March 13, 2006

Dydd Mawrth (Tom Jones' Tuesday)

I really liked Lynn Lempel's NYT puzzle, but I couldn't quite put my finger on the reason. Could be the theme and overall quality, or it could just be my gutter mind. Looking over the puzzle now, while chatting on the phone with a friend, I see a slew of could-be-ribald answers. The intersecting COCKS and STUD at the bottom, not to mention TOOL, TEMPT, RED HOT...even UPEND is looking suspicious now. And I worry about OPIE.

Steve Salmon's Sun puzzle, "Repeat After Me," is much the same. Between GRANDPA, the BEE GEES, and SNIDELY Whiplash in YUCATAN...EGADS! (Okay, maybe not.)


If you did the CrosSynergy puzzle, you may be wondering who RITA TUSHINGHAM is; the answer is here. And if you did the Newsday puzzle, you may be confused about how EPA can be clued "ecology agcy." (or, as it has often been clued elsewhere, "clean-air org.," "ecol. watchdog," "antipollution org.," etc.), given that the agency's current role seems to involve easing the way for polluters rather than ensuring clean air or serving as a vigilant watchdog. Seeing crossword clues over and over that imply that the EPA is still hewing to its original mission just makes me cranky.

I'm back into the ACPT training zone, doing 20+ puzzles a day on paper. Some of them have been in the new NYT X-Treme X-Words collection, which has been kinda disappointing so far. Out of the first 21 puzzles, only a few have taken me more than 7 minutes, and I was hoping the book would be packed with the 8- to 12-minute toughies. But maybe I'm doing them wrong—they're X-treme, so perhaps I should be skateboarding off a rooftop while working the puzzles.

NYS 3:48
CS 3:38
LAT 3:13
NYT 2:56
Newsday 2:34 (on paper)