I wasn't feeling much like an Einstein in Thursday's NYT debut puzzle by Pamela Amick Klawitter (answers.) I made so many wrong guesses that I spent nearly as much time erasing as solving and I had to rely far more on cross clues than I felt comfortable with. "Heath plants" are ERICAS? A "twig broom" is a BESOM? "Lidocaine" is a LOCAL anesthetic? The amazing facts I learn doing crosswords, if only I could remember them. I was hoping that "part of an Einstein equation" would be Cosmological Constant but it turned out to be the more prosaic MASS which, in the world's most famous equation, can be morphed into an amount of energy proportional to the speed of light squared.
GAS showed up for the second time in a month. It reminded me of this puzzle way back in 2006 where sneaky David Quarfoot clued GAS so cleverly as "Something graded between E and F."
Anne Erdmann's email has garnered a lot of interesting comments including ones from each of the B Division finalists. They makes fascinating reading.
Keep your dial tuned to this blog. Upcoming articles include a backstage look at the Crossword Tournament judging, and a look at constructors and pangrams.