December 10, 2006

Monday, 12/11

CS 3:02
NYS 2:59
LAT 2:52
NYT 2:50

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

Two impressive Monday offerings in the Sun and the Times—by Francis Heaney and David Kahn, respectively. The Kahn puzzle pays tribute to RITA MORENO, who turns 75 (!) (damn, she looks good) on Monday, with a 75-square theme. Hey, double 75's—coincidence or mind-blowing intentionality? The theme includes her name, birthplace, job, and four shows for which she won an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy, and Tony. And, as a hidden shout-out to her work on HBO's Oz, there's TOTO from The Wizard of Oz.

Francis's Sun puzzle is called "Broadway Closings," and it's got six hidden MUSICALS at the end of symmetrically placed entries. The public radio show FRESH AIR contains HAIR, for instance. I'm not a Broadway buff, but I think the six shows are HAIR, NINE, CHESS (?), RENT, MAME, and AIDA, and they're embedded in an assortment of top-notch fill (MEZZANINE, EDAMAME, AL QAIDA, Yves ST LAURENT finally expanding past his crosswordese initials). There are plenty of 7- and 8-letter entries that aren't part of the theme (SCRAWNY, LEADFOOT, SPINOZA), which is a nice touch. DECIDER looks like one of those iffy tack-on-an-ending words, except that Bush's "I'm the decider" has given this one legs. Favorite clue: [List of good things that comes from those who wait?] for MENU. Runner-up: [High crime?] for DUI.


Martin Ashwood-Smith's CrosSynergy crossword, "Bondsmen," doesn't have the 13-letter, single-film Timothy Dalton or George Lazenby, but everyone else in the category is in the grid. Wait, Wikipedia informs me that Dalton actually made two Bond movies. Who remembered? Quick question for those who care about such things: Are BEWARE and WARY considered duplicative if they appear in the same puzzle? (If so, then add the CrosSynergy team to the list of editors who may not adhere to a hard-and-fast rule against dupes.)