October 12, 2006

Friday, 10/13

NYT 6:04
NYS 5:59
9/29 CHE 5:05
CS 3:08
LAT tba

WSJ 7:57
Reagle 6:54

Another crossword-related social occasion this evening—my family and I had dinner with writer Gary Krist, a sometime denizen of the NYT crossword forum. Gary's visiting Chicago to do research for his next book. We ate at La Creperie, which a few of you have been to. I picked up a copy of the Onion on the way and discovered that Byron Walden's puzzle bears the byline from last week's constructor, Francis Heaney. Maybe that's the Onion's satirical way of handling crossword bylines?

(By the way, the Cruciverb.com site is back up. We're glad you're back, Kevin!)

Returning home with a happy stomach, I was pleased to discover an Eric Berlin NYT puzzle for Friday the 13th. Interesting construction if you look at the interlock of the long entries—it's one thing to group HELL'S ANGELS and DESPERADOS, but to sandwich the TRIX RABBIT between them and join the three with a KLEENEX BOX is inspired. Throw in ENERGY BAR, SPORK, SWF, and DREAMWORKS and you've got some mighty fresh fill. Favorite clues included [It's just one thing after another] for PARADE (I started out with SERIES first), [No longer minding one's business?] for RETIRED, [Torch carriers] for SPOT WELDERS, and [Potty] for DAFT.

Patrick Berry's got another Sun Weekend Warrior, this time with four 10x3 stacks in the corners. I'd never heard of the DIRE WOLF (clued as [Ice age creature])—reading the "cultural references" section of that Wikipedia article tells me that I'm nowhere near geeky enough to be acquainted with the beastie. And I didn't get ACE VENTURA based on the clue, so I'm feeling pretty darned sophisticated right now. Clues I particularly enjoyed: [Job done on the convertible?] for EVANGELISM and [It's read only a few times a year] for GAS METER.


Michael Ashley's Chronicle of Higher Education puzzle clues FAD as [Sudoku, e.g.]; time will tell if it's the crossword kind of fad that endures and evolves for decades, or the Pet Rock variety that fizzles out and lives on in mocking memory. I'd never heard of El Cid's horse, BABIECA, but there's a good story about him.

Easy Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer puzzle from Merl Reagle—"Snacks on a Plane." Randolph Ross's Wall Street Journal crossword, "Business Associates," is similarly punny.