February 12, 2006


Janet Bender's NYT puzzle is a standard Monday crossword, and as such, there's not a tremendous amount to say about it. Early in the week, when the puzzles present fewer conversation topics, maybe it'd be fun to pick a corner and rework it—sort of an amateur construction workshop. In this puzzle, SMELL OUT struck a false note; yes, it's in the dictionary, but sniff out is much more common. If we change SMELL OUT to SMELL BAD, that SE corner could become:


Pros: SMELL BAD could be fun to clue. Gets rid of an abbreviation (RNA) and a prefix (TETRA). Adds a rare Z to the grid. DYLAN could clued as Bob D. or D. Thomas, or—going for '90s nostalgia and pissing off older or TV-snob solvers—as Luke Perry's character on "Beverly Hills, 90210."

Cons: YUL is limited to Brynner. And we lose UTURN, which was a nice entry.


Pros: Still have the Z. BAGGY and DEMON could lend themselves to entertaining or straightforward clues. GUM's better than YUL.

Cons: "Miracle-___" is achingly dull.

Anyone else want to suggest alternative fill for that corner?

NYT 2:51
NYS tba
CS 3:21
LAT 2:52
Newsday 2:40 (on paper)