July 22, 2007

Monday, 7/23

CS 4:43
LAT 3:03
NYT 2:45
NYS 2:41

(updated at 7:35 a.m. Monday)

I have plenty of crossword spoilers after the jump, of course, but no Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows spoilers! I read the first book this year and have seen the first four movies, so I'm a long way from encountering the ending of Deathly Hallow—except that I read the spoilers at a couple blogs just so I can go about my business with no distracting curiosity.

But I am curious about this—if you have kids, would you say that this summer's Potter movie is appropriate viewing for a 7-year-old who wasn't scared by the last movie?

The Monday New York Times crossword by Randall Hartman offers five terms ending in anagrams, but the one real-word anagram that's left out is OPTS. Maybe OPIE down there in the southeast corner really wanted to be a tie-it-all-together OPTS, because there sure aren't any good noun phrases that end with OPTS. Favorite entries: BLOOPER and BO-PEEP beating out corporate giants US STEEL and DUPONT.

Hmm, my third sub-3:00 completion of a New York Sun crossword this month—is it just me, or has Peter Gordon eased up the Sun's Monday puzzles? The Monday Sun was written by Larry Shearer (a debut publication?), and "Beginning With Z's" contains phrases or words whose two parts can each be preceded by BED (the last Across entry). E.g., SPRING ROLL evokes bedsprings and bedrolls, while CHECKMATE ponies up bed check and a bedmate.


What explains a Monday CrosSynergy puzzle that takes a lot longer to solve than the Times and Sun? Bob Klahn's byline, of course. Usually short rhyming or alliterative clues are ridiculously easy, like the stalwart STY clue, [Pig's digs], that's been used again and again. Klahn writes clues like [It may flank a frank] (that's a ROLL) and [Lapel label] (an ID TAG) that aren't the same old, same old, despite the surface resemblance to easy clues. He also uses the same word in two clues with different contexts—[Artsy gathering place] and [Gathering dust], 68- and 69-Across, may swirl together in your head and keep your brain from instantly recognizing the key word's meaning. Need I say that I like it when that happens?