Thursday, 10/1/09

NYT (p) 3:55 ... LAT 1:49 ... CS 1:42 ... ND 1:46

Solved the NYT at Pleasantville. Had the advantage of seeing the grid (on the three whiteboards) before trying the puzzle itself, so I was more than ready for some trickery.

Wednesday, 9/30/09

NYT (p) 2:41 ... LAT 1:37 ... CS 1:54 ... ND 1:47 ... BEQ 2:56

Solved the NYT at the Pleasantville tourney.

Even if you don't read Crossword Corner regularly, it's worth checking in occasionally for C.C.'s interviews with constructors -- over two dozen so far, helpfully listed in the sidebar. Latest guest? Patrick Berry.

Tuesday, 9/29/09

NYT (p) 2:34 ... LAT (p) 1:56 ... CS (p) 2:35 ... ND (p) 2:03 ... BT (p) 3:53 ... TO (p) 3:34

Solved the NYT at Pleasantville. Finally caught up with the Sunday puzzles. I know you all were on tenterhooks. Can we get TENTERHOOKS in a grid?

Monday, 9/28/09

NYT (p) 2:15 ... LAT (p) 1:57 ... CS (p) 1:59 ... ND (p) 2:07 ... JON (p) 3:18 ... BEQ (p) 3:51

Solved the NYT at the Pleasantville tournament.

Sunday, 9/27/09

NYT (p) 10:57 ... LAT (p) 5:50 ... MR (p) 7:09 ... BG (p) 5:58 ... ND (p) 5:12 ... LATB (p) 6:45 ... CS (p) 3:01 ... Acrostic 14:30

Finally, some use for the slightly organized data on this site! I can definitively say that this is the hardest Sunday NYT in the last 10 months. (And I loved it.)

Don't think I will have a long-form recap of Pleasantville, so let's see about some random thoughts:

--Of course, it was much fun to see the usual NYC-area suspects! Howard B and Adam C were the other "A" solvers helping to judge. (Also Ellen and Frank Longo, who wouldn't be eligible anyway due to having edited the puzzles...)
--I solved in the back room, so I'll have times to report this week. They're all above-average puzzles by star constructors.
--Glad to see Jeffurry win, after four previous stints at the Big Board. Good karma for Al Sanders?
--Went to Will's house for the afterparty, but didn't get a tour or anything (he did show off a few pieces of memorabilia). I heard Will say to Nancy Schuster, "I don't like him, or his puzzles" -- but darnit, didn't catch who he was talking about! Well, I wouldn't share that even if I knew. Like I won't share some details I heard about Half-Century Puzzlemakers' Week. Here's a tidbit, though: Will has apparently run out of Diagramless puzzles. At least until he starts opening up the last few months' worth of mail...

Saturday, 9/26/09

NYT 5:14 ... LAT 1:35 ... CS 1:41 ... ND 2:59

I saw that Joon had today's NYT, and decided not to wait until tomorrow. Had to submit three times - first two were for empty squares, and my actual mistake was GREAT instead of DREAM in 37D. I'll write about the Pleasantville tournament in the morning. (Maybe.)

...OK, yeah, that's the easiest Saturday LAT in history.

Friday, 9/25/09

NYT (p) 4:21 ... LAT (p) 2:27 ... CS (p) 2:23 ... ND (p) 2:39 ... CHE (p) 3:20 ... BEQ (p) 6:48 ... WSJ (p) 8:15 ... DB (p) 6:12 ... MGWCC (p) 6:11

Quite a bonanza today! Two puzzles left over from yesterday, and the nine regular Friday puzzles include bonus BEQ and a sweet Gaffney themeless.

Thursday, 9/24/09

NYT (p) 3:19 ... LAT (p) 2:28 ... CS (p) 2:32 ... ND (p) 2:24

Planning to go to the Pleasantville tournament Friday night. Not to compete, just to hang out with the puzzlin' crowd...

Wednesday, 9/23/09

NYT (p) 2:28 ... LAT (p) 2:05 ... CS (p) 2:04 ... ND (p) 2:35 ... BEQ (p) 2:47 ... TPP (p) 7:37

Hmm, is the LAT's 48-Down clue a bit of meta-commentary?

update: I wanted to save Trip's new record-tying 21x21 for the weekend, but couldn't help myself. Amazing! This guy should write puzzles for a living. My only hiccup was the intersection of 1A and 1D. 88A made me giggle -- and then cry out the answer, like in the commercial.

Tuesday, 9/22/09

NYT (p) 2:25 ... LAT (p) 1:59 ... CS (p) 2:23 ... ND (p) 1:38 ... BT (p) 3:29 ... TO (p) 3:13

Still haven't been able to finish Sunday's Split Decisions! (Or, for that matter, any of the Kaidokus I've made occasional stabs at. In case you guys were wondering why you never see me over there.)

Monday, 9/21/09

NYT (p) 1:58 ... LAT (p) 2:16 ... CS (p) 2:22 ... ND (p) 1:56 ... BEQ (p) 4:55 ... JON tba

Sunday, 9/20/09

NYT 4:54 ... LAT (p) 5:47 ... MR (p) 6:58 ... BG (p) 6:35 ... ND (p) 5:32 ... CS (p) 3:20 ... Split Decisions infinity

Apparently G's computer and the NYT applet clock aren't getting along any better than they did a couple weeks ago. I'll go with the faster time...

Saturday, 9/19/09

NYT 5:19* ... LAT 2:27 ... CS 1:59 ... ND 5:42

Boooooo! Bad enough to take away my Saturday NYT, but to replace it with Puns & Anagrams? Booooo. At least Doug had a real Saturday puzzle for us today!

Friday, 9/18/09

NYT (p) 4:12 ... LAT (p) 2:41 ... CS (p) 2:30 ... ND (p) 2:43 ... BEQ (p) 5:18 ... CHE (p) 3:03 ... WSJ (p) 6:49 ... DB (p) 5:16 ... MGWC (p) 7:29 ... Calif. (p) 9:46

Thanks Al for the pointer to Tyler's Bay Area tournament puzzle! It's definitely Sunday NYT quality, and clearly on the Challenging side. I'm embarrassed that I couldn't remember Google's "Don't be ___".

Irony alert: 6-Down in today's Newsday. Right? ... I intended to save the CHE for tomorrow, but couldn't help myself when I saw the Berry byline.

Thursday, 9/17/09

NYT 3:46 ... LAT 1:52 ... CS 2:10 ... ND 2:05

Wednesday, 9/16/09

NYT (p) 2:31 ... LAT (p) 2:10 ... CS 2:41 ... ND 1:51 ... BEQ 3:44

Words I Learned Recently From Timothy Parker:
VARRO - [Roman "Menippean Satires" writer]
EDDO - [Edible tuber]
NUMBAT - [Termite-eating Australian marsupial]

Tuesday, 9/15/09

NYT (p) 2:24 ... LAT (p) 2:05 ... CS (p) 2:13 ... ND (p) 2:06 ... BT 3:35 ... TO 3:46

One little problem with Tausig's puzzle: the intersection of DI* and *ATRI could legitimately be either an M or a P! I guessed the wrong one at first, which is why I even noticed. Couldn't [Not the sharpest knife in the drawer] be a noun phrase, cluing the slangy DIP? But that's not an issue for the vast majority solving on paper.

Many problems with the Onion puzzle, starting with a flat-out blooper at 6-Across. It's an awesome clue, but the "character" is indisputably spelled ZUUL, not ZOOL. I also found the theme nonsensical, and frowned on the crossing of POMI and IANDI (I played "mash the keyboard" to get Mr. Happy Pencil). At least ALCALA's crossings were straightforward...

Monday, 9/14/09

NYT 1:42 ... LAT (p) 2:02 ... CS (p) 2:24 ... ND (p) 2:06 ... JON (p) 3:14 ... BEQ (p) 5:20

I solved the NYT last night because I couldn't wait to find out about this week's constructors. My first guess was three sets of parents/children, or just seniors, but the "Fifty-Year Club" is even cooler. I just hope the puzzles are fun, especially the themelesses (though I'm sure Charles Gersch can still make a nice Saturday). Last year Will probably had plenty of submissions from teenagers, but how many of these had to be specially commissioned? Still, any kind of gimmick gets a thumbs-up from me, even if it doesn't work.

Also! Don't miss Eric Berlin's "Game Night" wrapup.

Sunday, 9/13/09

NYT (p) 7:23 ... LAT (p) 5:18 ... BG (p) 6:14 ... MR (p) 7:26 ... ND (p) 5:50 ... LATB (p) 5:43 ... CS (p) 2:53 ... Acrostic 11:40

Saturday, 9/12/09

NYT (p) 4:17 ... LAT (p) 3:13 ... CS 2:21 ... ND 7:13

Friday, 9/11/09

NYT 3:08 ... LAT 2:38 ... CS (p) 2:20 ... ND (p) 3:11 ... CHE 2:34 ... BEQ (p) 4:05 ... WSJ (p) 7:17 ... DB (p) 6:02 ... MGWC 3:40

Thursday, 9/10/09

NYT (p) 3:20 ... LAT (p) 2:44 ... CS (p) 2:36 ... ND (p) 2:33

Wednesday, 9/9/09

NYT (p) 2:57 ... LAT (p) 2:30 ... CS 2:06 ... ND 1:46 ... BEQ 2:09

Okay, for the record: I'm not a regular solver of the USA Today and Universal crosswords. Really! OmniDownload brings them all to me, so occasionally I'll do a few to kill time or warm up the brain. And since my computer (and the data thereon) is still in limbo, I don't have my usual Across Lite collection to dip into.

Tuesday, 9/8/09

NYT 1:58 ... LAT 1:50 ... CS 2:01 ... ND 1:37 ... BT (p) 3:05 ... TO (p) 3:16

Time to play Tyler's favorite game: Fun with Timothy Parker! Universal Crossword, 9/1/09... nice clean grid by Billie Truitt; theme phrases beginning with CARD, CAKE, PRESENT, and BIRTHDAY. And then STRIP has the clue [Don one's birthday suit]. But here's what makes it a jaw-dropping duplication: BIRTHDAY SUIT is the final theme answer, and "birthday suit" appears in the very next clue!

Monday, 9/7/09

NYT 2:01 ... LAT 1:52 ... CS 1:50 ... ND 1:45 ... JON 2:24 ... BEQ 3:55

Back in NYC, would rather still be in Vermont...

Sunday, 9/6/09

NYT (p) 9:26 ... LAT (p) 5:45 ... MR (p) 7:27 ... BG (p) 7:04 ... ND (p) 6:34 ... CS (p) 3:05 ... Cryptic (p) 9:30

Saturday, 9/5/09

NYT (whiteboard) 7:10 ... LAT 2:09 ... CS 1:41 ... ND 5:31

Oops (and yay), I forgot the house we're staying at has wireless!

morning update: while I wait for coffee and brunch to be procured, some comments on the Lollapuzzoola final-turned-NYT Saturday...

--I'm a little shocked that Will didn't change a single clue, except cosmetically. It shouldn't be because my solving time was included - solving on a big greaseboard takes much longer than solving on paper, so it's a bit apples-to-oranges anyway. By the way, I never found out at the tournament what my actual solving time was...

--Don't forget, it was very close - Francis Heaney was seven seconds behind, and I continue to believe that the podcast-related entry PAPELBON was my key to catching up...

--I'll get some photos of the final round up on Facebook, showing that I had to reboot three times before getting any connectivity. Started with SEL and educated guess ATALE in the SE, but stood pat there even though I suspected REPEL. Found the gimme GIJANE crossing SINEW in the NW, but got stuck again. Then I threw down OESTE (instead of the entirely possible NORTE) in the SE, which led to EDNA, RAN, and some long gimmes that filled in the whole quadrant fairly quickly... but I still couldn't move into the center section. So I jumped to the SW, with its friendly "Sweeney Todd" clue (it's only my favorite musical) and the knew-it-even-before-crosswords SPAHN, which led to his colleague PAPELBON. From there I don't remember my solving "route", but after the SW fell, it was smooth sailing. I did try to rush through the rest of the puzzle, since I figured I was behind after the slow start.

--sorry, I keep updating this as I remember more. I had two wrong letters while solving, possibly frightening my "fans". ON HAND for IN HAND, which didn't get corrected until the crossing entry was DOEOF; and EDBERG for ENBERG -- a trap that apparently Nothnagel didn't set intentionally! -- which didn't really cause problems either.

--Anyway, very exciting to have my name next to the NYT crossword, though I'm still hoping for a byline at some point! (It may be more exciting -- it's definitely more amusing -- that the word "Lollapuzzoola" is in the NYT.) Thanks again to Ryan, Brian, Mike, and Will...

Friday, 9/4/09

NYT (p) 5:36 ... LAT (p) 2:56 ... CS (p) 2:12 ... ND (p) 3:28 ... BEQ (p) 5:44 ... WSJ (p) 6:46 ... DB (p) 6:23 ... MGWC 4:01

Going out of town for Labor Day Weekend! So I probably won't be posting until Monday night, but I might solve a few puzzles. And I'll definitely look for a copy of the Saturday NYT!

update: ooh, not only is Matt Gaffney making a 21x21 for The Daily Beast every week, but it's now available in Across Lite. So I'm officially adding it to my weekly routine!

Thursday, 9/3/09

NYT (p) 4:07 ... LAT (p) 2:29 ... CS (p) 1:59 ... ND (p) 2:23

Wednesday, 9/2/09

NYT (p) 2:53 ... LAT (p) 2:14 ... CS (p) 2:13 ... ND (p) 2:04 ... BEQ (p) 6:04

Loved the NYT theme! I am always in favor of visual themes with circles... (ok, because that's the kind of idea I'm working on - and may even get to submitting fairly soon.)

Finished the Eric Berlin suite yesterday - great stuff and loads of fun. Let's see if I have better luck with that contest than Matt Gaffney's (where I'm 0-for-65)...

Tuesday, 9/1/09

NYT (p) 2:29 ... LAT (p) 2:03 ... CS (p) 2:47 ... ND (p) 2:03 ... BT (p) 3:20 ... TO (p) 4:58