October 26, 2006

Friday, 10/27

NYS 6:51
NYT 5:31
10/13 CHE 5:20
LAT 4:18
CS 2:53

Reagle 10:17
WSJ 9:44

(post updated 7:20 a.m. Friday)

It's mighty hard to concentrate on crossword blogging when one's houseguest is attempting to get one suckered into Grey's Anatomy. It's getting later, I'm getting tireder, and the show's still on, so I'll be briefer than usual.

The NYT crossword's by David Bunker, who's had a few early-week puzzles in the NYT before. This themeless has a number of interesting combinations—JIGGLES next to ANATOMY, UPPED across from the neighboring UPGRADE and UPRIVER, GARGANTUA balanced by PORTLIEST.

Francis Heaney demonstrates broad musical knowledge in his Sun Weekend Warrior, which gathers WHO'S NEXT, a Depeche Mode song (LILIAN—never heard of it), the Beatles' MICHELLE and LENNON. Some excellent clues here, including [Between-flight stops?] for ROOSTS (I was thinking of landings between flights of stairs), [One hoping to be shelved?] for WRITER, and [Agoraphobe's anathema] for OPEN AREA. Plenty of Scrabbly goodness with QUIZ SHOW and XEROXES. Lotsa drugs, too—HEROIN, LSD, and UNPOT. What's that? The latter's a verb? No matter. (The NYT puzzle includes the CHRONIC next to a KEG.) Good batch of phrasal entries in this puzzle, too.


Joy Andrews' Chronicle of Higher Education puzzle from October 13 is entitled, "English Imports." The seven theme entries are all loanwords from other languages. O etymologies! How I love thee. Despite the strictures posed by seven theme entries containing several Scrabbly letters, the fill is great overall. Excellent crossword!

Paula Gamache's LA Times puzzle contains some lively fill as well. Martin Ashwood-Smith's CrosSynergy crossword provides a Mondayish amount of challenge.

Halloween puzzling kicks off with today's Wall Street Journal crossword by Manny Nosowsky and Merl Reagle's oddball Philadelphia Inquirer puzzle. In Merl's puzzle, a creepy quote (from "Rime of the Ancient Mariner") wends its way through an asymmetrical grid in an unbroken path, turning when it hits a black square. It's harder than the usual quote puzzle in that portions of the quote travel upwards or from right to left.