June 18, 2006


In Martin Eiger's Sun puzzle, "An Oldie, but a Goodie," the theme jumps all over the place, but when all is said and done, it accounts for an impressive 69 squares—or 81, if you add in the 4- and 8-letter entries that are used twice in the theme. And it wasn't strikingly Mondayish (that's one of the things I love about the Sun puzzles—they start the week out with a little more challenge than the other daily puzzles). Putting PAUL/MCCARTNEY and his song title and lyrics into a crossword the day after his birthday was cool, but tying in two other McCartney song titles to point out that his BIRTHDAY was YESTERDAY is a stroke of genius. I'm also pleased that this puzzle includes the word IBO ("Nigerian native")—I've been hoping it would make an appearance. I was talking with another mom at the playground, and it turns out that not only is she from Nigeria, but of the three main groups in Nigerian society, she happens to be IBO. Next thing you know, I'll meet someone who claims to be UTA Hagen's grandchild, or CNN will broadcast footage of an ANOA run amok.

I liked Raymond Hamel's botanical eponyms puzzle in the NYT, too. JACK IN THE PULPIT would also fit the theme, but using that 15-letter entry would have necessitated killing a pair of theme entries (or squeezing in 67 theme squares in five long entries), so forget that.


According to Entertainment Weekly's weekend box office report: In other specialty debuts, crossword doc Wordplay averaged $17,479 on each of its two screens. If the movie's opening this weekend in your city, hie thee to the cinema!

In Time magazine, Richard Corliss writes about puzzles and Wordplay. (You know someone's not faking his love for puzzles when he says he wishes Patrick Berry and Henry Hook had also been in the movie.) My favorite quote from the article was this one: Solving a crossword takes brains and patience. Solving it in a few minutes, standing on a stage filling the spaces on a large board, with hundreds of people watching, demands poise, steel nerves and a killer instinct. Indeed!

NYS 4:11
CS 3:17
NYT 2:50
LAT tba