March 28, 2006

Easing back into regular blogging

Time for a soupçon of catch-up (you want fries with that?).

The Monday NYT by Janice Putney was cute. GARY COOPER'S TOWN, DICK CLARK'S VILLE, and J PAUL GETTY'S BURG were a nice trio. • Tuesday's NYT by Jim Hyres featured assorted slang terms for the central entry, MONEY; alas, I solved it when I was drowsy, so I'm not remembering much about it. • The latest NYT by the late Frances Hansen fell fast for a Wednesday puzzle. It felt a tad old-fashioned, with fill like LEHAR, DAHL, and RLS—but would I be saying that if I hadn't seen the byline first? I dunno. I did like NAWLINS and "something that's pitched" as a clue for TRASH.

Boy, there are a lot of puzzles that I'm thinking about doing tomorrow. Tonight's for sleeping, for a change.


Ben Tausig's Ink Well/Chicago Reader puzzle, "Duped," is a good one, as usual. Outside the theme, there's SEX SELLS, MOSHING, TREKKIE, OH OK, and SANTORUM. Crikey! SANTORUM. If you don't already know the meaning of that aside from Sen. Rick, I'm not sure you want to. (Personally, I think it's hilarious that columnist Dan Savage appropriated Santorum's name in that manner.)

Really good Monday Sun puzzle by Joy Andrews, "Zoo Compounds." DIXIECRATS, HUBBUBS, and CRYPTOGRAM in the fill? Good gravy. • Jack McInturff's Tuesday Sun, "A Matter of Degrees," is peppered liberally with Z's and X's, which I like, and throws in WOOZY and SNOOZED, which make a perfect pair of words. (And by "perfect," I mean I like them. That's the criterion. Plus I'm a little woozy and in need of a snooze, so...) • Patrick Blindauer (whose connect-the-dots puzzle from last Friday's Sun was the talk of Stamford) continues his UPward trajectory in crosswords with "Getting a Lift." The theme eluded me for far too long! What I liked best in this puzzle were the clues: "Cultured breakfast item" for YOGURT, "Burn's partner" for SLASH (I mentally moved the apostrophe and entered ALLEN), and "Ford part, familiarly" for INDY. We didn't need another constructor named Patrick (on top of Merrell, Berry, and Jordan), but this guy's a worthy addition to the roster.

Curtis Yee's one of my favorite LA Times regulars. He only started submitting puzzles last year, but he does some nice work. WAITING FOR GODOT in a theme, and SCALAWAG and RYDER CUP tossed in as fill? I like.

Patrick Jordan's CrosSynergy puzzle contains a quote, which normally I'd rail against, but it's a Roger Ebert quote. Of course, once I had the first half of the quote, I filled in the rest of it without glancing at the crossing clues. TOWNSFOLK is a great entry—I'd like to see it in a themeless with an impossible clue and tough crossings.

Moving on to last weekend's puzzles, Randolph Ross's Wall Street Journal outing, "At Play with the Rich and Famous," has a perfect theme for the moneyed readership of that paper. Excellent wielding of puns, e.g., IACOCCA COLA and RELIGIOUS ICAHNS.

I did not ralph while solving Henry Hook's "Ralphabet Soup" puzzle from the LA Weekly. One of my favorite things about this puzzle is that it rewarded me for knowing who played Bill to Keanu Reeves' Ted in "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" (first and last names separately in cross-referenced clues). I'll never decry pop culture clues—except for the ones I don't know.

Easy Washington Post puzzle from Elizabeth Gorski, "Minding Their Businesses." "An early Mouseketeer" was a gimme for DARLENE, but I'm guessing that very few people younger than me would know that one. I think Darlene Love and the "Roseanne" character named Darlene have more "legs" than the Mouseketeer clue at this point pop culture clue—but when they fade from the collective memory, poor Darlene will be locked out of crosswords...

Wed NYT 3:18
Tues NYT 3:46
Mon NYT 2:53
Wed NYS 5:31
Tues NYS 4:01
Mon NYS 3:30ish?
Tausig 4:27
Wed LAT 3:28
Wed CS 3:16
Fri WSJ 8:27
Sun Reagle 7:31
Sun WaPo 7:07
Sun LA Weekly 7:44