June 07, 2006


Joe DiPietro's NYT is a wonderful puzzle, isn't it? I think it's my favorite themed daily puzzle this month. The theme is reminiscent of Eric Berlin and Craig Kasper's Sunday NYT last December 4 (the one with SUPERB OWL/SUPER BOWL and RABBI TEARS/RABBIT EARS). In this one, though, instead of breaking an existing phrase into different chunks, Joe pairs two animal names and cracks them (TAPIR EGRET becomes TAP I REGRET, for example). That puzzle-within-a-puzzle is enmeshed within an excellent crossword, with great entries ("Symbol for a kiss"/CAPITAL X, CHEERIO, GRAPPLE, BAGS IT, EX-JET, THE ALAMO, and ILL-MADE) and clever clues (there are many worthy ones, but my favorites were "Jazz quintet's home" for UTAH—brilliant!—"Lab food?" for ALPO, and "Leaves rudely" for JILTS). And I'm glad to see a shout-out to my favorite cartoonist, ROZ Chast, rather than "'Frasier' role."

Robert Wolfe's Sun puzzle, "Short People," is also good. It's got a CDB vibe, with five famous people's first names shortened to sound-alike letters (e.g., Edie McClurg becomes E D MCCLURG; Emmy Rossum, M E ROSSUM), plus fill like SAGUAROS, SIXTIES, and SWATTER, and an interesting assortment of clues.


Lynn Lempel's LA Times puzzle is a good one. (I think she likes her initials.) • Raymond Hamel's CrosSynergy puzzle is also good, but there's a notable error in a clue: EYRE is clued "Austen heroine" rather than "Bronte heroine." !!!

NYS 5:29
NYT 5:04
LAT 3:55
CS 3:20