December 21, 2005


John "Popeye" Minarcik and Vic Fleming joined forces to create the THREE L LLLAMA delight, "Wanna Bet a Silk Pajama?" in the Sun. Sure, the theme entries are goofy, but that's half the fun. Then there's fill like NOHITS, MALLRAT, PHAT, ALLPRO, and the words that contain those two X's and five Z's. And the clue for INLAW ("One who comes with a tied knot?") is cute. My only quibble is that I don't think too many youths shop at Banana Republic—the apparel there tends to skew a little more grown-up.

Elizabeth Gorski's NYT features an interesting quip from Miles Davis. SPHINX and DEJA VU are great fill, no doubt, and I liked KOOK, but a few entries had me scratching my head. Never heard of Neil Diamond's SHILO, Villa RICA, CORON Bay, or the phrase LAND UP. Live and learn...and land up smarter?


Martin Ashwood-Smith's CrosSynergy puzzle, "On Average," has a pretty ambitious grid for an easy puzzle, with 10 8- to 10-letter entries outside of the theme. I liked how the first theme entry was clued in reference to a short entry, both involving Homer Simpson.

And updated again:

If you subscribe to Ben Tausig's crosswords via e-mail, you received today's bonus 21x21 ("Book Groups") from the Chicago Reader's fiction issue. (It'll also be posted at the NYT "Today's Puzzle" forum.) I liked the handful of Chicago-specific clues, sure, but even better were the clever clues that elicited laughs or "aha" moments. Even if you aren't familiar with every component of the theme entries, you're still sure to enjoy this puzzle. You can

Tausig bonus 8:52
NYT 5:38
NYS 5:04
LAT 3:40
CS 2:59