September 20, 2005


Great NYT by Anne Garellick, and my goodness, it sure fell fast. I doubt I've ever cracked the 3-minute mark on a Wednesday before. (I'd like to thank my agent, my managers, Martin Herbach for his IKEBANA obsession, the neighbors who had a couple PACHINKO machines in their basement when I was a kid, and Chad Lowe.) Wonderful theme, much enhanced by the use of JAPANESE IMPORTS as a clever central explanatory entry. As if the juicy theme entries weren't enough, we're also treated to EXHIBIT A and CARDAMOM. And I hear good things about that movie in 31D, OSAMA, not the least of which is: "Awesome! It has three vowels and because it won an award, the name is now suitable fodder for crosswords."

Ben Tausig's Village Voice puzzle arrived this evening via e-mail with a spoiler that helped me fill in the central theme answer at 38A (and I won't share the spoiler here). Every single theme entry was zippy, as such words are rather zippy by their very nature. Ideally, I suppose, there would have been two more theme entries in the NE corner for symmetry, but the lack of theme symmetry didn't bother me in the slightest. I appreciated the triple-XXX clue package: "XXX," "XXX divided by X," and "XXX center." And I don't recall seeing EUR clued as "It.'s there" before, so I liked that, too.

The theme in Jack McInturff's Sun puzzle, "Conjunction Disjunction," was a little trickier than I expected for a Wednesday. In addition to the NO BUTS ABOUT IT theme, there was the Toyota mini-theme of SOLARA and TERCEL. Extra Scrabble points for CLOROX, INXS, and KUDZU (yes, I know two of those aren't street-legal for Scrabble). But what's up with 27D, "Leaders of Boston's subway system?" = THEADS? Do Bostonians call the subway the T? (Alternate clue: "Reason a non–sports fan watches the Super Bowl.")

Donna S. Levin's LAT has a cute Star Trek theme. Bonus for anti-Trekkies: Knowledge of the characters is helpful but not required.

NYS 4:55
Tausig 4:03
CS 3:02
LAT 2:59
NYT 2:52