(updated at 8:40 a.m. Monday)
The Monday NY Sun crossword treads where the Gray Lady dare not go. What's funny is that the Sun is a conservative paper and the Times is more liberal, but the Times crossword is somewhat more bound by delicate sensibilities than the Sun. To wit: Mark Feldman's Sun puzzle, "Spa Treatments for Miss World," includes three geographically named spa treatments, SWEDISH MASSAGE, FRENCH MANICURE, and BRAZILIAN WAX. You know what's probably markedly less uncomfortable than a Brazilian wax? A wrestling BODY SLAM. Both may be considered NEAR-FATAL. Other zippy fill here includes CYBERSEX and SHAZAM (rumor has it a script is in the works for a Shazam movie). I PASS is clued here as [Nonparticipant's declaration]; what states other than Illinois have an I-PASS system for paying tolls?
The NYT crossword by Randall Hartman has a theme centered around famous people with *ARR last names swapped into phrases that start with *AR words, such as FARR-FETCHED. Hey! I think this theme is a tad far-fetched. It is not, however, star-shaped, carpooled, or bartended. Fill I like: TOM SWIFT, TRIFECTA, I'M SET, ZING (clued as [Get but good]), and THE BOSS. When I came to [Naval affirmative], the entry was A*EA*E—does anyone in the Navy ever say AT EASE (which I know isn't an "affirmative")? Odd to have two militaryish remarks with four letters in common.
Harvey Estes' CrosSynergy crossword, "AAA List," includes three definitions of AAA. One adjacent pair of 8-letter entries are BASEBALL and APPLE PIE (crossing DELAWARE—as in the first state or as in crossing the Delaware?).
The LA Times crossword by Mike Burlisen has a 15x16 grid that accommodates six theme entries, and after you get theme entries 1 and 2, the rest practically fill themselves in. Highlights: JUST SAY NO biding time next to TUPAC, the clue [Drink mixer] for BARTENDER (doesn't the clue put you in mind of tonic and soda rather than the people who mix the liquids together?).
April 15, 2007