March 16, 2006

Ah, Friday

I couldn't stay away from Henry Hook’s Sun puzzle, “No Kibitzing,” last week, which is a shame because I really wasn't very fast on it. When a crossword slays me, I like to think I'd have been much faster if only I'd done the puzzle the next day. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it.) I blithely keyed in typos and pretended the letters were right when trying to make sense out of the crossings, and the fact that it was a rebus puzzle escaped me for a frightful amount of time. I don't remember seeing a rebused sentence before—and it occurs to me that this approach could make a quip puzzle bearable. (Within reason. Say, twice a year.) The fill is appropriate, isn't it? There's a PEEVISH NONHERO (although a hero to cruciverbia). My favorite clues were "Check for one who needs glasses?" for BAR TAB, "having pets" for PEEVISH, "they're often okay" for ASSENTS, and "displaying conspicuously" for OOZING.

John Farmer's NYT puzzle has a nice mini-theme (the CHARGE and COST in the 15-letter entries), great fill (PUDDLE JUMPERS, PRO SHOP, BLUE JEANS, LESS TAR), and good vague clues ("not sharp" for MILD, "no longer practicing" for LAPSED, "shined" for THRIVED, "it supplies drivers" for PRO SHOP, "something ventured" for GUESS). There was also a pair of names with unrevealing (for me) clues: DENISE Nicholas of "Room 222" and Daniel Decatur EMMETT, "Dixie" composer. (Denise Richards and Emmett Kelly, I know. These ones, not so much.)


After you do Merl Reagle's puzzle, don't forget to read the Across Lite Notepad for the background of Merl's theme. If you can think of any other legitimate theme entries, let's hear 'em.

The WSJ is by Maryanne Lemot, an anagram of "not my real name," a.k.a. Mike Shenk. Good rebus puzzle.

As for the 3/3 Chronicle of Higher Education puzzle by Patrick Berry, if you don't know old Dutch cartographer Willem BLAEU (turns out he studied under noseless astronomer Tycho Brahe), at least try to remember that last name.

The Newsday puzzle by Stan Newman is a quip puzzle with some challenge built in.

Since when is an ASCOT a "trendy tie"? Possibly it's a trend in formalwear and wedding attire (as well as on the LA Times crossword page), but other than that? I think not. I page through Esquire each month, and I've yet to see the unleashing of the ascot trend. (Was it Morgan Freeman who wore one with his Oscars tux?)

NYS 12:15
LAT 6:50
NYT 6:07
Newsday 5:19 (on paper)
3/3 CHE 3:37
CS 3:01

WSJ 9:40
Reagle 8:11