June 05, 2006


Barry Silk's NYT puzzle sadly lacks any mention of underarms or stone fruits, but it does have three 15-letter things with PITS. And it also has fill like FRESH AIR, MING VASE, XBOX, and FILIPINO. I must note that while the clue "Tagalog speaker" is accurate enough for FILIPINO, the opposite would not be true; read this if you'd like to learn about the many other languages that are spoken in the Philippines.


Collegiate cruciverbalist Kyle Mahowald constructed today's LA Times puzzle, with three phrases meaning "Big deal!" The theme's good, but the fill is even better. It was great to see entries like GET A GRIP, CUTIE PIE, HERE WE GO, EAT DIRT, and HOT SEAT, especially in a Tuesday puzzle.

It's almost as if the New York Sun is playing passive-aggressive games with us. "Oh, you say you care, but did you remember to pony up some money via PayPal? No? You take me for granted. Maybe I should just leave. Yeah. We'll see how you like it when I'm gone. Then you'll see how much I do for you." No, we don't like waiting until Tuesday for Monday's puzzle, but at least we're not waiting a few weeks like we used to. If you feel the need to gorge on 15 Sun puzzles, you may do so. (I tend to wait until the night before publication—unless someone tells me a particular puzzle is too juicy to wait for.)

Anyway: The Monday Sun is by Edgar Fontaine, who assembled 10 (count 'em, 10) theme entries for "Letter Openers." They're not long entries, but good gravy, there sure are a lot of them. Well done, sir.

I also enjoyed the Tuesday Sun, Vic Fleming's "Gee Whiz!" Vic just so happens to have several entries that would have been right at home in the Monday puzzle—H BOMB, B SIDE, and E MAJOR. The theme entries all include a silent G; the best was METRO GNOME (clued as "City dwarf?"). Other good entries are MCGWIRE (so many consonants in a row), DRUG DEAL, cell phone DEAD SPOT, and KOSOVO. And I learned that GLENGARRY is a type of Scottish hat.

Tues NYS 4:06
Mon NYS 3:46
NYT 3:13
LAT 3:13
CS 3:05