January 10, 2006


I got a kick out of Mel Rosen's 2006 arithmetic puzzle in the Wednesday NYT. To compile a group of numbers that can be clued straightforwardly, that add up to 2006, and that fit symmetrically into the grid when spelled out—I'm thinking that might have been challenging. (Can any of you math types confirm this?) Sure, the grid's a little ugly and nobody seeks out entries like HGT and AGFA, but I did like the gimmick here. I do wish, though, that GIGI had been clued "Leslie Caron role" rather than "Best Picture of 1958," because it probably would have tricked me into entering LILI.

Joy Andrews' Sun puzzle took me longer than expected, for whatever reason. The "Bod Squad" theme was cute, particularly HILARY DUFF for the [posterior] body part. The clue for UTERI, "Major growth areas," was wonderfully deceptive and accurate. Isn't that the best kind of clue—one that's dead on but off-kilter at the same time? There's some nice fill in the SW and NE corners, too, such as TINA FEY and COURT TV and CD CASE.

Ben Tausig's Voice puzzle, "Mixed Media," manages to include TV, WEB, and RADIO in the theme, but the poor newspapers, they lose out here. If you're going to have a fill-in-the-blank partial entry, why not dupe the solver into the standard "When I was ___" A LAD, but have the answer be A BOY? Much more fun that way. "Hay there!" as a clue for BARN is a bit of a groaner, but how many word geeks actually object to any sort of pun? I also enjoyed "It gets high every day" for TIDE and "Invented something" for LIED.

NYS 5:28
Tausig 4:40
NYT 3:24 (since we're doing arithmetic now, I subtracted the 22 seconds that elapsed between clicking "done" and the applet noticing)
LAT tba
CS tba