August 07, 2005

Boy, it must have taken Lee Glickstein and Nancy Salomon a while to hammer out the UR theme in the Sunday NYT! My favorite theme entries were NEUROCONSERVATIVE, HOURLYMATRIMONY, and THECURRYINGGAME. If you're out there, Lee, can you tell us what your initial seed idea was? And was there another great theme entry that broke your heart when it wouldn't fit in the grid? (All I can think of is THELIONSMANURE.)

In Martin Ashwood-Smith's CrosSynergy Sunday Challenge, there's almost a story or headline in the bottom stacked 15s: Miniature poodle escaped detection, seen and not heard. Although in this scenario, the dog would have to be escaping a blind person's detection if it can be seen. We still await a 45-letter, 3-line entry with a single workable clue...

I'm troubled by the mismatch between the strenuous effort that must have been required to construct this puzzle—with two sets of triple-stacked 15s—and the much lesser degree of challenge facing the solver. I recognize that CrosSynergy puzzles aren't supposed to be as tough as NYT and NYS puzzles, but that doesn't stop me from wishing they could all be tougher...

Lynn Lempel created today's LAT puzzle, "Starting Out." I especially enjoyed OUTCASTPARTY ("Pariahs' gathering?"), OUTCOMEOFAGE ("Aches and pains?"), and OUTHOUSEOFLORDS ("Medieval castle feature?"). Kudos for the tricky clue at 129A, "Fixes a bed, in a way," for WEEDS—I was starting to think of an iron bed and WELDS. I love being temporarily duped by misleading clues.

NYT 10:42
LAT 8:40
CS 3:43