Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Wednesday, February 13 - Elizabeth C. Gorski

Elizabeth Gorski never constructs an ordinary puzzle...there's always some clever twist or gimmick involved.

For today's puzzle, she's constructed a word ladder [62A: Kind of ladder exemplified by the answers to the seven starred clues]...and the theme answers are:

1A: Salad partner (soup)

16A: Takeover (coup)

21A: Pen (coop)

25A: Cote calls (coos)

48A: Sleep lab purchases (cots)

56A: Salon styles (cuts)

67A: Fanatics (nuts).

The theme is all wrapped up at 38A: From 1- to 67-Across (the whole shebang)...another way to say soup to nuts.

I had the first two theme answers...the only answers I had at that point...and it became immediately clear what I'd be doing with the starred answers. It made it just slightly easier to get the others...although some of the clues were fairly ambiguous.

Nice multiword answers to round things out:

18A: Violin, viola and cello (string trio).

59A: Aida and Norma, notably (opera roles).

4D: Buzzer on "This Old House" (power saw).

11D: Summer side dish (corn salad).

24D: Joe Jackson's "__ Really Going Out With Him?" (Is She).

34D: Hotel front person (desk clerk).

Other answers that just plain look good in the grid:

15A: Graff of stage and screen (Ilene).

20A: Hitchcock thriller (Rope)...don't know why I haven't heard of this one.

23A: Mail at contest central (entries).

42A: Jong who wrote "Sappho's Leap" (Erica). I couldn't remember if she was Erica or Erika...27D: Dandruff bit wasn't much help, since it could have been flake (but it wasn't) or fleck (the correct answer).

44A: Many a turban wearer (Sikh).

64A: Astronomy's __ cloud (oort).

1D: Paris's __-Coeur Basilica (Sacré).

5D: Last sign (Pisces).

36D: Storm drain, e.g. (sewer).

40D: Particle accelerator (betatron).

47D: James and Jackson (Jesses).

Make a mental note of these often-repeated answers...10A: Dreaded prom night sight (acne), 14A: River of Tuscany (Arno), 29A: Place brushed by a barber (nape), 50D: Event in 1940s-'50s headlines (A-test), 57D: __ Bator (Ulan) and 52D: Eye-popping canvases (op art).

I got to bed very late last night and was up very early this morning...I'm shooting for in bed and sound asleep by 10:15.

Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G


wendy said...

I wouldn't know a word ladder if it hit me over the head, so I crashed and burned on this baby. It's the first Wednesday that I haven't finished in quite some time. Lots of nice stuff in it, regardless of my shortcomings.

I did get THE WHOLE SHEBANG on my own, which was fun, but not because of any epiphany related to the theme, I assure you.

I was amused by the fact that TOPE, which was an answer I guest blogged about here back in the fall (then unknown to me), continued to elude me, even though I knew it was *that* word.

Do people still wear ORLON socks? And I submit that Unfit is a far better word than UNAPT.

I also wanted the sprites in the bottles to be Geniis. Uh, non!

Anonymous said...

Wendy, like you I had no idea what a word ladder is...I did manage to get through the puzzle with help from Google...UNFIT is far better than UNAPT....and why is CORN SALAD only a Summer side dish?...what other parts of a curriculum are there....did not like this puzzle at all but the theme was very clever

Linda G said...

I agree that UNAPT is an odd word, but UNFIT never even occurred to me.

If I'm not mistaken, there was a word ladder puzzle some time ago...don't remember where it appeared...going from BLACK to WHITE. Does anyone else remember that one?

TOPE is the name of an elementary school here...not such a good idea, is it?

Anonymous said...

That was a tough puzzle for any day of the week, but really hard for Wednesday. Maybe I'm just bummed out that my streak of finishing puzzles ended at 10. Grumble grumble.

It is actually snowing here in Nashville Tennessee! Here in the south a 1/2 inch of snow can shut down the city!

MBG said...

Fun puzzle. First word ladder puzzle I remember encountering, though I've been solving for years, just not the NYT. No real problems with this one.

At first wanted the cote calls to be baas instead of COOS; initially filled in flake for FLECK, which I knew was wrong as soon as I saw the clue for ERICA Jong; had not heard of a BETATRON, but it came easily from crosses; wanted genies instead of SODAS.

UNAPT is a word I don't recall ever seeing outside of a crossword puzzle.

Anonymous said...

Linda, I certainly remember the other word ladder puzzle you referred to. I recall it was quite tough.

I had to look up the details, tho.

Titled "Color Change" by Patrick Berry in the New York Sun on Friday, Sept. 14, 2007.

It was on the Puzzles of the Year list featured by Orange and Rex.

Linda G said...

jimd, hope you all make it through this strange weather. When we first moved to western Colorado, they had just had a 6-inch snowfall. Coming from the mountains, we thought it was nothing. But this was the desert, and it hardly ever snowed...they had to bring in snowplows from somewhere else. Sand generally takes care of us.

Thanks, kratsman...always nice to have confirmation that I haven't imagined something ; )

annielee, you could always go back and download that one if you want a real challenge! As I recall, I didn't do it...just read about it.