July 01, 2005

Friday's puzzles

First things first. Brendan Emmett Quigley's NYT puzzle: Fabulous! Loved it. Just a wild guess, but I doubt WMARKFELT has ever appeared in a crossword before. Congratulations to Mr. Felt on his distinguished debut. Maybe someday someone will opt to make such a revelation through a crossword puzzle. Oh, wouldn't the journalists be pissed if they got scooped by Will Shortz?

My only quibble is LGTH, which is certainly legitimate but strikes me as not quite as wonderful as the rest of the puzzle. There's really not a false step anywhere in the grid. Only four 3-letter entries squeezed in among all the long entries, which are almost uniformly interesting. SETTLERS is less exciting, but who cares when you've got GALACTIC crossing STARGAZER, plus TEXARKANA and a TEABASKET, PODCASTING and LISAMARIE? I liked the clue "clobbered" for SMOKED.

BEQ is one of those constructors whose style is inimitable. Have any of you tackled the book of his puzzles? I'd be interested in knowing if the puzzles are all easier than this one, or if the challengeometer is occasionally set to Severe.

I gave myself 15:00 to finish today's LAT, CrosSynergy, and NYS, but did them in 12:38—more than a minute faster than Thursday's puzzles, oddly enough. Martin Ashwood-Smith's CS fell quickly, what with the gimme of HEARTOFDARKNESS and the ease of figuring out the other theme entries. (X-tra credit to Mr. Ashwood-Smith for the three X's in the grid.) Good NYS by Karen Tracey, too. I had finished the puzzle without figuring out the theme before I read the title: "Weekend Warrior." Okay, good, no theme. My favorite entry was TBTEST; I don't recall seeing that in a grid before.