December 13, 2006

Thursday, 12/14

NYS 5:28
NYT 4:29
LAT 4:08
CS 3:30

(post updated at 9:30 a.m. Thursday)

Today's The Oprah Winfrey Show was a rerun (anyone whose bras don't fit perfectly, check out this link to info from the episode). But at Harpo Studios, they recorded an upcoming show featuring assorted "How'd They Do That?" topics, including how crosswords are made. Will Shortz and Merl Reagle were on the show, which, alas, I was not invited to attend. But Tyler Hinman was in the heavily estrogenic audience, and he lived to tell the tale. More important, my degree of separation from Oprah has dropped precipitously. "Oh, you live in Chicago? Have you ever gotten tickets to see Oprah?" "No, but I know a couple guys who were guests on the show." Woot!

This week, the Sun Themeless Thursday crossword's by Jeffrey Harris, and the NYT puzzle's by Ed Early.

In the NYT crossword, the theme consists of a riddle presented in four 15-letter entries, with a 3-letter answer in the bottom corner of the grid: A FISH WITH NO EYES turns out to be FSH, which...I FISH minus the letter I? I know FSH better as follicle-stimulating hormone (I know some women who've had their FSH levels checked) and a type of muscular dystrophy (my brother-in-law's buddy has this—it affects the arm, shoulder, and face muscles). So the punchline seemed bizarre to me. Plus, FISH only has one I to begin with, so oughtn't the fish lose one eyeball in the riddle? Hey, old-school solvers: Remember when ELATER was always clued as "click beetle"? And raise your hand if [Better suited] induced you to enter APTER until the crossings eventually made you change it to ABLER, though the clue aptly clues APTER. Props for the inclusion of four X's in the grid.

Moving along to Jeffrey's Sun puzzle, raise your hand if you wanted 1-Down to be TATARS rather than NOMADS. I know someone whose last name is Tatar, so I always want Mongol Horde–related entries to be that. Always nice to see ORANGE in the grid, and the SW corner's combo of JAM BAND, AQUARIUS, and YUMMIEST is, well, yummiest. Not being a New York baseball fan, I'd never heard of Manny ACTA, who turns out to have been born two months after Sammy Sosa in the same Dominican town. I did know that [Annie Oakleys] are PASSES—one of those oddball factoids I learned from a crossword. I hope someone can explain in 25 words or less why PEDRO is [The five of trumps]; heck, a one-word answer would be good. Yes, EARRINGS are usually sold in pairs, but you can pay a little more than half to get just one (as I did when purchasing an engagement earring for my man lo these many years ago). Wonderfullest clue in this puzzle: [Pole position?] for EUROPE.


Randolph Ross's CrosSynergy theme in "Get Yer Ya-Yas Out," with two 14's, two 10's and two 6's, is more fun than a Ya-Ya Sisterhood.