August 01, 2006


NYS 4:34
NYT 4:22
LAT 3:37
CS 3:04

My husband continues his induction into the world of crosswords, encountering our old friends like LEA, ICER (you actually can find a job as an icer—here's a want ad and you can always operate the icing machine), and EIDER. He's been doing the Chicago Tribune's puzzle, and it's breaking his spirit. Today's had no theme and clues/fill like "Multiply-curved wheel"/CAM, "Vessels for washing tableware"/DISHPANS, and "Place for briars"/PIPE RACK. He had a lot more fun when I handed him a Gorski Tuesday NYT from a few years ago. I'll make a puzzle snob out of him yet!

Moving along to the Wednesday puzzles, I frittered away 10 or 20 seconds on Harvey Estes' NYT, thanks to a mindless typo. (CHEER IP? No.) But the theme was cute, and the left/right symmetry gave the puzzle a different vibe. Wasn't I just saying that "Likker" was a better clue for HOOCH than for BOOZE the other day? (If I didn't say it, I thought it. And now here it is, because my brain waves can control the universe. It's true.) I go back and forth on whether "bonus" entries that relate to a theme improve or detract from a puzzle—how did you feel about PEARL crossing the first half of THE WORLD IS/YOUR OYSTER?

David Kahn's "Film Composers" theme in the Sun changes a word (or two) of a movie title into a sound-alike composers name, and all four 15-letter entries are rock-solid. (Any other candidates come to mind?) I do wish those gigantic clues that won't fit in the Across Lite interface were shorter; fortunately, "Player who tried to catch the ball that Cubs fan Steve Bartm..." was sufficient for me to get the answer (ALOU)—you know, I know someone who was at that ill-fated game. I saw her on TV, clutching her face in dismay, like everyone around her. Cubs have sucked ever since that day, haven't they?