March 27, 2007

Wednesday, 3/28

NYS 3:45
NYT 3:30
LAT 3:15
CS 2:49

(updated at 9 a.m. Wednesday)

I thought the official crossword tournament photos by Don Christensen would have been posted by now. They're not, but in the meantime, there are photos from Nancy Shack and Pete Mitchell. If you're planning to solve the puzzles through the "play by mail" option, be prepared to unfocus your eyes so you don't inadvertently see the finals puzzle—some pictures show the finalists' answer grids on stage.

The Wednesday NYT is another constructor's debut, I think—Burton Clemans opens strong with five 15-letter entries. Each theme entry contains a trio of anagrams, such as TIMES EMITS MITES. The rest of the fill tends toward the ordinary (though I rather like ASHTON Kutcher, James SPADER, and CICADA), which is understandable since most of the Down entries intersect with two or three (!) theme entries. A note on MAO ([1972 Nixon host]): Did you know that Mao refused to use toilets and was loath to bathe or brush his teeth?

Seth A. Abel's Sun puzzle, "Pop Music Surprise," features a [JACK] rebus in five spots. Very good puzzle, lots of tasty J's and a couple X's, good fill, good clues. I'm a little unclear about the title; a JACK-IN-THE-BOX plays "Pop Goes the Weasel," but is there any other music invoked by the title? Across Lite also confused me by refusing to accept [JACK] in a single square, preferring a J alone.


The LA Times crossword is a collaboration between David Kahn and Stephen Brown. My favorite thing about this puzzle is the (wrong) answer that came to mind for the ****LATHEH*N blank. SHEILA THE HEN! Er, no. ATTILA THE HUN. Close, though. That, and METH being the answer for [George W. Bush, for one]. Hard to see meth mentioned in the same breath as a famous person and not think "gay hooker" (thanks, Rev. Haggard!). Methodist, crystal meth...all swirled together in my head right now.

Mel Rosen's CrosSynergy puzzle ("What's New?") has four longish theme entries that start with "new" things—NEW WAVE, NEW AGE, etc. I want the pair of 9-letter entries to also be part of the theme, so I've been pondering what NEW DUNCE and NEW BEEF might be.