October 17, 2006

Wednesday, 10/18

NYS 4:38
NYT 3:40
LAT 3:39
CS 2:48

Sure, John Farmer's NYT puzzle has some short theme entries and maybe a few more black squares than usual—but then, there are a whopping nine theme entries tied together by a tenth one that's 15 letters long, and the fill is pretty smooth. Not perfect, but hey, John managed to include a couple X's and a J up top, and every single section of the grid has to mesh with theme entries. There were a couple entries that didn't come to mind from the clues—the ["To a Waterfowl" poet] is Willliam Cullen Bryant, and the [1941 Stanwyck/Fonda comedy] is The LADY EVE.

Edited five minutes later to say this: Crikey! One of my faithful correspondents just alerted me that this theme was done before, with a couple different entries and vastly different fill, back on January 25, by the same constructor. I like the new one a lot better—can we pretend the other one didn't happen? I'm sure there's some sort of story behind the publication of two versions of basically the same puzzle...

Donna Levin's Sun puzzle is called "Pooh Bah!" and the theme warps the pronunciation of various phrases to include Winnie the Pooh's friends' names. The clue for OPEL threw me, as I'd never heard of Broadway actress Nancy OPEL. The clue for crossword stalwart ALVA took a fresh turn—who knew it was not just Edison's middle name, but also Dick Cavett's? Never heard of Snakes on a Plane's ELSA Pataky (a Spanish actress) before, either, but those of you who are straight men might appreciate this link. I definitely never heard of the [Unit of magnetomotive force], the AMPERE-TURN; I think it might've been reasonable to clue those two words without reference to one another.


Interesting theme in Joy Andrews' LA Times puzzle—nine words that are loan words from the language at 31-Across. A few of the words surprised me—I would've guessed they came from English, African, or Latinate roots.