November 16, 2006

Friday, 11/17

NYS 5:54
NYT 4:32
LAT 4:11
11/3 CHE 3:37
CS 2:50

WSJ tba
Reagle tba

(post updated at 9:00 a.m. Friday)

I learned via Ellen's blog (and Tyler's, and Trip's…) that Wordplay didn't make the Academy's short list of 15 nominated-to-be-nominated documentaries. I've never even heard of about 10 of them, though I'm sure they're worthy works of art. But are they fun? Do their soundtracks rock? Hah.

David Liben-Nowell's Sun crossword, "Before and After," is a damn sight harder than a Wheel of Fortune Before and After puzzle, even with the help of having the first and third components be homophones. Five vertical theme entries occupy this 15x16 grid, but while the theme didn't do anything for me personally, I appreciated the many tricky or flat-out hard clues. [Do a bang-up job on?] is TEASE (click the link for an illustration if the answer's got you befuddled). [Front edge?] is ISOBAR, which came to mind quickly for me given the oddball weather front passing through here today. I got [Org. whose members employ many guards] through the crossings alone—it's NBA. [People try to look their best for these] is EYE TESTS, of course—but I needed at least six crossings to figure that one out. [Lowland bottom] is KILT. KANSAS has 34 stars on its flag because it was the 34th state admitted to the union. [One of the subtractive primaries] is CYAN. Lots of thinking required for this crossword!

Beth Hinshaw had a Tuesday NYT puzzle last year (with BRADPITTSPITS), and now she's constructed a Friday NYT with a great amalgam of fill and clues. [Sticky-fingered guy?] is SPIDER-MAN. [Objects of some hand-wringing?] are MOPS, of course. COACH K (Krzyzewski) puts in an epithetic appearance. [Possible result of an accident] is traffic GRIDLOCK. STIR IT UP can lead you to racy song lyrics.With its scanty vowel content, STROHS doesn't show up in crosswords too often. And don't UMBRAGE and GRUNGE sound great together? Oh—and I liked [Messing with lines] as a clue for DEBRA. I hope Hinshaw keeps making themelesses.


Alan Olschwang's Chronicle of Higher Education puzzle from two weeks ago highlights new additions to the dictionary. GIANNI VERSACE would have felt right at home in Sarah Keller's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Here's Johnny." And Robert Wolfe's LA Times puzzle toys with Greek letters: AUDIBLE PSIS, anyone?