NYT 2:11 ... SUN 2:52 ... LAT 3:03 ... CS 2:16 ... MGCC 3:37 ... BEQ 3:15
Man, I am so much more alert solving at 7pm here on the West Coast than 10pm back home. I'm assuming that's my best Wednesday time in the applet. The circles in Tim Wescott's grid made no sense until I was done - I had to actively ignore them and just concentrate on the clues! Don't think I've seen YAKUT before, but it rang a Risk-related bell. Just saw ABBACY in an old puzzle, which certainly helped. Barely saw REVET, the grid's other oddity, which was fortunate because it's totally unfamiliar.
My other favorite super-prolific constructor, Patrick Blindauer, has the final Sun puzzle of the year. I didn't have time today to investigate the year's top constructors, but let's see where Patrick stands... 38 solos and 12 collaborations, but CrosSynergy (21) skews the numbers a bit. Oh, today's puzzle? I'm just stalling because I don't understand the theme. Even the title, "Rear Ends", isn't giving me any clue... Once the other blogs check in, I'll update this with a big d'oh!
And... d'oh! Synonyms for "rear" are split into the "ends" of the theme answers. I was looking at the long Downs - PISTACHIO and NOKIDDING - instead of the shorter Acrosses. Like Amy says, there's great fill for a grid with six theme answers.
Matt Gaffney's Tuesday special, like this week's Inkwell, is a month early with the Chinese New Year theme. He one-ups Tausig by replacing RAT with OX! (Hmm, is it bad form to blog this when I know nobody's reading it? Or at least nobody who can't solve it by themselves?) But once again, I'm not sure of the week's correct answer. Boy, I suck at meta-puzzles. Which is why Justin's site totally baffles me.