July 21, 2005

It's Thursday, and things are definitely picking up

Today's NYT by Patrick Blindauer is kind of an oddball puzzle, with the embedded SHIFTALETTER SIMPLECIPHER in the middle. That particular aspect didn't thrill me, but I'm glad Will Shortz likes to push the crossword format in new directions to keep it interesting. Aside from the secret coded message, there's much to appreciate in this puzzle. MUSTANG, ASTHMATIC, BUCKAROO (rather than "ending for buck?" AROO), CATCALL. While this Patrick absolutely has talent, it's only going to confuse us if we have another Patrick to keep track of (the Patricks Merrell, Berry, and Jordan already provide so many great puzzles). At least there aren't too many Stellas, Byrons, Harveys, and Vics out there...

I'd heard that Brendan Emmett Quigley's Themeless Thursday in the NYS was a beaut, and indeed it is. So educational: the clues include lesser-known quotes from a real person and a character. Sports trivia (who is this TRABERT who swept his sets in the U.S. Open tennis tournament twice?) and geographic trivia. Colloquialisms. Mention of crunk. Two people squeezed into the grid with their first and last names. And it's a pangram!

NYS 5:15
CS 3:21
LAT 4:25
total 13:01 (a mere one second over the time limit I gave myself)