Tuesday, 12/30/08

NYT 1:55 ... SUN 2:22 ... LAT 2:04 ... CS 2:25 ... BT 2:38 ... TO 2:45

Doug Peterson's back in print again! Is someone going to count the most-published constructors of the year? This makes 30.5 for Doug (including Tribune puzzles), plus that cryptic... perhaps I'll investigate other prolific names. Patrick Berry is only at 24, and he gets to edit himself...

Lots of fresh fill for a Tuesday NYT, with my favorites being LINCHPIN, ODYSSEUS, and HYANNIS. Not a big fan of AOKS, which could easily have been avoided. Any particular reason for that corner, Mr. P?

Jim Leeds's Sun theme creates adverbs out of noun phrases, but there's great stuff all over the fill. I wish Jim Horne could apply his database magic to the Sun archives as well... this one would be extremely "fresh"! Hey, why is NEOCON clued, and not for the first time, as [Former lefty, perhaps]? It's a recently invented variety of right-winger, not someone new to wingnuttery. Anyway.

Solid LAT from Dan Naddor... I guessed the wrong preposition twice (STOPIN for STOPBY and AGREEON for AGREETO), but since it's Tuesday they got fixed quickly. Kudos for cross-referencing EVIL TWIN with SWITCHEROO; demerit for the plural GAMUTS.

Venzke/Daily's CrosSynergy puzzle seemed a tad gnarlier than usual, but it could be a cluing wavelength thing. There was a stretch of a couple months this year where almost every CS puzzle would take me between 2:20 and 2:25 - like clockwork. Now I can get most of 'em faster, but I was amused to see 2:20 on the clock yet again.

No wavelength issues with Ben Tausig tonight. Impressive construction with seven themers ending in "OX" -- though shouldn't it have waited until the actual Chinese New Year? Two things in the fill that I'm both glad and sad to be reminded of: "Rhythm IS A Dancer" and the XFL.

Finally, Deb Amlen has the Onion puzzle and it's pretty blah overall. But I can find plenty of things to like: a non-G.W. Bush theme; AREA clued with [Bay ___]; the impeccably spelled clue ["Schyah!"] for AS IF; BENWA BALL, but only because of my college buddy Dr. Benway; and the pot reference, even though it's not funny. If you're looking for a real New Year's celebration in crossword form, revisit Matt Gaffney's Onion puzzle from two years ago.


Anonymous said...

Would you believe I used AOKS to bump up my Freshness Factor? Probably not. I didn't think it was a strange or bad entry when I made the puzzle. I was shocked today to see that it only shows up one other time in JimH's NYT database. It even tripped up Orange for a couple of seconds, so you know it's rare.

I don't remember my rationale for using AOKS, but I was probably trying to get LOKI into the grid. I love using mythology in my puzzles (e.g., ODYSSEUS), and that includes any and all references to Xena.

Dan said...

Ha, I was going to make a Freshness Factor comment, and how it's not always a good thing... but it is always good to see LOKI!

I got to meet Lucy Lawless because of her "Evil Dead" connection - she came to see the musical with hubby Rob Tapert (Sam Raimi's co-producer on "ED" and "Xena").

Joon said...

keep that mythology coming, doug. i appreciate it!