NYT 2:56 ... SUN 2:15 ... LAT 1:44 ... CS 3:04 ... BT 3:10 ... TO 3:33
The Times brings us an amazing construction feat by Joe Krozel, where the letters as well as the black squares in the grid have rotational symmetry. I love this sort of stuff, even if the puzzle per se isn't all that great.
...but just because a theme is new doesn't mean it's fun. The Sun puzzle has this convoluted Notepad describing two different uses for the circled letters in the corner and the center. I peeked at the note before solving, but it made no sense, so I solved without it and deciphered afterwards. It's an interesting twist on the compound-word, starred-clue, first-part-second-part rigamarole, but the solver gets no enjoyment out of it whatsoever. Credit to constructor Brent Sverdloff, but this gets filed in the "Peter Gordon is sometimes too clever for his own good" category.
Bob Klahn's CS puzzle contains the obviously made-up phrases CLOVE PINK and SILENT BUTLER. Eh, he's Klahn, he can make up whatever he wants and we'll love it.
Alt-weekly update... Great Tausig clue for BCE: [PC dating term?]. Tyler Hinman's 16x15 Onion grid features three ex-tyrants I've never heard of, and one I have. Plus a few bonus entries clued with regard to GWB. A little on-the-nose there, fellas? Nice fill though, no surprise... this Tyler fellow seems to have a talent for crosswording.