July 07, 2005

Thursday, Thursday

Last Thursday I got skunked in my daily challenge. Today I set the same time limit (13:30) for the three puzzles (LAT, CrosSynergy, NYS—and I do them in that order, saving the best for last). I breezed through the first two puzzles and struggled with David Kahn's Themeless Thursday, but finished in 12:52 thanks to the first two.

Today's CrosSynergy is by Harvey Estes—a tribute to the late Anne Bancroft. I always enjoy Harvey's puzzles—one of those wavelength things where I seldom misinterpret any of the tricky clues. (I swear I'm reading Harvey's mind. I can't read David Kahn's mind, though...)

Harvey's clue for 24A quotes a line from T.S. Eliot's "Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." Which reminds me of (crossword constructor/blogger/author/proofreader) Francis Heaney's great cartoon, "Lines from the first draft of 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock'"; my favorite panel is the "In the room the women come and go, talking about you probably." Francis is on vacation now, heading to the NPLCon, so it's a perfect time to go read his "Six things" cartoon archives.

David Kahn's themeless was on the tough side. "Turkey wing?" is ASIAMINOR, and the retro CATSPAJAMAS crosses the modern PALMPILOT. He totally tricked me into putting ETO for "WWII battleground" (I had the O) but then "area commanded by DDE" stole that entry and the first ETO had to be changed to IWO. ABOLISHER (clued as "Abraham Lincoln, notably") sounds new—has it appeared in a puzzle before?

I enjoyed David Quarfoot's NYT, too. It felt a lot tougher than my solving time would indicate—it took me way too long to figure out the rebus. At least an airline-magazine crossword had previously introduced me to the Vermont ski resort OKEMO so I didn't try to force STOWE in there. Great fill: WASABI and PESTO, ECZEMA, ESCAPADE, LOISLANE. And a good Thursday theme.