I have a lot to catch up on, and will spare everyone one huge posting (Facebook import ignores LJ cuts) by doing it in bits.
First, puzzles. I test-solve the NYT on paper while proofreading so the early-week puzzles are never sprint-fests. The weekend puzzles (Friday-Saturday, which I consider interchangeable) are too hard to be affected by sprintability so those have more valid times (though I'm still faster typing online). Recently, these times have been consistent:
Fri 10/23 (Barry Silk) 6:13
Sat 10/24 (Paula Gamache) 7:01
Fri 10/30 (David Levinson Wilk) 6:15
Oops, 10/31 is not in the pile
Fri 11/06 (Doug Peterson) 6:05
Sat 11/07 (Bob Klahn) 6:39
Fri 11/13 (Dana Motley) 6:20
Sat 11/14 (I won't reveal future authors) 6:36
Fri 11/20 6:37
Sat 11/21 6:29
Most people had trouble with the Klahn, but it seemed like a normal weekend puzzle to me. Usually Klahn kills me (though he did construct the final ACPT puzzle the year I won). It helped that the pop culture was right up my alley: Nancy Drew, Janis Joplin, the Who, Dion, Damn Yankees, Henry Moore, Peter Maas, Peter Gunn (I knew EDIE - though not her last name - from songs named after her in my Henry Mancini songbook).
I'm way behind in online crosswords - just getting to August. That's not so bad compared to February for People/Us/Star/EW mags. I finished another Sudoku book: Frank Longo's "Mensa Absolutely Nasty Sudoku Level 3." These were a little too hard for me. Many times I had to enter all the possible answers, and even then I still couldn't unearth the Swordfish or other advanced technique that would crack the puzzle. I then had to resort to looking at the answer, entering a number I knew was wrong, and proving it would lead to an invalid solution.