(post updated at 8:40 a.m. Monday)
Remember the famous/infamous Puzzle #5 (constructed by Byron Walden) from last year's American Crossword Puzzle Tournament? The puzzle that only a few dozen(ish) people finished correctly within the time limit? The one with the wicked clues and a frightfully obscure cheese? Well, there I was, reading John Updike's New Yorker review of Jane Smiley's new book, Ten Days in the Hills. The core characters met "in the cheese section at Gelson's last Easter, when Max was buying a Piave and Elena was buying a Gruyère de Comté and their hands touched as they both reached for the Époisses." Their first meeting over Piave out of the way, of course, the characters move on to explicit sex throughout the resst of the book. But: Piave in literature and magazines! Did you think it would ever happen?
The Monday NYT comes from Fred Piscop, with a theme of vowel movement—five lively phrases ending with -APPER, -EPPER, -IPPER, -OPPER, and -UPPER. There are plenty of 7-letter entries (including UNITERS and DEVISER, but no "decider") in the fill—nothing too fancy, but perhaps a more "open" grid than is normally seen in a Monday puzzle.
Harvey Estes does a nice job with tribute puzzles after assorted actors die. Today's CrosSynergy puzzle is called "Everybody Loves Raymond's Father," and it pays homage to four characters (two 6-letter ones, a 15, and a 10) played by the late PETER BOYLE. It's a perfect combo because, if you ask me, there's a striking resemblance between the two. Behold: a photo of Harvey and a one of Boyle.
A clue in Jared Banta's Sun puzzle (aside: See, that's how Jared should be spelled. It always bugged me that the title character in The Pretender was spelled Jarod. And since it bugged me, it stuck in my brain until, at long last, that bit of knowledge had a practical use in the Saturday NYT crossword.). Where was I? Yes, a clue in the Sun puzzle included the word boustredephonic, which was new to me. Boustredephonic writing travels back and forth across the page like OXEN in a field, rather than jumping back to the starting end so all the lines travel in just one direction. The theme is chicken parts (culinarily speaking, not biologically). But where are the neck and feet??
January 28, 2007