April 02, 2006


I was hoping to get a chance to meet Lynn Lempel at Stamford, but I don't think she (or he?) was there. I enjoy her (his?) Monday puzzles far more than most early-week puzzles. This one's no exception, combining an ON THE BEACH theme with six entries (most of which are cool entries on their own), SEETHE (which I always want to put in when the answer's SEE RED; SEETHE is such a fun word to say), the sporty END ZONES and FACED OFF, RUBEN Studdard from "American Idol," and SCUMBAG. I didn't really raise an eyebrow at that last word until I saw Harris RUBEN's "hmm" comment on the NYT forum, leading me to his blog, leading me to figure out that the word connotes "condom" to the generation before me. I did a little Googling and found the Random House Word of the Day write-up of "scumbag." According to that link, when Rep. Dan Burton called Pres. Clinton a scumbag, the New York Times opted not to print the word in an article about the foofaraw. Has the NYT become less delicate about such words since 1998, or did the Monday puzzle stray from house style? Is it a matter of Will Shortz, Style Renegade, or The Times: Keeping up with the times? (Lynn Lempel, if you're out there: Please keep constructing early-week puzzles, which you do so well!)


I enjoyed Kelsey Blakley's Sun puzzle, "This 'n' That." Six theme entries, one of which actually follows the form of "This, That 'n' The Other Thing" (ED EDD N EDDY, a Cartoon Network show my kid watches; every episode name works "Ed" into something, like "Over Your Ed," "Ed-n-Seek," "In Like Ed"—many of the references are hard to explain to a kindergartner. Actually, a lot of cartoon episode names draw heavily on wordplay...). And there's REDRUM from "The Shining," and BRAD has a "Rocky Horror Picture Show" clue.

Hey! Over in the Puzzle Brothers blog, Ellen left a link to a great article about Merl Reagle. Check it out.

CS 4:22
NYS 3:27
LAT 3:18
NYT 3:11 (I've forgotten how to type today)
Newsday 2:09