December 08, 2005


Holy CRIMEWAVE, Batman! Sherry O. Blackard's Friday NYT felt more like a Saturday puzzle, didn't it? I learned a new word (GAMESOME, meaning playful or "feeling one's oats"). Plenty of tricky clues, like "wipe out an old score" for GET EVEN (I wrongly read the clue as making amends), and clever clues, like "has little to complain about" for NITPICKS. The central intersection of RETAR and RETAG is forgiveable, of course, with words like THINGAMAJIG (anyone else try THINGAMABOB first?) in the vicinity. And who knew IRENE CARA had won so many awards back in the day? Good trivia to know. Now that Sherry has featured her, and Byron Walden included IRENE JACOB not long ago, can Irene Dunne's place in the sun be far off?

When I did the NYS Weekend Warrior by Nancy Kavanaugh a few days ago, I must've channeled her (and Peter Gordon's) intentions from when the clues were written—I filled it in like a CrosSynergy Sunday "Challenge." Beautiful-looking grid, though, with the four 15's anchoring those six blocks of 7's.

Those of you in the snowy Chicago area, I hope your Thursday evening commute wasn't of the five-hours-on-the-expressway variety. Yoicks!


Richard Silvestri's "Learning Centers" from the 11/18 Chronicle of Higher Education reminded me of a Ben Tausig puzzle from a few months ago. The long entries have the names of four colleges embedded within them, and teeny REED College makes an appearance in both puzzles. I suppose it was too tempting to pass up that easy letter combo.

The LAT puzzle by John Underwood contains a whopping 13 theme entries comprising 67 theme squares, all with the same clue: "Mother ___." Kinda cool!

NYT 8:40
LAT 4:21
CHE 4:01
NYS 3:44
CS 2:52

WSJ tba
Reagle tba