September 04, 2006

Tuesday, September 5th, the day I've been waiting for

Tausig 5:29
CS 3:55
NYT 3:38
NYS 3:34
LAT 2:42

(Because my son starts first grade on Tuesday.)

Two excellent Tuesday puzzles in the Sun and NYT, by Joe Bower and Timothy Powell, respectively. Oddly enough, both puzzles use PHONE BILL(S) as a theme entry, in entirely different contexts.

Joe's Sun puzzle is called "Are You Ready for Some Football?" (My answer: Uh, not really.) The theme entries end with NFL team names (here, PHONE BILLS derives from the Buffalo Bills), and the fill is particularly fresh and Scrabbly: there's JET LI, QUIXOTE, BUST A GUT, RAYBAN, MT SINAI, and SEX. (Sure, Joe, you can clue SUE as "Famous South Dakota T. rex," but we all know Sue hightailed it out of SoDak and to Chicago the first chance she got.)

The NYT puzzle has six theme entries, all converting a standard two-word phrase into a personal exhortation. For example, "Clean up, Mr. Stewart" is SHOWER, ROD! PHONE BILL is clued here as "There's a call for you, Mr. Gates." Among the good fill here are CATS EYE and KABOOM.


Allan Parrish's LA Times puzzle was easy, but I didn't suss out the theme—TIC TAC TOE, GATEWAY ARCH, LUCILLE BALL, LEMON SOLE, and TARHEEL—until after I finished. D'oh!

Ben Tausig's Ink Well puzzle for this week, "Nine in One," arrived via e-mail with instructions: Each theme answer in this puzzle contains four overlapping six-letter words, which also contain five three-letter words. A list of clues for each set of nine words is provided, though their order is scrambled. If you're solving on the computer with Across Lite, be sure to change the layout set-up so that you can see the long clues without truncation or extreme miniaturization. I like the twist and hope to see more puzzles like this one.