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14 August 2008 @ 11:17 am
Date: 8/14/08 (Thursday)
Author: Damon J. Gulczynski
Solving time: 18:00 flat
Difficulty: average

Okay, at first I thought this was going to be the EASIEST THURSDAY EVER. I sped through about 90% of the puzzle in five minutes.

Then I spent 13 minutes not realizing that I'd made a few key mistakes which made solving the rest of the puzzle hellish. Case in point: I had AMEND instead of EMEND. I had no idea what the consonant before the S in 4D might be, so I was staring at AMI-RATE. Not useful. A similar thing happened with ENTAILING, which I had as REQUIRING... causing lots of problems.

Sadly, that really accounts for almost all of my trouble with this one-- moving too fast and not noticing my mistakes. I can only spot three things in here that I didn't know to start with:

OCREA - the tubelike covering around some stems, particularly buckwheat, according to the dictionary. Also a greek legging.

LISLE - a suburb of Chicago; novelist Holly; and a fine, strong cotton (or linen) thread used in making knit undergarments.

ESKERS - a long, winding ridge of sand and gravel, according to Wikipedia. They form above and in between glaciers. There are apparently some large ones up in Maine.
12 August 2008 @ 03:09 pm
Date: 8/12/08 (Tuesday)
Author: Ray Fontenot
Solving time: 7:07
Difficulty: average (for a Tuesday)

I stumbled through this puzzle in a way that made me happy no one was peering over my shoulder. There's nothing in this puzzle that I didn't know (except AMEBA instead of AMOEBA, which I know I've seen before but just blanked on)... I just kept doing silly things and ending up single letters away from the right fill. For instance, I had SKIHAT for several long seconds, and puzzled over what CHIH might mean. Of course, the right answer was CHIC... which then gave me SKICAT. SKICAT? Oh, I get it, SKICAP. A similar thing happened down with PRIVY, which was KRIVY for several seconds before I noticed it. A shame.

Today's nice for a Tuesday. I liked the theme... L to W in television names. (YOUBETYOURWIFE, WHATSMYWINE, THEWEAKESTWINK.) Oddly, I've never seen any of the actual shows these're playing on. Not even The Weakest Link, which just about everyone was into a handful of years back.

Hum. Suppose I don't have much to say about this one other than that.
10 August 2008 @ 08:14 pm
Oh, good heavens. According to livejournal, it has literally been a year-- 52 weeks-- since I last updated. What on earth happened?

Well, the long and the short of it is that I started grad school.Collapse )

So, I suppose the blog is back on, at least for the moment.

Which brings us right around to the puzzle. I've already done the Monday puzzle but have nothing to say about it other than that I liked it and laughed at several points (don't tase me, BRO!) and finished it in a not totally embarassing 5:24.

What I really want to talk about, though, is the Sunday puzzle. I truly and deeply love the Sunday puzzle. I kept doing the Sundays long after I'd dropped the dailies. Whenever I see my in-laws (hey! I got married in January!), my mother-in-law and I do the Sunday together. She doesn't usually do them alone, but whenever I come over, we make it happen. Sometimes we read the same clues out loud together, and sometimes we just start in separate corners and work from there. It's really a delight. I love the Sunday puzzle. And I don't usually time my Sundays anymore. The Sunday puzzle is my leisure puzzle. However long it takes, it takes.

Today's (it's Sunday in California, still) puzzle took me 28:42. Admittedly, I've knocked back about half a bottle of wine and was half watching the fourth season of The Wire at the same time. Still, there's plenty in this puzzle that'd have kicked my butt at the best of times.

Let's talk about:

NEGEV - clued as Beersheba's desert. I've surely seen this before clued differently, but it's one of those things that just doesn't stick. Wikipedia says that the NEGEV covers over half of Israel. But who is this BEERSHEBA? No one, it turns out. BEERSHEBA is a place... the largest city in the NEGEV, it turns out. Sixth largest city in Israel. Hm.

VANCAMP - cross old NEGEV. The NW gave me real trouble, and was the very last thing I finished. VANCAMP's pork and beans are apparently number one in the nation in terms of pork and beans. I thought for sure that I'd recognize the can, because I love baked beans, and back when I ate meat (14 years ago), I loved some pork and beans too. But I have to tell you, I don't think I've ever SEEN this purported VANCAMP's brand before.

MUSKET - clued as Athos' arm. Damn. I've figured this out now-- ATHOS is one of the Three Musketeers, who I really ought to recognize from puzzles. Maybe I ought to just read the book? I can't say that I'm reading a lot of consequence lately (see: lack of pleasure reading), though I did read A Canticle for Leibowitz last week. It's got me in the mood to see FALLOUT, SIMPLETON, etcetera.

APB - Black and white broadcast. I didn't figure this out at all, just guessed the crosses. I've figured it out, though! APB = all points bulletin. Black and white = cop cars. OH! APB! Black and white broadcast! I'm sure I'll forget it by the next time it comes around. Sigh.

ERGOT - clued as cereal killer. See, because ERGOT is a fungus that destroys cereals such as ryegrass... I have to tell you, though, that my brain was just going another direction. I wanted something like BAGEL, or the way-too-big POPTART. When I FINALLY came around to the idea of "cereal" as in "grain", ERGOT seemed natural.

That's all that really got me stuck! But of course, these were all in different places, and blocked me all over the grid. Grr.

Some stuff I got and really liked: MELISSA, clued as a computer virus! I remember MELISSA's spread well. I believe the guy who wrote MELISSA named it after a girl he liked, but I could be wrong about that.

FORKERS! I post on a message board where a more obscene word (first and last letters the same, different vowel and consonant between) gets filtered to "fork". As such, as soon as I saw FORKERS! I cracked up. I didn't like the clue that much, but what a great fill.

One thing I did love the clue for: THX. I got STYX and then saw "Quick expression of gratitude" as the cross on the X. I cracked up at --X, and my husband looked over and said, "well, that's obviously THX." Oh, obviously. Funny all the same!

So that's today's puzzle! I liked it a lot, though it wasn't one of my better Sundays. I don't think I've done another puzzle by Will Nediger, but I'll be looking out for his stuff! Hooray!
07 August 2007 @ 12:09 pm
Date: 8/7/07 (Tuesday)
Author: Daniel Kantor
Paper or computer: paper
Solving time: 9:00
Overall difficulty: medium (for Tuesday)
Main problem: not knowing how the constructor would spell the slang phrases, mental lethargy

Hard to pick five fill today. There's really nothing new in this puzzle. There are, however, plenty of old things clued fishily or spelled oddly. We won't go into FUGHEDABOUDIT here, as others have already done the work there.

Did like the theme today, even though I didn't like parts of the execution. MOBSCENE was a nice wrap-up for it.

I also liked "Liquor holder in a coat pocket"/FLASK. It really made me giggle audibly. What an amazing clue for a very simple word.

That's about all I have to say on today's puzzle. My stuff that's been in storage for the past twoish months is arriving shortly, which'll be wonderful (yay, furniture!) but time consuming (boo, unpacking), so I'm off to prep for that. Back to do the fill later.
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06 August 2007 @ 11:57 am
Date: 8/6/07 (Monday)
Author: Allan E. Parrish
Paper or computer: computer
Solving time: 5:03
Overall difficulty: easy (it's Monday!)
Main problem: vexation, forgetting how to use the applet

Interesting-- the last puzzle I got to write up properly was also by Allan E. Parrish. Maybe I'll fall silent again until his next showing? Parrish the thought...

Update on the lack of updates...Collapse )

You'll note that today's summary says I solved on the computer. This is not because my paper wasn't delivered today. No, it was delivered. In part. I got sections A and D today. No B (where the puzzle is) or C. Very cranky about that. Delivery has really been spotty here so far. If this persists, I guess I'll have to call and have a word with whoever one has a word about such things with.

Anyway, I don't like solving on the computer. I forget how the applet works and get all confused and push wrong keys and stuff. Plus I don't like not being able to see all the clues at once. This probably impeded my time a bit. Combining that with an easy puzzle and the fact that I type faster than I write, this evens out to a pretty average Monday time.

Didn't notice this puzzle's theme til afterwards. It's not a very strong theme. The rest of the fill in the puzzle is basically so-so. Number of bad old friends (Hi, ASTA!) rearing their bland little heads today. Sad.

Only other thing of note: we can probably all agree that BOATEL is nuts. Later, I'm looking that up to see if anyone uses that word at all.

Going to go find some breakfast and go see the Natural Bridges state beach. Back later to go through the five fill, whee hee.
Tags: ,
Current Mood: crankycranky
02 August 2007 @ 07:20 pm
Not only is my laptop not fixed yet (have an appointment at 12:30 tomorrow for that), my paper didn't come today. At least it hadn't by the time I left for work at 1 p.m. Sigh. This's not shaping up to be my week.

Did get to do today's puzzle via my boyfriend's laptop. For some reason, I convinced myself it was a rebus really early on and thus totally missed the element abbreviations thing until like twenty minutes in. Dooooh. Thought the theme was cute when I finally got it, though.

Don't remember anything I wanted to complain about (other than no paper showing up), so it must've been a reasonable puzzle overall.
01 August 2007 @ 04:08 pm
Sheesh. If it's not one thing, it's another... So, you might notice that this post is going up pretty late relative to most of my posts. This's because shortly after I posted yesterday, I got the idea to run Software Updates on my laptop.

Unfortunately, one of the things installed in the Software Update borked my laptop, which now won't boot. The local Apple store can't see me about it until Friday. So until then, my ship's more or less sunk. :/ If time allows, I'm going to try to post from work, as I'm doing now.

As for the puzzle itself: I cleverly left it at home when I dashed out of the house this morning, so can't give very detailed commentary. I can tell you that my time was really, really bad for a Wednesday-- in excess of 20 minutes. Basically, I didn't know anything about the theme lady or her work, which crippled my progress.

Other than those problems, I seem to remember liking the puzzle, so the rest of it's probably fine. Possibly some more thoughts on that tomorrow.

Now, back to working at work. :P
Tags: ,
Current Mood: disgruntled
31 July 2007 @ 09:12 am
Date: 7/31/07 (Tuesday)
Author: Allan E. Parrish
Paper or computer: paper
Solving time: 7:03
Overall difficulty: medium (for a Tuesday)
Main problem: some vocabulary woes (on a Tuesday!)
5 problem fills: RAHAL, ORONO, COATI, HOSEA, CAVS

Nice Tuesday puzzle. Little harder than I expected, but not too much so. My time's just about half a minute over yesterday's (admittedly somewhat high) time. So I'm pretty pleased. Most of my problems here came from not knowing a couple of words. The extreme NE corner tripped me up for about a minute... blanked on ANNAL and LOEWE. Know i've seen RAHAL and ORONO before but neither was coming to me here. So I was stumped until I realized I'd skipped over the clue for ARI, which I knew. Having ARI and HOLYCROSS unlocked things for me, and things got better.

Speaking of HOLYCROSS-- how nice to see that on the grid! I just graduated from another school in Worcester, MA (there are something like seven, total) so this was a gimme. Have played rugby against HOLYCROSS a couple of times and know many people who've gone there or taken classes at it through the Worcester Consortium.

Anyway, less nostalgia and more puzzle... the geek in me liked seeing Fiber OPTIC cable mentioned. Enjoyed prosciutto translated simply to HAM. Also liked seeing APLOMB here since I often think of it while solving and it's basically never right.

Not much that's stinky here. TRIPLESPACE is kind of awkward... it's legit sounding, but I've never heard of anyone TRIPLESPACING on purpose. Couple of bad old friends showing up in here... we've got ELOI, TEC, ARGO, ALA, etc. Still, not a lot to complain about.

Heading in to work (relatively) early today and have some stuff that needs doing before then. I'll be back to do this fill (which includes at least two things I should've learned before) before I leave if time allows; else I'll get to it sometime this evening.
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30 July 2007 @ 09:41 am
Date: 7/30/07 (Monday)
Author: Elizabeth A. Long
Paper or computer: paper
Solving time: 6:32
Overall difficulty: easy
Main problem: lack of furniture/lack of focus
5 problem fills: BURL, ARNO, ENOS, LOUIE, LIZ

Well, we're close to settled in now, so I can finally get back on track with writing up the puzzle. The paper actually started arriving on Saturday, but the weekend ended up being rather hectic (unpacking what stuff we have, entertaining our first visitor, building ikea furniture, and so much more!) so I decided to hold off on blogging until this morning.

We still haven't got a lot of furniture yet, and actually haven't got any chairs at this point. (We've a bunch of stuff in storage, which includes chairs, and're hoping to pick some more up very, very soon.) On some level, I blame this lack of chairs for my performance today. Sitting cross legged on the floor with the paper in my lap puts my wrist at an awkward angle and makes filling quickly dangerous--the paper starts sliding around and stuff. Very annoying.

Between my bad physical position and my general mental foginess this morning (got up and ran, then came back and did the puzzle without breakfast in between-- seems very foolish now), I earned a time about two minutes over what I think I could've done with this puzzle.

Nice enough Monday puzle. While the theme fill's not revolutionary, it's cute. The non-theme fill is pretty pleasant for a Monday. Liked seeing VIACOM, SNAFU, AREST, and POWERPC on here. Also happy to see a request for ZOLA's first name, EMILE, for a change.

Couple of clunkers in here, but nothing I feel the need to GROUSE about.

Now the five fill...Collapse )

PS: ANNIES Song appeared on the grid today, and I was able to fill it instantly due to having researched it for an earlier puzzle. Yay!
27 July 2007 @ 09:35 am
... I forgot to mention that I was going to move house on Wednesday. What was supposed to be a one day moving push turned into a two day moving extravaganza. Was too busy/tired/achy/asleep to do the puzzle yesterday, and I haven't received today's paper yet. (I probably won't get it at my new address until Monday. :() And we had no internet until about an hour ago here.

So that's why the posts suddenly stopped. I'll be back with more commentary in a day or two when things have settled down and I've maybe got an actual paper on hand.