January 15, 2007

Tuesday, 1/16

Tausig 4:54
Onion 4:33
LAT 3:10
NYT 3:07
CS 3:05
NYS 2:58

(post updated at 5:55 p.m. Tuesday)

Dave Mackey's got his third NYT publication now, the Tuesday puzzle. The theme combines classic literature, kid-lit, and a recent movie—and sandwiches the thematic family REUNION smack-dab between the two halves of HEATHER HAS / TWO MOMMIES. (I hope Will Shortz and the NYT don't get cranky letters from troglodytes homophobes complaining about that entry.) I liked the longer fill in this puzzle, including [Pizza slices, usually]. At first, I figured ["No problemo"] was OKAY, which would obviously cross OCTANTS for the pizza. Hmph! EASY and EIGHTHS. (Close enough.)

Adam G. Perl's Sun crossword is called "Give 'Em 'L'" and, not surprisingly, the theme entries pick up an extra L. My favorite of the theme entries is BLEACHED WHALE, clued as [Moby-Dick?]. The American lit prof who assigned Moby-Dick had a great anecdote that's pertinent here. He had a friend who went canoeing in some river, and there were often pedestrians on the bridges he canoed under. Paddling away, he'd call up to them, Ahab-like: "Hast seen the White Whale?" (I hope at least two of you find that as hilarious as I did.)


Ha! Tyler Hinman's Onion A.V. Club crossword features a suitable theme of the sort of meals a single 21-year-old guy eats. (Tyler, I hope you're not eating things like INSTANT NOODLES and LEFTOVER PIZZA with BEER more than, say, five days a week. You have good cookbooks!) I learned several new factoids here: TRILL is a [Southern hip-hop portmanteau meaning "respected"]—but what words does it combine? There's an athlete named Lorena OCHOA (La Tiger Woods Mexicana, they call her). And the Detroit Shock is a WNBA team. Zippy clues and fill asserted themselves: WHAT NERVE, BAD SANTA, SQUISH, [Bad things to share in bed] cluing STDS, [Ass] clues both NINNY and SEX (is the latter usage an example of metonymy or something else?) I remain a little grossed out by the linkage of [Like many a hot wing eater] and SWEATY. Eww! I was hoping they'd merely be GREASY.

The theme in Ben Tausig's Ink Well/Chicago Reader puzzle, "Changing Temperatures," took some time to unravel, as the quasi-thermal components of the theme entries had traded places. A lackluster psychic medium is a PSYCHIC MILD, the mildly abrasive sandpaper becomes a HOT ABRASIVE, and (coming full circle) hot pursuit cools to IN MEDIUM PURSUIT. Favorite clues: [Southern bread] for TORTILLA and [Declaration of dependence?] for I LOVE YOU.