August 28, 2005

Nancy Nicholson Joline's oversized NYT puzzle, "Placement Test," was a worthy challenge. Eight pairs (unless I'm missing some) of theme entries, placed symmetrically in the grid, with the BEFORE/AFTER, OVER/UNDER (etc.) location terms all making sense, and the non-opposite NEXT TO/BESIDE pair in symmetrical locations, all in a solid puzzle. I can forgive that alternate spelling of FLOOSIE since AL PACINO and ZAPATISTA also make appearances. (AL PACINO also has a cameo in Alan Olschwang's "Buy and Buy" in the Washington Post.) How did you like the NYT puzzle?

Today's CrosSynergy Sunday Challenge is by the estimable Rich Norris. While it doesn't put up the fight of, say, yesterday's Byron Walden puzzle, it's a lot tougher than most of the so-called Challenges. Plenty of ambiguous clues and lively fill, like YEAH SURE and GO TO JAIL.

The Sunday LAT by Robert Wolfe uses essentially the same theme idea as Rich Norris's puzzle for the letter Q in his A to Z Crosswords book: substituting a Q for the letters CU. Did you find the theme easy enough to decode, or did it give you trouble? There can't be too many of us who just did Rich's Q puzzle a few days ago and had a head start of sorts. Not that any head start was reflected in my solving time—perhaps 4 a.m. is not when my cognition peaks?

NYT 12:22
LAT 11:11
WaPo 9:44
CS 6:52