August 03, 2005

Wednesday on Tuesday and Wednesday

I did today's NYS, David Kahn's "Words, Words, Words," yesterday. Maybe it was the migraine, and maybe it was just Kahn, but it took me a solid 6 minutes to finish. For a Wednesday puzzle! Did this puzzle slow the rest of you down, too, or was it just me?

Today's LAT (by Allan E. Parrish) threw me for a moment with an utterly unfamiliar name, which I will share with you so we all remember it henceforth: "Stranger on the Shore" clarinetist ACKER Bilk. Now, other than inventing a verb-into-noun and cluing ACKER as "Bill the Cat in 'Bloom County," for one," there might be no other way to do it.

Oh. My. God. I just looked at the label of the bottle of Peach Oo-La-Long Honest Tea I just finished, and saw a mention of "Bloom County" and a drawing of Opus the penguin, which I truly had not noticed before. The Great Crossword Conspiracy is now branching out into soft drinks and my brain. Where will it stop?!? (Additional crossword tie-in, or NYT crossword forum tie-in, anyway (from the discussion of ICEDTEA vs. ICETEA and the sweetness thereof): this chilled tea product is "just a tad sweet," placing it between the Southerner's standard sweet tea and unsweet tea. It's actually a tad too sweet for my taste.)

Moving back to the titular subject of crosswords, I loved David Liben-Nowell and Ryan O'Donnell's Wed. NYT. (Who is this Ryan O'Donnell—new?) Great theme of miscounted things (e.g., THEBIGTEN, with its 11 member schools), with two 15s and two 9s. Surely there are more examples that, depending on length, could have been used as theme entries—can you think of any? (I can't.)

NYT 3:38
LAT 2:46
CS 3:32
NYS 6:00