September 13, 2006

Thursday, 9/14

NYS 6:20
NYT 4:23
LAT 4:10
CS 2:44

I can't tell what's going on with my higher faculties this evening. I received the November issue of Games World of Puzzles, leafed through looking for a Quint-Essential puzzle and found none, and turned to the contest puzzle. Pshaw! Easiest contest puzzle in ages. Had the final trivia answer (Starbuck! No, not really) figured out with about half of the grid still empty. So I figured I was firing on all cylinders. Put GWoP to the side and shifted my attention to the Thursday Sun puzzle by Mark Feldman—and it killed me. I was comparatively faster on Karen Tracey's NYT crossword, but I strive to crack the 4-minute mark on Thursdays and missed. (Oy.)

First off, Karen's lovely puzzle: It includes the word FIEND, but gracious me, it's clued [Villain]. I try to be nice, honest. The skeleton in Karen's puzzle consists of an interlocked quartet of 14s and 15s that could all be clued [How the solver feels on completing this crossword]. With fill like MILLI Vanilli, HOBBIT, LEIA, and BOB DENVER, the pop culture fizzed, and GODIVA chocolate is always nice to contemplate. Now, this puzzle also has its vexing crossings that may stymie plenty of solvers—the WESER River crossing WAF, or the tenant farm CROFT crossing the Firth of TAY—but you gotta be ready for such things on a Thursday.

What I wasn't ready for on a Thursday was the theme in the Feldman Sun puzzle, "Course Numbers." I paid no mind to the title and convinced myself that the theme pertained to birds—EAGLE, ALBATROSS, and BIRDIE supported that. Then COLONEL BOGEY came along, and that name means nothing to me, and it ain't a bird. Eventually I got to NOT UP TO PAR and figured out it was a golf theme...but what the heck is ALBATROSS doing in there? My husband likes golf, but he's never heard the word in relation to golf. Anyone?


Randall Hartman's CrosSynergy puzzle is smooth and easy.