June 22, 2006


It's late, so this'll be brief.

Two links: Newsweek's blurb about Wordplay, and the San Francisco Chronicle article about Will Shortz.

The theme in the NYT puzzle by Christina Houlihan Kelly is phrases and words containing [POINT] (in rebus form). I liked the spoonerism clue for SPOONER, "Road tests?" for POTHOLES, and a shout-out to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (though the PRIORESS' Prologue and Tale lack bawdy fun). I'd never heard of RUSSEL Crouse; turns out he was a playwright and librettist who worked with a Howard Lindsay and named his daughter (actress Lindsay Crouse) after him. After I finished this puzzle, I noticed an additional "point" hiding within the abbreviated APPT; I imagine the appearance of both APPT and AP[POINT] in the top of the same puzzle vexes the more persnickety breed of solvers. (Please note that persnickety is not always pejorative.)


Hmm, I must be more tired than I knew. I got through the CrosSynergy puzzle just fine, but Seth Abel's Sun puzzle, "Forward-Looking Statement," took me too long (and then the LA Times took me even longer). This one did afford me the opportunity to learn about the AFL (American Football League)...

Joy Andrews' LA Times puzzle slaughtered me. Some obscure entries—AMINO GROUP, GO-AWAY BIRD (never heard of it—how about you?). And vague clues—"Blood test letters" for HDL, "Their jets don't fly" for SPAS, "Voting booth group" for PARTY SLATE. It took an inordinate amount of time to fill in the central helper entry that vaguely hinted at the theme (the long entries "contain a form of it"—is that a reasonable description of anagrams?). And then there's the entry PET CATS. Perhaps I'm just on a different wavelength with this one.

Two articles about Wordplay and crosswords were cited in the NYT forum this morning: Jim Conklin relayed this Atlanta Journal-Constitution article, and Susan Hoffman mentioned the Philadelphia Inquirer article.

Ben Tausig's Chicago Reader puzzle this week, "Like Lines," was sent out about two days later than usual. Is it mere coincidence that his previous puzzle had a procrastination theme? This one's got a couple Chicago-centric clues, which I appreciate. I hope solvers in the New York area have to think a tad more when they see such clues—it's only fair after the rest of us have been contending with Gotham-focused clues in other puzzles.

LAT 8:05
NYS 6:10
NYT 4:11
Tausig 3:57
CS 3:30