Sunday, August 10, 2014

Garden (Sunday brunch: August 10, 2014)

It’s been a mild summer: the garden has done more relaxing than working, but we finally have some cukes and green peppers this week, along with a big batch of tomatoes.

Great weekend for cryptic solvers: if you’re about to go on vacation there’ll be lots of puzzles for your relaxation.  There are the regular straight cryptics from the National Post and the Globe and Mail.  I managed to complete the entire Globe and Mail puzzle this time (though needing a lookup of one answer), which is a rare feat.  LizR has a new one for us too (I haven’t started it so someone can tell us in the comments if it’s themed or not and how hard it is).

Variety cryptics start with “Target Range” by Hex in the Wall Street Journal.  Some of the regular solvers who comment at the WSJ site took one look and shied away because the grid doesn’t have any bars and the clues were in random order, but Hex are fair to their solvers and they made sure to leave a good starting point.  I have a hint post up to talk you through it, with increasing levels of help if you need it.

If you get through that, try Kevin Wald’s cryptic for the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament: Supreme Cohort.  It’s an impressive 12 x 13 size with 58 clues, which will keep you busy for a while.

And it’s time for the quarterly Mark Halpin puzzle, titled “On the Steps of the Palace.”  A Cinderella theme—has Mark finally run out of Sondheim-related cryptic ideas?  No!  It’s a song from “Into the Woods,” a fairy tale mashup that was written before anyone had the idea of a mashup.  Meanwhile, Mark will be launching his Labor Day Extravaganza later this month: watch for details.

The Times has a Hex acrostic that Deb Amlen describes as “unpredictable.”  Deb gives honorable mention to Elizabeth Gorski’s Sunday straight crossword, which is on a doggie theme.  The puzzles themselves are behind the NYT paywall.

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