(updated at 11:20 a.m. Wednesday)
In case you like to solve the New York Sun crossword on your computer and you're wondering what the terrifically long clue for 47-Across says, it's [With 23-Down, movie with a song about a great swami in delicate health who has toughened feet and chronic bad breath? (See 1-, 6-, 18-, 24-, 57-, and 65-Across)]. And look! A serial comma! Huzzah.
The New York Times crossword halts the harder-than-expected trend from Monday and Tuesday with a kinda-easy-for-Wednesday puzzle by Patrick Merrell. The theme is two-word names of sports in which the first word is where the sport's played: TABLE TENNIS (Will Shortz's non-puzzle hobby, as it happens), ARENA FOOTBALL, and FIELD HOCKEY. It's rather small as themes go, which leaves plenty of room for other goodies. Such as KOOL-AID MAN, clued a bit misleadingly as [Pitcher who says "Oh yeaahh!"], making me think the answer was some baseball player. Instead, it's a commercial spokescharacter, as seen in this '70s commercial. Joining KOOL-AID MAN in childhood nostalgia are two answers it intersects, BUBBLE GUM and TRIKE. The upper left and lower right corners of the grid have open expanses of 5- and 6-letter words. THE MOB, PSHAW, and the Scrabbly QUAIL are other fill highlights. Favorite clues: the KOOL-AID MAN one, [50 Cent piece] for RAP, [Say "uncle"] for GIVE, and [Some hikers' targets, for short] for QBS. Bonus goodwill points for evoking the Simpsons character Duffman (spokesman for Duff Beer), whose own "Oh yeah!" I always think of when I hear the Kool-Aid Man's version.
Matt Ginsberg's Sun crossword, "An Atrocious Pun," answers that clue with MARY / POPPINS and the string of words, SUPER, CALLUSED, FRAGILE, MYSTIC, HEXED BY, HALITOSIS—as billed, an atrocious pun on Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. They don't fit into the grid in symmetrical chunks, but editor Peter Gordon can be flexible about symmetry. (Speaking of which: Still waiting for the first of the promised asymmetrical themeless Sun puzzles. Soon, maybe?) Highlights: Not the pun theme! Rather, assorted clues and answers, such as ETYMA, plural of etymon (What's the etymology of etymon? Comes from the Greek for the true sense of a word.); THREE-PEAT; NOT UP TO IT; [One of the singers of "Can You Feel the Love Tonight"] for NALA (a cartoon lion in The Lion King); [Part of some cages] for RIB; [It might be out on a limb] for TREEHOUSE; YORKIE; [Like hell?] for DANTEAN; and all those 7- to 9-letter fill entries (17 of 'em!).
In his CrosSynergy puzzle, Martin Ashwood-Smith combines a LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION theme with stacked 9-letter entries in two corners. The LA Times puzzle by Timothy Meaker has theme entries that could be clues for the sound-alike clues, [RAIN], [REIN], and [REIGN]. Am I the only one who looks at TIME ON THE THRONE and thinks of this sort of throne rather than this kind?
July 10, 2007