July 25, 2006


Tausig 4:34
CS 4:24
NYS 4:13
NYT 3:26
LAT 3:16

Congrats to Dave Mackey on his NYT debut! (More below.)

There was chitchat at the forum this week about Emily Dickinson, who was cited in a clue for EM DASH. I've belatedly recalled that Francis Heaney's book, Holy Tango of Literature, includes a Dickinson parody. The poet's name anagrams into "Skinny Domicile," which Francis took as the topic of his parodic poem. You can read it for free at this site (do a text search for "skinny")—and then buy the book, because it's that good. (You know, I wanted to post this note at the forum, but that works surprisingly seldom. So here 'tis.)

Oh! There's another story I wanted to share. My mom watched (the lowly) Leno last night, and he mentioned that he'd just been an NYT crossword answer. His wife, Mavis, was doing this past Sunday's puzzle, and she apparently answered the clue, "Monologist of note," with ZENO rather than LENO. (LETTERMAN and OBRIEN wouldn't fit the space.)

The always-dependable Gary Steinmehl has another good crossword in the Sun. I did some checking on one of the clues, "Tragedy at Hector International Airport?"—NORTH FARGO CRASH (one of four groups of three 5-letter movie names bundled into the theme entries). Back in my Minnesota college days, the joke was that Fargo's "international airport" had a couple flights across the border to Canada; turns out the international cred derives from a few charter flights to Mexico instead.

The NYT puzzle's fill was easy enough that the presence of a quip wasn't irksome to me. I did some cursory Googling of that quip—EXCUSE ME OFFICER/BUT THAT SIGN SAID/FINE FOR SWIMMING—and no joke sites popped up. Did you concoct that yourself, Dave?


Ben Tausig's Chicago Reader puzzle, "The Rest of the Story," puts a new spin on the BED SIZE theme by including TWIN, FULL, QUEEN, and KING within movie titles (bonus points for having one be an indie, TWIN FALLS IDAHO). I can forgive ETUI because it crosses IRAQIS, and I like NO HOW, and I'll bet Ben was pleased to clue TEEN as "TRL enthusiast."

Harvey Estes and Nancy Salomon avoid offending any INUIT who might be doing the CrosSynergy puzzle by eschewing the use of the word "Eskimo" in their clue. Good puzzle, with plenty of 6- to 8-letter entries to freshen up the fill.

Easy but good LA Times offering from Sarah Keller today.