Sunday, 5/31/09

NYT 6:30* ... LAT 5:23 ... MR 5:26 ... BG 4:43 ... ND 3:38 ... CS 2:22 ... Diagramless ~10:00

I got kicked offline by the hotel internet, but was done with the applet around 6:30.

Saturday, 5/30/09

NYT 7:45 ... LAT 2:45 ... CS 1:37 ... ND 6:11

Friday, 5/29/09

NYT 3:46 ... LAT 2:20 ... CS 2:45 ... ND 2:33 ... CHE 3:00 ... WSJ 6:33 ... BEQ 4:55 ... MGWC 15+ (fail)

Thursday, 5/28/09

NYT 3:03 ... LAT 2:08 ... CS 1:39 ... ND 1:56

This will be my last update until... Monday? Tuesday? No later than Wednesday. I'll probably hit the NYT applet, but won't be on my own computer, so don't expect blazing times.
(update: my computer snafu worked itself out, so I'm free to blaze.)

Wednesday, 5/27/09

NYT 2:47 ... LAT 1:55 ... CS 1:55 ... ND 1:56 ... BEQ 3:10

Tuesday, 5/26/09

NYT 2:01 ... LAT 1:42 ... CS 1:47 ... ND 1:28 ... BT 2:59 ... TO 3:13

Special kudos to Fred Jackson III for the musical theater theme!

Monday, 5/25/09

NYT 1:35 ... LAT 1:48 ... CS 2:07 ... ND 1:37 ... JON 3:02 ... BEQ 3:00

I'm too wiped out after a two-day bachelor party to even think about hitting the Saturday puzzles. But I can handle Monday's, and maybe some of Sunday's that I missed. update: darnit, didn't notice the NYT was irregularly sized... stay tuned for the next installment of "Square or Rectangle?"

One fellow I met over the weekend works for a company called ZAAZ... how great a crossword entry is that? I encouraged him to grow the company, and quickly. Saw an eatery with the amazing name Lettuce B. Frank. And a crossword I constructed (for the wedding later this summer) was a hit with the group... it took four Princeton graduates, working together on a long car ride, about an hour to finish, which is just the level I'd intended.

Sunday, 5/24/09

NYT 4:49 ... LAT 4:10 ... MR 4:07 ... BG 4:47 ... ND 3:58 ... CS 2:27 ... Acrostic 8:45

Had some down time before going out to dinner Saturday night, so I solved the NYT online to impress my friends. Not a bad showing considering I was at least slightly intoxicated for most of the weekend (and didn't look at the Notepad).

Saturday, 5/23/09

NYT 6:11 ... LAT 2:25 ... CS 2:07 ... ND 5:09

Heh! Tied with Amy on the NYT, but three days late.

Friday, 5/22/09

NYT 5:49 ... LAT 2:23 ... CS 1:51 ... ND 2:12 ... CHE 2:51 ... WSJ 4:35 ... BEQ 4:27 ... MGWC untimed*

*but surprisingly easy... except for the meta-puzzle.

Thursday, 5/21/09

NYT 2:17 ... LAT 2:05 ... CS 1:57 ... ND 2:16

Pulling an all-nighter here before my 7am flight to San Francisco... I'll definitely get to the Friday puzzles, but it might be a crossword-free weekend! Perish the thought.

Wednesday, 5/20/09

NYT 2:21 ... LAT 1:56 ... CS 2:30 ... ND 1:47 ... BEQ 2:38

-Loved Ashish's supersized grid in the NYT, and loved that I noticed it was supersized while solving, because often I don't;
-apparently the rumors I started about Rich Norris leaving CrosSynergy were slightly exaggerated;
-and Brendan Quigley used my brilliant theme idea today.

Tuesday, 5/19/09

NYT 1:52 ... LAT 1:27 ... CS 1:30 ... ND 1:23 ... BT 3:20 ... TO 2:37

Monday, 5/18/09

NYT 1:41 ... LAT 1:25 ... CS 1:41 ... ND 1:22 ... JON 3:00 ... BEQ 3:19

I'm traveling most of the next two weeks, and when I'm not traveling, I'm packing up my stuff and moving it 94 blocks south (and about 4 blocks east). So there will be even less of the brilliant analysis you have come not to expect here! If I get behind, as I'm sure I will by the end of the month, I'll eventually solve all the puzzles and update my times.

Sunday, 5/16/09

NYT 6:06 ... LAT 4:29 ... MR 4:27 ... BG 5:13 ... ND 3:48 ... LATB 5:37 ... CS 3:59 ... Takeaway 10:15

Saturday, 5/16/09

NYT 3:29 ... LAT 1:56 ... CS 1:36 ... ND 4:34

So the Byron/Tyler collaboration wasn't scary (or crazy-gimmicky) after all - just a great themeless with lots of gimmes, starting with 1-Across. The LAT by Michael Wiesenberg is pretty impressive - only 64 66 words but nothing even remotely obscure (maybe COPRA and PEELE), the perfect recipe for a speedy solve.

Friday, 5/15/09

NYT 3:44 ... LAT 2:28 ... CS 2:15 ... ND 2:25 ... CHE 3:08 ... WSJ 5:35 ... BEQ 3:08 ... MGWCC 2:52

A double-Doug day is always good (Newsday, LAT), and when was the last time we got a new 21x21 by Peter Gordon?

Thursday, 5/14/09

NYT 3:17 ... LAT 1:39 ... CS 1:34 ... ND 1:45

I think I've seen the NYT "theme" before, and I thought it was also by David Kahn, but I can't find it in his NYT oeuvre.
...oh good, I won't be wondering all day - Kahn fesses up on the Wordplay blog! Here 'tis.

Wednesday, 5/13/09

NYT 1:54 ... LAT 1:52 ... CS 1:31 ... ND 1:45 ... BEQ 2:33

Ha, TABLE TENNIS! That'll get your puzzle accepted by Will Shortz! (It's an excellent grid, but that one's easily the weakest theme answer. POLO GROUNDS, anyone?)

Tuesday, 5/12/09

NYT 2:00 ... LAT 1:51 ... CS 1:37 ... ND 1:28 ... BT 2:54 ... TO 5:55*

Doing the NYT in Across Lite is weird! Add 3 seconds to my AL time for an applet approximation (1-2 seconds for the grid to show up, 1-2 seconds to get the cursor to DONE!)...

Late update: Okay, Byron's Onion puzzle is way too hard. I couldn't finish without guessing letters for three different boxes! (In retrospect I could maybe have figured out 21D.) And sadly, I wasn't even amused by the six dirty theme answers. (And sadly, it's probably just me, as Amy did just fine.) Hey, how weird is it that Tausig's and Byron's puzzles this week have the same 1-Across?

Monday, 5/11/09

NYT 1:22 ... LAT 1:32 ... CS 1:21 ... ND 1:27 ... JON 2:15 ... BEQ 4:16 ... TPP Vowelless 12:45

Today was the first time in a while that I hit the NYT applet "cold" - no warming up with old puzzles or the other dailies. What do I get? My fastest time ever. Maybe it's time to retire from the applet, I think I've shown off enough (and it's been a while since someone beat me)...

Sunday, 5/10/09

NYT 6:57 ... LAT 5:23 ... MR 5:19 ... BG 4:11 ... ND 3:30 ... LATB 4:27 ... CS 2:42 ... Acrostic 8:10

Toughie NYT by Patrick Berry. That SW corner is going to annoy people, but my error on first submission was MOYLE/BORIC up top. (oops, and I meant to add... hey it's JOON!)
Won't get to the others until tomorrow evening. Not that anyone cares!
Doug P. + Newsday = Sunday record; another blooper in the Bursztyn (82D); Paula G's Sunday Challenge is harder than usual.

Saturday, 5/9/09

NYT 5:20 ... LAT 2:36 ... CS 2:51 ... ND 7:32

Friday, 5/8/09

NYT 3:11 ... LAT 2:21 ... CS 1:48 ... ND 2:18 ... CHE 2:27 ... WSJ 6:08 ... BEQ 4:34 ... MGWC 3:20

Great fun from Ms. Gorski in the WSJ - it took me too many crosses to see the central theme answers. BEQ has another crunchy themeless to go with John Farmer's smooth one in the NYT. And Dan Naddor brings us a 70-word grid with 5 theme answers. Jeezum.

Thursday, 5/7/09

NYT 4:49 ... LAT 2:11 ... CS 1:48 ... ND 1:48

Liz Gorski's NYT was as tricky as advertised. I was done at about 4:00, but as always with a non-standard rebus, had to figure out how the applet wants us to enter the strange squares... my first try was a C in every corner, but it worked when I went with the Across versions.

Newsday today by Sandy Fein has a nice Scrabbly fill. Oh yeah, I appeared twice on Dinner Impossible, once trying unsuccessfully to get out of the way of the cameras (before the A finals), and once trying unsuccessfully to solve a food puzzle. Fortunately, they edited out the long seconds of stumpage, and skipped to the part where they basically gave me the answer...

Wednesday, 5/6/09

NYT 2:05 ... LAT 2:07 ... CS 1:59 ... ND 1:58 ... BEQ 3:41

HEMP, STONED and UPINSMOKE in the NYT fill? (Not to mention SPANKED.) I raise a joint to you, Michael Callaway Barnhart!

By the way, Dinner: Impossible (ACPT Edition) airs tonight on the Food Network... check your local listings!

Tuesday, 5/5/09

NYT 2:04 ... LAT 1:30 ... CS 2:25 ... ND 1:40 ... BT 3:15 ... TO 3:01

Monday, 5/4/09

NYT 1:38 ... LAT 1:46 ... CS 1:41 ... ND 1:23 ... JON 2:18 ... BEQ 3:30

Sunday, 5/3/09

NYT 5:32 ... LAT 4:00 ... MR 4:58 ... BG 3:48 ... ND 3:38 ... LATB 4:44 ... CS 2:03 ... Cryptic untimed

Gonna print out the cryptic and give it a look - the New Yorker ones are taking me under 10 minutes now, so I think I have a shot at the NYT's...

[updated 24 hours later] Indeed, it wasn't too tricky. My girlfriend (hereafter G, which is her first initial, conveniently enough) was interested in the cryptic thing, so we worked on it together. Usually I'd get an answer, show her the definition and type of wordplay, and let her take a crack, often successfully... but she figured out GUERRILLAS before I did!

Saturday, 5/2/09

NYT 3:00 ... LAT 2:32 ... CS 3:01 ... ND 9:10

Tonight, I'm actually glad the themed NYT Saturday was extra-easy and not extra-hard. Gotta get up early! Good fill considering the diagonal constraint, but couldn't we have gone with a lower word count so it would look a little like a Saturday puzzle? (Dan Naddor could have.) I kid, I liked it fine, no complaints because I always call for More Themed Saturdays!

S.N., all is forgiven! Loved the Stumper, very hard but with pop culture galore (for Stan) and a fantastic grid. That bottom stack has to be one of the best in history! DRDEMENTO/EDMCMAHON/ROCKSTARS. I had the most trouble with MENUOPTION, not helped by leaving CPI instead of PSI - why I thought the answer would be the most literal interpretation of "inflation measure", I can't say.

Friday, 5/1/09

NYT 3:46 ... LAT 2:45 ... CS 1:28 ... ND 2:00 ... CHE 2:45 ... WSJ 5:38 ... BEQ 4:40 ... MGWC 2:34

Nice double-shot of Doug Peterson in Newsday (including NEWSDAY in the fill!) and CrosSynergy. Then a super-sized Trip Payne in the CHE. And hey, I sort know LAT constructor Gareth Bain from the blogs (but haven't met him, since he's South African). What's next, Joon Pahk in the NYT? [Jaw drops upon opening applet]

Not as showy a fill as Joon's other themelesses, but smooth and chewy with great clues. JUT was my first fill and I immediately figured out CARJACK, and got lucky many times along the way with the right letters in place to crack the tough clues. [Biochemical arrangement] freaked me out when I had one letter, but when it was DN-? Gimme. Irony of ironies, the knottiest clue for me was ["___ in Love" ("Kismet" song)]. Don't know "Kismet", but I was sure I'd know the song even if it wasn't one of the famous ones. So I spent some time flicking the Rolodex before coming up empty and filling it from crosses.