August 16, 2006


NYT 5:32
NYS 4:52
LAT 4:22
CS 4:00

The NYT puzzle by Harvey Estes is a great bargain: Fifteen extra squares at no additional cost! This EEE puzzle is 16 squares wide, and Harvey's tossed in a couple vertical 15-letter entries to physically connect the theme entries (two 16's and a 14). You know, I think the third themer would have sounded more natural as OVER MY (rather than ONE'S) DEAD BODY—but how do you make an entertaining themed clue out of that? (You don't.) I didn't recognize the name of songwriter Sammy FAIN (though I'm fond of the archaic fain). My favorite clues were for the 15's: "Ball field?" for SITUATION COMEDY and "Red square" for TRIPLE WORD SCORE.


Curtis Yee's LA Times puzzle ties together three phrases starting with swimming strokes with the TV show title DIFF'RENT STROKES—how many solvers have been led astray by assuming it's DIFFERENT with both E's? That's sneaky, and I commend it.

Added to say this: Back on November 11, 2004, John Underwood's Sun puzzle used a similar theme—the theme entries were BACK SPACE, BREAST POCKET, BUTTERFLY NET, and SIDE SWIPE, with DIFF'RENT STROKES in the middle. Great minds, etc.