDRONA in there before DUSTIN PEDROIA found his way into the grid. Pfft.

I’m not wild about some of the fill in this one. What the hell is a POST HORSE? Who has ever been termed a MISSTATER? I know about mind readers, but what’s a THOUGHT READER?

Favorite clues:

  • 11A. [Declaration of what makes the likes of us stick together?] is PRONOUN+CEMENT.
  • 26A. [Loosely, sand-tribe area?] is ARABIAN DESERT, an anagram of the “sand-tribe area” definition.
  • 1D. [Blue feathers] clues DOWN, as in sad and goose down. I had the “racy” sense of the word “blue” in mind, which did me no favors.
  • 15D. SEE REASON is clued [Come to your senses before entering spring or summer]. With a bunch of crossings, I had PRE-SEASON, though it was clued as two words, not one hyphenated word, and PRE-SEASON didn’t emerge from the clue. It’s ERE inside SEASON.

Merl Reagle’s syndicated/Philadelphia Inquirer crossword, “The Can(i)nes Film Festival, Part 1”

Region capture 3You see that “Part 1” in the title? I think that means Merl only used up half the doggy movie titles and performers he came up with, and the other half is coming in Part 2. The Cannes Film Festival is going on right now, so the “Can(i)nes Film Festival” title is a cute touch. Here’s the theme:

  • 21a. [Canines’ favorite Dustin Hoffman film?] is WAG THE DOG.
  • 23a. [Actor popular among canines?] is TAB HUNTER. Some dogs are hunting dogs.
  • 30a. [Canines’ favorite Michael Caine thriller? (with “The”)] clues WHISTLE BLOWER. Do dogs like whistles, or are they just really good at hearing them?
  • 41a. [Canines’ favorite Burt Reynolds film? (with “The”)] clues LONGEST YARD. Good for running around in.
  • 47a. [Canines’ favorite Lauren Hutton film?] is the vampire flick ONCE BITTEN.
  • 52a. “That’s a GOOD GIRL!” Clued as [Canines’ favorite Jennifer Aniston film? (with “The”)]. Is the plural BAD BOYS coming in Part 2? No? How come it’s “good boy/girl,” but “bad dog“?
  • 64a. [Actor popular among canines?] is yummy TREAT WILLIAMS. For an added bonus, IAMS dog food brand is part of the last name.
  • 76a. [Canines’ favorite Jane Fonda film?] is ROLLOVER, and I’ve never heard of this movie. Is it about IRAs? Or SUVs?
  • 80a. [Canines’ favorite Timothy Bottoms film? (with “The”)] is PAPER CHASE, about law school. Never saw the movie, but I was hooked on the TV series while it lasted.
  • 87a. [Canines’ favorite Doris Day film?] clues TEACHER’S PET. Never heard of this one, either.
  • 96a. [Canines’ favorite Denzel Washington film? (with “The”)] clues BONE COLLECTOR.
  • 106a, 110a. [With 110 Across, canines’ favorite Russell Crowe film?] is MASTER AND / COMMANDER.

Thirteen theme entries is a lot, you know.

Easy puzzle overall. The only trouble spot was 47d: [Hydrophanes, e.g.] for OPALS. Here’s a definition of this mystery word: “opaque variety of opal that becomes translucent or transparent when wet.”

Every other weekend, the Sunday L.A. Times Calendar section includes Merl’s puzzle. Let me share with you an L.A Crossword Confidential comment from an anonymous wit:


No comment.

Bonnie Gentry’s syndicated Los Angeles Times crossword, “Mark Time”

Region capture 4When it’s time to get your marks, you can calculate your GPA, or [Scholastic mean, briefly, hidden in this puzzle’s seven longest answers] (110d). Here are those seven theme entries:

  • 27a. [It’s a racket], a PING-PONG PADDLE.
  • 41a. [S.O.S, for one] is a SCOURING PAD.
  • 64a. [“Come again?”] clues “BEG PARDON?”
  • 89a. [Group in power] is the RULING PARTY. Does the U.K. have a ruling party right now?
  • 101a. [State of inaction] is a HOLDING PATTERN.
  • 15d. [You might get it in your pajamas] clues MORNING PAPER. I had the PAPER part and could only think of TOILET PAPER. When I had the -ING PAPER part, my mind moved to WRAPPING PAPER. Great clue!
  • 58d. SPEAKING PART is [More than a walk-on].

I kept chancing upon delightful clues. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • 20a. [Milky Way ingredient?] is a STAR. In space. Not chocolate, nougat, or caramel, alas.
  • 24a. [You can’t go when you’re in it] refers to PARK, the car gear. This is not accurate in other settings. For example, you most certainly can pee in the park if nobody’s watching.
  • 43a. TRE, Italian for “three,” is the [Trevi Fountain coin count?].
  • 49a. [Mechanical connectors, half the time] are MALES.
  • 58a. [Feed store?] clues a SILO, in that a silo stores up feed. Maybe. Do farmers put animal feed in silos?
  • 108a. [Big butte] clues MESA. I like big buttes, I cannot lie.
  • 111a. An archeological [Dig find, perhaps] is a TOOL.
  • 115a. [Command after “Oops!”] is UNDO. Undo! Undo!
  • 84d. To [Silently endure difficulty, in slang] is to SUCK IT UP. Yes, indeed.
  • 92d. [Spark in a bookshop] isn’t about book burning. It’s about writer MURIEL Spark.
  • 101d, 102d. [Zipped] means HIED and [Zip] means NONE.

Updated Sunday morning:

Doug Peterson’s CrosSynergy “Sunday Challenge”—Evad’s review

Howdy pardners, Evad here, sitting in for the next few weeks with your CrosSynergy Syndicate roundup, as janie takes a well-deserved break.

Amy likes to call the CS “Sunday Challenge” the not-so-challenging Sunday puzzle, and I’d have to agree with her on this. (8:45 is about a NYT Wednesday-esque time for me.) But that didn’t mean there wasn’t much to enjoy in Doug’s offering today. Let’s take a few bites of the crunchy nuggets, shall we?

I think we all like long answers, and this puzzle has many nice ones:

  • “30 Minute Meals” host RACHAEL RAY, not to be confused with MARTHA RAYE of Polident fame. There’s a restaurant down the street from us in the North End of Boston named Euno, which advertises Rachael’s recommendation by the front door, so we tried it. We ate there on New Year’s Eve, which arguably is a tough night for most restaurants, but found it just so-so. Perhaps she should stick with the 30 minute meals.
  • “Brand sold in square bottles” clues JACK DANIELS. Hmmm, with so many interesting things to say about Jack Daniels (like how it can be used in a Slow Comfortable Screw…I’m talking the drink, folks!),
    3098577638_a60797dcc3 cluing it by the shape of the bottle seems to miss the mark.
  • The 1964 Shangri Las’ hit LEADER OF THE PACK. I was 4 when this came out, but I certainly remember the song, which was a hit long afterwards. It used to be played when Brett Favre took the field at Lambeau, but now that he’s no longer a Packer (is he in or out of retirement now, it’s hard to keep track), I’m not sure if they play it for his replacement. American CHEESES seems another shout out to the Brett of old.
  • The other long entries weren’t as sparkly, ITINERARIES, BILLINGS, MONTANA (if the most you can say about a city is what river it’s on, you’re in trouble), DATA MINING, GHOST RIDER (I hear Nic has sold his homes and bought a pyramid instead) and UNICAMERAL seem outshone by Rache, Jack and The Pack.

The shorter fill had a literary, upmarket feel, what with Romeo’s last words (I DIE), the Roman general of “Antony and Cleopatra” (AGRIPPA), and reference to the Sylvia PLATH poem “Lady Lazarus,” which appears to presage her untimely death at age 30:

   The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth?
   The sour breath
   Will vanish in a day.

   Soon, soon the flesh
   The grave cave ate will be
   At home on me

   And I a smiling woman.
   I am only thirty.
   And like the cat I have nine times to die.

Let me leave you with the Aussie heavy metal band AC/DC crossing DUNGEON, the “Location of an Iron Maiden.” That would be some concert to see.

See you tomorrow!

Frank Longo’s Washington Post “Post Puzzler No. 6”

Region capture 5Okay, I have two minutes to talk about this puzzle before heading out to the new storms exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry. Here are the answers.

Loved the freshness of the fill—JEFF BEZOS (6a. [Business executive who was Time’s 1999 Person of the Year] wasn’t BILL GATES); MAY CONTAIN NUTS (36a. [Notice that can prevent a bad reaction]); AX TO GRIND (56a. [Ulterior motive], though I prefer the AXE spelling); and LIKE A RAT IN A TRAP (39a. [With no way to get out]).

And the clues! Terrific, as you’d expect in a Peter Gordon–edited puzzle. (And Frank’s got a gift for clues too.) My favorites:

  • 21a. [Letters above a tilde] are ESC. Don’t understand this? Look at your keyboard. Fantastic clue.
  • 32a. [Delta fliers?] are GEESE in a “V” or delta formation.
  • 41a. [Puts in a good word for, say] clues EDITS. Because we editors can take out an infelicitous word and swap in a good one.
  • 43a. [Often-ripped things] are CDS. Not ABS. I wanted ABS. Which are seldom ripped, actually. More often flabby.
  • 6d. [Third qtr. starter] is about the year, not a sporting event. JUL. is the month that begins the third quarter.
  • 30d. [“Scooby-doo” producer, perhaps] is a SCAT SINGER.
  • 44d. [Shags, e.g.] are STYLES, as in hairstyles.

Unfamiliar things:

  • 54a. [Very resilient, as a tree branch] clues WHIPPY. Not a word I’ve seen before.
  • 3d. [Largest town on Molokai] is KAUNA KAKAI. Never heard of it. Population 2,726. Fresh fill, but not the kind that makes me happy.
  • 10d. BLACK GNATS are [Artificial flies used for trout and salmon]. Never heard of them.
  • 26d. [2/2, musically] is CUT TIME. Musical terminology is my weak spot.
  • 33d. EUROCOPTER is a [Big name in Continental chopper production]. That’s inferrable, but have you ever heard of this company?

Drat, that ws 13 minutes. We’re supposed to be leaving now and I’ve got to hop in the shower.

If anyone with the keys to this place wants to cover the Boston Globe puzzle, have at it. I’ll be away the rest of the day.

Henry Hook’s Boston Globe puzzle (from six-ish weeks ago), “Nice Work”

bg100516i guess that’s my cue. henry’s theme is phrases that end with a synonym for “nice.” i can’t tell if there are 7 or 9 theme answers. i think 9, which makes the last two pretty great. here they are:

  • a {Town on the Jersey shore} i didn’t know is POINT PLEASANT.
  • {Money} is LEGAL TENDER.
  • CHERRY CORDIAL is a {Tasty liqueur} i needed plenty of crossings for.
  • {On the right track} is GETTING WARM, if you’re playing that hot/cold game.
  • {Piratic cry} is “AVAST, ME HEARTY!” but i wanted it to be MATEYS, and it took me a while to realize that HEARTY was part of the theme here. i was thinking more of hearty campbell’s soup than a hearty welcome.
  • crossing two horizontal theme answers each are a {Decent hand} in poker, THREE OF A KIND, and {Longtime CBS News bigwig} FRED FRIENDLY. that’s some fancy constructin’ right there.
  • but not as fancy as this: the last two theme answers are the FRENCH OPEN, a {Grand Slam event} in tennis (that starts quite soon, maybe even next week?), and GLENN CLOSE, who {played Cruella De Vil} in 101 dalmatians. how cool is that? OPEN and CLOSE are both synonyms, in a way, for “nice.”

this grid was full of answers i did not know. i didn’t know AXON could be spelled AXONE. had no clue about JADA, the {Silly song of 1918}; actress jada pinkett smith is quite a bit more familiar. write alice DUER miller, comic actor RIK mayal, and The Billion Dollar Sure Thing author paul ERDMAN also go on my “who?” list. (i would have known RIK smits of the 1990s indiana pacers, but there were already plenty of unusual sports names, with bart STARR, WEEB ewbank, and george GERVIN.) PARTERRE, apparently a {Garden path}, is also a word i didn’t know, although its french-looking etymology makes some sense.

favorite clue: {Leading man in the theater?} for USHER. i don’t think i’ve seen that one before.

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30 Responses to Sunday, 5/16/10

  1. Martin says:

    Although it doesn’t make a lot of sense to do this puzzle on line, if you really must, Jim Horne posted an AcrossLite version. I think they were worried about the death threats.

  2. Howard B says:

    Love Split Decisions puzzles, and so this puzzle doubly so. The long non-theme fill was rough (GALLIPOLI was my killer answer), but there was so much fun stuff jam-packed in there that it was worth the battle.

    Kudos for making a rather rough weekend a bit easier :).

  3. Matt Ginsberg says:

    Amy, thanks for all the kind words! Much appreciated after what’s going on at the Wordplay blog — the lack of an Across Lite version has people convincing me I should join the Witness Protection Program or some such.

    As far as TIME-WARNER TIME WASTER being the seed entry, you give me too much credit. I generally construct by coming up with a theme in the abstract, writing a computer program that somehow generates a lot of candidate theme fill, then (generally) scrapping the whole idea because it doesn’t work :) or, in some cases, sifting through the theme fill to find stuff I like. There were very few long words that could change two letters and still work, so TIME-WARNER TIME WASTER (along with CONTRITION CONTENTION and RESTITUTION INSTITUTION) stood out.

    In any event, I’m very glad (and a bit relieved!) that you liked it.

  4. Amy Reynaldo says:

    Wait, Matt. You’re telling me you had not a single seed entry? You just come up with an oddball idea and make the computer noodle around with the words for you? The theme idea without examples is so abstract—I don’t understand how your brain works.

  5. Tuning Spork says:

    I have a major beef with this puzzle. The numbers in the PDF are so big that they take up the entire northwest quarter of the theme squares. Grrr.

    Other than that, this is Crossword Puzzle of the Decade stuff. I absolutely ate up every glorious second (except for the LA?AN/A?U crossing). Bravo! Ole! Sis-boom-bah! Well done, Matt!

  6. joon says:

    loved it! i think i was slow solving on paper because i’m not used to looking between two sheets of paper (one with clues, one with the grid)—it felt like being in the ACPT playoffs. but yeah, the theme idea was great and the execution was top-notch. yes, people do say “clears” with no direct object in high-jumping and pole-vaulting.

    GALLIPOLI would have been familiar enough clued as the WWI battle. the movie was totally unfamiliar, but i took a wild stab when i had GALLI_____. i guess danilo GALLINARI of the knicks also fits that pattern, but he’s apparently not an old mel gibson movie.

  7. pezibc says:

    -4 for me. Had YAMMER ON at 36A and couldn’t believe that 8D wasn’t TRUE LOVER. Love the Carpenters, but don’t know that song; at least not by title. I knew OLD CARS was right, and was pretty sure about DJINN. Don’t think that I would have found a change at 36A. Jamming in the last entry cost me two more errors. Junkers are also airplanes, so why not ORE CARS:))

    Speaking of ERRORS, that held me up at 51D ERRATA for awhile.

    HEADS for ROADS at 95D for a time. TOLUENES (Spits.) is fine for me without the S. Toluene is a sadly common chemical and a huffers drug to boot.

    I’m going over to Wordplay to kick some butt. NYT cry babies over there. I’m going to take away somebody’s candy. They would really rather lose great puzzle designs to other markets because they aren’t stamped out like every other before going into the COOKIE COOKER?

  8. pezibc says:

    OMG! It’s even worse over at Wordplay than I would have guessed and I had the bar set pretty low. We should bomb it with support for the puzzle.

  9. joon says:

    TRUE LEVEL is a standard for people who build stuff out of wood, not a “standard” (song) by the carpenters.

  10. pezibc says:

    Ha. Ha. I was sunk either way then; fixated on the Carpenters, and don’t know how long it might have taken to get away from YAMMER ON, if ever. (Loved seeing YAMMER, even if it was my undoing.)

  11. Martin says:

    Amy is pointing out that toluene is a single chemical (methylbenzene) and not a group of chemicals, the toluenes. However, there are very few nouns that can’t be pluralized in a pinch. If your normal supplier, say BASF, runs out of toluene you might have to turn to a Chinese supplier and use both toluenes. This is not exactly wrong. And the online m-w dictionary accepts the entry.

    Xylene is friendlier. It’s dimethyl benzene and you can arrange two methyl groups three different ways on a hexagonal benzene ring (on adjacent, alternate or opposite carbon atoms). So there are three isomers of xylene, or three xylenes.

  12. Sam Donaldson says:

    Kudos, Matt, on another brilliant construction! Amy has captured my sentiments precisely – not only as to the quality of the theme and the grid’s construction, but also the awe for how your mind works.

  13. LARRY says:

    Amy – I just got around to checking my answers to BEQ’s Friday Marching Bands puzzle against yours. I want to call your attention to an obvious typo in your list of answers: Line 2 should be CABLE CAR/MENSA (not /ONUS). I had a lot of fun with this puzzle.

  14. Matt Ginsberg says:

    Sam and Amy: Please explain to my kids that they’re supposed to be impressed by how my mind works! (My daughter Skylar announced earlier this week that I was some sort of human-alien hybrid, which she found somewhat disconcerting because of what it implied for her own genetic makeup.)

    Actually, I’m very jealous of the constructors who can generate an instance of clever wordplay and then build a whole puzzle around it. That seems like such an easier way to go — there are a significant number of examples where I’ve had a cool idea and then, upon writing a program to find all of the English examples, found that there weren’t any at all!

  15. Jeffrey says:

    Funny. I prefer paper solving and print out most puzzles. But today, I’m in a hotel room with only a netbook and no printer, so no choice but to do the AcrossLite version. I’m sorry to have missed the paper version but solved with a scrap paper for the theme answers. Awesome puzzle.

    Oh, I just thought of an alternative. I could have gone downstairs and bought a paper. Doh!

  16. Amy Reynaldo says:


  17. HH says:

    “Please explain to my kids that they’re supposed to be impressed by how my mind works!”

    The day I met my wife, she told me she’d wanted to meet me because she admired the way my mind worked. Despite that obvious flaw in her character, I fell in love with her anyway. The workings of the crossword mind are not to be admired.

  18. Karen says:

    For 7 of the 10 NYT theme squares there is diagonal symmetry, and you can read the down answer either by reading the top half and bottom half, or the right half and the left half. This threw me abit on the theme when I got to the timewaRNer timewaSTer, where you had to read them in the correct order. At that point I was doubly impressed by the puzzle. (And I’m glad I didn’t try to solve it onscreen this week.)

  19. ktd says:

    NYT cryptic 17:22 (AL): Last entry was CARPETED, as I had some trouble figuring out the context of “rugged”. I’ve never heard it used as an adjective meaning “having a fabric floor covering”.

  20. pauer says:

    Simply superb. Bravo, Matt!

  21. joon says:

    evad, doug is from montana (maybe even billings), so i’m sure he could have come up with a thornier clue. but as you say, the sunday challenge isn’t supposed to be all that challenging.

    i agree with amy about the cluing in the LAT: some real gems there, including the theme answers.

    i just did the globe puzzle… i guess i’ll blog it if nobody else is looking.

  22. Steve Manion says:

    As with Tuning Spork, I also did not know LA_AN/A_U (assumed it was a B or a P), but other than that, I thought this was one of the all-time great Sunday puzzles. Normally, an impossible to create construction leads to a mediocre solving experience. Not the case, here. I though it was incredibly challenging and fun.

    By the way, GALLIPOLI is a great movie. It is the story of Australian and possibly New Zealand troops who were involved in the attack on Istanbul in World War I. It is a great anti-war film on a par with All Quiet on the Western Front, and close to my non-pareil antiwar film, PATHS OF GLORY. I had completely forgotten that Mel Gibson was in it.


  23. Hugh says:

    I don’t know if TUNING SPORK (5/15/10 @ 9:19 pm) ever got the answer to his/her question. 77A was SAVANNA (with 48D ANIMAS and 72D IVORY). Hope this helps.

    I also want to add my congrats to Matt for a spectacular effort. The complaints on Jim Horne’s blog were over the top.

  24. John Haber says:

    Like Joon, this was slow for me because I had it printed out (from AcrossLite) on two pages. Fortunately, it was on a plane (short flight, Richmond – LGA), maybe the first time in weeks I’ve solved a puzzle sitting down at a stretch rather than peripatetic with a glance at the puzzle now and then. This allowed me to relish slowly getting the theme after a very fast start on, to me, an easy non-themed fill. I soon grew to admire greatly how the setter had pulled this off. One of my favorite puzzles.

  25. Matt says:

    A very slow start for me on this one– then, once I got the trick, pushed through to the end. An engrossing puzzle– started out poking around for a foothold, here and there– and when I next looked up with the puzzle done, it was an hour later. Bravo.

  26. Vic says:

    Great puzzle, MG! One of the greatest puzzles of all time, if you ask me!
    Working on it last night, the biz of jumping back and forth between two sheets of paper made me very sleepy, and I dozed off for the night, with only a few answers filled in and no clear idea of the theme. Come the morning, after 18 holes of golf and an hour of yard work, I sat down with the puzzle again and breezed through. My unconscious brain had gleaned the theme, and all was well.
    I wish that I could write a program that would root around and pull up theme entries each time I come up with a theme. I’ve been in a slump, but the inspiration of this puzzle will pull me out of that! Perhaps!
    Looking forward to taking on Bonnie’s LAT puzzle later this evening. Susan enjoyed it earlier in the day.

  27. David H says:

    wow – look at all the ink this puzzle gets! I loved it. My wife loved it. We solved it together, had a blast. “Split Decisions” is our favorite variety puzzle, and we once constructed a puzzle out of “Stink Pinks” and variations – (“Martha’s hairy habilaments … stink stink pink pink …?) = Her Hirsute Suit. So I guess you know the way our minds work.

    Challenging clues, great fill, GREAT theme – clever answers AND Stink Pinks! What more can we ask for? MORE!!!!

  28. Dan F says:

    Holy moly! One of the best “aha”s I’ve had in a while, when I realized that the theme squares made two-word phrases – originally thought there were two clues mashed together into one. Big ups, Matt.

  29. John Haber says:

    Got to the cryptic today. As ever, Henry and Emily have some brilliant devices and surfaces, all tight as can be. But while they’re the last setters I’d like to criticize, like Amy I wasn’t all that fond of the fill in spots. Not so much POST HORSE, since while I don’t know what it is, it’s in the dictionary. And any puzzle that has me wondering why CARPETED could mean “rugged” gets extra credit.

    Still, I’ll go with feeling funny about THOUGHT READER, and I know it’s legit but still think of HIGH TEA as the afternoon. As for 1A, I hate it when I just can’t get it. Even with crossings, I guessed “Dustie Pedrona.” I guess I can forgive them on the grounds that Red Sox fans are maniacs.

  30. shelley maynard says:

    one of the best puzzles i’ve ever done. i found myself continually saying out loud “wow, really clever”. working a sunday puzzle on paper is one of life’s true pleasures. thanks.

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