Sunday, 12/28/08

NYT 6:06 ... LAT 6:39 ... MR 6:52 ... BG [10/26] 4:34 ... CS 3:21

I predicted a genius Patrick Berry puzzle, and... I was half right. The gimmick didn't impress me all that much, which is interesting, because Berry wasn't sure it was even possible! No complaints, though -- I'll take a quasi-themeless 21x21 from the best in the biz any day.

And it really was like a themeless, because the Texas area with the helper entry PLANET was the last part I finished. Briefly stymied at the JAWA/JUPITUS crossing -- which becomes easy if you use the theme -- but JAWA rang a faint bell. Surprising number of unfamiliar names: Fort PULASKI, old-timey cager Dick BARNETT, aforementioned JUPITUS, fictional POOLE. Also never heard of the book SPY CATCHER or "sic PASSIM" (which looked Latin enough), but I just learned about BANNOCKS from Friday's puzzle!

I see that Doug has the NYT cryptic this week, but... I don't do cryptics. Hold your fire! I'll pick 'em up eventually, once I get a bit bored of standard crosswords. Though I have solved what may be the easiest cryptic ever, by Hex, from the old Masterpiece Crosswords collection (and have a .puz version too if anyone's curious).

Finally got around to the rest of Sunday. Bad, but fun, puns from Merl Reagle and Donna Levin (LAT). Lynn Lempel's Sunday Challenge was on the easy side, though I had a bit of trouble getting into the NW (and remembering who is on Mt. Rushmore). And last week's BG rerun, Henry Hook's "Celebrimorphs", was my fastest 21x21 ever -- the long theme entries were fillable off of only a few letters, and Henry eschewed his usual sprinkling of obscurities.

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