November 12, 2006

Monday, 11/13

NYS 3:16
LAT 3:13
CS 3:00
NYT 2:57

(post updated at 8:45 a.m. Monday)

The theme entries in Peter Collins' NYT crossword filled themselves in easily enough, thanks to a discussion thread somewhere (here? the NYT forum?) a few months back—as this write-up of Ogden Nash and his poem, "The Lama," shows, you've got the one-L lama who's a BUDDHIST HOLY MAN, the two-L llama that's an ANDES PACK ANIMAL, and the "three-L lllama" that's a BLAZE IN BROOKLYN (as in "three-alarmer). Collins takes a droll but tired old verse, finds a trio of 15-letter entries that mesh together nicely, and builds a solid Monday puzzle around it, include such fill as PRE-K, SPAMS, MINISKIRT, and APACE. Yes, APACE is one of those words that one finds in crosswords more than in real life, but I like to use it. A friend of mine also enjoys tossing out APACE during business meetings; not everyone knows what she means, but that's their problem, isn't it?


I liked the "Nora Pearlstone" (Rich Norris) puzzle in today's LA Times. The theme hid in plain sight, with pairs of 8- and 9-letter entries plus a single 15; I was distracted by both halves of RARA AVIS appearing together for a change and didn't notice that the AVIS half is a car-rental company. This crossword is packed with unusual letter sequences—CZ, AO, VCH, AA, UU, RTZ, AIO, and words ending in EI or AI or AII or U.

The 15x16 Sun puzzle by Gary Steinmehl hearkens back to Seth Abel's Sunday NYT from 8/27, with its "Six Bars" soap theme. "Six Bars," but five theme entries—the middle one's a two-fer (IVORY COAST—and wow, the Coast webpage is annoying, as it foists upon you the noisy waves associated with Coast's Arctic Surf and Pacific Force soap flavors). Good blocks of 7-letter words, too.