March 08, 2006

Csütörtök (Zsa Zsa's Thursday)

Bravo, John Farmer! Great NYT puzzle that plays with the conventional format by thinking outside the box. I'm grateful for those (mostly) Thursday and Friday Sun and NYT puzzles that bend the rules and send letters around in circles, outside the grid, upside down, etc. Although I liked this puzzle a lot, I must protest the iffy fill, like SSBUL and INGTO. (Just kidding!) I'm glad the threefold repetition of the word SQUARE within the theme entries that wrap around the 5x5 squares wasn't a deal-breaker for Will Shortz, and impressed that INSIDE and THE BOX were included. Not to mention the good non-theme fill, like QUENCH, EYEPATCH, and DIORAMAS. My only suggestion for improvement would be for everything to be clued at a Saturday level so that the puzzle would have taken two or three times longer to solve (really, I'd be pleased if every crossword were clued Saturday-tough).

In the Sun, Paula Gamache‘s “Life Gets in the Way” has a more standard theme, beefed up with great fill—
MESHUGA, STKITTS, RYEBEER, MEGAHIT, ALLRISE. Anyone know why the clues for the theme entries all start with asterisks? Is it just to make clear that the 8- and 9-letter entries are themers in a grid packed with so many 7's?

NYT 4:53
NYS 4:36
LAT 4:15
Newsday 3:38 (on paper)
CS 3:17