August 05, 2005


If it's Friday evening and you haven't already done all the Friday puzzles, what are you waiting for? Get cracking and do those puzzles before you read all the spoilers here. Quick! Cross your eyes before the all-caps answers enter your consciousness!

David Ainslie Macleod hasn't published a puzzle in the NYT for a while, but I'm hoping he's got more in the pipeline. His Friday creation wasn't that challenging a puzzle (we await Saturday for that), but it featured three utterly colloquial 15s (my favorite, WHATCHAMACALLIT). Packed with misleading and ambiguous clues—and that's praise, not criticism. Entries I liked: SCHUSS, SEATANGLE (who didn't first think of AISLESEAT for that one?), BETENOIRE, OPERANDI, and GLITZ.

This week I learned that no matter how tempting it is to do the NYS puzzles "early," I should resist if I have a migraine. Without a headache, I suspect I would have loved the Sabins' Friday NYS, and perhaps I wouldn't have been utterly bogged down by the west-central portion of the grid. I Googled the RUPAUL autobiography, and really wasn't crazy about that clue. The book came out years ago and I don't know a soul who read it. However, what would a better clue for RUPAUL be? That's a tough one, since he only recently returned to the public eye after taking a few years off. RuPaul, please get a TV show pronto so you can be included in more crosswords.

Today's LAT was by Donna S. Levin, whose name is new to me. (Pseudonym??) It was a fun puzzle, with delicious theme entries like CANDIDEYAM and LINZERTORT. A nice pair of identically clued "elite groups": MENSA and ATEAM. And the best clue: "Vine connoisseur?" for TARZAN. I wonder if that was the constructor's clue or editor Rich Norris's?

Patrick Jordan did today's CrosSynergy, "Send in the Troops," in which the theme entries had GI inserted to change the words. The highlight was the Beach Boys song transformed into FUNGIFUNGIFUNGI. (Do you think Patrick sang it that way in his head? I like to think so.)

This week's Wall Street Journal puzzle is an excellent one by Con Pederson. Plenty of pop culture fill, which is a plus in my book. The theme was literary rather than business-oriented, which is another huge plus. I enjoyed HADACOW (I started with HADAFIT), "Org. for women drivers" = LPGA, and...just the whole puzzle.

NYT 4:56
NYS 11:19 (ouch!)
LAT untimed
CS 3:56
WSJ 8:15