(post updated at 11 a.m. Tuesday)
Nancy Salomon and Harvey Estes’ NYT crossword tricked me into thinking there was another twist to the theme. The first two theme entries I filled in both rhymed—HANDY ANDY and PLAIN JANE. So it felt like that slowed me down a bit in rassling with the other ones…but I won't complain about my solving time. The theme is non-rhymingly consistent, with all five entries being colloquial descriptive terms consisting of adjective + name. I'm a fan of blocks of white space, as seen in the corners that together hold a dozen 7-letter entries. (Yes, ORANGES are indeed [Juicy fruit].) And who doesn't like a nudge to read about PIDGIN languages?
Sean O.F. Smith’s Sun puzzle, “Grade Inflation,” changes a single letter in each theme entry, starting at the top with a failing grade turned into a D (CLAIM TO DAME) and progressing to the B student getting an A (ROBBER AARON). I like the theme, and I like the fill, salted as it is with K’s and Z’s.
Ben Tausig's Ink Well/Chicago Reader puzzle, "Dirty Pictures," draws on a rich vein of wordplay, the cheesy puns on movie titles used by the producers of some porn flicks. If that sort of pun amuses you, this site lists many more—you know, like "Lust of the Mohicans" and "Mating for Guffman" and "Saving Ryan's Privates."
Matt Gaffney's Onion A.V. Club puzzle is timely for the week of Valentine's Day, but BROKEN-HEARTedly so, and offers good pop-culture fill (SHOW BIZ crossing ZOOEY Deschanel! Will ARNETT! DROPS A BOMB, non-militarily speaking! Clooney's SYRIANA!). But who the hell is Jim KAAT? I'd never heard of him, which isn't surprising given how little I'm into televised baseball.
February 12, 2007