June 29, 2006


If only the Cubs were playing good baseball (the Brewers beat them 5-4 this afternoon)—then second baseman Neifi Perez might get famous enough for that three-vowel first name to be used in crosswords.

Speaking of crosswords, the Friday NYT is by Manny Nosowsky. I started in the 1-Across corner, which happened to be the toughest spot in the puzzle for me. (Should've moved on faster and come back to that corner later.) Highlights galore: "fabled fliers" for CARPETS, the lovely word EQUERRY, "pillar of a community" for OBELISK, "seeks change, maybe" for BEGS, "Tut's kin?" for TSKS, MAZURKA, SAYS ME—and that's just in the top four rows. Elsewhere, there's a triple stack of 15's, crossed in the middle by a couple 11's and three 9's. Off to the left, the 15's are crossed by the partial entry TILT-A ("__-Whirl")—did you know you can buy a Tilt-a-Whirl? (It'll run you about $250,000.) And don't overlook Manny's trademark medical entries: UTERINE and DILATE the pupils. (P.S. to Dean: Would anyone still remember Virna LISI if not for her crossword-friendly name?)

Moving along to Gary Steinmehl's Sun puzzle, "Gender Bender," am I the only one who never heard of Warren Spahn's teammate Johnny SAIN? The theme entries undergo sex-change operations, switching M to F and vice versa. I couldn't find video of what a GAVOTTE looks like in dance form, but here's a cello performance.


Patrick Berry's Chronicle of Higher Education crossword is an absolute must. I won't spoil it other than to say I thought its twist was brilliant, and I've copied the Across Lite file over to my "great puzzles" folder.

Merl Reagle's Philadelphia Inquirer puzzle,"Little Miss Literal," has a funny theme.

Manny Nosowsky also goes the themed route today in the Wall Street Journal puzzle, "Irregular Meals."

What are the odds of both the LA Times (Curtis Yee) and CrosSynergy (Mel Rosen) puzzles including a form of OUTYELL and USSR in the lower right section?

Oh, yeah—here's a link to a column (relevant only until next week's column appears next Friday) that I find fascinating!

And one more thing—Will Shortz will be one of Charlie Rose's guests on tonight's "Charlie Rose" show. Check your local PBS listings for the time. If you miss the show, try going to Google Video later to download the show. Schedule change: A discussion on the Supreme Court decision on Guantanamo tribunals is bumping the Will Shortz episode to Monday, July 3, owing to Charlie Rose's mercurial dedication to topicality.

NYS 5:34
NYT 4:41
6/30 CHE 6:02
LAT 4:26
CS 3:13

Reagle 8:47
WSJ 8:23