Quick takes, because it's already Sunday afternoon:
The NYT by Seth A. Abel is called "More Headlines That Make You Go 'Huh?'" Now, I don't specifically recall its apparent predecessor, but I like this type of theme. I always enjoy poorly worded headlines that are open to horrible misinterpretation. There were a number of clues I loved, but I did the puzzle in the wee hours and have since forgotten what they were. Here's one: [Shaker formula] for NACL. Let's see...and [Palm readers?] for the brand of PDAs called TREOS. And SHAW clued as [Newsman Bernard], because before he was a clean-shaven CNN anchor, he was a mustachioed anchor on the local news in Chicago. Never heard of NFL running back KEVAN Barlow, but have now made a mental note of the spelling of that first name.
Henry Hook's Boston Globe puzzle, "Quiet, Please," adds SH to the beginning of a word in each of 10 theme entries. NOAH'S SHARK ([Not Jonah's whale?]) evoked Merl Reagle's line in Wordplay about inverting two letters in "Noah's Ark" to make "No, a shark!" I rather liked SKATING SHRINK, [Analyst on ice?].
Patrick Jordan's Washington Post crossword, "Reformed Criminals," assembles eight fictional villains and anagrams them. Just the sort of puzzle-within-a-puzzle I enjoy! With two theme entries in each corner of the puzzle, none interlocking, the grid seemed a little more open, without any super-creaky entries compromising the fun.
The syndicated LA Times puzzle, "Show of Shows," was a group effort. According to the Across Lite notepad, "Puzzle constructor Bonnie L. Gentry recently led a crossword workshop during a cruise. This puzzle's theme, title and pen name (made on a cruise) came from members of that workshop. Ms. Gentry did the rest." The five theme entries from "Mae Donna Cruz" are mashups of of three TV shows, such as COPS LOST LAW AND ORDER, clued as [Officers failed to control rioters?]. A few clunkers in the fill (such as NO EAR, clued as [Absence of musical skill]), but I did enjoy the theme entries. Despite my love of pop culture, it took me far too long to figure out that the theme involved TV shows.
Harvey Estes' themeless CrosSynergy puzzle was about par for the course, difficulty-wise, meaning easier than most of the other themeless puzzles I do. Favorite bits: SOUR NOTES and SORE LOSER, [Way below] addling me as the clue for UNDERPASS, and the pairing of COME AGAIN? and SO TO SPEAK.
May 20, 2007