November 29, 2006

Thursday, 11/30

NYT 5:10
NYS 4:47
LAT 3:38
CS 3:37

Ah, Thursday, Thursday, how do I love thee? So much. Two great puzzles, a themed one from Patrick Merrell in the NYT and a themeless from Seth A. Abel in the Sun. If you're one of those people who customarily do only the NYT but you enjoy pop culture in your crosswords, be sure to download the Sun crossword.

I got a kick out of Pat's NYT theme, with its gender-bending GEORGE AND JOAN pairs (the F/M SAND AND MIRO and the M/F BUSH AND BAEZ). Although it might've been fun to skew gay and combine Bush and Miro, no? The fill is terrific here—you've got the messy CHILI DOG and the mascot, the ARMY MULE, both intersected by ICARUS at 1-Across (which I like because a friend of mine uses the word as a favorite password). The RADAR GUN is now a toy—my kid is asking Santa for the Hot Wheels Radar Gun (which apparently converts your toy car's speed to the scaled-up velocity of a full-size car), and there's also the [Boy toy], GI JOE. Beethoven's ODE TO JOY crosses FAJITA and the [Musician who takes a bow], cellist YO-YO MA. [Phony] made me think of the adjective rather than the noun (POSEUR). Also liked [Group date?] for GIG and [Revolutionary paths] for ORBITS (having nothing to do with the Shining Path Maoist guerrillas).

In Seth's Themeless Thursday, there's a possible minitheme of African-American men of music with awesomely Scrabbly names: JIMI HENDRIX and QUINCY JONES. (Quincy Jones' daughter, by the way, is Rashida Jones, the actress who plays Karen, Jim's new office crush, on The Office.) As a quasiminitheme bonus, there's also P DIDDY. A bunch of colloquial phrases here, like I'M NOT YOU, LOOK AT THAT, and GLORY BE. In the same puzzle as HEARSE, who'd expect [Pass on, in a way] to be the wonderful word REGIFT? I also liked DECLASSÉ and SAD SACKS. DORITOS are preternaturally, artificially (preterartificially?) orange, as you can see in Wikipedia and as referenced by the clue, [Orange bowl fillers?] The Wikipedia article informs me that Canadians can buy "Bagged Milk" and "Ketchup" Doritos varieties; what I want to know is why. And what a Bagged Milk Dorito tastes like. The U.K.'s "Tandoori Sizzler" Doritos must be tasty. And have you Aussies seen the Doritos shaped like Christmas trees this year?

Kudos to Pat Merrell and Will Shortz and to Seth Abel and Peter Gordon for this yummy pair of crosswords.