May 21, 2007

Tuesday, 5/22

Tausig 5:26
NYT 3:40
LAT 3:39
NYS 3:34
Onion 3:26
CS 2:45

(updated at 5:45 and 6:30 a.m. Tuesday)

Is it just me, or does it feel like three in the morning? I thought I'd readjusted to my local time zone, but I can scarcely keep my eyes open.

The NYT puzzle is credited to Roger Wolff, and it may be his constructorial debut. The three theme entries are 15-letter excerpts from that "Do-Re-Mi" song from The Sound of Music (with the lead-off "a" dropped from all three). I'm not sure why DOREMI is clued as [Money, slangily] with no reference to the doe-ray-me theme, though. And EDELWEISS ([Alpine flower]) is in there, too. Any other thematic add-ons? (I'm pretty sure that ROBOCOP doesn't relate to the theme.) Pluses: The 10-letter entries running parallel to two theme entries, FLAT SCREEN and ROTTEN IDEA, and clues like [Muscat-eer?] for OMANI and [Red star?] for STALIN. (Of course, Stalin may have been responsible for 10 million or more deaths, putting him right up there with the likes of Hitler and Mao—which reminds me, MAO is in plenty of crosswords despite his horrors.)

Pete Muller's Sun puzzle, "Middle 50%," has three theme entries containing DEMI, HEMI, and SEMI in the middle, or HALF HIDDEN. It's kinda funny—the answer key included for this puzzle on Monday morning included an entirely different lower right section, owing to CRUISE MISSILE appearing as the plural CRUISE MISSLES, misspelled. Apparently the error was caught soon enough to redo that corner with new fill and clues, but not so soon that the Across Lite file had the complete fix. Aside from that, good puzzle.


Ray Hamel's CrosSynergy crossword, "I Believe I Can Fly," has nothing to do with R. Kelly and everything to do with fictional characters who fly in five very different ways. One day after Klahn's puzzle, this one marks a return to easy/breezy CrosSynergy offerings.

Mark Diehl's LA Times puzzle is another finger-themed one (we had a couple others in close proximity several weeks back). He's got all five including the THUMB (A RIDE). While it's hard to top PINKY TUSCADERO for the pinky, PINKY SWEAR is great, too. Something about NAUGAHYDE never fails to amuse me; I don't want it in my house, but the brand name has such a cheesy '70s vibe to it. Did Archie Bunker mention it on All in the Family? Somehow, I associate the two.


Ben Tausig sent out this week's Ink Well/Chicago Reader and Onion A.V. Club puzzles bright and early from Saigon. (Perhaps it's his ethnomusicology studies that take him to Southeast Asia?) Ben's puzzle, "Time for a Break," riffs on spring break with three theme entries defined as [Spring]. Highlights: fill like BAD-ASS, CON JOB, TURKEY TROT, and JFK JR; clues like [Hawk, often] for NEOCON, [Tower company?] for SEARS, [Events with badminton and boom boxes] for BBQS, and [With less on top] for BALDER. (Has there ever been a race for men who are losing their hair, a Balder Dash?)

The Onion puzzle by Matt Jones, "Do's and Dont's" (hey! apostrophe mayhem!), has a title. Many weeks, the Onion puzzles don't have titles. I'd like it to be consistent—either a title every week, or not at all. Anyway—the three theme answers (occupying four entries) are tied together by a fourth (or fifth), BAD HAIR DAY. The theme doesn't particularly grab me, but I do like the long fill: Ben Kingsley's movie, SEXY BEAST, BRUCE DERN, MINNESOTA, SONDHEIM. Not sure whether ELMIER should actually be considered a word, though...