October 19, 2006

Friday, 10/20

NYT 6:59
NYS 5:23
10/6 CHE 4:41
LAT 4:36
CS 2:40

WSJ 8:30
Reagle 7:20

Ed Early's NYT crossword features three triple stacks of 15-letter entries, one of which—KITTEN ON THE KEYS—I'd never encountered. If you want to know how a Brazilian kid would pronounce DOIS (and the other numbers from 1 to 10), check out this link; numbers in other languages are here. My favorite clue was [Suit protector?] for GOLDEN PARACHUTE; least favorite, [Ones associated with wheels and deals] for CASINOS.

Patrick Blindauer's Sun puzzle, "Three by Two," breaks two words into three for each theme entry. Plenty of "huh?" moments in this puzzle—the Greek region ELIS, BERGERAC as the French region rather than Cyrano de ___ (the town is the Gateway to the Périgord and there's a nonsmoking policy at the tobacco museum), the Gershwin song "BLAH Blah Blah". The Urban Dictionary doesn't include ORBS as the verb [Stares at, in slang]; where is ORBS slang for "stares at"? My favorite clue here was [White sale purchase?] for PINOT GRIGIO. (With a typo, you could make bean wine: pinto grigio. Or reject another vegetable-based white wine out of hand: Chard-no-nay…I'll stop now.) Good to have three pairs of long fill entries (8, 9, and 11 letters), too.

Cute theme in Donna Levin's LA Times puzzle. I especially liked envisioning this guy wearing this or maybe this.

The theme in Jim Leeds' Chronicle of Higher Education crossword plays with the names of four schools, only two of which were familiar to me—but that didn't make the theme any harder, actually. Bonus points for ALIGHIERI and NEODADA, and for the ASTROTURF clue, [Field of plastics?].

For his Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer puzzle, Merl Reagle assembled a baker's dozen of two-word theme entries that start with I and T. Elsewhere in the fill, I learned that Mercury's winged sandals are called TALARIA.

Bruce Venzke and Stella Daily made today's Wall Street Journal crossword, "Point of View," which features a quip. With key letters filled in, it's not hard to fill in most of this particular quip, so it felt a little more like a themed puzzle and less like a quip puzzle.

Okay, I think I've figured out the CrosSynergy difficulty target. Uniformly easy themed puzzles from Monday to Saturday (including today's quick solve from Randolph Ross), except when Bob Klahn's name appears in the byline and it's more of a Thursday NYT level, and the easiest themeless of the week on Sundays, except when Bob Klahn's name appears in the byline and it's more of a Friday/Saturday NYT level. Sure, I'm glad there are quality crosswords that are easier than the NYT to keep the less experienced folks in the habit of daily crosswords, but I wouldn't mind at all if the CrosSynergy team ramped up the difficulty level throughout the week.