December 25, 2006

Tuesday, 12/26

NYS 3:36
LAT 2:52
NYT 2:34
CS untimed
Onion tba
Tausig tba

(no post updating today—book deadline looms!)

On Christmas Eve, my mother gave me a gag gift—a 1993 Kappa Books publication, Crossword Companion 4, containing 106 (no, not 100—a hundred and six!) unthemed 13x13 crosswords, complete with 2-letter entries. "We trust that you will find weeks and weeks of solving pleasure from the puzzles that follow," the introduction notes. (Weeks!) Printed right on the cover is a yellow starburst: WALMART SPECIAL PRICE 2/$1.00. Whoo-hoo!

A simple but surprisingly elegant NYT crossword by C.W. Stewart—while the theme entries are so basic that a kid could (given easier clues and the animal + homophone gimmick) figure them all out, the theme structure pulls together perfectly. All six have a noun preceded by a modifier, with half using the animal as the noun and half as the modifier. The animal names all appear in exactly symmetrical sets of squares—the MOOSE at the beginning of 19-Across is matched to the HORSE at the end of 58-Across. And then you've got those wide-open corners packed with 6-letter entries to freshen things up a bit. I think this might be an NYT debut for the constructor, too. If so, congratulations!