This is one Mean Old Lady!

This is one Mean Old Lady!
Self-portrait: 'Quilter on Fire'

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Epic Fail!

The New York Times crossword puzzles increase in difficulty through the week-- Monday is easiest, Saturday the hardest. Sunday puzzles are in a separate class, often including wordplay or a gimmick, and usually regarded has having 'Thursday difficulty level.' The puzzles come out at 10 p.m. EDST the night before.

Today was Saturday......

This pitiful document shows signs of a struggle. After doing well in the SE, I hit a stone wall and decided to sleep on it. Comes the dawn (5:30ish)....I continue to slog...slog....finally used Google, which means an automatic Fail.

Ultimately, the NW just Would Not sort itself out.
Too many wrong entries across. Here's a close-up of the carnage:

Might not look so grim if I didn't use ink to solve, but if this had been in pencil, the eraser would have worn holes in the paper.

Ah, well. Tomorrow is another day.
Or so I hear.


  1. Thanks for posting that. Mine has very similar dark spots.
    What have you written in the margins? I see "IPO", which makes sense, and "Sam COLT", which .....doesn't? What else?

  2. [Big pistol maker] Sam Colt would have fit where BERETTA belonged--I already had an incompatible letter, so I waited.
    For 20A [You might have one after spraying yourself], I had fragrance(no fit), aroma (too short), and wet lap (also too short, but reminiscent of using the kitchen sprayer on April Fool's Day.)
    [Skier's spot] at 16A: mogul? slalom?

    23A [Share letters?] IPO and 'our'
    35D Originally I had WEBSITES, but had FAN written alongside.
    36A [Up] above?
    54A [Element of radon or xenon] gasses? neon?
    or 'somethingLY'
    8D[Up until] thru? (too long, but I was desperate)
    1A I had _BON_ ...bone? bond? and BONE was half of the answer.
    For 3D I had UNDRIVEN [Not followed]--as in a route. That was huge, esp since I also had WHINER for [Kvetch at 21A.]

    One of the late comments suggested that people are too quick to give up, but I think when you don't know something, you're aware of it, and sometimes a Google shows you where your errors are so you can tear out the grid and start over.

  3. I have begun to solve in AcrossLite, which saves a lot of ink (my otherwise preferred tool). Also, I am very conservative about writing in an answer. I may keep it in my head for a while until I have enough evidence that it will work. Thus once I had some letters that made it clear that BERETTA would work best as pistol maker, I waited till then to fill it in. So although some people are too quick to give up, it's also possible to be too quick to fill in a really iffy answer.

  4. I forgot to mention that I did think of your April Fool's Day prank when solving this morning. I'm probably not the only one.

    Your notes all make sense and some matched mine. It's fun to see how someone else thinks.

  5. Agreed as to Across Lite, which makes the inevitable corrections a lot more fluidly. Also very nice to have the clue magically float above whatever word you're on.

    Congrats on finishing this one. It was a toughie. NE last to fall for me.

  6. I have a friend in Buford, GA with whom I used to race motorcycles back in prehistoric times whose son writes puzzles for the NYTimes. Look for the name "Bickham."


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