July 31, 2006


Tausig 5:32
NYS 4:05
NYT 3:22
CS 3:14
LAT 3:08

Another day where I liked both the NYT and Sun puzzles, by David ("Evad") Sullivan and Lee Glickstein, respectively. I completely ignored the "With 66-Across" part at the beginning of the clue for 1-Across, so I was semi-befuddled about the theme until I made my way down to 66-Across with its "See 1-Across" clue and grasped the YARD/SALE theme. Kinda cute to have PASTA a few rows below REDUCED CARBS, isn't it? FATWA crossing CASTOFFS ("'Survivor' losers") provides a reminder that getting kicked off the island is certainly not the worst fate that could befall a reality-show contestant—when will some ayatollahs launch their own reality show? They could call it Fatwa! with an exclamation point, just like Jeopardy! And, because I like Dave, I'll give him a little crap for old-school fill like IRAE and STEN (of course, for all we know, he might have submitted this puzzle last year when he was an unpolished cruciverbal beginner).

Lee Glickstein's Sun puzzle, "Cargo," had a title that led me down the wrong path. (Theme trouble: the theme of the day.) With the first theme entry starting with TON, I was thinking of literal cargo rather than CAR- going. (Anyone else?) I remember last year when Lee said he was giving up crossword construction—I'm glad he's not a man of his word. (I do miss those unpublishable but entertaining puzzles he made for a while that featured snarky quotes from the late-night TV hosts.) I bet it was editor/dad of preschoolers Peter Gordon who clued EZRA as "children's book author ___ Jack Keats (Keats' Snowy Day was one of my favorites when I was small). Anyway, with little bits like MAXES, FEED ME, and HOTTIE, I liked this puzzle.


Ben Tausig's Chicago Reader puzzle for the week is "You've Got to Stand for Something." It's fantastic to have a tougher puzzle this early in the week, but this particular theme (invented expansions of words that aren't abbreviations, like moon is short for MURAL OF OUR NIGHT) didn't grab me. However, there's much to commend in this crossword—hipster shout-out to Sonic Youth's THURSTON Moore, learning that PHNOM is Khmer for "hill," getting tipped off to SLASH's famous guitar solo that I'd never heard of (not a GNR fan), SET A DATE, WANT AD, GOT AN F next to G FORCE.

Harvey Estes pays tribute to the late AARON Spelling in the CrosSynergy puzzle, "TV Tycoon." Alas, "Beverly Hills, 90210" wouldn't fit the grid without a rebus, and what on earth crosses [90210]? No "Melrose Place" either—but there are five other Spelling shows, including a few I didn't know had been Spelling productions. Some terrific fill (ASK FOR IT, CELIBATE, TORQUES) and clues (such as "Where to see attractive models?" for AUTO SHOW and "It may bubble out of the mouth" for GUM), to boot.

Huh. Ever heard of a HOSEL? That word was in today's LA Times puzzle by Norm Guggenbiller. Apparently it means the socket in a golf club head into which the shaft is inserted (no jokes, please!) and looks like this. Live and learn, eh?