August 18, 2005

I flew through Hex's 8/21 LA Weekly puzzle, "Metallurgy." The fill and clues seemed fairly straightforward, and anything sort of obscure must have crossed easy answers. The theme entries were pretty easy, definitely more familiar terms than the firecracker words in the Hex puzzle two weeks ago. Was I channeling their combined brain, or did the rest of you zinc it was easy too?

I did the Friday Sun puzzle by Matt Skoczen a couple days ago, and it fell faster than the Wednesday and Thursday Sun puzzles—even with the extra time I spent entering multiple letters into the rebus squares. Although I don't enjoy rebus puzzles that much anymore, I liked the fact that the letters FIRE didn't mean "fire" in the across theme entries, iF I REcall correctly.

The Friday NYT also seems to be a bit easier than the Thursday puzzle. I commend David Liben-Nowell for his wealth of interesting entries. PT BARNUM, HI MOM, PB AND J, SHALL I, ATTAGIRL, SNUCK AWAY, HAIR GEL, ROISTER, PILE ON—good stuff. "Duke's fall, e.g." is a great clue for SEMESTER, as is "Lord of the rings?" for PT BARNUM.

Given that we just marked the 60th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing, I imagine everyone who was troubled recently by AMBER ALERT, LETS ROLL, or O RING was also stunned by "Mushroom producers" = A BOMBS. The first three didn't perturb me much, but A BOMBS absolutely gave me pause.

Edited Friday morning to add LAT, CrosSynergy, WSJ, and PI:

Rich Norris made the CS puzzle, which had plenty of good 7-lettter entries (LIPREAD, AMRADIO, TRIPLEA, ITSLATE) but, like any CS puzzle, was clued to be easy. But I like Rich Norris's overall style and am enjoying his book, Crosswords A to Z. Every puzzle is a pangram; there's one themed puzzle for each letter of the alphabet, plus a bunch of themelesses.

Patrick Berry's "Cop Rock" was this week's WSJ puzzle. Would you believe I drew a blank on the "Charlie's Angels" costar of Jaclyn and Kate, 6 letters starting with F? Eventually it dawned on me. Sheesh. Any week that the WSJ theme doesn't pertain to business is a good one in my book.

It took some study to figure out the theme in Merl Reagle's "Who Are We?" puzzle. The notepad says there are 11 theme entries, and I'm only sure of 9 of them. I've got sticks, straw, bricks; huff, puff, blow; wolf, eating, and...something within PITCHINGMACHINE. Chin? What are the other two entries?

WSJ 9:04
PI 8:28
LAW 7:10
NYS 5:40
LAT 5:24
NYT 5:11
CS 3:58