Saturday, September 15, 2012

Anyone for seconds? (Sunday brunch: September 16, 2012)

What do you do when the person who was supposed to serve you is out sick, and brunch isn't served? Open up a box of pop tarts!  The full (!) names of ten entertainers (not just tarts) were included in Hex's National Post cryptic last week, so there's plenty for everyone.

Hex also had a variety cryptic in the Wall Street Journal last Saturday.  The gimmick was a set of 10 unclued answers, each one with one fewer letter than the last.  And of course the 12-letter starting word is a fine description of your task.

The New York Times had an acrostic.  I'll go back to solving them when they give us a Java app like the WSJ has.  

Now, on to this week's menu.  The Times has a "Split Decisions" word game.  And we're still waiting for the October Harpers' and a fresh Richard Maltby.

It's football season, so we have Marching Bands from Mike Shenk at the WSJ for your entertainment.  If the puzzle does not display properly in your browser, click on the "open publication" link below it.

Falcon will be around with the dessert tray shortly.  Let me recommend another light Hex cryptic to finish the meal, and an espresso made with the new low-tech but elegant Aeropress.  Thanks to Raydoc for sending me one.  Like one of the reviewers said, it gives you the flavor of a coffee from the Starbucks Clover machine, without having to go miles out of your way for one.

Do please take a mint on your way out: FT 14,104 from last weekend (constructed by Mudd):
12a: Got a screw loose? These should help! (4)
(solved under the fold)

NUTS (exclamation point because "Got a screw loose" is both the definition and part of the riddle.


  1. Hi folks! I finished the October Maltby and I have a problem with a clue. I'm fairly new to Maltby's cryptics, but have been doing any HEX I can find for decades.

    Anyway, when you finish it, take another look at 34A and tell me why the first word in the clue isn't in past tense.


    1. Meg, where did you get that puzzle? In the print copy? The electronic edition isn't up yet.

    2. Braze: Magazine was in my mailbox Friday. I'll check back in a few days after you've done it. Looking forward to your answer to my question. Of course I could have parsed it totally wrong!

    3. You piqued my interest there, Meg. So I expedited things by stopping at the University of Delaware library after training camp today (the ice at Delaware is great) to get a copy of the Harper's puzzle.

      I'm not quite done with it (though far enough to give The Other Doctor Mitchell some puns to groan at), but I parse 34 as ADU(*LATE)D. *TALE (anagram indicated by "reprinted") contained in ("environmentally") A DUD ("a failure").

      I'm certain enough of "A DUD" to agree that the straight definition ("flatter") ought to be past tense.

      Solvers? Any of you see a way for present tense to work there?

  2. Braze: I'm so happy I found this site! On the WSJ site a few of us post about the Maltby, but I don't feel very comfortable about that. WSJ is nice enough to offer an online forum (unlike Harper's) and we sort of hijack it (blogjack?) occasionally.

    That being said, I have more Maltby questions.
    5D. Thwart = Cross....not across. Where does the "a" come from? Don't you have to account for all the parts of the word? Am I missing something?
    34D. "Say ahh" is said by a dentist? I suppose.

    I like Maltby's style, which is quite different from HEX. His difficulty level varies also, which is good.

  3. Meg, I've opened up a new thread for you and your friends at

    Thanks for your enthusiasm, and for leading your friends over.


If you're responding to a hint request, please remember not to give more information than necessary. More direct hints are allowed after Monday.