A few days ago, Rick from the What in the Cornbread Hell blog posted his analogy between stone carving and crosswords. (Sneak preview: The Saturday Times puzzle is fine marble.) Rick may cast mild aspersions on Monday and Tuesday puzzles, but this week's Tuesday Sun puzzle has some clues that are as smooth and hard as marble.
At first I thought Alan Arbesfeld's New York Sun puzzle, "Tripling," had a theme in which each long entry contains GIN twice—but then when all was said (well, not aloud) and done, I saw that it was triple-ING, or ING appearing three times in a row, as in BRING IN GINGRICH. That the constructor compiled four 15-letter phrases that fit this theme is impressive, but I was more pleased with the clues. These four clues were absolutely terrific: [Mac and cheese lead-in] for BIG (Big Mac, big cheese, great clue!); [Mobile home?] for a baby's CRIB; [Hit Fox series since 2000] for CSI, presumably referring to CSI actress Jorja Fox rather than the Fox network, since it's a CBS series; and [Close up on the silver screen] for GLENN Close, with a Saturday-trickery vibe to them. And it's only Tuesday! I don't know what we did to deserve such a treat so early in the week. I also liked [Words before and after "what"] for IT IS (two takes on "it is what it is" here and also here); [Affirmed, e.g.] for a race HORSE; and [Thing purchased before having a ball] for a ball GOWN. Fill highlights: LAVERNE from Laverne and Shirley, VIRAGOS, SUNBURN, and BLURB.
Linda Schechet Tucker's New York Times crossword has an HERB GARDEN theme, with SAGE ADVICE, BASIL RATHBONE, and MINT CONDITION. Plenty of longer fill entries, too. Why don't I know ROGER BACON? At least I do know the OUTER EAR and ASK AROUND and "BOY, OH BOY." There are also a fair amount of those mainly-known-to-crossworders words, like RIANT ([Laughing]); Napoleon's [Isle of exile], ELBA; ADLAI Stevenson; and ENTR'acte. But a savory theme!
Ben Tausig pulls double duty this week with both the Onion A.V. Club crossword and his regular Ink Well/Chicago Reader puzzle. It took me far too long to suss out the theme in the Onion puzzle: AN ENDLESS SUMMER hints that END has been removed from each of four theme phrases. BOOST was clued as [Nutritional beverage recently sued for causing priapism]; huh, I hadn't heard about that. Zippy entries: the I.T. GUY, tha SHIZNIT, "SPARE ME."
Ben's Chicago Reader crossword is "Giants of the Interstate"—those crazy oversized replicas of things like an OFFICE CHAIR. Raise your hand if you didn;t know that CSS is a [Language used with HTML].
Mel Rosen's CrosSynergy puzzle's easy. "Don't Do That Any More" contains four theme entries that start with words that can follow STOP. I have never heard the term stop street, though.
Jim Holland's LA Times crossword features four verb phrases in which the verb can also mean a noun that's an item of clothing: SLACKS OFF ON, e.g. Fill I liked: COCKSURE, GO TO SEED, CAJUN, KIND OF, LIE LOW.
August 27, 2007