June 13, 2007

Thursday, 6/14

NYS 10:59
NYT 3:37
LAT 3:28
CS 2:29

(updated at 10 a.m. Thursday)

June 14! Yes, it's Flag Day again, also known as the day after my sister's birthday. (Ben and I spent the day visiting my sister today. Boy, does that kid love to play in the swimming pool! He'll be in heaven in a week and a half when day camp starts and he can hit the pool every morning.) June 14 is also the birthday of some famous people. Poor Alois Alzheimer—people were always forgetting his birthday.

The Thursday NYT crossword by Donna Hoke Kahwaty is not at all ARTLESS, [Ingenuous...or like 17-, 24-, 50- and 60-Across]. The theme entries are, however—each has lost ART. Starting salary becomes STING SALARY; heart of darkness, HE OF DARKNESS; surprise parties, SURPRISE PIES; and martini glasses, MINI GLASSES. (I Googled "surprise pies" and found a page of trivia about pies. Some of the poll results sound awfully spurious. And supposedly, the wealthy English were known for making surprise pies with live critters inside them.) I was stumped for a while when I had ** OF DARKNESS, wondering how on earth a rebus could break PRINCE into two pieces. But then ARTLESS practically filled itself in at 38-Across, giving a huge hint. Not so sure about [Supply at a changing station] for TALC; baby powder in general has fallen out of favor at diaper time, and many parents opt for cornstarch baby powder over talcum powder. Love those four vertical 10-letter fill entries, but boy, do I wish they had tricky Friday or Saturday clues.

Okay, so, maybe 10:30 at night and drifting off to sleep is not the optimal setting for solving a Themeless Thursday puzzle in the Sun, eh? Francis Heaney's crossword slaughtered me. Partly on its own merits, and partly because I spaced on reading and interpreting clues that weren't so hard. Like the [Hit song from "Outlandos d'Amour"], ROXANNE—a gimme once I finally roused myself enough to notice the clue. (Guess who's going to the Police concert at Wrigley Field next month? That's right! A bloggy friend and I are going, just the two of us, since we were both Police fans back in the '80s. There are no tickets for our husbands, who never had the same admiration for Sting anyway.) And [OS interface]—I figured it might be the letters that come between O and S, and yet my sleepy head determined that there were too many letters for that to be the case. (Actually, PQR fits perfectly and there aren't four letters between O and S.) Never heard of the BURQINI before, but it's a cool word. Haven't seen MadTV lately, so I didn't know JORDAN PEELE either. Favorite clues: [When it started, the world population was around 50 million] for IRON AGE; [Cons' foes] for LIBS; [It's often followed by 99801] for JUNEAU, AK; [Like something that's going around] for IN ORBIT; [English war god with a day named after him] for TIU of Tuesday fame; and [Mission of Hope?] for USO TOUR. Favorite fill: SIT PAT; pre-temptation Gollum, a.k.a. SMEAGOL; WRECKED, REX REED, WRESTLER, and ROXANNE; VAMOOSED; JUDE LAW; and NUTCASE.


Today's CrosSynergy puzzle by Sarah Keller ("Once Upon a Time") is notable for its easiness. If you're in the mood for an easy Monday-level crossword after the mauling by Francis's puzzle, this one will fit the bill.

Alex Boisvert's LA Times puzzle makes sport of crosswordese by taking one of those regular denizens of the grid and hiding it within four theme entries. A fun little "aha" moment!