February 17, 2007

Sunday, 2/18

WaPo 10:22
LAT 8:40
NYT 8:33
BG 8:05
CS 5:35

(post updated at 1:20 p.m. Sunday)

David Kwong and Kevan Choset have teamed up cruciverbally before, as in last year's April Fool's Saturday "THINK outside the box" puzzle. Now they've got the Sunday NYT, "Magic Words," which has a theme it took me far too long to notice—but when I did figure it out, I admired it. Strangely enough, that sentence is riddled with spoilers, what with the use of the word it. As the central entry, NOW YOU SEE IT, NOW YOU DON'T hints, you see an extra IT in half the theme entries and don't see it where it belongs in the other half. Thus, [Einstein's asset] is GREAT BR(it)AIN, and [Acerbic folk/rock singer] is BITING CROSBY. The theme's real elegance comes in having the with-IT entries all on the left and the IT-less ones on the right, in keeping with the central entry. And most of the theme entries are kinda funny, which immeasurably increases the value of a Sunday puzzle. If it weren't so late, I might write more, but instead I'll sign off and have a bedtime snack.


Bob Klahn's CrosSynergy themeless puzzle has a fantastic assortment of 10-letter answers, and great clues. One nice pairing is [Bark bark] as a clue for CANOE, and ARF with the clue [Lab report?].

Henry Hook's online Boston Globe crossword, "Granted," has one of those themes in which the clues all include the same name (various people named Grant). I don't recall being particularly fond of this type of theme, but at least in this case, the puzzle has sort of a themeless vibe to it—plus there are nice big splotches of white space in the grid. Two thumbs up!

The LA Times syndicated puzzle by Dan Naddor, "Turn of the Phrase," flips the verb over to its opposite, so that "pay the piper" becomes STIFF THE PIPER, defined as the opposite of the base phrase's meaning in the clue, [Avoid unpleasant consequences?].

Lee Glickstein and Nancy Salomon's Washington Post puzzle, "Praise Be," features puns on statements acknowledging praise, such as as THANKS, I KNEADED THAT from a baker. (Ow.) I'm not in a punning mood today. Plus, 1-Across stumped me until I eventually filled in enough letters to get AL HIRT. He's a [Musician nicknamed "Jumbo"]? I had no idea. Yeah, looks like he was a big guy. He was also sometimes called "The Round Mound of Sound," though he wasn't that round.