March 11, 2006


Is Mary Steenburgen a DANSON QUEEN? And is oddball actor Christopher ever given his WALKEN PAPERS? Those examples aren't as good as the ones in Daniel Bryant's Sunday NYT puzzle, "Know What I'm Sayin'?" Really a good puzzle overall. Look at just the first corner, with WNBA, OEUF, and WOWS—there and elsewhere, this crossword's got a lot of interesting stuff in it. I like the phrasal answers, like OVER IT, MY DEAR, and YOU DO, and the unusual entries such as MARCHESA, VIENNESE, ART CINE, and the obscure-but-gettable-through crossings YAKUT ("Siberian people"—somehow I think I knew this one). The theme is delightful—ETON DISORDER, MACON WHOOPIE. And clues that feint ("period in English literature" for STOP) or educate ("Just over 6% of U.S. immigrants nowadays" are AFRICANS). Bryant's previous Sunday NYT, "Overheard Down Under," appeared in February 2005.


Out of the other Sunday puzzles, my favorite was Harvey Estes' "What They Did" in the Washington Post. Harvey also has today's LA Times puzzle; Henry Hook's got the LA Weekly puzzle; and Frances Burton put together an easy Newsday puzzle. Raymond Hamel did the CrosSynergy "Sunday Challenge," which wasn't difficult but had some uncommon longer fill in it.

The Starbucks/NYT crossword contest moves into week 4. Those of you who haven't found a reliable Starbucks source for these puzzles are going to be mighty irked this week. Puzzle #4 is perforated, and the completed puzzle has to be dismantled and put together like a jigsaw puzzle to create a coffee mug. What Starbucks has been mailing out for the first three weeks is a photocopy of the puzzle—it's really hard to see the perf marks on my laser printout of the scanned puzzle, and I can't imagine a photocopy will make it any clearer. If the Starbucks contest people have any sense at all, they'll be mailing out cardstock originals. In the meantime, my husband and I are working on redoing the scan with the perf marks highlighted...

LA Weekly 9:46
NYT 9:14
WaPo 8:36
LAT 7:55
Newsday 7:35 (on paper)
CS 3:55