October 27, 2005

And now, a Saturdayish Friday

A wicked themed puzzle from Patrick Berry in the Friday NYS put up a strong fight, particularly the SW corner. All that helped me through that section was figuring out what and where the rebus square would be (thanks for the meticulous symmetry and order, Patrick!). Despite the rebus taking this out of the knotty-themeless sweepstakes, this was still a challenging mofo of a crossword, packed with twisty but straight-up factual clues (only two question-mark clues in the bunch). Personally, I prefer more question marks and more playfulness, even in tough puzzles. But if I had to choose between a funny-but-easy puzzle and a hard-but-unfunny one, I'd have to go with the challenging one.

In the NYT, Elizabeth Gorski follows the same basic model as Patrick Berry: a hard puzzle with not much to laugh at, but much to admire. The clues were good and hard, weren't they? I found precious few gimmes. During the first pass, really only ATT, LUCIE, DRESSY (given away by a crossing S and ED), SRA, OTTO, and ELAPSE jumped out at me. Everything else was pieced together bit by bit. This is the second time I've come across I.M. Pei's first name (the implausible IEOH)—maybe I'll actually remember it the third time around.

Kudos to Patrick and Peter and to Elizabeth and Will for the rigorous challenges. It's looking like the Saturday NYT this week will be a killer, eh?

NYS 10:39
NYT 7:41
LAT 5:16
CS 3:23

WSJ 11:48 (Was this puzzle hard, or was I just sleepy?)
Reagle 6:56