Sunday, August 17, 2014

The happiest dump in the world (Sunday brunch: August 17, 2014)

Take It Or Leave It
Back in ‘Sconset for another short vacation. One of the activities last time we were here was helping to clean out my parents’ garage and haul some scrap wood, cardboard, leftover paint and other things to the dump. Sabers went along to assist, and I promised him his choice of three books in return for his help.

He gave me a puzzled look, and we drove off. He didn’t know about an island tradition called Take It Or Leave It: a shack next to the main trash and recycling trailers where all kinds of people drop off unwanted stuff and collect wanted stuff.  The tradition of Yankee thrift is so ingrained that people from all walks of life come to the dump and pick up someone else’s unwanted items.  They brag about their finds to nobody in particular and go on about how tastes have changed.

There are enough books there to stock a small library, jigsaw puzzles for rainy days, old clothes and various linens, unmatched linens, and much more.  I brought a couple of pair of very old cross-country skis and some touch-up paint for a Toyota, which were gone by the time we came out from hunting for books.  We didn’t take anything besides a few books, since we already had a carload of stuff to take back home with us from my parents’.  Furthermore, we already had stuff like martini glasses from the church rummage sale, which is just like Take It Or Leave It, except that we make a donation to some very good causes in exchange for the stuff others brought.

No junk here: just fine new puzzles.

The Wall Street Journal puzzle is a Seven Sages by Patrick Berry.  Aside from one mistake which I quickly noticed (but didn’t rectify as quickly), I found it easier than the last one of these he set, but it’s still a challenge which requires logic and adjoining answers in order to get a toehold.  Some may find these more frustrating than other variety crosswords, since you can lose momentum quickly even after you get the first few answers in.  You might also like the Friday straight crossword, which is on a Woodstock theme for the 45th anniversary of that concert.

The New York Times variety puzzle (behind the paywall) is a Puns and Anagrams by Mel Taub.  Carrying on with the recycling theme, it re-uses the same grid from the April P&A.  Deb gives it the staredown (and spoilers) at Wordplay.

The new Harper’s is out, with a Richard Maltby variety cryptic called One Upmanship.

Kevin Wald’s latest variety cryptic is his Lollapuzzoola puzzle called “Fearful Symmetry.”  Since it was set for in-person tournament solving, it’s not as intricate as some of his other cryptics, and will take less time to solve. Still just as good.

The Hex cryptic in the National Post (blogged by Falcon) has an interesting (but not very connected) grid.  The syndicated cryptic in the Globe and Mail is pretty hard.

BEQ has a wrap-up of Lollapuzzoola, and reminds us you can still purchase the puzzles (six of them, by top-flight constructors) at  And while we’re on the subject of BEQ, he’s sounding out interest in a possible subscription series (bi-weekly) of Marching Bands.  See here for a sample.  Like good variety crosswords?  Send him an e-mail of encouragement.

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