Puzzles - punny and otherwise
I don't know how the bloggers do it. I find it hard to write about puzzles. I finished these books:
"Simon & Schuster Mega Crossword Puzzle Book #9" (ed. John Samson) - With 300 puzzles, these books are so large I may never catch up (I still have #5-8 and 11 to do). I saved some puzzles with errors, but despite that, this is a decent series:
DIANES clued as "Feinstein and Fossey," who are actually Dianne and Dian
"Momma's triplets?" for ENS
Title "Dry Hard" where DY is added to theme entries (am I not getting something?)
Both "Actor Omar" for EPPS and "'House' actor Epps" for OMAR appear in opposite areas of the same crossword (worse, a 2001 TV Guide puzzle contains "Rin Tin ___ K-9 Cop" and "TV canine ___ Tin Tin" crossing each other!)
"Like many business cars" for LEAST. Well, it works phonetically
"The Chiffons' '___ Fine'" for HESSSO (oops!)
Also edited by John Samson is "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader Crossword Puzzles." At my level, I shouldn't be buying books for 5th graders, so I can't really complain that these weren't crosswords but quizlike criss-crosses. I was going to return the book, but decided these puzzles on topics like explorers, capitals, aviation, math, antonyms, etc. couldn't hurt. It was OK. Still, it's better suited for less hardcore solvers.
"The New York Times Crossword Puzzle-a-Day 1995 Calendar" (ed. Eugene T. Maleska) - Although the calendar was released in 1994 at the beginning of the Shortz era, Googling showed the puzzles were actually from 1987 though they don't correspond to the exact dates. This sat on my dining room table forever as I inched through it (there are 6 15x15 puzzles/week), relieved to finally finish December. The type was small (it's a desk calendar) and the clues were often old-fashioned crosswordese. Not a snappy experience, but not horrible.
I started Richard Lederer and Gayle Dean's "Merriam-Webster's Word Play Crosswords" vol. 1 a while ago and found the puzzles a bit "off" and not always accurate, and only resumed recently. There is a volume 2, but I have enough other puzzles to do. Some of the weird puns:
"What a dog who is not up to scratch will do?" FLEE
"Relative in Cannes?" NICE
"Twiggy: a ___ and a lack?" LASS
"Comedy of Eros?" LOVE
"Sin caused a lump in his throat?" ADAM
"TAMER clone?" RAMET
To be fair, these do have question marks and the puzzles are supposed to be punny. And I just looked up new-to-me word RAMET and it means "an independent member of a clone" (oh, OK).
"Brain Games Celebrity Puzzles" by Rhonda Markowitz (puzzles by Myles Callum, Mark Danna, Ray Hamel, Alan Olschwang, Stephen Ryder; additional puzzle editing by Trip Payne) - This reminded me of the People Magazine puzzle collections, with crosswords, acrostics and a few variety puzzles. The puzzles are straightforward and not very exciting, but competent and feature intros packed with celebrity facts.