August 10, 2005

A return to form

After the last two Thursday NYT puzzles followed all the crossword rules, didn't we just know that Will Shortz had a rule-breaker in the pipeline for this week? Indeed he did. Michael Shteyman's O-ring puzzle, with four identical entries clued four different ways, definitely violates a basic Law of the Crossword World. And why not? Misha once again shows his virtuoso talent and tosses random bits of idiom at us, like BINGO and BLING and BARGESIN. (Any way to clue that as BARGE SIN?) Plenty of great 6-, 7-, and 8-letter entries, too.

Dentistry must be on Will's mind these days. Frank Longo had ORALHEALTH last Saturday, and the Thursday puzzle serves up dental XRAYS and FLOSSES. Fine, Dr. Shortz, we'll all floss, we promise.

I wonder if Will was holding onto this puzzle until after the space shuttle landed safely, given the historical link between the O ring and the Challenger disaster.

The Thursday NYS is by the team of Paula Gamache and Vic Fleming. I could swear I've done another puzzle with that quip, or maybe I just read the quip elsewhere not long ago. It's a funny one, though, and it includes the word JUDGE—and we expect Vic to toss in at least one signature reference to his career. Am I the only one who had the Y and confidently entered YOKEL at 37A and had to backtrack?

NYT 5:26 (including about 45 seconds looking for the mistake I had in APEECE/AVEATOR—ack!)
NYS 3:54

P.S. I don't have to spell out how cool the ring of O's is, and the lack of O's elsewhere in Michael Shteyman's puzzle, do I? You all caught that yourselves and were duly impressed?