March 21, 2006


I don't know any Wednesday jokes, so let's get right to the puzzles.

In Curtis Yee’s Sun puzzle, “Two-Point Conversions,” it took me a while to suss out the theme. I finally figured out that the theme entries end with the opposite of the word that’s in the original phrase, but with different meanings, they're converted at two points? BIKINI WANE derives from WAX, TRAFFIC EBB from FLOW, and SONIC BUSTS from BOOMS. It was nice to be reminded of After Hours, a movie with Griffin Dunne and Teri GARR. “More work” is a wonderfully vague yet specific clue for UTOPIA. And CHOPSTICKS, GLITTERATI, and CURACAO are great non-theme entries.

In the NYT, Jim Hyres delivers the CREAMy cruciverbal goodness. A solid theme—or rather, a liquid/viscous one, plus good stuff like TAKE THAT, TAB KEY, and EARDRUM. Interesting clue for INDIA: "where mahouts toil." I looked that word up here and learned that a mahout is a person who drives an elephant. Mahouts can be further classified into those who use love (reghawan), ingenuity (yukthiman), or cruelty (balwan) to control their elephants. (Boo, hiss on the balwan.) Don't you love those clues that teach you some oddball fact?

NYS 5:00
CS 4:27
LAT 3:37
NYT 3:32
Newsday 3:02