December 02, 2006

Sunday, 12/3

NYT 10:11
WaPo 8:07
LAT 7:41
BG 7:07
CS 4:25

(post updated at 10:55 a.m. Sunday)

That was weird. First I started out with the NYT applet set for a daily-size puzzle rather than a Sunday, and couldn't quite comprehend what was happening. Then I remembered to switch to the large grid, but was struck by déjà vu as I began reading the clues in Pat Merrell's "Prefix Remix," and pondered the wisdom of continuing to solve a puzzle that I'd done before instead of finding the correct puzzle—before snapping out of it and realizing it was the right puzzle. Then I started to have trouble typing properly. I remain in a bit of a fugue state and probably ought to go to bed early tonight. Oh, wait, it's kinda late to be getting to bed early.

So anyway, the puzzle. The theme splits out a word's prefix and clues it as a two-word phrase, so SUPERVISOR is parsed as the building SUPER's VISOR, clued [Headwear for a building chief?], and COUNTER BALANCES are [Amounts owed at a diner?]. I liked the theme, but the non-theme fill was even better—the blah A-TEST crosses ATOMIC, which spells out the A in A-TEST (so you know it's not N-TEST here). The VON TRAPP family, WISCONSIN, I MANAGE (clued ["Somehow everything gets done"]) and the contradictory HELP ME, PILSNER and GESTALT, and the out-of-left-field DECAGONAL. I hear they're working on a movie version of CHiPs, with the Erik ESTRADA part played by Wilmer Valderrama. So, what was your favorite part of this puzzle? And am I the only one who was hit with déjà vu?


Seth Abel's name is showing up more often in bylines these days, isn't it? He's got today's Washington Post crossword, "Playing the Field," which reclues phrases that happen to include a word that's also a football position. Hence, [Gridder on a crowded bus] is a STANDING GUARD, and [Scornful gridder] is a BITTER END. SUDOKUS and KWANZA lent the fill some sparkle. And this time around, I knew [St. Philip ___] was NERI; a week or two ago, that one had stumped me in another puzzle.

1-Down in Sean O.F. Smith's LA Times syndicated puzzle is [Early animal handler], NOAH, which reminds me that yesterday, I caught part of This American Life on Chicago Public Radio. Toward the end of the "Sink or Swim" episode, there was a darkly hilarious retelling of the Noah story, by a Simon somebody, in which Noah was portrayed as a jerk who always called his sons "big dummies" and who first thought the voice talking to him was a whistling in his nose. You can subscribe to the show's podcasts for free via iTunes; right now, last week's episode is the most recent one available for download. (And I liked the theme in this crossword, by the way.)

Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon's Boston Globe quote puzzle ("Not to Mention...") managed to be easy despite the quote within it. Is COFELON a word?

Harvey Estes' themeless CrosSynergy puzzle has two triple-stacks of 15-letter entries, spiced up by having 6- to 8-letter words or phrases for almost half of the stacks' crossings.