October 16, 2005

Mondays lack thrills and chills

Don't they?

What do you call the type of theme in Gregory Paul's NYT puzzle? I don't see anything tying the three theme entries together other than that they're vaguely adjectival phrases with "and" in the middle (though I think of NICKEL AND DIME as more of a verb than an adjective).


A little like Ray Hamel's CrosSynergy puzzle last Friday, Harvey Estes' "Girl Crush" CS includes 15-letter entries that each contain three related words, in this case first names of famous women. Bundling them together into 15s serves to lower the word count; this one has 70 entries, I believe. I'd like to see this sort of theme done with harder clues than you find in a CrosSynergy puzzle, to see if the undefined word breaks really add to the challenge.

Thomas Schier's LA Times puzzle had an unfamiliar word: "synthetic fiber brand" ARNEL. I asked myself, is this a word I need to know for crosswords? I Googled it, and the first 20 hits were for assorted companies bearing the name Arnel but with no textile connotations. Then I Googled Arnel fiber, and learned the following here: "The first commercial production of triacetate fiber in the United States by the Celanese Corporation in 1954. Domestic Triacetate production was discontinued in 1985." Yes, Arnel was around longer than James Dean or Buddy Holly, but I'm not sure it's equally worthy of being immortalized in crosswords.

Just for the hell of it, I did today's Creators Syndicate/Newsday puzzle. I could have finished it faster if I'd really tried—this is the type of puzzle Tyler Hinman can solve in 70 seconds. It's a neat party trick, sure, but that's 70 seconds he'll never get back and 2:23 I'll never get back. ;-)

NYT 3:29 (typo, too much sangria, headache—enough excuses?)
CS 3:29
NYS 3:17
LAT 3:11
Newsday 2:23