August 14, 2005

Patrick Merrell's colorful NYT puzzle, "Lighten Up," was a little tricky after the first theme entry. It's easy to pastelify RED into PINK and ORANGE into PEACH, but the pastel versions of the other colors in the rainbow are less standardized. LEMON CREAM instead of plain LEMON or LIGHT YELLOW, LAVENDER instead of LILAC? Patrick's color choices livened up the challenge of solving the puzzle. Also, another astute solver noticed that the theme entries appear in ROYGBIV order, adding elegance to the construction.

"Lighten Up" reminded me of another puzzle I did recently in David Levinson Wilk's book, Really Clever Crosswords. The theme in puzzle 8 involves addition or subtraction of colors. See if you can solve the theme clues:

"Exasperated, but with some yellow" (14)
"Pleased, but without the red" (12)
"Cowardly, but with some violet" (12)
"Jealous, but without the blue" (14)

Today's LAT is by Gia Christian, or "it's Rich again." I really don't get the point of puzzle editors using pseudonyms when the publish their own puzzles. (Peter Gordon, Stan Newman, and, IIRC, Mike Shenk also work pseudonymously in their own venues.) I would think seeing the editor's estimable name in the author byline would add cachet and prestige—no one would think less of the NYT if Will Shortz published one of his own creations. Personally, I tend to like these people's crosswords (especially later in the week), and it'd be nice if it were easier to recognize them when they crop up. Wherefore art thou Gia Christian, Ogden Porter, and Anna Stiga?

One of the theme entries in the LAT didn't sound familiar to me: SNAP COURSE, meaning an easy A. I Googled "snap course" and got a mere 396 hits, many of which reflect exactly the meaning Rich Norris is using (and some of which are along the lines of "the SNAP Course") "An easy A," by comparison, gets almost 15,000 hits. Is "snap course" a regionalism?

Two clues I especially liked in Harvey Estes' CrosSynergy puzzle are 38A, "Opposite of sow" = REAP (I was thinking BOAR), and 30D, "Holding areas for newcomers?" - UTERI. Harvey's got two triple stacks of 15s joined together by two vertical 15s.

NYT 9:28
LAT 8:10
CS 3:59