June 23, 2006


Not to repeat myself, but I just got home from seeing Wordplay. Yes, I know I said the same thing last night. But hey, it's so lovely to see it on the big screen, and I actually picked up a couple lines I'd missed the previous four times.

Harvey Estes' NYT is a winner in my book. ORANGE TREE ("Neroli oil source") together with COCOA BEANS. in a beautiful grid with four-way symmetry (what's the term for this type of symmetry?). Alas, I didn't finish the puzzle as quickly as I'd have liked (grumble), which I attribute to the fact that the room was quiet when I began but not midway through solving (everyone who attends the ACPT in Stamford, let me just say thanks for not turning the TV on loud during the competition). ANTA, clued as "'Man of La Mancha' org.," is the American National Theatre and Academy. Did you know AGENTRY was a word? My favorite clues were "Was charming?" for CAST A SPELL, "Things that may wind down" for STAIRCASES, and "Accounts of aliens, e.g." for SCI FI. Often, the clues that keep me guessing the longest are the ones I remember and admire the most. The ANNABEL LEE clue, "A wind chilled and killed her, in verse," refers to this stanza of Poe's poem: The angels, not half so happy in Heaven, / Went envying her and me:— / Yes! that was the reason (as all men know, / In this kingdom by the sea) / That the wind came out of a cloud, chilling / And killing my Annabel Lee. Now, there are no Scrabbly letters like Z, Q, X, and J here, but I don't mind ceding those for a puzzle with 16 9- and 10-letter entries.


What's the best-reviewed movie of the year?

Martin Ashwood-Smith's CrosSynergy puzzle is a pangram.

NYT 7:19
LAT 5:14
Newsday 4:40
CS 2:59