August 23, 2005

Wow, 15-letter entries don't speed the solving process at all when they're completely made up, as in Mel Taub's NYT. And when they're IMMIXed with things such as "like the corn god Yum Qax" (MAYAN) and DOREMI in place of DINERO, the puzzle doesn't get any easier. I wouldn't say I agree with Marty Howard that this is the "most enjoyable puzzle of the year," but yeah, it was funny. (Says Amy the Fair to Middling.)

Ed Early's Wed. NYS has a Mark Twain quote that I appreciate as a lifelong procrastinator. Quip puzzles are generally one of the least compelling crossword varieties, in my opinion, but they can be salvaged if the quote's good enough. I must say I'm a little surprised Peter Gordon didn't opt to refer to the '80s band Journey in the clue for OPEN ARMS (he went with "sign of welcomeness"). What better place to mention Journey than in a puzzle that includes the word ACCURST?

The Wed. LAT by Robert Dillman felt very old-school. None of those newfangled multi-word phrases, but we have TELETYPE, a clue mentioning the dog Asta, John Wayne's costar in 1952, a '30s politician, and 1976's THE OMEN. Sure, EDU and HMO are modern terms and there's no ANOA in sight, but overall the puzzle struck me as being of another era. (I just discovered that the week's LA Times puzzles seem to be up already. Is it always thus?)

Updated 8/24 to include the CrosSynergy puzzle:

Harvey Estes' CS puzzle violates one of those crossword rules that, if you ask me, doesn't really matter. TIBET is an answer and also shows up in the clue for ASIA. Anyone have a compelling reason to prohibit such a pairing? The theme entries travel vertically, and Harvey's got a bunch of good 9-letter entries connecting the uprights, including DARWINIAN, SALAD DAYS, and NICE NELLY. The funniest clue was "Like the best flushes" for ROYAL.

Speak out, people. If you don't have any remarks on these puzzles, tell us who your favorite constructor is and why.

NYT 5:07
NYS 4:37
LAT 3:25
CS 3:04