October 03, 2006

Wednesday, 10/4

Wed NYS (Glickstein) 5:29
Onion 5:05
NYT 4:17
Mon NYS (Steinmehl) 4:14
Tausig 4:04
Tues NYS (McInturff) 3:26
CS (Rosen) 3:14

Hmm, it appears that I have my work (if we can call it that) cut out for me on Wednesday, provided that the week's Sun puzzles get posted, the indispensable Cruciverb.com comes back online, and Ben Tausig sends out his weekly e-mail with the addition of the new (and I'm so looking forward to this!) Onion crossword.

In the comments on yesterday's post, Nancy Schuster offers to e-mail PDFs of the Community Blood Services crossword tournament puzzles. If you want to take a stab at them, make sure you avoid the Puzzle Brothers blog until after you've done the finals puzzle (which none of the A finalists were able to finish in the 15 minutes allotted, apparently)—the most recent post contains a written spoiler, and the post before that features a large photo of winner Bob Mackey with his mostly filled-in finals grid. (Aaugh! My eyes! 1-Across seared itself into my brain.) Yo, I don't know why Bob left the NE quadrant blank—that was one of the easier sections for me. Did the other finalists struggle with the same area or different ones? I found the middle the toughest. (For now, let's avoid spoilers in the comments on the tournament puzzles.)

Moving on to the Wednesday NYT by Adam Cohen: I found much to admire in this puzzle, namely...the cute theme, good clues, a smattering of Scrabbly fill, and four great 8-letter fill entries, including MOOD RING (click here to learn how it works), LET ME SEE, A STUDENT, and PAT SAJAK (clued as [Man of letters?]). The top left corner section was the last to fall for me, thanks in part to [Headline?] as the clue for PART. The ["Home-Folks" poet] RILEY is the "Hoosier poet" James Whitcomb Riley. Nice work, Adam!


At last, the Sun puzzles are available for bingeing on. I won't spoil 'em for you on the off chance that your morning doesn't afford as much time for crossword binges as mine does. I will say that Jack McInturff's Tuesday puzzle was uncommonly easy for a Sun puzzle, that one of the theme entries in Lee Glickstein's Wednesday puzzle played on a base phrase I'd never heard (Google tells me it's a golf thing), and that Gary Steinmehl's Monday Sun had a theme entry that was a composer I didn't know.

Francis Heaney kicks off the Onion's new crossword in the A.V. Club section. If you don't know music from the '80s to the present, you're not gonna like the theme. Me, I liked it even though I hadn't heard two of the bands/songs in question (and they didn't sound remotely familiar on iTunes). Elsewhere in the puzzle, there was a song I remember, but I swear I've never heard of the band. Good fill, good clues, similar in spirit to Ben's Ink Well puzzles.

I learned two things in Ben Tausig's Ink Well puzzle: the factoid in the theme (go back and read the puzzle's title when you're done) and the Korean liquor SOJU.