(I always love when there's a puzzle like this in the magazine. I do the crossword every week and that never gets old, but usually the Variety puzzle is their 'Diagramless' or their 'Acrostic' and I just don't enjoy those.)
I didn't do great with the anagrams- but I did give it a shot.
First of all, this type of puzzle is right up my alley. I love playing around with words and unscrambling anagrams.
Turns out, though, I'm not as good at it as I figured I'd be.
The puzzle is called 'Set Pieces', by Mike Shenk. It calles for you to unscramble an anagram to come up with a category and then another word that falls into that category. Their example was PATSY CLINE can be unscrambled to give you CITY and then NAPLES. (I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have gotten that one.)
They helped out by putting the yet-to-be-unscrambled categories in alphabetical order, which was pretty much my saving grace. (Well, so was the fact that they told you how many letters were in each answer.) At the National Puzzlers' League convention in July, the winner completed the puzzle in 10 minutes, 16 seconds. The average score of the 160 puzzlers at that convention was 19 answers in the 30 minute time slot.
I timed myself. In 30 minutes I was able to answer 10. (And I may or may not have gotten a couple wrong. [May.])
I bet, though, I could create 19 of these in 30 minutes. I think my brain works better that way.
I'll tell you what, though: I can't wait until the next one of these pops up.