Before moving along to the Wednesday crosswords, let me direct your attention to the sidebar. Under "Amazon links," you'll find a list of book titles. I've added four puzzle books besides How to Conquer [etc.]—we have the Terribly Twisted book by Henry Hook that I recently reviewed; two wee coffee cup–shaped Sit/Sip & Solve books of hard crosswords, one by Byron Walden that I enjoyed thoroughly and reviewed ages ago and one by Matt Gaffney that I'm in the midst of and having fun with; and Carnal Knowledge, an etymology/trivia book about the words for the parts of the human body by Charles Hodgson, the guy with the podictionary.com etymological podcast site. If you like Fridayish and Saturdayish challenging puzzles, check out those puzzle books, and if you get a kick out of etymology, try the last book.
The first theme entry I got in Alan Arbesfeld's New York Sun puzzle, "Greetings From the Front," was HAIKU WAIT, or HAI KUWAIT, which sounds like, "Hi, Kuwait." (The "hai" part puts me in mind of LOLcats who say "oh hai," and that makes me happy.) The other theme entries cleaved into two pieces and squished the first piece up against another "hi" homophone to make a new two-syllable entity. Jack Lord giveth the HIJACK LORD; permissive, a HYPER MISSIVE; a HoJo, HEIGH-HO, JO; ball club, HIGHBALL CLUB; and Denmark, Eric HEIDEN MARK. Hey, I like this theme. Well executed! In the fill, I couldn't place ["Magnet and Steel" singer Walter] EGAN for a while—and then I remembered how much I liked the song (How handy is YouTube? You get to hear the song and see the au courant satin jacket) back in '78. Other favorite clues: [Banks, familiarly] for Ernie Banks, a.k.a. MR CUB; [Companion of a certain fat cat] for ODIE, because the clue tried to keep me from thinking of that odious Garfield as long as it could; and [Light up?] for HALO. Can someone explain how the clue for ALIBI works? I understand the "out" portion of [Stand out?] but not the "stand" bit.
The New York Times crossword's by Patrick Blindauer. The theme is PICK-UP LINES, but not the way you think of them ("Hey, good-lookin', what you got cookin'?"). The fictional cop who's picked up the bad guys says "BOOK 'EM, DANNO." The driver picking up a hitchhiker asks, "NEED A LIFT?" Whoever picked up the phone first hollers, "IT'S FOR YOU." Those abysmal Chevy pickup truck commercials used that abysmal Bob Seger song, "LIKE A ROCK." The fill's livened up by a wealth of 6- and 7-letter answers. Favorite clues: [Father figure?] for PRIEST; [Bugs on a highway] for VWS (not "smudges on the windshield"); and [Hardly a celebrity] for UNKNOWN. I learned that the British have the slang term SLAP-UP, meaning [Top-notch, to a Brit]. That's a bang-up piece of information, isn't it? And have you been wondering what TINA [Yothers of "Family Ties"] has been up to lately? Reality TV and shows like The View, that's what.
Randolph Ross's CrosSynergy crossword, "Yes, Deer," has a quartet of theme entries that start, end, or start and end with words that mean "deer" in other contexts: the TV show HART TO HART, STAG PARTIES, MEET JOHN DOE, and FIFTY BUCKS.
The LA Times puzzle by David Cromer has a theme of the ELEMENTS OF STYLE, redefining "style" from its usage connotations to high style, with accoutrements like a STRETCH LIMO and PRIVATE JET.
August 21, 2007