December 15, 2005


Okay, I'm too sleepy to write anything cogent tonight. Joe DiPietro's NYT is stuffed to the gills with phrases, many of which are probably new to crossworddom—BED OF RICE, THE PINTA, WORK A ROOM, POUR IT ON. I was fooled by the "cousin of a capillary" clue and plugged in VENULE, assuming we were looking for another type of blood vessel; I'd say a TUBULE is more of a first cousin, once removed. Was this puzzle as tough as a Saturday puzzle, or is my brain just leaden tonight?

Jay Leatherman's "Puzzling Directions" in the Sun would have tumbled faster if I'd paid attention to the title, rather than filling in both [ACROSS] rebus squares with [OVER] (oops). I liked JESSICA being clued with regard to the old TV show, Soap; MUDFLAP, and NAPTIME. I wasn't crazy about OVULAR, which is gettable but on the obscure side; it turns out some have also repurposed this word as a female substitute for the word "seminar." Who knew?


The answer to the question in the first paragraph is yes, my brain was leaden. More than double Tyler's time = ouch.

In the Wall Street Journal, Harvey Estes produced another days-of-the-week puzzle, but the days aren't wedged into rebus squares because the grid's large enough to accommodate the letters. My favorite clue: "Death of the party" for WET BLANKET.

My favorite part of Merl Reagle's PI puzzle was the adjacent "John and Paul but not Ringo" for POPES and "John or Paul or George but not Ringo" for SAINT. Merl provides an example of how longer partial entries (A MOTHER TO, THE BUM) can be used to good effect. The first one ties together three theme entries that cross it, and THE BUM binds two theme entries plus IN THE BAG.

The 11/25 Chronicle of Higher Education puzzle by Joan Yanofsky introduced me to a couple unfamiliar names. Make a note of them in case they rear their heads again: NARA ("Japan's capital, 710-784") has been used a handful of times before (or 1.2 handsful, really), and Belgian violinist EUGENE/YSAYE's last name has made two previous appearances.

NYT 8:30
NYS 5:23
LAT 4:47
CHE 4:29
CS 2:43

WSJ 7:51
Reagle 7:07