May 23, 2006


I thought Craig Kasper's contest puzzle was fiendishly difficult! The fact that only one person (Byron Walden) has submitted the answer a day and half into the contest confirms that it was indeed a bear of a puzzle. If you're making headway, don't give up. You can do it! (Maybe.)

Ben Tausig's "Damaged Goods" puzzle serves a menu of foods that sound injured, such as PULLED PORK and BRUISED BANANA. I learned of the existence of the ELO rating system in chess, and the word FRIBBLE. Good clues: "Oxford, e.g." for HMO, "Seattle sound" for PUGET (GRUNGE wouldn't fit), "player with gigs" for IPOD, and "Union agreements?" for PRENUPS. The fill also includes SKITTLE, ONE IOTA, GIVE A DAMN, and PIRANHA.

Alan Olschwang's Sun puzzle, "For Openers," sprinkles five KEY rebus squares throughout the grid, yielding entries like DO THE HO[KEY] PO[KEY, MON[KEY]POD, and HAW[KEY]E PIERCE. Good fill throughout, too—ATOMIC MASS, JPEGS, BOATLOADS.

Just as last weekend's Henry Hook puzzle happened to include HOOK, the Wednesday NYT by Adam Perl includes ADAM at 1 Across. The theme consists of a groaner of a quip. I tumbled into the "Mauna ___" pit, combining KEA and LOA into the utterly wrong LEA; that cost me 20 or 30 seconds. Grr. Or, in keeping with the piratical theme, arrgh!

NYS 4:20
Tausig 3:58
NYT 3:54
LAT 3:44
CS 3:25