December 23, 2005


Well, speak of the devil. No sooner do I mention how much I've enjoyed Byron Walden's puzzles this year, and then I get gobsmacked by another one—possibly his hardest puzzle this year. Or maybe it's not really so hard? Maybe my headache caused cognitive impairment? Or perhaps it really is The Killer of 2005 (cue slasher-movie sound effects). This puzzle was indeed rather 15A. And I'd talk specifics, but I don't want to make it easy for anyone to succumb to spoiler temptations and end up posting a faster applet time than I did—that was too hard-fought. I will say that Byron worked in about 15 entries that haven't shown up in crosswords before (per the Cruciverb database)—that's a whopping amount of new stuff. Also, check out the square around the middle made up of 24A, 24D, 46A, and 26D; isn't that a nice grouping? "Salty hail" is an awesome clue, and the combo of 1D, 2D, and 3D (clues and entries) is great, too. Thanks to Byron and Will for getting the holiday weekend off to a crushing start (and I mean that in the best way!).

P.S. Hapless Googlers, "Salty hail" means AHOYMATE.

NYT 15:14
LAT 5:08
Saturday Stumper 3:52
CS 3:32—"Twisted Christmas Carols" by Raymond Hamel was cute