August 09, 2006


NYT 5:37
CS 5:24
NYS 4:43
LAT 4:16

Two top-notch puzzles for Thursday: Todd McClary's NYT and Jeffrey Harris's Sun Themeless Thursday. In the Sun crossword, which I did first, Jeffrey (a.k.a. Jangler) interlocked a slew of great entries in his puzzle, and the clues (presumably a mix of Jeffrey's work and Peter Gordon's, because we know Peter is hands-on) are mighty fresh. Well done, Jeffrey. (I'd give it high scores if I were rating it.) Looking to the specifics, I didn't care for the word forms of SERENER and SNARING (though they're certainly valid crossword fill), but liked pretty much everything else. WIKIPEDIA plus BRAZIL NUT, KLUGMAN and SINE WAVES, clues like "Prior work" for POEM (ah, the obscured uppercase trick), "Shady fellow?" for ROY G BIV, "Continental conjecture" for ETA (obscured uppercase again), and "Newspaper piece" for PAGE.

Todd (a.k.a. Tmcay) threw a bunch of shoes in the bottom of the closet and out came a Times crossword—each theme entry pairs two kinds of shoes with a made-to-fit clue. The fill around the theme has a themeless vibe to it, with HO SCALE, LEARJET, M AND M'S (though technically the candy uses an ampersand, and I wish they'd bring back the tan ones), SEASICK, FESS UP, and MADE SURE. I also liked the retro shout-out to Marilyn MCCOO. Trickier clues (for me, anyway) included "Pop star?" for NOVA (not DIVA!), "Two-player activity" for DUET, and "Where lines may cross" for DEPOT. So that's two good showings by two NPLers in one day.


Bob Klahn's CrosSynergy puzzle has the sort of poker theme that doesn't grab me because your solving is enhanced if you know that there's a poker variety called LIARS. There was some good stuff in this puzzle, but the highlight for me was the inclusion of ARIKARAS (clued as "Dakota Indians"). A couple months ago in Dean Olsher's blog, a commenter told the story of an endless mystery clue/answer circle made up of Ree and Arikara. Who knew the Arikaras (and hence Rees) were Dakota Indians? See, we learned something today.

Vic Fleming's LA Times puzzle is FEVERed. I got the theme after seeing the defining clue (word that can follow the ends of the theme entries) and HIT THE HAY—HAY/FEVER season, I just heard, is about to pounce on those of you with ragweed allergies. I wasn't quite sure about GOLD/FEVER; Wikipedia sends you directly to the Gold rush page, so that explains that.