June 12, 2006


Janet Bender's NYT crossword swings from the rafters—PATRICK Rafter, whitewater rafters, and BUILDING SUPPORT rafters. Further livening up this early-week puzzle are two Q's, a Z, an X, and a J (none of them part of the theme entries) helping to constitute a pangram.

In Alan Arbesfeld's Sun puzzle ("Ow No!"), -OW words become -OE words in phrases clued accordingly. And in one corner, AROUSE and SMUT intersect...


Ben Tausig's Chicago Reader puzzle, "The Hold-Up," is a prime example of his cruciverbal style. There's the "Hip-hop article," THA, the names of several musical artists (rap, R&B, punk, and hard rock), TV with snarky cred (MR SHOW), a soupçon of drugs, and a diversity vibe (Hindu, Spanish, Islam, Japanese, the Holy Roman Empire, English lit). All built around a fresh theme, mixing it up with 24 different letters of the alphabet (including Q, Z, and X). Thanks for a fun diversion, Ben!

Last night on The Late Show With David Letterman, we learned that Paris Hilton does not do crossword puzzles, but her sister does. (I'll go out on a limb here and say I bet that's the first time anyone in the media has ever asked Paris if she does crosswords.) After Paris's segment ended, we had to wait through innumerable commercials before the show resumed with Will Shortz. My theory is that Paris's interview took far less time than the producers had planned, owing to her fondness for answering questions without much elaboration. (Bonus tip: If you're being interviewed on TV, try not to respond with a silent nod.) Dave mentioned Wordplay a few times before Will came out—hooray for free advertising! Dave told Will he just can't get more than a few easy answers in any crossword (and also commented that he doesn't think it's possible for anyone to actually finish the Sunday NYT crossword)—Will said Dave could finish a puzzle if he applied himself. (It's true.) Will came equipped with an NPR-style puzzle featuring phrases starting with D and L; Dave acquitted himself well but claimed to have read the answers in advance. The clip they showed was the entertaining "hate mail" trailer (you can see it here).

Tausig 4:05
NYS 3:50
NYT 3:05
LAT 3:04
CS 2:46