August 22, 2005

Nice Tuesday NYT by Denny Baker and Nancy Salomon. I do like entries like KEEP MUM and NOT A BIT. (I also like spelling Nancy Salomon's name correctly—there seem to be a lot of permutations of her last name that get tossed about. Poor thing. Must make it hard for her fans to Google her.) The applet vexed me tonight; somehow I kept typing over letters, or typing in the wrong direction, and I really don't know why. And then Iost another 20 or 30 seconds looking for a typo (no, a lowly laborer is not a DERF). And please—no complaints about my explaining away a solving time that's still not a terrible one. If I can't whine about that on my own blog, where can I?

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes, the Tuesday puzzle. Why do you suppose the Elvis theme showed up this week and not last Tuesday, on the anniversary of the King's death?

Joe Bower's Tuesday NYS had an elusive theme. I thought it was just an anagram theme, but the title, "Second to Last," made no sense. I eventually realized the second letter moved to the last spot in an elegant twist. Joe, if you're out there, would you please tell us the seed of your theme? How did you come to choose this approach? Some clues I liked were 36D "J. Smithson endowed a famous one" = INST (it totally never occurred to me that Smithsonian was an adjective!), 51D "Fail to heed the 'Measure twice, cut once' adage" = RESAW, and 26D "Show that aired opposite 'MacGyver'" = ALF. And I suspect "extract the juice from" was not the clue Joe submitted for REAM. The best part of this puzzle? It took a long time, a lot longer than I expected a Tuesday Sun to take. Longer than the Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday puzzles, in fact. Thanks for a challenge with an elegant theme, Joe (and Peter).

I received Ben Tausig's Ink Well puzzle of the week this evening via e-mail and found it on the easy side. When I mentioned that to Ben, he said some of the solvers who get the puzzle via the Chicago Reader have been asking for a tougher puzzle. Those of you who signed up to receive these puzzles by e-mail, be sure to join me in dropping Ben a line begging for a higher degree of difficulty, will you? Thanks.

NYS 5:54
NYT 3:52
Ink Well 3:44