April 23, 2006


My son, Ben, turns 6 tomorrow, so the weekend's been filled with birthday-related activities that have come between me and my crosswords. The Fiend should be back to normal in another day...

The Monday NYT's by Lynn Lempel, who mangles and masticates the theme entries, which not only end in smashing verbs, but are all yellow to orange in hue (well, once you get inside the ACORN SQUASH's skin). Add the longish fill, like SPIKE LEE, NOSEDIVE, and HECKLER, sparkles as well. POGO crosses AGOG and makes me wish there were one more O: POGO A GO-GO, anyone? (Wait a minute...is FOGHORN slang for anything? How about CUKE? GOON? Is Lynn going to have to run all her puzzles by 60-year-old male test-solvers to make sure that nothing appalls them? No? We're good here? Good.)

I don't remember the last time the Monday Sun went faster than the NYT. Timothy Powell's "Men of Great Intelligence" caused me to ask my husband what spy character was named SOLO. (Guess I wasn't paying attention during Star Wars.) Fortunately, familiarity with famous fictional spies was needed only to make sense of the theme—not to finish the puzzle.

CS 3:08
NYT 2:54
NYS 2:51
LAT 2:41