April 26, 2006


George Balany and Michael Shteyman's NYT spotlights phrases that have become NO WIN SITUATIONS by losing their WINs—e.g., SEVERE GRO[win]G PAINS, GONE WITH THE [win]D. What's cool is that two pairs of theme entries are stacked together, making the task of constructing this puzzle that much more difficult. Speaking of difficult, those don't look much like Thursday solving times on the applet! I didn't fight that long to crack the theme (SEVERE GROG PAINS had many helpful crossings), but this was one of those puzzles where it helps to solve online. You'd think I'd remember the characters' names from the one opera I've seen, Turandot, and yet I cycled through a couple other Roman numerals before the applet accepted the L in LIU. Specific bit of cultural knowledge crossing a Roman year? D'oh!

Judging from Jesse Goldberg's Sun puzzle ("Swish!"), JORDAN's GAME WINNING SHOT went up in the air and passed through Dick ENBERG on its way into the BASKET. I don't recall that particular aspect of the CHICAGO HOOPSTER's shot on June 16, 1998, but then, maybe I didn't watch that game. Or maybe I did. I'm not one to remember great sports plays. Fun puzzle, topped off with entries like VETTE, FINAGLE, and SEAFOAM (which, if this were a themeless puzzle, I expect Peter would've found an obscure color clue for).


Harvey Estes' "Give Mom a Hug" CrosSynergy puzzle is cute. I like the inclusion of EGGING ON and TOMATOES up above the HAM OMELET. Is it time for breakfast again?

I do get a wee bit disappointed when a themeless stalwart ventures into themed territory, as Karen Tracey does in today's LA Times puzzle. However, Karen works in great non-theme fill like JETSTREAM, NIETZSCHE, MR PIBB, and OH JOY, and all is forgiven.

NYT 5:36
NYS 4:47
LAT 4:25
CS 3:17