December 30, 2005


David Liben-Nowell's NYT puzzle was good fun since I was on his wavelength. A host of great entries—most notably SEX SCENES, spicing up the Gray Lady—were accompanied by so many fantastic clues. My favorites were "Cup of ice?" for STANLEY, "Banking assessor, perhaps" for TEST PILOT, "Outbound vessel" for AORTA, "Engages in violent practices" for SPARS, and "Kind of gold" for OLYMPIC...not to mention "Double execution?" for STUNT. It's shaping up to be another one of those weekends when we say, "Don't just pay the constructors more—Will Shortz deserves a raise, too."

David Sullivan (a.k.a. Fiend regular Evad) cooked up the "Do the Math" puzzle in Friday's Sun. This is the puzzle that blew John "Popeye" Minarcik away—the one with the vertical Roman numeral math problem complete with mathematical symbols. The trickiest aspects of this puzzle, for me, were parsing the second pair of theme entries (the minus in "take A LESSON from HISTORY and the plus in INSULT added to INJURY) and figuring out how to enter what in Across Lite (I couldn't for the life of me get a minus sign to show up). It's a rather bizarre, envelope-pushing, paradigm-bending puzzle—hooray!'s a pangram. Dave, would you care to talk a bit about the genesis and development of this puzzle?

Updated late:

John Farmer's LA Times puzzle has a clever theme with the best use of OREO ever.

Randall Hartman's CrosSynergy puzzle includes COP SHOP, which is slang for police station. I'd only heard the term used once, about 10 years ago, by a guy saying he played basketball "at the school over by the cop shop." That's all it took—my husband and I have called it the cop shop ever since.

Great theme in Manny Nosowsky's Wall Street Journal puzzle, "50% Off."

NYS 7:45
NYT 5:09
LAT 4:43
CS 3:38

WSJ (Hmm, the timer still said 0:00 when I finished...)
Reagle 8:17