(updated at 8:15 a.m. Tuesday)
All righty, I'm back home after a weekend in Wisconsin and a Memorial Day in the 'burbs. I'd almost been ready to put away the finally emptied suitcases a few days ago when it was time to reload one for the weekend trip—so now I'm back where I was a week ago, with luggage to unpack and laundry to do. (Sigh. Will refuse to sleep anywhere but my own bed for at least a month.)
It's possible I've seen a similar theme before, but I still liked Jim Hyres' theme in Tuesday's NYT. The six longest entries, a rather lively batch (I'm fondest of HOPSCOTCH with its paltry two vowels), all begin with words or syllables that can be preceded by BAR (38-Across, right in the center). The products of the recombinations include (BAR)HOP and (BAR)KEEP, a (BAR)BELL, the dry (BAR)CODE and (BAR) CHART, and the phrasal (BAR) NONE. MUD BATH is a nice bit of fill, but the tight layout—with four across entries, two downs, and the central BAR—limits the flexibility for most of the fill, so some of the shorter words are a bit blah.
The Sun puzzle for Tuesday comes from Patrick Berry. In the "En Zone," -NDS ends of words become -NS endings, and those Ds are scarcely pronounced anyway, so the resulting phrases sound a lot like the originals. "Rubber bands" become RUBBER BANS, or restrictions on galoshes. Zones of woe: 1-Across is a baseball player I've never heard of, an AARON Heilman who played with the Mets last season. (New York, Shmoo York...) I haven't heard a TV's picture tube called an IMAGE TUBE, and I don't think our plasma screen's got a tube anyway. And I still haven't read "The Lorax," so I blanked on the THNEEDS. Liked [Chew toy coater] for SLOBBER (no shortage of dog slobber at my sister's house this afternoon, but I was trying to think of what substance chew toys were made of); BOOTLEG concert recordings; and the clue [Something that isn't taken lying down?] for SHOWER.
Daniel Bryant's LA Times crossword has a homophone theme (e.g., BORED BOHR'S BOARS), but oddly, HOMO and PHONE appear in two separate entries tying the theme together. The theme is Monday-easy. Okay, so it's Tuesday now, but it feels like a Monday owing to yesterday's holiday. Some Scrabbly entries and otherwise good fill: QUIZZES with its three crossings at the Q and Zs, another Q elsewhere, VIRTUOSO, THE ONE.
Martin Ashwood-Smith spends "Three Bucks" in his CrosSynergy puzzle, with three phrases that mean "buck," as in "buck the system." As with the LA Times puzzle, plenty of Scrabbly letters (three Xs, a pair of Zs and Ks, and a Q and a J) lurking in the midst. Also liked the 9-letter entries, JUAN PERON and METER MAID, but must take exception to [Addams Family lion] as the clue for KITKAT. The American rendition of the KitKat is one of my favorite candy bars, though it is nutritionally abysmal. The creamy filling between the crisp wafers is essentially saturated fat blended with sugar. It's tasty, but I kinda wish Hershey would upgrade to a nonsaturated fat. My also-beloved Snickers Almond has that good nut-based fat in it, so I guess I just ought to eat more of those.
May 28, 2007