September 24, 2007

Tuesday, 9/25

Tausig 4:50
Onion 4:36
NYS 3:39
LAT 2:58
NYT 2:46
CS 2:42

Dave Sullivan (a.k.a. Evad) passed along a link to the Boston Globe story about a marriage proposal lurking in the theme of Sunday's puzzle. Not the crossword available in Across Lite last weekend—one we non-Bostonians will see in a few weeks. Or you can print it out now if you can't wait that long. Cute story!

The theme in Raymond Hamel's New York Sun crosswords hits smack-dab in the middle of my pop-culture sweet spot: late '70s to early '80s TV and music. In this case, it's the TV show THREE'S COMPANY and a trio of theme phrases ending with words that are also the last names of the show's wacky trio. The fictional Jack Tripper, Chrissy Snow, and Janet Wood shared an apartment, and DAY TRIPPER, DRIVEN SNOW, and PETRIFIED WOOD share a crossword. Who remembered Janet's last name? Anyone? (Not me.) Ahh, pop culture. Great fill around the theme, too—I KNEW IT, DIM SUM, BOYCOTTED, and more. Best Roman numeral clue in ages: [Half of DCXX]. The answer's not 305 at all, but rather, the letters called EXES.

Randall Hartman's New York Times puzzle seemed a little easier than Monday's. The theme is food-related transportation: the APPLE CART and BANANA BOAT, the TURNIP TRUCK I surely did not fall off of, and the gross combo of MEAT WAGON (slang for ambulance) and GRAVY TRAIN. (Not a fan of gravy...or meat.) I like how the theme entries are all clued with reference to their colloquial usage. Favorite inedible bits: ["Phooey!"] for DANG IT (I first put in DARN IT, which left the BIG TEN looking like BINTEN), and [Mingle (with)] for RUB ELBOWS.


Don Gagliardo's LA Times puzzle runs BLANKETY-BLANK (as in "no-good so-and-so") down the middle with three other (blank)ETY-(blank)s crossing it: a "high MUCKETY-MUCK," YAKETY-YAK, and BUMPETY-BUMP. The latter is clued as [Sound of a smitten heart], but I think it goes better with [Sound of a cratered road]. Don't hearts go "pit-a-pat" rather than "bumpety-bump"? Good puzzle, anyway.

The theme in Martin Ashwood-Smith's CrosSynergy was a little hard to tease out at first. "Movie Ratings" includes three movie titles that start with GOOD, BETTER, and BEST—except the first movie's first word is GOODBYE, so that gave me pause. Sometimes solvers must provide their own cheesy pop-culture references. [Welcoming gesture] is OPEN ARMS...which is also a Journey song from 1982. Here's a concert clip—bad sound, bad picture, but you can still make out the super-tight jeans the whole band is wearing with their odd shirts.

And again:

Matt Gaffney's Onion A.V. Club puzzle is a barrel of fun. The theme entries are pairs of websites in which the first one has become a verb. You can, for example, GOOGLE WIKIPEDIA or MAPQUEST AMAZON corporate headquarters. Fresh theme, and it gets some unusual letter combos into the puzzle. This crossword is quite conversational, too—WOULDJA give me a BLEEPIN' break? I think I DID OK ON the exam, but it's been a LONG DAY, and I'm starving 'cause I ATE LESS for breakfast today. New clue for the old slang interjection, NERTS: [Card game alternately known as "pounce"]. Never heard of the card game, but appreciate the arrival of a new NERTS clue on the scene.

Ben Tausig's Ink Well/Chicago Reader crossword, "Short Cuts," gives the theme entries the CDB treatment, only signals it with [in a txt msg?]. PSYCHIC NRG = energy, XQZ MOI = excusé, ME WINNERS = Emmy, NE TIME = any, PUBLIC NME = enemy, and SA QUESTION - essay. Highlights: That XQZ string in one of the theme entries (with decent crossing words in that section), plus several other Scrabbly outposts; slangy 'TUDE and SPEX and TPING (toilet-papering); and the musical O-TOWN and P-FUNK. Unfamiliiar name: David WAIN, actor in The State.