March 20, 2006


Here's my favorite Tuesday joke, courtesy of Leo Rosten's book, The Joys of Yinglish:

Rummaging through his desk, Morty Potemkin found a claim-check for a pair of shoes he had brought to I.J. Narkin's Shoe Repair—seven years ago!

That afternoon he went over to the shoe repair store. "Mr. Narkin, I know this is going to surprise you—and maybe this is all too late—but you were supposed to put new heels on a pair of my shoes—
seven years ago!"

I.J. Narkin turned pale. "Seven yiss? Eh, you got to have a check!"

"I do." Morty handed Narkin the old, faded check.

Narkin, who was a bit
farchadat [shocked, stunned], gulped, muttered to himself, disappeared behind a beaded curtain. After a bit, he returned. "Your shoes—dey are brown? And dey got a buckle, not laces?"

"That's right!" beamed Mr. Potemkin.

"They'll be raddy Tuesday."

I should have read the title before delving into Timothy Powell’s Sun puzzle, “Place in the Sun God,” as it would have sped my progress through the puzzle if I’d realized earlier that the theme entries had a RA inserted into a phrase. So, this puzzle taught me that CARA is Spanish for "face." (I'll have to tell my kid that—he's always asking me to pony up the Spanish word for something, when his knowledge of Spanish is on a par with my own.) Nifty how the NE and SW corners of this puzzle contain four similarly structured entries—C-SPAN, A LINE, Q-TIPS, and SIDE A.

Levi Denham's indirectly tennis-themed NYT puzzle, seemed a tad gnarlier than the typical Tuesday puzzle. Why is that? Is it the preponderance of multiword phrases like NOT FAR and OLD SOUL? The vagueness of clues like "brand of liqueur" for PERNOD? I've got a question for the Canadians out there: How often is Alb. used instead of Alta. as an abbreviation for Alberta?


Ben Tausig's Ink Well puzzle might be the first crossword to include BUSH SR—which is technically inaccurate, but absolutely "in the language." I like it. Today's CrosSynergy puzzle by Randall Hartman and the LA Times by Timothy Powell are both good Tuesday puzzles.

This week's crossword-related journalism prize goes to the Boston Globe's Michael Molyneux, whose article about ACPT top-10 solver Katherine Bryant. The article does not include the "what's a 6-letter word for..." trope that's so popular and yet so bemoaned by Ellen Ripstein and others. By the end of this week, there will be many more articles about the tournament—here's hoping that the articles all get it right.

NYS 4:26
Tausig 4:13
NYT 4:09
LAT 3:34
CS 3:17
Newsday 2:29 (on paper)