(updated at 9:40 a.m. Sunday)
Ahh, is there anything more glorious than clear blue skies, the air finally warming up in April...and spending three hours at Chuck E. Cheese? (My son's seventh birthday party.) Then we emerged from the House o' the Giant Rat into a beautiful 72-degree afternoon and drove home to our lakeside neighborhood...where it's a brisk 62. Had to close the windows because it was getting too chilly inside. Ah, microclimate!
So I came home an hour before crossword time and worked on taking my brain from the Chuck E. Cheese setting back to its default mode. I think the NYT applet went ooky and wouldn't let me type anything in, but it's possible that was my brain's doing and not the technology's fault. I do love the applet like a junkie loves her drug of choice, but Across Lite ain't half bad, either, so that's where I solved Vic Fleming's puzzle, "For April—National Poetry Month." Now, Vic loves quote puzzles and I usually can't stand 'em, so it was with some foreboding that I embarked on solving this quote crossword. I felt like Mikey on the old Life cereal commercial—hey! I really liked this puzzle. It differs from the typical quote puzzle in that this theme contains six different quotes accounting for eight theme entries (two longer quotes are split). Each quote is a poet's statement beginning, "Poetry is ..." (Well, I don't know if Joseph Roux counts as a poet. Google turns up mainly sites that gather his noted quotes...so maybe he's more of a quoet?) From a solving standpoint, I think piecing together six different quotes about poetry is far more interesting than assembling one long quote. Favorite bits in this crossword: the BUS LANE; the [Love letters?] SWAK (sealed with a kiss); [Japanese band?] for OBI; SAY I DO (though that sounds more nuptial than inaugurational); MR. KITE from the Beatles song; [Sing "gladly the cross-eyed bear," say] for GARBLE (though actually, that doesn't sound garbled at all); NEWBIE; ALL GONE; [Beachwear] for THONGS (meaning footwear or buttfloss?); ["Zounds," e.g.] for MILD OATH (with EGAD toward the bottom of the puzzle); CHORIZO; [Really, really] for OH SO; and [Wasted gas] for IDLED. A couple things I absolutely did not know: The French town EPINAL, and the Spanish ACA, [Here, in Juárez].
Patrick Blindauer's Washington Post crossword, "StoP," changes words starting with S to ones starting with P in the theme entries. For example, [Marx Brothers fan, maybe?] is a PUN WORSHIPPER, and [Lack of a platform?] is a PODIUM DEFICIENCY. Good puzzle!
If yesterday's tough NYT and Newsday crosswords left you bruised, try Harvey Estes' CrosSynergy puzzle today for a more pliable challenge.
If you can piece together famous marches (music), Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon's Boston Globe puzzle, "Marching in Columns," should also offer a particularly light challenge. There are only five theme entries, so the bulk of the crossword has sort of an "unthemed but easy" vibe.
John Halverson's syndicated LA Times crossword, "Adding Debt," inserts IOUS into each theme entry, turning P Diddy into PIOUS DIDDY, and Ted Turner and Victor Borge become TEDIOUS and VICTORIOUS people. Liked those name-based entries better than the ones that played on non-name nouns.
April 21, 2007