July 25, 2005

After a weekend of privation

I spent the weekend offline at a water park in Milwaukee's outer suburbs, and had hoped to buy the NYT to do the Saturday and Sunday puzzles. Sadly, the hotel sold only the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (which runs, I think, a wee 13x13 puzzle daily) and the Waukesha Freeman (whose crossword selection I did not investigate). Fortunately, all the weekend puzzles I'd missed were waiting for me to download them Sunday night. And during the weekend, I kept my brain on life support with Peter Gordon's 2005 book of Killer Thursday Crosswords. Constructors who joined me at the water park included Louis Hildebrand (with possibly the toughest puzzle in the book), Peter Gordon as Ogden Porter, Byron Walden, Patrick Berry, Peter Abide, Harvey Estes, Manny Nosowsky, Myles Callum, Craig Kasper, Bob Peoples, Randolph Ross, Robert Ward, Jerry Rosman, Paula Gamache, Brendan Emmett Quigley, Jim Page, and Bill Weber (with a toughie—who is this guy?). If you like hard puzzles and haven't already done the Thursday NYS puzzles from April 2002 to September 2003, you can't go wrong with this book.

When I returned home for an online crossword saturnalia, Joe DiPietro's Sat. NYT seemed a little on the hard side (7:21), and so did Frank Longo's Sun. NYT (12:29). Just three more months until Longo's next book of cranium crushers is out!

Moving along to Monday, we find new fave Lynn Lempel at the NYT, packing the NW corner of the grid with JUSTSO, ISWEAR, and BEETLE stacked up across the first theme entry. Excellent Monday puzzle! Lila Cherry's LAT has a heated theme perfect for the sweltering Midwest. Harvey Estes tossed out a tougher-than-Monday CrosSynergy with a clever theme (favorite clue: "long story writer" for NOVELIST). Over in the NYS, we have Gary Steinmehl's "Feathered Friends," with excellent entries like SAMSA, BOPPER, THECLUB, SWAHILI, and AMPUTATE, and the au courant clue for ANKA, "singer Paul with the 2005 album 'Rock Swings.'" I saw a review of the album just a couple weeks ago and looked forward to its use as a fresh clue for ANKA. (Anka sings Bon Jovi and REM on what Entertainment Weekly calls "a novelty album worthy of begrudging respect.")

LAT 3:04
CS 4:13
NYS 3:25
total 10:42 (shooting at 10:00)