Sunday, August 24, 2014

Shore or inland? (Sunday brunch: August 24, 2014)

Quick trip back to New England today, so I was definitely in the mood for Kevin Wald’s three-part NPL convention cryptic series: NH, VT, and ME.  Like him, I’m traveling by train (though I’m driving back with The Other Doctor Mitchell), and also like him, I was in Cape Cod, so the geographic and train references were a snap.

A train trip always poses the question of which side of the train to sit on (by contrast to my daily commute, where I usually take the same seat every day). Going between New York and Boston, the right side offers views of the shoreline, thought the sun glare can be a bother if you’re riding in the morning.  I opted for scenery, and hit the jackpot, spotting two herons perched on a bridge piling in New York and an osprey standing at its nest in in the salt marshes between Branford and Guilford, Connecticut (near milepost 84).  UPDATE: several more herons and ospreys in Rocky Neck, around MP 114

Two acrostics this weekend in the big papers: Hex in the New York Times (puzzle behind the paywall, comments and spoilers at Wordplay) and Mike Shenk in the Wall Street Journal.  In the latter, I found myself virtually erasing some of the clue answers because of conflicts in the grid, only to find I was right all along.

I got about three quarters of the way through the Globe and Mail cryptic before having to resort to the computer.  30a took a while to get: “Won’t livestock be sold by it?”  Both HEAD WEIGHT and DEAD WEIGHT fit, and it wasn’t until I recognized the contrast with LIVEstock that I was sure which was right.  The Hex cryptic in the National Post was considerably smoother.

There’s a fun package of themed crosswords with little twists that’s been posted by Eric Berlin.  It’s a salute to Mad Magazine and all its great contributors.  Eric makes lots of references to the little details of the magazine: the things that rewarded your second or third reading of each issue.

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