Monday, November 26, 2012

November 25, 2012

It's Monday and while I finished this puzzle fairly early yesterday I got caught up with other matters and didn't have time to write about it, which really is OK because honestly, I don't have much to say about it.

Frank Longo's puzzles are often witty with lots of puns and sometimes there are riddles to be solved, but this one revolved entirely around the theme which was PROCESSEDCHEESE.  I like cheese as much as the next guy but making a list of them (AMERICAN/ROMANO/SWISS/JACK/MUNSTER/BRIE/COLBY) just didn't strike me as a lot of fun.

In fairness to Mr. Longo, the types of cheese appeared in longer phrases but all of the clues were straight-forward ("MasterCard alternative" for  AMERICANEXPRESS, e.g.) so not much imagination was needed to produce the theme answers (unless you have never heard of CORKYROMANO, as I had not). The reveal clue at 114a, "Entered seven answers in this puzzle?" for PROCESSEDCHEESE was classic Longo wit and I would have liked to see more of the same in the other theme clues.

Come to think of it, having BALONEY sitting in the middle of all that cheese was a pretty nice twist, too.

I now see that I finished with an error, the cross of 79d (Hollywood's Rowlands) with 99a (___ Green (old elopers' destination). I ended both words with an "e" where an "A" would have produced the correct answers. If GRETNA Green is an old elopers' destination, where do you suppose the young ones go?

I'll be back next Sunday - until then, here's Jimmy Buffett to tell you about the best way to put processed cheese to use: 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

November 18, 2012

My Sunday paper publishes two crossword puzzles, the (syndicated) New York Times puzzle which I do faithfully and then I go over to "Rex Parker Does the NY Times Crossword Puzzle" to see what others had to say and maybe add my own comment, and The Premier Crossword by Frank A. Longo, which I also enjoy doing every week.  But when I am done with the Premier puzzle I have nowhere to go to share my solving experience - until now, that is!

You are reading the inaugural appearance of my new blog, a place where I intend to record my thoughts on the puzzle and maybe describe parts of the solving experience that I thought were comment-worthy. I'm doing this for my own entertainment but if you feel the urge to join in with your own thoughts about the puzzle, or this blog, or anything else for that matter, please do. 

Frank Longo's Sunday puzzles are frequently punny (some can be real groaners) or involve uncovering a riddle as part of the solving process, but today's construction didn't use either of these gimmicks.  The title was "Game-Time Decision" and it turned out to be a pretty straight-forward solve where the theme answers (as revealed by the answer at 119a) all contained the name of a weapon in the board-game "Clue".  Here's what it looked like when I was done with it:

As you can see, I had trouble in a couple of spots:  in the upper right corner I wanted "It has fonds and a trunk" at 18d to be "palmtree" so I had to wait for the crosses to straighten that out and produce TREEFERN (which is probably a real thing, but I had never heard of it before); and in the lower left corner I incorrectly surmised that a reasonable "Post Hiking problem" (88d) would be "blisters", which was right in an indirect way because they would certainly produce SOREFEET which is what Frank was looking for.

I sailed through the rest of the grid pretty much error-free - oh wait, I see now that I wanted the "Gunpowder ingredient" at 29a to be NITro; come to think of it I don't think I ever heard of NITER, either but google assures me it is a legitimate word:  "Niter (American English) or nitre (most English-speaking countries) is the mineral form of potassium nitrate, KNO3, also known as saltpeter in America or saltpetre in other English speaking countries." So there, I learned something and maybe you did, too.  Hmm, my write-overs also remind me that I first had the Disney World park (108d) as EPsOn, but that's just plain stupid.  TEAURNS (38a) looks funny but it makes perfect sense when you read the clue (They might sit next to coffeepots).

All in all, I liked this puzzle a lot - it was pretty straightforward in the clues but entries like TORSI (113a, Neck-to-waist areas) and LEAPTOVER (Cleared by jumping, 124a), which I loved, kept it from being a LEADPIPECINCH (23a, Cakewalk).

So there you have it, some insight into how Dirigonzo solves Longo.  I'll be back next week with another installment, until then be happy, be safe and QTIP (Quit Taking It Personally)!