Let me start by thanking my good friend who I've never met and know absolutely nothing about, KarmaSartre, for his outstanding spin as a guest blogger. It has not escaped my notice that his and SethG's posts have been the most entertaining recently. I'd say I was humbled, but it's more like annoyed. Showing up the host is always bad manners.
I take exception to a couple of points, though. I have a formula? What? Me? Tell me this is some kind of sick joke. Ok, the truth. It's more than a formula, it's a computer program. I feed the undigested puzzle into my Dell in the evening and after an hour or so of what we call "processing", what plops out the other end is a fragrant post like this one. You can hardly tell, can you? Open the damn pod bay door, HAL.
Secondly, what's this about weird tangents? Eleanor of Aquitaine was a clue answer! You'd think I was including totally random images or something.
Finally, the question was raised about how many puzzles Will Shortz has edited for the Times. The answer is posted on the front page of www.xwordinfo.com every day because it's the number of puzzles in my database. The Puzzlemaster has an amazing 5280. By strange coincidence, this is the number of feet in a mile. (Why?) Yes, that was marginally tangential.
Anyway, great job, KS. I've decided the secret to personal success it to get smart people to do my work for me. Be careful, dear reader. I may be tapping you next.
Stella Daily and Bruce Venzke have collaborated for the 14th time in today's Monday puzzle (answers.) Ok, ok, I admit that does sound a little formulaic. I'd love to know more about the collaboration process. Which was the John and which the Paul?
Answer words seem to come in and out of fashion like everything else. This is already the fourth appearance for YENTL this calendar year. SKOSH was new to me for "smidgen." I don't think we had skoshes in Canada when I was growing up.
The clue "like blue movies" turned out to be ADULT and that always reminds me of Alistair Cooke who, on this side of the Atlantic, is mostly known for hosting Masterpiece Theatre. In one of his introductions he talked about it being too bad that there wasn't a good word for programs that, unlike most childish TV dreck, appealed to a more sophisticated and mature audience. I can't remember the exact quote but in his very proper English accent he said something like, "I'd like to use the word adult if that adjective weren't already appropriated by morons."