(updated at 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Thursday)
Last week, David Quarfoot commented elsewhere that he hoped last Saturday's NYT would be a Nothnagel (turned out to be a Walden instead). That dream was merely deferred by five days, as the Thursday NYT is by Mike Nothnagel. So this crossword from the math teacher of the day (the other two guys mentioned in this paragraph teach math) features a rebus theme, IT'S GONNA COST YOU. How much? Two [ARM]s and two [LEG]s. The [ARM]s appear at the intersections of B[AR M]ITZVAHS/DE[AR M]E and W[ARM]S/OSC[AR M]AYER, and the lower limbs kick it in NOB[LE G]ASES/AL[LEG]EDLY and CIRC[LE G]RAPH/PEG[LEG]. That CIRC[LE G]RAPH had an out-there clue: [Something never shown in bars]. Favorite bits: [A couple in Mexico?] for DOS; TAX RATE (I see my tax accountant tomorrow!) crossing XBOX; OH BOY (as well as OK OK, I FOLD, NOT SO, DEAR ME, and AH ME, rounding out the conversation part of this crossword, not counting a couple partial entries); [Not same-sex] for COED (yes! adjective! never a noun!); ZOOM and LENS, clued separately; [Old war story] for ILIAD; and IKE clued not as Eisenhower but as ["South Park" brother].
Anthony Salvia's Sun crossword, "A Tale of Jimmy the Greek," tells a short story in which each line features a dreadful pun with a Greek letter. The big trouble spot for me was the crossing of [Go ballistic], which could be RANT or RAVE as easily as RAGE, with two words that had dead-end clues. ["The Big ___" (Dr. Seuss short story)] turns out to be "The Big Brag" (look! available used via Amazon for less than $100!), but given Dr. Seuss's propensity for coining words, this one was a you-know-it-or-you-don't answer. (I didn't.) RAGE also crossed [Hogchoker, e.g.], which I've never heard of. Apparently it's an Atlantic fish along the lines of SOLE, but sheesh, it's not as if hogchoker is anything I've seen on a seafood menu. Anyone else find that to be a terrible crossing? What I liked: [One with three womb-mates] for QUAD; [One-piece brand] for SPEEDO; J. GEILS and W.C. FIELDS; [Problem in many photos taken with a flash] for REDEYE; and [Sweat spot?] for BROW (why the question mark here?).
Remember the word golliwog being used in the Sun recently as a clue for OGRE? I just came across this Slate.com slide show of racist advertising spokescharacters, including Uncle Ben and Aunt Jemima, golliwogs, the Frito Bandito, "Chinese Cherry" Kool-Aid's bucktoothed cherry, and more. Interesting text alongside each image places the ads in context.
Aw, too bad Thomas Schier's finger-themed CrosSynergy puzzle ("Digital Analysis") came out three days after David Pringle's NYT crossword. He's got all five digits with THUMB TACK, but in lieu of Pringle's PINKY TUSCADERO, he's got the plainer LITTLE ONE.
Jack McInturff's LA Times puzzle has one of those themes where the answers define words that sound alike—here, [Antes], [Aunties] (which sounds the same in my regional accent but not in all), and [Antis] (which I pronounce ant-eyes, particularly when used as a noun rather than a prefix). Highlight: being tricked by the clue, [Jordan was once in it: Abbr.]. Wait, is that the UAE or the UAR? Neither—the NBA, as in Michael Jordan.
Matt Jones' Jonesin' puzzle for this week is called "I Suspect Vowel Play," and the theme entries are words or phrases with double vowels...including SKYY brand vodka. The NINTENDO WII gets some play, as does the Scrabbly THE BRONX ZOO, and the Homer Simpson ploy to get disability pay involved getting so obese he had to WEAR A MUUMUU. Next to the latter entry is NED, clued here not as Homer's neighbor but as the Groundhog Day character Ned Ryerson, the insurance agent ("Am I right or am I right?" We still use that line around my house.). In the fill, there's a band I've never heard of (AFI, complete with unusual hairstyles). Favorite clue: [What you once was] for THEE.
April 25, 2007