December 13, 2005


NAKED MAJA—Now, that's a hell of an entry, isn't it? And it's only a Wednesday! Congrats to James Leeds for an NYT puzzle with two new 9-letter entries (the aforementioned plus RURAL AREA); for other good fill like the WANTON and WILD pair, DOWN ON, and AMNION (you know I like medical terminology); for a fairly ambitious Wednesday grid; and for the three-camel theme.

Ben Tausig's "Reintegration" is a classic example of what his puzzles are like. A touch of politics (ERA, ABU GHRAIB, and UNITER), a little hipster cred (JAM BAND, R CRUMB), pop culture (the clues for NATASHA and ENCINO), computer stuff (IMS and DESKTOP), and the freshness of cluing DEATHTRAP as "car without brakes, say" (rather than as "Ira Levin play"). And a good theme! I especially liked A-LIST ACTOR turned into REALIST ACTOR, and wonder if that was the seed for the puzzle.

I don't know why it took me so long to realize that Randall Hartman's "Mixed Metaphors in the NY Sun was an anagram-theme puzzle. Entering FATHERS PA instead of MOTHERS PA probably didn't help! (D'oh.) It's nice to have SHEWOLF added to the crossword vocabulary, too.


Cute LA Times puzzle from Doug Peterson with an OZ* theme, supplemented by fill like YOOHOO, BUZZWORD, and I LIKE IKE.

Tausig 5:02
NYS 5:01
NYT 4:18
LAT 3:23
CS 2:57