June 24, 2006


Yeah, I saw Wordplay again. This time with my six-year-old son, Ben (he liked the movie—his favorite part was Jon Stewart getting ranty), my sister and her kids, and my mom. We grabbed lunch afterwards and then parted ways. As my family went back to the Century Centre to retrieve their car, they ran into Tyler Hinman and called over to the young celebrity in their midst.

Jim Page's Sunday NYT, "Keeping Company," had nine company names contained within the theme entries (e.g., DIC[K MART]IN). Puzzlemaster Will Shortz's "NPR host" colleague accounts for two entries here: LIANE (which has been used before) and HANSEN (a new one). There was definitely some tough stuff in this puzzle. "Leaflet appendage" is a STIPEL, or a minute stipule at the base of a leaflet? Why, that's so obscure it's not even crosswordese (at least it hasn't been in recent years). The Hebrew "month after Shevat" is ADAR (take a moment to refresh your memory about Hebrew month names here). DECRIAL ("Noisy censure") is a rather old word. And who recalled that Mussolini's forces captured the capital city of TIRANA, Albania, in 1939? Plenty of interesting clues to liven things up, though—"What this clue ain't got?" is GRAMMAR, "It may be stuck in a bar" is OLIVE, "It has two jaws" is VISE, "Not fancy" is FACT, "Series of shocks" is MANE. The Shakespeare quote "Love is my SIN" is from sonnet 142.


Bob Klahn's themeless CrosSynergy Sunday Challenge killed me. Was it a matter of hard clues intersecting with hard clues, or was I just distracted? The "German house-hunting goblin" threw me; amazingly, this word's one prior appearance in the Cruciverb database is from a Tuesday NYT ("It's Tuesday, Mr. Shortz, not Saturday."). If you like themelesses, go do this one and tell me if it really is a bear.

None of the Sunday-sized puzzles fought me too hard—though Hex's LA Weekly puzzle contained a liqueur RATAFIA I'd never heard of.

NYT 8:05
LA Weekly 7:20
LAT 7:10
WaPo 7:10
Newsday 7:02

CS 9:20