September 12, 2006

Not my night

9/10 BG 9:04
NYS 5:49
NYT 4:31
LAT 3:35
CS 3:23

I may have sprained my brain lately by plowing through 101 Cryptic Crosswords: From the New Yorker, edited by Fraser Simpson. Because I can't help myself, I've raced against the clock for most of these cryptics. Will Johnston's customer review says, "Because of their barred diagrams and extensive checked letters, you'll find that with practice one of them can be solved in under half an hour." Hmm, these must be phenomenally easy cryptics, because I can finish a lot more than one in that time. I think I have (temporarily) gummed up my mind, because the Wednesday NYT and Sun puzzles felt Thursday-hard.

The NYT by Lee Glickstein and Nancy Salomon lured me into many wrong alleys: I went with chocolate MOUSSES instead of MUDPIES, CARP instead of YAWP, and AT ONCE instead of PRONTO. Anyone else? No? Just me? Okay, then. Lots of good fill surrounding the five theme entries, which were all for naught—being, like Seinfeld, about nothing, in particular, NOTHING IN COMMON. This "much ado" puzzle is good, but I don't know why it gave me such trouble.

And then Fred Piscop's Sun crossword, "Think Small," also stymied me. I did not turn to Google, but I did ask my husband for the hockey player (Denis POTVIN). I spaced on the concept of a packing plant, and can't say I'm too familiar with PLANTLET, so the top theme entry fought me. Looking back at the puzzle, it doesn't look all that hard. Hmm. What did you think?


Last Sunday's online delayed edition of the Boston Globe puzzle was delayed a couple days, so I've just done it today. It's Henry Hook's "Airplay," playing around with the names of TV series. Most of the theme entries involve changes in vowel sounds, but there are a few with added or changed consonants, as well. Five of the seven horizontal themers are crossed by the vertical one, which is impressive interlocking.

After a good night's sleep, Nancy Salomon's CrosSynergy puzzle and Jack McInturff's LA Times both felt like...Wednesday puzzles.