January 08, 2007

Tuesday, 1/9

Onion 5:47
NYS 5:13
Tausig 4:10
CS 4:04
NYT 3:02
LAT 2:47

(post updated at 8:30 a.m. and 3:55 p.m. Tuesday)

I'm all set for Stamford. Got my flights booked, my room reserved (the Marriott reservations agent I talked to said, "Good luck at the championship!" Anyone else get that nice touch?), and my registration form (printed from the ACPT site) in the mail.

Crosswords and sex in the media! The February 2007 Esquire has plenty of sex advice for the fellas. Among "The Rules for First Encounters," there's a list of "things to think about to last as long as possible," including "…Hegel's color theory, that New York Times crossword clue you were having so much trouble with, the Norwegian language..." No pressure on the constructors and editors here, but tough clues are good in so many ways.

Ed Early's NYT puzzle is a tribute to WOODY / ALLEN, with three 15-letter and two 9-letter movie titles, plus his the name of his former quasi-stepdaughter/present wife, SOON-YI—a total of 76 theme squares. I haven't seen any of the films with 15-letter titles. Tribute puzzles usually mark a birthday, anniversary, or landmark of some sort—anyone know if there's such a reason for this puzzle? (Allen's birthday is December 1.)

Bob Klahn pops up in the Sun with the "New York Yanks" puzzle, in which NY is "yanked" from the theme entries. '70s pop singer Tony Orlando (of Tony Orlando and Dawn" fame—you know, when I watched their variety show when I was about 8, I thought he was Tony, and that Telma and Joyce were named Orlando and Dawn. Ah, the '70s variety-show craze—what were they thinking??) becomes where (Disney's) Goofy fans are headed: TO ORLANDO. Absolute favorite clue: [Arch enemy?] for STILETTO.


Elizabeth at the NYT forum griped about the personal sleaziness of the NYT's theme subject. Yep, yep, yep. In the fairly recent Allen movie, Match Point, you start out rooting for the hero/antihero, and then he proves to be coldbloodedly evil and gets away with everything. Probably a Woody Allen fantasy—wrongdoing that nobody finds out you perpetrated, so you continue on with your privileged life.

John Halverson's LA Times puzzle has some great entries, particularly GODAWFUL a couple rows away from BIBLE BELT, which is part of the B-B- theme (two vertical 9's and two horizontal 9's crossing a pair of intersecting 15's).

Bob Klahn's also got today's CrosSynergy byline. The "Overcharges" theme's a little eely—[This can follow the beginnings of the three longest entries] turns out to be PRICE, and the first words of the long verticals are UNITED, LISTENS, and NETHER. Aha, you need the beginnings of the beginnings—UNIT, LIST, and NET. You know how many Hindus are vegetarians, and there's a Simpsons character who's Hindu? [Breast-beating vegetarian], 3 letters, A-P-blank. APU beats his breast? No, an APE. (I amused myself with that one.) [Epithet for the Yankees] is, aptly, DAMN.

Ben Tausig doubles up this week with his regular gig, the Ink Well/Chicago Reader puzzle, plus he's up to bat for the Onion A.V. Club crossword. The Ink Well puzzle, "The JBs," features four famous musicians with those initials in addition to a JUKEBOX in the middle of the grid. Freshest entries: PLAYA, G-SEVEN, YES BUT, and THE KID—not to mention OY VEY and SPINSTER. Bestest clue: [You change when you hit it] for PUBERTY.

Ben's Onion puzzle fills the need Rex Parker expressed just yesterday—four of the seven theme phrases were mentioned by Michael (a.k.a. Rex) and his commenters. The puzzle's title at 34-Down made no sense to me, but Professor Google teaches me that video games use it because, darn it, writing out all four digits of 2007 takes too long when a mere three characters can encode the same meaning. Favorite word in this puzzle: PYKNIC.