October 20, 2005

Friday again!

I'm not that familiar with Louis Hildenbrand's style yet, but I must say I like it. In his Friday NYT puzzle, he served up a good number of multi-word entries, nothing obscure or unfair, a NE corner with a lot of entries we don't see often, and assorted trickyish clues ("uses a tap" for SPIES, "Pole, for one" for EUROPEAN, "one who handles stress" for POET). I liked the linkage between the quince and quinze clues, and between TROIS and TRE. And I thank my high-school German teacher for telling us that MENSA was Latin for "table."

I'm still waiting for Amazon to send me the new Frank Longo book. In the meantime, there's Frank's puzzle in the Friday Sun. OH PUHLEEZE slowed me down a little, but it was helped along by the crossing entry PUDDY (my favorite ancillary "Seinfeld" character). "Singer who acts" threw me briefly as a clue for LORI. SKYY vodka and HOUSE OF YES (an odd but entertaining movie) were other entries I liked. I don't have any data to support this, but it sort of looks like this could be Frank's lowest-Scrabble-scoring puzzle ever, with entries like LINE TESTS and IN DISTRESS and ENSENADA.

Speaking of LORI, Entertainment Weekly wrote about a folk singer named Lori McKenna who was featured on Oprah as a "stay-at-home mom" despite her having recorded something like four albums. Supporting the argument that McKenna was hardly a nobody, the article mentioned that she'd been used twice in NYT crosswords—indeed, in puzzles by Patrick Berry and Will Johnston. I wonder if the clues were theirs or Will Shortz's.


I wonder if Patrick Jordan's CS theme, "SATURDAY NIGHT ___," was used by another constructor 20 or 25 years ago when LIVE and FEVER had both emerged. It seems so obvious, and yet it doesn't show up in the Cruciverb database of more recent puzzles. (Despite the puzzle being called "Weekend Beginnings," I was sort of hoping "Uptown Saturday Night" would make the cut, too, for a total retro vibe.)

Manny Nosowsky serves up a sparkling capitalist theme (and one that requires no business vocabulary) in the WSJ. Is it just me or does NOSE XRAY look more like NO SEX RAY? (Extra bonus points for including my nickname in college toward the top of the grid. Who can guess it?)

I was dreading Merl Reagle's "If Lasorda Ran for President" (I'm not much of a baseball fan, White Sox or no). But it required no familiarity with Tommy Lasorda—just a working knowledge of the many baseball phrases that pepper our colloquial language.

NYS 7:23
LAT 5:41
NYT 5:35
CS 3:25

Reagle 8:47
WSJ 8:44