April 19, 2006


Will Nediger’s Themeless Thursday in the Sun has a delectable alphabet soup of high-Scrabble-count letters, making in a quintessential Sun themeless. There's a bit of a sot/anti-sot mini-theme, with BOOZER, BAR SCENE, and TEETOTAL. It's trivially educational, with tidbits like POPES named Zephyrinus and Zosimus. Cute clues, such as “Coal porter?” for TRAM and “Fear of Frankfurters?” for ANGST.

The entire NYT site had some major hiccups Wednesday night, which was unusual. I didn't much care for waiting almost an hour to fetch the crossword, but it was kind of sweet to be given a pop-under ad for "File not found." Ah, they know what I like...

The Thursday NYT puzzle's got a sound-change theme by Joe DiPietro and truthfully, the theme doesn't excite me at all. But DiPietro's got a knack for filling a grid with entries I like, such as IM ON IT, WON BRONZE, AS NEEDED, MOOING, KOAN, and FABIO. I don't know whether the clues are mainly from the constructor's or editor's camp, but they're smooth.


Bill Ballard's LA Times puzzle has (if I counted right) 70 theme squares, which doesn't put it near the top of the list of theme-dense puzzles, but it's certainly got far more than the usual crossword. The theme is TWELVE RHYMES/AT THE BORDERS, with the edges of the puzzle lined with a dozen words in which the final long-A sound is spelled differently. Kinda neat trick, that.

NYS 5:35
NYT 4:42
LAT 3:41
CS 3:33
Newsday 3:23—hey, it includes FIEND!