November 15, 2006

Thursday, 11/16

NYS 4:45
NYT 3:35
CS 3:20
LAT 3:10

(post updated at 8:30 a.m. Monday)

Mark Diehl’s Themeless Thursday Sun crossword was like a hefty bar of Trader Joe’s bittersweet chocolate—rich but not tough to swallow, sweet but not as unchallenging as milk chocolate. (Rather like semisweet SNOCAPS.) Plenty of crunchy almonds in the fill—KIDS’ TABLE, JON VOIGHT (which inevitably reminds me of the Seinfeld episode in which George bought John Voight the periodontist's used LeBaron, thinking he was buying a celeb's car, and would you look at that? DENTIST and JON VOIGHT cross at the N!), BREWSKI, and BIRD FLU (crossing AVIAN!). Plus little words like VEG ([Do zilch]), ESS ([Non-P.C. suffix]), and MCP (abbreviation for male chauvinist pig) crossing ERICA JONG. [Death toll?] is a great clue for KNELL, too. Not too hard as themeless crosswords go, but a heck of good time.

In the New York Times, it looks like Wednesday and Thursday were flip-flopped—Wednesday's had a rebus, and Thursday's fell faster for me. I don't see Kevin Donovan's name in Barry Haldiman's database, so this fun NYT crossword may be a debut. The theme entries start with these syllables: BEE, EYE, EN, GE, and O—or BINGO (26-Down). The theme's perfect for anyone who's been a kid and learned the song, or who likes to play bingo. I'm partial to the words MAW (as in "Shut your gaping maw, please") and PATOIS (which I never find opportunities to use, DARN it). And Thursday's weather forecast for these parts may include GALE-force winds. Every puzzle puts me in mind of Seinfeld today—this one's got Edwin STARR, whose "War" lyrics Elaine cited to a visiting Russian author.


Will Johnston's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Potassium Supplement," inserts a particular letter into the theme entries—who doesn't enjoy a reference to Speed Racer? Z, Q, X, J, and K all show up here—the Q in DRAG QUEEN. Favorite clues: [He's two? (abbr.)] for AT NO, and [Handy unit of measurement?] for SPAN.

If you've already done Pat Merrell's Scientific American crossword, you ought to read the article about the making of the puzzle. (I always like those "making of" articles that show up intermittently at, too.)