Friday, May 18, 2007

Saturday, May 19 - Byron Walden

This took me entirely too long, but this themeless puzzle was a work of art. Nine-letter entries stacked three high, in the NW and the SE. Twelve seven-letter entries (three in each corner). How does Byron Walden do it?

I loved the 15-letter answer to 8D: Say something to which people reply "Duh!" (state the obvious). I got it with only the first E in place. At the time, I thought that meant I'd breeze through the puzzle. It's not the only time I've been wrong about that.

Until about fifteen minutes ago, I was still missing about seven words. I walked away from it for a bit, came back and suddenly saw the answer to 43D: Rear (bring up). From there, the rest of the SE fell into place.

Things I didn't know:

44D: Eighth-century pope in office for 23 years (Adrian I). I wanted it to be Gregory. It fit...

45D: Breathing trouble (dyspnea). A new word for me.

47D: Birthplace of Yakov Smirnoff (Odessa), as well as 17A: Language of 47-Down (Ukrainian). I Googled to get Odessa, then was able to fill in the other.

60A: Noted Joffrey Ballet dancer of the 1980s (Ron Reagan). Had no clue.

Things I did not like:

2D: It's one funny thing after another (yukfest...or is it yuk fest). It sounds and looks ridiculous either way, but I'll overlook it because of the stacked answers up in that corner.

42A: Tabooed (forbad). That doesn't even sound like a word to me. Forbade, maybe. Okay, I just looked it up. It isn't the preferred past tense, but it's there.

Things I liked:

3D: Classic chocolate treat (Mars Bar). I'm into chocolate in a big way right now. Probably because I'm trying to eat less of it.

28A: Foul smoke (stogy). Great word, great clue.

35A: Like the Supremes and the Go-Go's (all female). I was thinking Girl Band, but that didn't fit, and Girl Bands didn't really fit the clue. I especially liked its placement in the center of the grid.

38D: Institutional investment (jumbo CD). I had the CD right away, but it took some time to get the rest. The SW corner was the last to fall into place.

56A: Devotee (fiend). How nice to see a reference to our dear friend. Al will be guest-blogging tonight, but Orange returns for the Sunday puzzle. I'm sure I speak for all of the guest bloggers when I say that it's been fun, but we're all anxious for her return.

34A: Rank informality? (cap'n). Another clever clue, and a word I haven't seen before.

5D: Narc tail? (otic). I like these word endings, especially when I get them.

11D: Question from the picked-upon (why me). Funny--and one of only a handful of gimmes that turned out to be right.

7D: Bearded perennials (irises). Mine are in bloom all over the back yard--purple, yellow, white, and some really exotic-looking blends. Gorgeous. I used to pick them to bring into the house, but they have a very unpleasant fragrance that I didn't notice outdoors.

Time to wrap this up. It's almost 11, and I have a full day tomorrow. As always, I'll start it on the deck, drinking coffee and watching the birds.

Linda G


Anonymous said...

Linda thank you for clarifying a couple of doubts I had in solving the NYT Saturday's puzzle.

Linda G said...

It's always nice to get comments, but it's especially nice when it's from someone new. Thanks, Jay. And you're welcome. When I first started doing the NYT, I was lost without Rex Parker's blog. No matter how long you've done them, every once in a while you'll look at a word and think -- huh? Last week we had ETS clued something like a saucerful. I knew I had it right, but it made no sense. When I asked the question in a comment, I saw the obvious -- flying saucer.

DONALD said...

I mulled that over a lot -- a saucer full of what? Something can be "wonderful", "awful" and/or "saucerful"? I guess one can add "ful" to anything, I'm still in doubt! Or "doubtful"...

I will continue to write "a saucer full of milk" as a "saucer full of milk" until I am tortured into submission to write otherwise!

barrywep said...

I wonder whether the devotee/FIEND clue was inrtended as an Orange tribute. In a Byron/Will puzzle, it's quite possible.

Anonymous said...

As soon as I saw the devotee/FIEND clue I assumed it was a love note to Orange. It is only logical.

Signed, Jo

Linda G said...

Devotee is a much nicer clue than I saw recently -- I think in the Sun puzzle the other day. Can't for the life of me remember what it was, but I recall that it had a negative connotation.

Orange said...

Jo, "love note"--ha! That's cute.

Linda, dyspnea is medspeak for plain ol' shortness of breath. Fortunately, the adjectival form (dyspneic) doesn't get a lot of play, because how easy is that to say? Not very.

Anonymous said...

Thank You for helping me solve Byron Walden's Saturday June 30
Puzzle. It's amazing how much you look like Ava Gardner.

thanks again

Frank Mollo

Linda G said...

Frank, you're so welcome.

Don't know if you've been here before, so I'm not sure if you're in on the Ava Gardner thing. That is, in fact, the lovely Ms. Gardner pictured at my blog. A tribute (of sorts) to her and part of my campaign to have her clued on her own merits, rather than as the ex of anyone...which actually seems to have been successful.

Hope you'll come back again ; )

cornbread hell said...

i flew throught his puzzle like never before for a saturday.
well, until i got totally stymied in the SW.
not wanting to let go of EARS [acoustic instruments] gave me something to do for about an hour.
but as i've mentioned before, i'm pretty danged stubborn and did finally get it.

admissions of a crossword junkie...

re: your comment yesterday, i have been seriously addicted to the nyt puzzle for a long time. by not subscribing to any paper, i am more likely to visit my mom to snag the puzzle from her dallas morning news.
not a great reason to see to it that i visit, i admit. (shame on me. mondays and tuesdays i often just call because i find those puzzles kinda boring.)

Linda G said...

Rick, as long as you're visiting your mom, I'm happy.

Yeah, Monday and Tuesday are awfully easy. Sometimes coming off a tough weekend puzzle, though, they're quite a know, I don't feel quite so stupid : )

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