October 23, 2006

Tuesday, 10/24

Onion 6:05
NYS 4:02
NYT 2:49
Tausig 3:44
CS 3:44
LAT 2:44

Tuesdays are usually the day Ben Tausig e-mails out the week's puzzles from his cruciverbal factory—the Ink Well puzzle he constructs and the Onion A.V. Club crossword he edits. Ooh, I don't know which Onion constructor is on tap this week! It's a teeny bit like waiting for a birthday present. We already had Francis Heaney, Byron Walden, and Matt Jones, and Deb Amlen and Tyler Hinman's puzzles aren't due just yet, I don't think...could it be Brendan Quigley? Or Matt Gaffney? Or Ben himself? We shall see.

Some folks thought the Monday NYT was a little on the hard side, given how easy Monday puzzles tend to be. The Tuesday puzzle by Gail Grabowski seemed a bit more Mondayish—I'm always psyched to finish a Tuesday puzzle under the 3-minute mark. For a more Tuesdayish/Wednesdayish challenge, there's Byron's Sun crossword, "Krispy Theme." Let us proceed apace to the spoiler zone: The NYT theme entries are explained by 54-Down: the ends of the themers are all AUTOS, or rather, nicknames thereof. Three fancypants cars—CADDY (the XLR Roadster is hot...and my kid thinks the Cadillac logo looks like a cupcake), ROLLS (gas guzzler), and JAG (I saw a new Jaguar a few months ago and...thought it looked like a Ford Taurus)—and one for the proletariat—the Volkswagen BUG. It's cute to have a TAILPIPE in the fill.

Byron's Sun puzzle has naught to do with glazed donuts. Rather, the SNAPPING, CRACKLING, and POPPING are from Rice Krispies, a bowl of which I enjoyed for breakfast today. There are five Z's in the grid, just for a little added zip and zing. No BAD EGG, the creator also opted to SPICE UP the puzzle with a CHILI DOG. I liked the clue [Takedown artist?] for STENO; Google that clue and you'll find all manner of wrestling and martial arts sites. The MADELEINE clued in reference to Proust reminds me to recommend Little Miss Sunshine, if you haven't seen it already; Steve Carell's character is a suicidal gay Proust scholar. In the bottom of the grid, PLATO and ZERO from the "Beetle Bailey" comic strip both appear. I hadn't heard of England's parliamentary LAW LORDS before, but their names in that link amuse me. "Lord Bingham of Cornhill" and "Lord Jauncey of Tullichettle"? Those sound more preposterous than the names in the Harry Potter series.


Ben Tausig's Ink Well puzzle, "Essex," includes RIA with the most meta clue I've ever seen: [Narrow inlet hugely useful in constructing crosswords]. Why not own up to the conventions of the medium and have a little fun with them?

Jack McInturff's LA Times puzzle is positively pregnant with possibilities.

Brendan Emmett Quigley was indeed the constructor of this week's Onion A.V. Club puzzle, "Back in Black." Here are the items included in the theme in plastic toy form. Good to see the lively BEER PONG again, mere days after Paula Gamache used it in another puzzle; after skimming the Wikipedia write-up of this drinking game, though, I find myself grossed out. The inclusion of OOOO and NO YES don't gross me out, but they also don't delight me like RUFFIAN and HE'S SO SHY do.

Mel Rosen's CrosSynergy puzzle's another one in which each row of theme entries bundles two or three related words together without marking the word breaks (in this case, they're all "___ lights."