Thursday, January 31, 2008

Friday, February 1 - Doug Peterson

The first puzzle of the month...and a constructor who's not a familiar name. If this is a debut, it's an impressive one.

Tough puzzle. After my first run-through, I had just a few answers:

1A: Temper (assuage). I don't know why I went there instead of thinking about one's temperament, but I did.

17A: Hobbes in "Calvin and Hobbes" (imaginary friend). A good guess and an excellent comic strip...right up there with The Far Side.

23A: SeƱora's step (paso).

28A: Tahini base (sesame).

34A: With 44-Down, Cajun dish with giblets (dirty / rice). I've never tried just doesn't sound appetizing.

1D: For one (apiece)...only because of the two acrosses I had. They also gave me 2D: Not at all sunny (somber), 3D: Fit to be tried? (suable), 4D: Id output (urges) and 5D: Mordant (acid).

8D: Fred of "The Munsters" (Gwynne).

23D: British meat pie (pasty). That must be one of those words I learned from doing crossword puzzles. It's nothing I ever ate growing up...or in my adult life.

From there I just started going through the across clues again, guessing a few things, going through the downs, guessing a few more. I did end up with some strange-looking answers for some time, but it all worked out in the end.

I did check with Dogpile to see if there was anything else that would work for 25D: Actress Gray and others, but nothing turned up that would fit...except for my first guess, Erin. I remember her from some TV show, and I always thought she was just stunning. Was I right?

Also needed the last name of 25A: Actress Kimberly of "Close to Home" (Elise). It filled in a couple of spots...and things just kept flowing after that.

I had a little trouble with the connected cluing at 19A: Prefix with 6-Down (Penta). That certainly is a prefix, but I was trying to make 6-Down the prefix...and gon just didn't make sense. I finally put it all together.

Favorite clues, answers...or both:

15A: Be negative about (pour cold water on). That's not an expression I've used, but I'm fairly certain I've heard it before. It does look good in the grid.

36A: Subject of some conspiracy theories (Hoffa).

37A: Prez's first name on "The West Wing" (Jed). One of these days I'll get that on DVD. If it's anything like "The American President," I'll enjoy it.

44A: Playboy's plea? (renew).

49A: Stereotypically smarmy sorts (used car salesman). I've known some pretty nice used car salesmen. They do get a bad rap (and rep) often.

51A: Tickled the most? (pinkest). Too funny.

12D: Before being delivered (prenatal).

27D: Make like Pac-Man (chomp).

28D: They're bound to work (serfs).

29D: "Heads up!" (watch out).

30D: It stocks blocks (ice house).

32D: Prepare for a shower, maybe (giftwrap).

45D: Longtime columnist who coined the term "beatnik" (Caen).

There were a few places where I was just lost...and saved by the crosses:

8A: Ape wrestlers (grapple). And I still don't get that. At all.

37D: Basso Hines (Jerome).

42D: Belarus's capital (Minsk). I've seen that again and again, and I still don't ever remember it. Maybe next time.

The worst wrong answer I had was at 29A: Well activity. I had gushing, instead of the correct wishing. We had a well gushed. That wasn't a bad thing.

One more long answer that's worth noting...46A: They're not easily overturned (outrigger canoes).

And that's it for tonight. Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G


Anonymous said...

8A "ape" as in "copy"

Anonymous said...

Doug Peterson had an impressive puzzle a couple of years ago as well, combining CONDOLEEZZA RICE with DOESN'T KNOW BEANS to make BURRITO FILLINGS. Clearly a name to watch.

I had to have the grappling ape explained to me too.

Anonymous said...


nice work. i just happened upon your blog. anyway i am still working it out (so not reading your answers in full quite yet) but i had "stable" as fit to be tried, haha, suable works better. thanks!

QBParis said...

Linda, we gotta get you out more.... Dirty Rice, yum... Pasty, comfort food. And yes, rabbit (in mustard sauce) de-lish!

If you get West Wing however, you'll never leave home until you finish them all!

Anonymous said...

Pasties are a staple in Michigan. They would be baked in the morning for a working lunch. On cold days they would be wrapped and carried in your pocket.

People will drive miles around here for a good pasty.

coachjdc said...

Got hung up on23 & 26. I had LETON instead of RATON. Originally had PILAF instead of DIRTY which really screwed things up LOL. Fun one.

Anonymous said...

All I can say is congradulations to all of you who completed this puzzle...even with Google I could not make an appreciable dent. I finally threw in the pen and got the answers fron Linda

Linda G said...

Ape as in copy...I never even thought to go that route. I had a hard time letting go of the S because of wrestlers...but I had to when END ZONES became apparent.

Definitely a tough one. There wasn't much to Google, and the only way to get a toehold was trial and error...a lot of it. Days (puzzles) like this make a strong case for thinking outside the box...way outside the box ; )

I'll have to go back and look at the 2006 Doug Peterson puzzle. That was before I came back to the NYT.

Maybe this weekend I'll try my hand at making a pasty. If I do, you know I'll report on it ; )

wendy said...

Loved this puzzle even though I couldn't finish it. I too had Stable instead of SUABLE and I think it's a perfectly legitimate answer!

I also had filled in ___VETOES for "they're not easily overturned," but Presidential wasn't going to fit so I gave up.

I have to say that inferring IMAGINARY FRIEND off of just the Y and the E was the highlight of my solving experience, and glad that it was in connection with such a worthy comic.

Because so little was google-able, I did throw caution to the winds and put in words I wasn't sure of a lot more than I usually do; I'm proud to say that more often than not, my instincts turned out to be correct!

Anonymous said...

Mmmm... pasties. Definitely try them, Linda. Also, you must get the West Wing on DVD. It is American President and so much more. Aaron Sorkin and television at their very best.

MBG said...

Nice, tough puzzle. Grappled with it for quite a while, but managed to finish.

PASTY - yummy and easy to make. Plenty of recipes on the web.

I loved PINKEST! Made me laugh. Also loved GIFT WRAP, IMAGINARY FRIEND, and SOMBER. Hesitated a bit over GRAPPLE and SUABLE's spelling gave me pause but the dictionary agrees. Basso JEROME Hines and EMCEES were the key to the whole south for me. They gave me CANOES, and the only thing that fit not-easily-overturned canoes was OUTRIGGER.

Anonymous said...

Yep... "Ape" as in to imitate, not a gorilla... and grappling is a form of wrestling...

Anonymous said...

Linda, thanks for the comments on the puzzle & thanks for posting the Erin Gray picture. I watched her on Buck Rogers when I was a kid, and I had the hugest crush on her. Heck, I think I still do!

Anonymous said...


If you do make pasties don't stint on fresh ground pepper.

Anonymous said...

Linda, I seem to remember "Doug Peterson" from a puzzle a few weeks ago in the New Jersey Star Ledger under the Tribune Media Services copywrite. I held it for days and tried to google blogs for it; either because I was so thrilled or so frustrated. I forget. I would love to know how to get closure on that one... Today, I just kept the ink to the paper and was able to solve it without any help.



p.s. read you every day and love your stuff

Linda G said...

I guess I definitely have to try pasties...if not this weekend, then next.

Doug, I'm glad you enjoyed the picture. I toyed with using a current one, but that's the Erin Gray we remember...and have crushes on ; )

Sean, maybe Doug will come by again and let you know how to find the solution. I'll see if I can track the puzzle down later...but Don just got home and we have a date! Thanks for the nice nice to hear.

Anonymous said...

Sean, I'm not sure which puzzle you're talking about. Sounds like it was either an LA Times or Chicago Tribune puzzle. Drop me a line at colhogan at earthlink dot net, and I'll look it up & give you the gory details.

Orange said...

Linda, Doug's byline shows up fairly often in Newsday and the LA Times, with themeless puzzles that have a not-too-wicked, kinda fun vibe to them. He also makes themed puzzles, and has been published in the NYT and the Sun, too—but it's his themeless puzzles I like best.

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