In nine hours, I report to the hotel lobby for the shuttle to the Tribune Studios. (Why are they called that? I do not know.) I need to sleep in the meantime, so I'll be as brief as I can be when the typing is proceeding in a clumsy fashion.
The New York Times puzzle by Harvey Estes has a semi-high word count for a themed Monday crossword, meaning all those 6-, 7-, and 8-letter entries add zest (answers that don't have clues you've seen a zillion times before) without necessarily adding a lot of difficulty. Though it did take me a Wednesdayish amount of time, but I think that was me, not the puzzle, because Will Shortz generally keeps Monday puzzles keyed to the easy level. Harvey's theme is "floral" films whose titles end with a flower: DRIVING MISS DAISY, THE BLACK DAHLIA, and THE NAME OF THE ROSE. If you count, you'll see that those are two 16s and a 14, so the grid's one row wider than usual (which accounts for at least a few extra seconds of solving time, right?). There's a little zippy phrase action: I SUPPOSE, ON REPORT, and "Ooh, BAD MOVE." (Here's hoping y'all don't watch Merv Griffin's Crosswords two months hence and say that about me.) Interesting words: PATOIS, SKITTISH, BRAHMA the Hindu creator, and the full-on PIGSTY (not quasi-crosswordese STY).
November 12, 2007