November 05, 2006

Monday, 11/6

NYS 3:19
CS 3:17
NYT 2:34
LAT tba

(post updated at 6:50 p.m. Monday)

Ah, so much drama in the cruciverbal internets of late, and so hard not to take it personally! There was one person who deplored fast solvers' posting of fast solving times. Whoo-hoo! I'm delighted to have finished Monday's puzzle a few seconds ahead of the other folks on the applet (so far—usually someone faster will come along later on). I'd love to win at Stamford one of these years, and paying attention to my solving times is part and parcel of training for that. If seeing my solving times makes you feel bad about yourself, hmm, that's a darn shame. It's my hope that blog readers appreciate having a metric to compare their own solving experience to (however irrelevant this sample size of 1 may be). Then there was another who wrote to the Cruciverb-L mailing list to deplore any and all blog-based criticism of crosswords. It's my hope that I come across as constructive and enthusiastic rather than as a kvetching whiner who rags on crossword constructors. But I'm not responsible for other people's feelings on the matter, so all I can do is have fun writing this blog and engaging in comments-based conversation. I hope you enjoy the site, and if you don't, well, nobody's making you read it. To those of you who have gotten in touch over the months to let me know that you do enjoy this blog, thank you—I'm honored. I put in a lot of time and effort (and a little money) to maintain the blog, and knowing that people appreciate it makes it all worthwhile.

Back to crosswords: The Monday NYT is by Christina Houlihan Kelly, and I liked it a lot. (Not just because my husband's employer appears in the grid—and no, he's not an ORKIN man. Whether he's a NINJA or not, I won't say.) I hate coffee, but enjoyed the theme and the fact that each theme entry includes a J or K, PERKing up the grid a bit. A couple short multi-word entries (SO AM I, HIT ON) are like the two packets of Equal sweetener. The pop culture represents the half-and-half stirred into the coffee—CHAKA Khan, the Cars song "Shake IT UP," the '70s TV show RHODA, and "Teenage Mutant NINJA Turtles." The two vertical 9-letter fill entries are the coffee stirrers. And the AIOLI? That's for the folks who like extra-garlicky coffee. As for the handful of geography entries, those are the baked goods I will buy at the café when picking up some coffee for my husband. (I predict that regular commenter Michael will mention no fewer than three of this puzzle's pop-culture clues in his blog, Rex Parker Does the New York Times Crossword Puzzle, tomorrow morning. If you haven't started reading that blog but you like irreverence and pop culture, check it out.)


Anyone else been able to access today's LA Times puzzle at Cruciverb?

The Monday Sun crossword is by Pete Muller and—gasp!—it's...a regular themed puzzle, free of any high-flying gimmicks. Which is fine, because the Pete Mullers and John Farmers and Pat Merrells are entitled to make regular ol' crosswords, too, and not just ones that toy with crossword conventions. (But I do certainly appreciate the twists their puzzles often provide.) This puzzle's a pangram, with a couple Z's, an X (within SEXY, clued as [Like a dish]), and a Q peppering the flavorful fill. The theme includes four US NATIONAL PARKS within the theme entries—hey, anything that gets YOSEMITE SAM into a puzzle is fine by me. Interestingly, on the other side of the grid opposite SEXY, we find both LOIN and EGGS (clued as food, alas, and not as a body part and gametes).