January 17, 2007

Thursday, 1/18

NYT 4:58
NYS 4:25
LAT 3:25
CS 3:01

Tomorrow, the students at my son's school are all supposed to wear Chicago Cubs shirts, hats, or colors—the Cubs are coming to visit the school. Wrigley Field's only about a mile from the school, so it's not much of a commute for the team. (And no, parents are not invited.) I'm thinking there'll be at least one eighth-grader who wears White Sox gear and gets chastised by the principal, who is not merely a hard-ass, but an adamantine-ass. She means business.

Randolph Ross's NYT puzzle seemed a little tougher than the average Thursday puzzle. The theme involves ANAGRAMMED WORDS (which is clued [SWORD], which is an anagram of WORDS) and includes three other entries following this pattern. I like the circularity of the defining entry simultaneously describing and embodying the gimmick. Favorite bits: HAD A COW, [Like some noses] for PIERCED, [They've got brains] for CRANIA, and tasty SNO-Caps. I was trying to remember [“The Card Players” artist] by summoning up a mental image of the painting. That didn’t help one whit because I was picturing Van Gogh’s “Potato Eaters” instead of the CEZANNE painting. (What? Both have people sitting at a table and were painted in the late 1800s.) The fill also includes MAUS (German for "mouse") and RAT, which reminds me that the NYT crossword forum tumbled into the ABYSSES of writing in Greek today, discussing how the Greek language uses the same word for "mouse" and "rat." The German phrase for "It's all Greek to me" is "Es kamm mir Spanisch vor," and the Spanish words for various rodents are immaterial here.

In the Sun crossword by Lee Glickstein, "Stock Exchange," the theme is SWAP / MEAT. Lamb of God and Chicken of the Sea swap meats, as do pig iron and talking turkey; my favorite resulting theme entry is TALKING PIG, because who doesn't love Babe? (Babe, of course, would be saddened greatly by the LAMB, CHICKEN, PIG, and TURKEY being called meat here.) I like the shout-out to Madalyn Murray O'HAIR. The Madalyn spelling was the 356th most popular baby girl name in 2005—how many of the parents intended to evoke memories of O'Hair? Favorite clues: [They're often seen next to temples] for RINGLETS, [What a high-top covers] for ANKLE.