January 03, 2007

Thursday, 1/4

NYS 7:00
NYT 4:01
CS 3:27
LAT 3:10

(post updated at 9:20 a.m. Thursday)

Ah, it makes me happy when the Thursday puzzles roll around each week.

From Ellen Ripstein's LiveJournal comes this link to a Forbes interview with Will Shortz.

The Sun and NYT crosswords are by the Alans, Arbesfeld in the Sun and Olschwang in the Times. First up on my schedule this evening, the easier of the two, the NYT. I loved the punctuation rebus, with the names of the . , : and – used in intersecting entries. The rebus squares are in exactly symmetrical spots for an extra oomph. (Reminder for applet solvers: You can save yourself a lot of time and aggravation if you just enter the first letter—as in C for comma—and remember which squares contain which rebus. Doesn't look elegant that way, but man, is it efficient.) CORA pops up for the second time this week, this time clued as the Last of the Mohicans character (played by Madeleine Stowe—and wow, her hair always looked fabulous despite the travails of wartime). Some tough clues lurking in here, such as [Canadian prov.] for PEI and ["Tobermory" writer] for SAKI—but always with fair crossings. One last thing—don't most white-collar workers have a PAY [PERIOD] every two weeks or twice a month rather than [Week or month at the office, usually]? Ah, what do puzzle professionals know about the workaday life, anyway?

Arbesfeld's "Axis Shift" puzzle combined a slow-to-dawn theme with tough cluing overall—unless it's just me who couldn't find the wavelength. Did you find this crossword to be Friday/Saturday hard? In the theme entries, two X's become Y's and two Y's become X's; my favorite was GETS A WAX WITH. Among non-theme parts, I liked the HILL/DALE cross-referencing, NEW DELHI, [Not up to scratch?] for DECLAWED, [They may help with closings] for CLASPS, and [Line indicating that X misplayed] for OOO (crossing OOOLA!). I'm presuming that [Mazuma] is slang for money since the answer is KALE…unless mazuma is a cruciferous vegetable or something. I also liked the chunk of names in the lower left corner—pro athletes ELVIN and RYNE, explorer PEARY, and kid-lit author ERIC. (I wonder how hard it would be to construct a crossword in which every single entry was a capitalized word or name.)


Lynn Lempel's LA Times crossword took some peering at to suss out the theme. I found the hidden ICPR in the middle of the theme entries. Oh, wait—that's CPR, as in resuscitation, as in revival, as in REVIVAL MEETINGS. And aptly, the theme phrases are two words that "meet" at the "revival," with CPR spanning the first and second words.