January 25, 2006

Back to puzzles

I'm not caught up on sleep yet, but I'm almost caught up on crosswords now. My two favorites are Frank Longo's Jumbo Crossword in the March 2006 issue of Games World of Puzzles and Wednesday's NYS puzzle, "Queued Up," by Doug Peterson. Frank's puzzle is salted liberally with Scrabbly letters and brand-new entries. I know it can be hard to track down a newsstand that sells GWOP, but it's often worth the effort. Or you can subscribe and get four assorted Longo puzzles in every issue.

The "Queued Up" puzzle swaps an SQU for an SC or SK in each of the theme entries, to excellent result. Between SQUID MARKS and MICROMINI SQUIRT, good fill, and clues such as "like Dr. Evil's jacket" for NEHRU, it's a fun crossword.

Bruce Venzke and Vic Fleming built the Themeless Thursday NYS with 10 15-letter entries. I can't quite wrap my head around the process involved in constructing such a puzzle. The crossing entries are free of egregious compromises (such as questionable abbreviations), which must have been mighty tough to pull off, so kudos to Bruce and Vic.

The theme entries in Manny Nosowsky's Thursday NYT drop the nearly silent G in two-word phrases like DARK GLASSES. This theme doesn't especially excite me, but I do like the other goodies in the grid, like IM BACK, CUE BALLS, PBJ, QUACKERY, PRO SHOP, and LET LIVE, and the clues.

Note that the first two theme entries in this week's Ben Tausig puzzle are composed of letters that are also symbols for chemical elements.

1/26 NYT 5:28
1/26 NYS 5:22
1/21 Newsday Saturday Stumper 4:26
1/25 NYS 4:11
1/27 Tausig 4:05
1/26 CS 3:56
1/26 LAT 3:50
1/24 NYS 3:48
1/23 NYS 2:59