January 10, 2007

Thursday, 1/11

NYT 5:44
NYS 4:57
LAT 3:11
CS 2:42

(post updated at 8:45 a.m. Thursday)

You ever find youself solving a crossword in which a theme entry plays on a phrase you don't know? That happened to me tonight with Lee Glickstein and Nancy Salomon's NYT puzzle, which I tackled when not fully awake, which had the magical effect of making me feel like their wavelength was located on another planet. Really, I suppose, their wavelength was right here while mine was off in the land of Nod. At least I felt a bit more alert when I turned to Adam Cohen's Themeless Thursday puzzle in the Sun afterwards.

What penetrated the fog best was the meaty chunks of 6- and 8-letter words in Lee and Nancy's creation. APOPLEXY should have delighted me, but instead I sat there gazing blankly at APO***** and trying to summon up the word from the dusty recesses. It's still a fun word to say—as is CAVORTED. Other good entries I am barely conscious enough to admire include IGUANA, BIVOUAC, NEAR BEER, and FORTY-TWO. I struggled a bit to get the last theme entry after I filled in the helper entry ADDICT, or ADD "ICT" (bonus points for cluing that as [Fiend]!)—on the off chance that I'm not the only one unfamiliar with SIMON-PURE, here's a link explaining its derivation. Somehow I feel like I didn't know LEAVEN was a noun, either. (Sigh.) Favorite clues: [Noted Australian sprinter] for EMU, [It's to the left of #] for OPER (raise your hand if you immediately looked at a keyboard rather than a phone keypad), and the verbish [Glimpse] for APERCU.

Highlights in Adam's Sun puzzle include the KWIK-E-MART where Apu works on The Simpsons (read that link for a ridiculous amount of information and speculation about Apu), the combo of V-E DAY and VIJAY, DIME NOVEL, and the two [Behind]s (IN TOW and REAR END). I also liked seeing MANE clued as [Locks in a cage, maybe]—there's an older woman on my block whose hair looks strikingly like a lion's mane. And Ben wants to focus on lions for his habitat diorama project (good gravy, first-grade science involves making kids design dioramas? I don't even have any empty shoeboxes in the house. I think I'm gonna have to buy myself some new shoes this weekend. For educational purposes!)


Kelly Clark's LA Times puzzle contains the classical elements at the beginning of the ELEMENTARY theme entries. One of the entries spurs this question: What do Eartha Kitt and Marsha Mason have in common?