August 18, 2005 | 28. CLUELESS?

Beam Weapon

Hello. I am experimenting here with a silly idea but I don’t know that anybody else is doing it. I do the Washington Post crossword puzzle pretty often — not like every day, but often. I like crossword puzzles yet they are always, without fail, unsatisfying. They are either too easy, or they have inaccurate clues, or (most often) they have some obscure clue about the square acreage of Nauru that nobody would ever know in a million years.

But at their best, they stimulate your mind a bit and they remind of you of good words that you haven’t used or heard in a long time.

The Post’s crossword puzzle has been controversial over the past year and now the cool kids are switching over to Sudoku, so it seems like a good time to start analyzing the crossword puzzles. If anybody is insane enough to want to contribute, or to discuss the NYT or other puzzles, let me know. Here we go:

Thanks for your support - © R. Hamel/CrosSynergy

Thoughts: This was very easy for a Thursday. I would say 2 out of 10. The theme of “support” is cute, though, and silly enough to appeal to me.

I can’t believe 14 across “Phone button below 8” — “OPER”?? I wish I had an ancient phone around to examine and see if this is true. I guess it is possible.

The only other things that stick out are “beam weapon” for ray gun (ugh; 20 across), “omega” (50 down) for the second time this week, and an “epee” sighting my first time out (2 down). I will have to keep a running total of the most-overused words.

Finally, “sifts” is a rather nice word. It is pleasant enough that I wish I had something to sift right now. Maybe I have some flour…