January 19, 2006

A Farewell to Blogs (for a few days)

I don't have time to do justice to the Friday themelesses because I've got an early flight tomorrow. (Sundance, here I come!)

We haven't had a themeless NYT puzzle by Harvey Estes since last May, and it's been much too long! I bet there are numerous brand-new entries in there—maybe LIMA PERU, I CANT SEE, PUNCHED TAPE, and SPOON OUT? The new factoid I learned was that crossword denizen Irene Castle's husband and ballroom dance partner was VERNON—he's the "Castle with many steps." I'd never heard of Vernon Castle, but I usually manage to find Harvey's wavelength, so this was a fun puzzle. I also admire the construction—a triple stack of 15s in the middle bound together by pairs of 9- and 11-letter entries anchoring blocks of 8-letter entries.

In the Sun, Karen Tracey's Weekend Warrior is anchored by entries designed to delight Peter Gordon: SCHWARZKOPF across from KILIMANJARO? Good stuff. Plus TRADED IN, BOATEL, ABJURE, OUGHTA, HIRELING, DAKOTA FANNING? Also nice to see "SCUSE Me While I Kiss This Guy," the book of mondegreen lyrics.

That's all for now. I'll post from Sundance if I get a chance to—please emit as many "you will get premiere tickets" and "the waiting-list line won't be too cold" vibes as you can, because some of us who are going don't have tickets for the Wordplay premiere on Saturday but really really really want to go! Also, watch for Will Shortz and director Patrick Creadon on Paula Zahn's CNN Sunday show...

NYS 5:18
NYT 4:34