November 09, 2005

Thursday madness

Okay, it's fine to occasionally have an NYT puzzle that needs to be printed out in PDF form for solving. But to let some solvers into the applet with yesterday's puzzle, and to keep everyone else from getting at the PDF until 10 after the hour? Most bothersome.

Anyway—The Thursday NYT is by Lee Glickstein and Craig Kasper, and it's got unchecked, unnumbered rebus-type squares that presumably would throw off both Across Lite and the timed applet. Supplementing WATER WATER/EVERYWHERE and the watery rebuses, the middle of the grid's got YACHTED crossing Lake TAHOE. Two of the theme entries are WHITE[WATER] and [WATER]GATE; if only the current administration's scandals included the word WATER, Lee and Craig could have included more than a mere two White House scandals. (How about another Cru special to give cruciverbal heft to other scandals, Lee?) There's some nice longer fill here, too—ONION ROLL, ANNE MEARA, SAME OLD, PACHELBEL, DOWN EAST. Nifty twist in construction, guys.

Over in the NYS, David Kahn's Themeless Thursday crosses two baked-goods men, JELLY ROLL MORTON and MAX BIALYSTOCK (it's bialy day: "Bialy, e.g." was the clue for ONION ROLL in the NYT), and tosses in a PIE CRUST to boot. There are two pluralized first names, ERICAS and ETHANS, which reminds me that my son's class includes one "Ethan with an E" and one "Ithan with an I"; this does not constitute permission to put the name ITHAN into crosswords, however. It's a good puzzle, but I'm always a tiny bit disappointed when a themeless doesn't fight me for a little longer.


Okay, this is bizarre. When doing Ben Tausig's latest puzzle, "Underemployed," I felt like it was his hardest puzzle in ages. And yet, my solving time was shorter than usual. One contributing factor, perhaps, was the inclusion of three "25-Down option" clues that I encountered before solving 25-Down ("Bar food?" for SUSHI). Even if it didn't add to my solving time, it was fun to have that extra puzzle within the puzzle. And "husbands, or a wife" was a fresh way to clue MRS. There may be those who would say the plural of MR has to be MESSRS, but if my sister and I went out without our husbands, I really don't think we'd refer to them as "the messieurs."

NYS 5:32
NYT 5:14
Tausig 3:41
CS 3:10