September 22, 2006

Saturday, 9/23

NYT 6:34
LAT 5:50
Newsday 5:03
CS 3:21

Well, I finished Matthew Lees' NYT puzzle in exactly the same amount of time Sherry Blackard's puzzle took me yesterday. Not bad, considering that glass of wine (yes, just one) confused my fingertips and made it hard to type properly. The wine was imbibed during the Great September Crossword People's Chicago Dinner attended by me, Byron Walden, Tyler Hinman, and Byron's lovely friend Lisa. Lisa's not a crossword fanatic, so we actually had normal-person, non-crossword-centric conversation most of the time...except we did have to chat about Sherry's puzzle a bit.

So, the crossword puzzle. How about it, huh? The first thing to remark on is the central black squares that depict an EMBEDDED aleph, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, plus the top and bottom rows spelling out the theme/mini-theme, INFINITE/NUMBER and HEBREW/ALPHABET. If you include the black-square aleph, that's 51 theme squares in a crossword that has a themeless vibe to it. Favorite clues included [Apples for the teacher, maybe' for IMACS, [Superbly pitched] for NO-HIT, [Cordial surroundings?] for BAR, and [Private instruction?] for SEX ED. Notable wrong turns included ROLL instead of MOVE for [Turn in a game], FINANCE instead of RUN A TAB for [Put off paying, perhaps], and, quite implausibly (I blame the pinot grigio), BANKS instead of BERMS for [Canal banks]. Anyway, good choice of a crossword to lead into Rosh Hashanah, no?