July 28, 2005


One of the downsides of the common cold is that it makes bloggers lackadaisical. But I did want to talk a bit about Eric Berlin's Thursday NYT. First off, it tends to throw me a little when there isn't some rebus or gimmick involved in a Thursday NYT. I don't object in the slightest—I just end up spending some time looking for a doohickey.

It's a pangram, and I always like to see a pangram. I'm always a little disappointed when I see an X, Q, and Z, but there's no J or whatever.

The theme didn't thrill me overly, but at least it wasn't the kind that allows you to fill in all the long answers right away. So let me retract the unthrill and instead express appreciation for a theme that takes time to reveal itself. The much-ballyhooed icing clue (27D) didn't point me toward cake, but I'm so unfamiliar with hockey that I first considered HOCKEYPUCK and HOCKEYRINK for HOCKEYGAME. (Note to self: icing happens in hockey, and a feint is a deke.)

I enjoyed many entries: the STARR Report, CRISPUS Attucks, ORTS (because I used the word in a high school paper about medieval dining customs, and my teacher, clearly not a crossword solver, circled the word and jotted a question mark in the margin—hello, do you own a dictionary, Mr. Claudon? Do you think it wise to doubt me??), HIYA, AUJUS, WHOSNEXT, VIXEN, ZING, and nearby suburb SKOKIE. From the clues, I learned that the ALOUs of the 1960s–1970s cruciverbal league predate recent ex-Cub Moises Alou. Is he their son and nephew? And wasn't there another current-day Alou playing ball?

LAT 5:19 (typing one-handed with a kid on my lap who needed a blanket wrapped around him—the opposite of a wind-assisted time)
CS 3:20
NYS 5:12
total 13:51 (beyond the 13:00 goal, but hey, kid on lap is a hindrance)