June 20, 2006


In the Wednesday Sun by Donna S. Levin, the couch-related punny theme entries stretched my patience. But hey, I learned a couple new things (Peter Gordon's cluing preferences do tend to make for educational crosswords). I wasn't familiar with EMIL Sitka, who has been called "the fourth Stooge." And I don't recall reading previous clues for AVILA that mentioned the walled-city aspect; there's a nice picture of it here (though the text is a little goofy—if you're not down with dowsing to find "energy beam points").

Let me ask you this: When you encounter an unfamiliar word in a crossword (or in your reading, or conversation), do you generally look it up and try to learn more about it? I do. My hunch is that this habit is shared by most of the top ACPT contenders—they generally know every word in a crossword, but on those occasions something new comes up, I imagine they make a point of learning about it and filing it in their memory banks. And among the zillions who are not Stamford stand-outs, I'll bet the ones who follow up on the unknowns tend to find their skills and solving speed improving. What's your experience?

Barry Silk's NYT features four theme entries that contain DOUBLE H. TABASCO and HUMIDOR are the most worthy fill, in my opinion. And somehow BALDISH strikes me as out of place in a crossword, even though I'm sure I've spoken the word(ish) aloud before. A OneLook search turns up only one dictionary that includes it, but I'll bet 10 or 20 years from now, it'll show up in more dictionaries. Is there a lexicographer in the house?

Have you read the NYT's Q&A with Will Shortz?

NYS 4:46
NYT 3:46
Tausig tba
CS 3:18
LAT 3:13