October 25, 2005


David Sullivan (better known around these parts as Evad) created the Wednesday NYS puzzle (woefully titled, "Separation H"). Lots of J's, K's, and X's to Scrabbleize the fill, which includes STYX clued as the band and AJAX clued as the household product (a classicist is spinning in a grave somewhere). And CIRCE, who apparently is also called Aeaea even though I've never seen that name in a crossword. Tying in with the retro non-chic of STYX, we've got RAJ clued as the "What's Happening" character—gotta love clues that advantage people who are 35 to 45 years old! (Do we thank you for that one, Dave, or do we thank Peter Gordon?) Thanks for throwing in my favorite wine, RIESLING. Alas, I really wish I could have 44D'd this morning (i.e., SLEPT IN).

Which leads us to the NYT puzzle by Adam G. Perl. I don't mind seeing Barry Haldiman's name ahead of mine in the applet standings, but I'd rather not take 50% longer than Barry to finish a puzzle. (Ouch.) The brain is not functioning at peak this evening, not after staying up too late last night and then chaperoning a kindergarten field trip today. I can't tell you how long I stared at the puzzle after finishing it, confused into thinking that the middle president was LBJ for LIGHTBULBJOKE rather than LIGHTBULBJOKE. Instead of seeing FDR and HST, I pondered which presidents' initials were COD and MSM. (See? Off-peak brain. Who's with me?) And look! There's AJAX cleanser again. Its product-placement people have gotten to both the Times and the Sun, apparently.


Paula Gamache's LA Times and Randolph Ross's CrosSynergy puzzles are decent early-week puzzles, but they didn't make me laugh. Ben Tausig's "Gonzo Films" puzzle did. "Office party photocopy"? ASS, of course. "Curse of Notre Dame?" MERDE, of course. I liked ARMS RACE clued as "military competition" and the au courant coverage of Britney Spears' career. "Coalition of the Willing member," three letters...hmm, what could it be? There are so many possibilities... I also learned a new word, SCAG as slang for heroin.

NYS 4:58
NYT 4:20
Tausig 4:15
CS 3:38
LAT 3:21