October 29, 2006

Monday, 10/30

NYS 3:07
CS 2:55
NYT 2:37
LAT tba

(post updated 8:20 a.m. Monday)

The Monday Times and Sun crosswords both had quintessential Monday themes—the sort where after you've solved a couple theme entries, you can hazard a guess at the other two without having many crossing letters at all. In Raymond Hamel's Sun puzzle, I would have figured out the theme within the first theme entry if I'd actually taken a second to read the title: "On Your Feet!" Great fill in this puzzle—Mike TEEVEE from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (and the movie with Willy Wonka in the title); SANCTUM, SATYRS, and SARONG; SCHNOOK and BRAVADO. One clue is rather horrifying, though: [Slaughterhouse sounds] for OINKS. Does anyone really wish to contemplate animal slaughter while solving a crossword? I'm thinking a vegetarian and someone snacking on a BLT would be equally unsettled by this one. Mention of slaughterhouses puts me in mind of the WPA mural at my local post office; here's a detail of it showing a burly man, incongruously wearing a Jughead hat, ready to whack a steer over the head.

The NYT crossword by Nancy Salomon bundles together four things you might say if you bumped into an old friend. I like the combo of the 9-letter entries at 10- and 33-Down; after NEAR BEERS, don't you want to make SNOW PLOWS rhyme, too?

I have no idea what befell the NYT's entire "Readers' Opinions" area. I'm sure plenty of people have been jonesing hard for their crossword raillery, their wine-soaked chatting, their baseball talk...wait, there can't be much left to say about baseball. I don't recall the forums being plunged into darkness for the entire weekend without warning, at least not in the past three years. (I swear I had nothing to do with it.)

There was a ton of traffic to this blog over the weekend, but it had little to do with this weekend's new crosswords or the NYT forum being down. Remember Michael Shteyman's last puzzle? The Saturday puzzle with the [MATCH] rebus? More than 1,500 solvers of the syndicated version of the puzzle Googled the clue for ODIN, [Mythical dweller across the Rainbow Bridge] (and I wonder if it was Michael's clue or Will's). I love an insanely hard clue that is fairly Google-resistant...at least before I mention it here on the interwebs.


The theme in Mel Rosen's CrosSynergy puzzle, "I've Got a Secret," has an unusual layout: two 15's in standard places, plus a 12-letter entry across the middle, split into two 6's (HIDDEN and AGENDA) separated by three black squares. It's apt because throwing those black squares in the middle sort of conceals the phrase.