December 19, 2005


Nicely constructed NYT puzzle by Nancy and Holden Baker with the man-of-war/Man o' War theme. I liked the six 8-letter entries (one sixth of which, ONE FIFTH, may be new to puzzledom) and the bunch of 6's (including PAPAYA, clued as "yellow fruit"—I wouldn't want to happen to have only the A's filled in when I hit that clue). Looking back at the puzzle just now, I was trying to figure out what a TEA RAT is. And who is this PAPA YA fellow, anyway?


The Monday Sun puzzle by Timothy Powell offers up an alternative to Roy Leban's set of herbs and spices in the 12/13 NYT. Wait, was ROSEMARY CLOONEY in the Leban puzzle too? Anyway, there's plenty of good fill (COSMIC RAYS, DR RUTH, BELARUS—not to mention EDIT OUT crossing PARSE in the editor's corner of this puzzle) to offset the occasional TPKE.

In Randall Hartman's Tuesday Sun, I understood how the "On/Off Switch" aspect worked in the theme entries, but had no idea what "coffin corner" meant. In football: "Either corner of the field formed by the sideline and the defending team's goal line. The ball may be deliberately punted out of bounds in this area, thus forcing the receiving team to play very close to its goal line." And in aviation: "Coffin corner is a dangerous portion of the flight envelope that must be carefully approached by high altitude high subsonic speed aircraft." Kudos to Randall for squeezing in two non-theme 10-letter entries.

NYS Tues 3:56
NYS Mon 3:17
CS 2:56
NYT 2:49
LAT 2:47