(updated at 11:20 p.m. Saturday and 11:30 a.m. Sunday)
Auugghhh! You know how it is when you're solving a crossword on the computer and the answers are coming quickly? So your fingers go to autopilot in typing things in and your eyes look to the next clue? And your fingers are a tad askew on the keyboard so you hit the key adjacent to the one you want? And then when you learn you've got an error somewhere, it takes you more than two minutes to scan the entire Sunday-sized grid to find that single errant square? Mm-hmm, I know how that goes.
Eric Berlin's New York times puzzle, "No Appointment Necessary," has circled squares within each of six theme entries. I chose to ignore the circles and figured the first one, SECURITIES ANALYST, was toying around with the idea of making an appointment with one's analyst. Actually, the circled letters spell out famous doctors—as hinted by the central entry, THE DOCTOR IS IN each theme entry. SEUSS lurks in SECURITIES ANALYST, and the other spots are hiding Star Trek's Dr. MCCOY, Goethe's Dr. FAUST, Dr. SPOCK of classic childcare books, Sherlock Holmes' Dr. WATSON, and Dr. DEMENTO (from the radio? or TV?). I liked seeing TEA DANCE in the fill because a cousin of mine got married in Hawaii but had a reception later in Beverly Hills. It wasn't a dinner, but rather a fancy thé dansant, and when you Google that, it doesn't take much effort to find the term illustrated by a drawing of monkeys. I hadn't heard of the jellyfish (ick!) called the SEA NETTLE. ERODIBLE just plain looks wrong, but it's an actual word. Favorite clues: [Jazz great Malone] for KARL the NBA star; [Language from which lemon and julep come] for FARSI (those links are to dictionary entries with etymologies); the learned-something-new clue for INCAS, [Tawantinsuyu dwellers]; [Send up or put down] for LAMPOON; and [Overhead] for SMASH. The OEO was the Office of Economic Opportunity, part of LBJ's Great Society agenda (the agency was dismantled by his GOP successor, Nixon). This, the Da Vinci Code Priory of SION, and the Twain/Harte play AH SIN are things I learned strictly from crosswords. (My typo was where NCO and NEO cross; the O was a P. Poos! Or rather, Oops!)
Merl Reagle's Philadelphia Inquirer puzzle, "Ode to My Dad," includes a certain 3-letter name within each of a slew (16) of theme entries. I glommed onto the theme pretty quickly—Merl has done this type of theme several times before.
Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon's Boston Globe puzzle, "Game Time," was about as easy-breezy as Merl's creation. Their theme included the names of nine games, with kids' outdoors games, parlor games, and board games all represented. I learned a new (to me) baseball name: TORII Hunter.
Richard Silvestri's Washington Post crossword, "E-Males," adds an E to various men's first names and reclues the word/last name combo. It works better in some cases—[Carousing crooner?] is BINGE CROSBY—and not so well in others—[Pub-crawling actor?] is ALE PACINO.
Updated once more:
Ernest Lampert's LA Times syndicated puzzle, "Vamoose," has a cut-and-run theme—each theme entry is the rest of a phrase that begins with the word cut or run.
Randolph Ross's themeless CrosSynergy puzzle is fairly easy. Very few 3-letter words (six of them), and none is an obscure abbreviation.
June 23, 2007