December 05, 2005

Manic Monday

Byron Walden's "Great Guys" in the 15x16 Monday Sun
The two shorter theme entries, MR WONDERFUL and TOM TERRIFIC, and appeared previously in JackMcInturff's 3/8/05 LAT puzzle, but were paired there with MARVELOUS MARVIN and the not-an-actual-character/person SMASHING PUMPKIN. The theme definitely benefits from a taller grid that allows two 16-letter theme entries (and if you haven't seen the oddly funny movie NAPOLEON DYNAMITE, you should). Byron's showing off just a little with those four 9-letter entries in the NW and SE corners: all four have never appeared in puzzles indexed by the Cruciverb database. Crossword Fiend rule #1: For every great new entry like VODKA SHOT, a constructor is entitled to one OLEO use.

The grid in Harvey Estes's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Trust Aside," doesn't look like a standard early-week grid. In today's NYT, there are 45 3- and 4-letter entries and just eight 6-, 7-. 8-, or 9-letter entries. Harvey's puzzle, in contrast, is weighted toward lots of white space, with just 26 short entries and 22 in the 6- to 9-letter range, and just 32 black squares. It's still a fairly easy CrosSynergy puzzle, yes, but with a much more ambitious grid than we usually see on Mondays.

I liked the four theme entries in Gary Steinmehl's NYT puzzle, but tying them together as STORE employees struck an off note. Perhaps I'm just not shopping at the sort of stores that hire people to crate, box, and pack things? Bonus points for NO CARBS, though, which is new to the Cruciverb database.

CS 3:27
LAT 3:25
NYT 3:10
NYS 3:08