November 29, 2005

At last! A crossword with a theme devoted to medical terminology! Of course, the average high school biology class teaches you the bone names featured in Gary Steinmehl's Sun puzzle, "A Bone to Pick," but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it all the same. My favorite clue was "Ma is one" for CELLIST.

Ben Tausig's tire-themed puzzle, "Spare Time," had three theme entries notable for also containing some unusual consonant runs (LDF, WNGL, TSCR, and NTV); the fill also had runs of LLC, DRDR, and RLST. As always, there are fun clues; TOUPEE is "comb-over alternative," EWES is "wool coat wearer," and "doesn't give up on a dream?" is SLEEPS LATE (which I wish I could do). And three hip hop names are included—DR DRE, ICE T and LL COOL J. Include one rapper, and it's boring; fit three in, and now you've got a little something. I'd never heard of ESG; according to this link, they were an "art-funk ensemble from the South Bronx" whose beats were sampled by groups such as the Wu-Tang Clan and TLC, leading ESG to release a 1992 EP called "Sample Credits Don't Pay Our Bills."

I'd probably appreciate Seth Abel's NYT puzzle more if I'd ever heard of the song MISTER IN BETWEEN. It's a little surprising to see ABEL in a puzzle by someone of the same name, isn't it? I wonder if Mr. Abel put it in there himself, or if Will reworked the fill in that corner. (A few months back, there was a puzzle by Frank Longo in one of the Games publications containing LONG O, clued as the long vowel sound. And there was a more recent puzzle that had both ABIDE and ESTES—but the puzzle wasn't by Peter or Harvey.)

NYT 4:10
Tausig 4:00
NYS 3:54
LAT 4:21
CS 3:43