April 18, 2007

Thursday, 4/19

NYT 4:55
LAT 4:35
Jonesin' 4:30
NYS 4:17
CS 3:22

(updated a smidge at 7:10 p.m. Thursday)

A milestone of sorts in Henry Hook's Thursday NYT crossword, no? For the theme of the musical, The PRODUCERS, to include the play-within-a-play, SPRINGTIME / FOR HITLER? I guess Will Shortz figured that the musical's long and popular run on Broadway offered sufficient cover for allowing the unsavory name Hitler into the puzzle—but I'll bet he'll get some angry mail all the same. Three of the seven theme entries are stacked together in the center of the grid, and despite the structural limitations imposed by having so many theme entries (including having the two actors occupying both of the vertical slots), the fill is remarkably unclumsy and the clues are clever. A few of my favorite things: [Children of Norman and Enid] for SOONERS (as in people from the Oklahoma towns of Norman and Enid); [___ Bear] for MAMA and PAPA in opposite corners; a non-elevator clue for OTIS Armstrong; "What's COOKIN'"; [Lip] for EDGE (not SASS); [Support group?] for BRAS; [Game 7, e.g.] for DECIDER (aw, why no clue referencing "the Decider"?); [Smuggled stuff] for OPIUM; [Law man] with no hand-tipping question mark for OHM; [Protesters' ammo] for EGGS; and 'It's been ___!" for AGES (who went with A GAS there?)

So, what do you think? Good call to publish this great puzzle, Hitler and all, or a bad idea?

Fairly easy "Themeless Thursday" puzzle in the Sun. The byline reads Graham Meyer—I didn't recognize the name but he's got some of his past work online. Got off to a good start by pegging 1-Across as BRANGELINA. Favorite fill (besides BRANGELINA): hotel ICE MACHINE, LUMMOXES, the titles AS TIME GOES BY and EVER AFTER, and the DOM Pérignon/Trappistine NUN combo. Favorite clues: [With 11-Across, thing on a key] for PALM/TREE; [They can be ripped with a lot of work] for ABS; and [Tickle the palm of] for BRIBE. I didn't single out a zillion different entries and clues, but I very much enjoyed this crossword.

As for Jonesin':

"The Big Owe" spotlights a CHRIS ROCK quote (amazing how long it took me to figure out what name went into the ***ISRO** space) about taxes. The quote includes two X's, but Matt's plunked a couple more (plus a Q) into the fill. Favorite entries: CRACK Up, FOXHOLE, AXEL F, KAPUT, and EQUUS. And zero Hitler content!