December 16, 2005


Patrick Berry's NYT puzzle delivered a crisp challenge in a beautiful grid—really, I have no antipathy at all towards symmetry, especially when it looks this good. The puzzle features four interlocking 14-letter entries in a grid with plenty of connections between the various sections, allowing for a much smoother solving experience than yesterday's DiPietro, which felt like five small and hard crosswords in one. I liked the clues like "brave" for WARRIOR and "groups" for ASSORTS, probably because I guessed correctly that Patrick meant a noun for one and a verb for the other. Really, the central entries tell the whole story for this puzzle: it's INVENTIVE and it LUMINESCEs. (I just wish I'd been able to solve it faster, darn it; someone else using the NYT applet managed to finish in 41 seconds. *insert eye roll*)


The Newsday Saturday Stumper by "Anna Stiga" (Stan Newman) wasn't all that hard, but I really enjoyed the puzzle—the highlights were ATM INSIDE ("convenience store sign"), THE CREEPS ("uncomfortable feeling"), and YEAH YOU ("playground retort").

Mark Milhet's LA Times puzzle contains three 15's and two 12's bound together by a vertical 11. It's a pangram, thanks in part to the inclusion of QUARTZ TIMEPIECE. There was a wonderfully misleading clue for ELEM (short for element): "He or I." Other great ELEM clues in recent years include "I, O, or U, but not A or E: Abbr." and "Ca, Ga, or Pa" (both Elizabeth Gorski in the NYT)—all three are hall-of-fame clues in my book. Another good clue (and apparently a new one) was "it was you" for THEE.

LAT 7:16
Stumper 5:55
NYT 5:08
CS 4:02