August 10, 2006

Friday, yeah

NYS 6:42
LAT 4:57
NYT 4:45
7/28 CHE 4:05
CS 3:27

WSJ tba
Reagle tba

Ah, the Friday puzzles include two twists on their usual from two favorites—early-week heroine Lynn Lempel with a themed Friday Sun, and those are always far less straightforward than any sort of Monday puzzle, and Patrick Merrell, who comes up with so many innovative gimmicks, giving up that sort of trickery for the more rarefied challenge of a themeless NYT (unless there's some elusive theme hiding in there).

Pat's NYT doesn't stack up the longer answers, but rather meshes them together in a tossed word salad. The slanginess of HAPPY PILL ("Upper") and SKEETER, the brand consciousness of MISTER SOFTEE, the early '90s flashback to the appalling ICE ICE BABY, a Scrabbly SQUEEGEE, and some plain ol' nouns. The two longest entries are bonded together by four long crossers, sending the solver hither and yon in this funky grid. Favorite clues: "Pedestrian" for HOHUM and "They keep large flocks" for CATHEDRALS.

In Lynn's "Motion Passed," the AYE rebuses outnumber the NAYs, and hence the motion passes. I don't know which of the AYE voters CROSSED THE AISLE, but I've got my eye on the MOR[AY E]EL—I saw some of its brethren at the Shedd Aquarium yesterday, and those are some creepy-looking buggers (they're not alone). It took me a while to piece together the rebus action in this one; how about you?


Thomas Schier's CrosSynergy puzzle has a geography theme. Hooray! It was a bit odd to see the two extraneous Florida cities in the fill, though.

I also enjoyed Michael Ashley's July 28 Chronicle of Higher Ed puzzle, "Double Quotes." I hadn't been aware of the connection for three of the four titles in the theme entries.

Haven't seen the Wall Street Journal and Merl Reagle puzzles for the weekend yet...