September 06, 2005

Just a quick and late post for Tuesday—kindergarten orientation mucked up my schedule today.

I enjoyed Barry Silk's NYT because I'm a sucker for a pangram. And what a nice touch to throw the word PANGRAM in the fill, too. Of the zillions of people who will have tackled this puzzle in their newspaper, though, how many will notice that it's not just the clue for 38A that's a pangram?

I also liked Jack McInturff's "Letter Drops" theme in the NYS, moving from MENTAL to METAL, MEAL, MEL, ME, and M. We don't see a lot of that sort of theme. Is that because editors or constructors find them boring or because it's hard to build a puzzle around a letter-drop series?

Many days, the CrosSynergy puzzle is the easiest one I do. Today's CS by Bob Klahn vexed me a little, though. I don't think the theme was that hard—the clues and fill (such as MASTIC and AT STUD) were just trickier than most CS puzzles.

Expectations do matter when approaching a puzzle. A CS on any day is usually going to be a breeze, and I always hope for a Saturday NYT that will put up a real fight. The constructor's byline, of course, also influences expectations. I think I actually enjoy a crossword a little less if it throws me off balance by being harder or easier than I'd expected. Is that completely neurotic?

CS 4:36
NYS 3:29
NYT 3:14
LAT 3:07