May 09, 2007

Thursday, 5/10

I greet thee, o fans of crosswords! Dave Sullivan (aka "Evad," among these circles) here to offer you some solace in these Orange-free days.

This is my second guest blogging experience--the first was for Rex Parker last month, who runs a kick-ass blog as well and is a real swell guy to boot. I sent the link of my entry to a friend who is somewhat into crosswords, but hardly a fanatic of the degree I now find myself (as do maybe you, Gentle Solver?). She sent me back a comment, "I can't believe someone could say so much about one crossword!" Well, I have two puzzles to comment on tonight, so to Kristen: "You ain't seen nuttin' yet!" :)

So, off we go...

NY Times and NY Sun, Peter A. Collins

I recalled Peter having a twisty puzzle about a year ago in the New York Times, and found this, a BEATLES-inspired rebus, with the words LOVE ME DO and LET IT BE as rebus entries running across the top and bottom of the puzzle. It also featured a feast of crossing entries tied to the Fab Four as well--BRITISH (invasion), TITLE TRACK ("Hey Jude" or "Help!"), GEORGE (Harrison), DRUMMER (Ringo), RITA (the Meter Maid), TEEN IDOLS, LOVE LOVE LOVE (lyric), and THE BEATLES themselves. All this in a 15x15, so I knew this guy had earned his constructing chops!

I certainly wasn't disappointed with either of Peter's Thursday offerings. The trickier of the two (and my fav) was his NY Times entry, in which four clue numbers were the answers to four equations written out as 15-letter entries in the puzzle:


What may not seem hard to a nonconstructor, but really impressed me was Peter's ability to place his black squares around these entries to ensure that the clue numbers fit to the equations in place. I also liked the fact that he used each of the four basic mathematical operators (+, - , * and /). Of the lot, I wished HUNDRED had been prefaced with ONE (or at least A), because as it stands "HUNDRED OVER FOUR" sounds incomplete to my ear.

As to the fill, I really enjoyed PROPHESY for [Predict] and SMARTY for [Wise guy]--all those consonants make them unusual entries.

My favorite PEEWEE spells his name with an extra E:

And a mini-theme of GUNS with the tattoo MOM:

Some other random questions:

  • In what sport does a foul incur a PENALTY? (I think baseball, so that's just a strike)
  • Who's used the phrase "Make HAY OF" to mean "Throw into confusion"? (not me)
  • Could a BAD BOY also be referred to as "Not just a tease"? (I sure hope so)

On to Peter's NY Sun puzzle, "Station Breaks," which featured five theme entries in which a station name could be found "broken" between two or more words of a common phrase. We were treated to:


Of the lot, PLAY Station is by far the best, as the other stations have been with us for time immemorial. I can only guess that Peter spent some time poring over POLICE and RADIO (among others), to see if they could also be "broken" in two.

Nice fill and clues, too:

  • ULYSSES, the over 1000-page novel that takes place on one day in June, 1904
  • LOO for [Bath half-bath half] (with the first Bath as the British city)
  • GRILL for [It'll put stripes on your dog], referring to this type of dog:

    not this:

  • COTS for [MASH beds], referring to a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. (I learned from this that the asterisks in M*A*S*H (the Alan Alda tv series) were meaningless.)

What I didn't like so much:

  • The ALTRIA Group, parent company of Philip Morris. Sheesh, Philip Morris is so big, how can they have a parent? Also, the less I know about cigarette peddlers, the better.
  • I missed the crossing between [Studebaker sports car], AVANTI, and [Redskins RB Clinton], PORTIS. (I had an A in there first.) Only vaguely aware of PORTIS, but not at all the sports car (which dates back to the early '60s).

I think I've bent your ear long enough tonight, Gentle Solver, and it's time for bed (past midnight here in Boston)...I'll be helping Barry with this Sunday's workload and back again next Thursday.