October 15, 2007

Tuesday, 10/16

NYS 5:05
CS 3:27
NYT 3:07
LAT 2:47
Tausig, Onion: See Wednesday post

See belowWordplay is on PBS Tuesday night!

I'm not sure if Justin Smith's New York Sun crossword marks his published-puzzle debut—if so, congrats! "P.C. Language" swaps some keyboard key abbreviations for the words they stand for. Thus, the ESC key abbreviates escape in ESC FROM NEW YORK, and there are also ALT REALITY GAMES (alternate reality games may be an "in the language" phrase, but it's not something I ever talk or read about) and CTRL EXPERIMENT. Control experiment is in the dictionary, but sounds off to me because the doctors whose writing I edit are always going on about randomized controlled trials (a case of the critic knowing too much to properly appreciate the work of art). Anyway—new name for me in this one, [Argentine president Néstor] KIRCHNER. Love the LEAD PIPE from the board game, Clue. Like the non-S plural of PAPYRI. Five X's in the fill! I learned about the GOLEM in Prague. (If you visit Prague, don't miss the sights in the Jewish Quarter, Josefov. Fascinating, moving.) Is it just me and the pinot grigio, or was this puzzle surprisingly tough for a Tuesday?

The New York Times crossword is credited to Michael Kaplan. Another debut, perhaps? If so, congrats! The theme entries include an embedded DATE, as alluded to by the central answer, DATES. The best of the four is UP AND AT 'EM, which is a zippy colloquialism. I also like the [Greedy monarch], MIDAS—my dad worked at Midas headquarters, and I still have a beach towel depicting exhaust pipes and a muffler, reading "Our work is exhausting." (What? Do you have any beach towels that say something more clever than that?) And outside of those entries, I am far too sleepy to comment. Good night, all!


Wow, I hit the sack, lights out, by 10:10 last night. Uncommonly early for me.

Patrick Blindauer's CrosSynergy crossword, "For Ezra," has three 15-letter entries crossed by another 11-letter entry, all clued as [Pound]. I just learned from Charles Hodgson's Podictionary entry for today that polysemy is the capacity for a word to have multiple meanings, but that in some cases, words that are spelled the same are merely homonyms because they've got different roots. The four meanings of pound here reflect three different etymologies—the unit of measure and the currency share a root. Patrick enlivens the fill with quartets of 7- and 9-letter entries and a pair of 11s (highlights: AVENUE Q, PEACE SIGN, BETTY RUBBLE. Despite the impressive structure of this puzzle, with the interlocked theme entries and all the long fill, my favorite part was AW, C'MON, clued as ["Pretty please?!"]. That WCM string in the middle looks so implausible, and yet the phrase is part of every kid's vocabulary.

Curtis Yee's LA Times puzzle is also impressive. The starts of CARD-CARRYING, SCHOOL OF THOUGHT, and HEAD FOR THE HILLS can precede both ROOM AND BOARD. There's a cardroom for poker and corrugated cardboard; a school room and the school board; headroom (Max or otherwise) and a bed headboard. The doubling up is carried through to a slew of paired entries (mostly not explicitly linked by cross-reference clues). Scarlett O'HARA is linked to RHETT Butler. KIA and ACURA cars show up. The Queen and prime minister show up—Queen LATIFAH, that is, and Churchill's famed V-SIGN. HERB and FENNEL (inadvertently clued as [Aromatic herb] rather than, say, [Pizza sauce flavoring I can't stand]). And then there's RIC Ocasek of The Cars crossing ORRS, clued as [NHL's Bobby et al.], which technically includes Benjamin Orr of the The Cars in the "et al."