May 22, 2006


If you had trouble finding this week's Sun puzzles, you'll want to take advantage of my friend Popeye's NYT forum post, whence you can download a zipped file of the five puzzles.

Jack McInturff's Tuesday Sun puzzle was like a really fun Monday puzzle. The theme was light and breezy; HELP ME HONDA amused me an inordinate amount; the clues were interesting...and then there was NEST EGGS, which will bring a smile to the face of anyone who's seen Lost in America. (In the movie, Albert Brooks and Julie Hagerty opt out of routine and take to the road. She blows their nest egg in a casino, and he takes umbrage at that. He rants that she must never use the words "nest" and "egg" again: "From now on, birds live in round sticks—and we have things over easy with toast!")

Alan Arbesfeld's NYT pays tribute to HENRIK IBSEN on the centennial of his death, with a whopping 69 theme squares (I'm not counting 27 Across's THE, since the clue for 39 Across could easily have included "With 'The'" and since the word also appears in THE DOLL HOUSE—that section could have included TOE and ADORNS crossing ONER). With BIG MAC, OLD LADY, KLATSCH, and the combination of ATTILA and HON, I liked this fill. I wasn't familiar with the "ornamental plant with fernlike foliage"; the SILK TREE is also known as the mimosa or silky acacia.

The Monday Sun puzzle, "The Name Rings a B*ll," is a 15x16 by Andrea Carla Michaels. It contains MIMOSA, oddly enough clued as "brunch drink" rather than "silk tree." Good fill, such as OSCAR NODS, MR BILL, and HELLCAT. (Hellcat's a much fresher word than "bitch," isn't it? I'm totally gonna start using that.)


I didn't look at the byline or title before I started today's CrosSynergy puzzle, but I enjoyed it a lot. No wonder—turns out it's by Harvey Estes, whose cluing style hits the sweet spot where my brain meets my funny bone.

I confess I'm not clear on the theme in Gail Grabowski's LA Times puzzle: SIXTEEN TONS, SCRAP HEAPS, PARKING LOTS, and TRUCKLOADS. Best I can figure, everything's sort of truck-related. What am I missing here?

Mon NYS 3:40
NYT 3:37
CS 3:35
Tues NYS 3:08
LAT 2:57
Tausig tba