May 03, 2006


Hey, I really liked Rob Richardson's NYT puzzle with the BEELINE/STING/QUEEN/DRONE theme. Sure, you could make a case that the worker bee's absence is a shortcoming, but it's such a lovely crossword without it. There's wonderful fill, like OXYMORON, ASIAGO, IBIZA, LOOFA (Bill O'Reilly!), STYX, delicious POBOYS, and the stinky DURIAN, in a near-pangram (only W is missing). And some good clues, like "literally, 'the gentle way'" for JUDO, "they sometimes slip" for DISKS, "head butt, e.g." for OXYMORON, and "'ain't' ain't part of it" for QUEENS ENGLISH. I liked this puzzle enough to forgive ERIA, the "suffix with ranch."

Jeffrey Harris (a.k.a. Jangler) acquits himself well with the Sun Themeless Thursday. My favorite entries included AL ROKER, THE JERK, REAL MEN, ALL GONE, and KARAOKE; good clue/entry combos were "honorable behavior"/CRICKET and "throw some back"/DO SHOTS. Nothing to grumble about here... In fact, Jangler not only doesn't strike any wrong notes, he hits all the right ones—beautiful puzzle! (Extra pop-culture bonus points for MORTY Seinfeld.)


Lynn Lempel's LA Times puzzle includes one of those entries that's more fun if you parse it wrong: SECOND GO AT A TEST could also be an escalation of anti-troll tactics by the middle Billy Goat Gruff: SECOND GOAT A-TEST.

The Chronicle of Higher Education puzzles for April and May are posted at Will Johnston's Puzzle Pointers page. The April ones are by Sarah Keller (literate), Richard Silvestri (pun-filled), Todd McClary (crunchy), and Joy Andrews (all about architects).

4/28 CHE 5:28
NYS 5:14
4/21 CHE 5:09
NYT 4:26
4/7 CHE 4:18
LAT 4:04
4/14 CHE 3:44
CS 3:17