Anyone else laugh out loud while solving Timothy Powell's New York Times puzzle? First I had a typo in 2-Down, so the second I in ELIIU was throwing me off at 20-Across, [Have ___ in one's head]. A-HOLE! Hah. Actually, it's a 2-word partial, A HOLE, and not a hyphenated curtailment of a swear word, but still. The Beavis & Butthead in me were both amused. So. The rest of the puzzle. The theme was things that can be a BORE, BOAR, BOER, or BOHR. How often does a TIRESOME WINDBAG share space with a TUSKED WARTHOG, a CAPE AFRIKANER, and a DANISH PHYSICIST? This is definitely an oddball quartet of answers, and they've got a certain zing to them even though this type of theme usually leaves me yawning. Other fill I liked: RAN SHORT, NO BIG DEAL, SNOOZE and ZEROS with their Zs, and PROMPTS with all those consonants. Favorite clue: [Person performing an exorcism] for PRIEST. (I'm not sure if Bill Donohue would like that clue or deplore it.) Least Tuesday-friendly clue: [Meyerbeer's "___ Huguenots"]. I correctly guessed LES, but huh? Wikipedia to the rescue: The implausibly named Giacomo Meyerbeer was a German opera composer (changed his name from Jacob Beer), and Les Huguenots was one of the operas he composed.
Edward Alch's New York Sun crossword combines hardcore punning and the concept of women as "Gold Diggers." The theme entries have ginormous clues (I paused the Across Lite timer, reoriented the puzzle window so I could see the 17-Across and 48-Across clues in their entirety, jotted those clues down on paper, and then continued—overlong clues and Across Lite don't mix well) signaling the solver to combine a famous woman's first name with a series of men's last names, all in service of portraying the women as gold diggers. IVANA MANN SORKIN BAYH MOHR HOLMES = I want a man so I can buy more homes. ANITA SAFIRE ORR GARNETT NICKLAUS = I need a sapphire or garnet necklace. Feh. In the non-theme fill, ULNA is clued with [Holes are drilled in it during Tommy John surgery]. I'd never heard of Tommy John surgery until a few days ago, when I read about it in Nancy Friedman's Away With Words post about sports eponyms.
Ray Hamel's LA Times crossword packs in a lot of theme squares in the NO INTERRUPTIONS theme: Four other theme entries begin with words that mean "without interruption," and there are three 15s and a pair of 13s. k.d. lang's song, CONSTANT CRAVING, and a SUSTAINED NOTE skew musical, while PERPETUAL MOTION and a NONSTOP FLIGHT are more kinetic.
Mel Rosen's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Journalism Class," asks a lot of questions. First, there's Kojak's "WHO LOVES YA, baby?" Bugs Bunny says "WHAT'S UP, DOC?" And regular folks ask "WHERE WERE WE?" and "WHY ME?" and "WHEN DO WE EAT?"
Tyler Hinman's Onion A.V. Club crossword presents a trio of HOSTILE TAKEOVERs in which one name in a phrase is replaced by its bitterest enemy. The real McCoy tussles with the Hatfield-McCoy feud, which gives us singer Juliana Hatfield as THE REAL HATFIELD. The Jets vs. the Sharks in West Side Story + "jumps the shark" = JUMPS THE JET. And Latin Grammy Award winner Daddy Yankee goes baseball and becomes DADDY RED SOX, a [Fenway Park patriarch?]. My favorite clues aside from the theme action: [If you're fair, it's hard to get one] for TAN; [Jesus, or Kyle from "South Park"] for JEW; [Agonizing thing to pass] for a kidney STONE; and [Ominous place to trick-or-treat] for ELM ST. Rockin' entries: CRACK UP, MCGWIRE, the inescapable WAMU bank, BAGPIPER, and YEAH SURE.
Ben Tausig's Chicago Reader/Ink Well puzzle, "Double Green," offers an 11-part theme. There are five two-word theme entries in which each word can combine with MONEY to make a new phrase. Thus, NEW BLOOD gets monetized into new money and blood money. Cluing highlights: [TV portmanteau] for SITCOM; [Certain cleansing] for ENEMA (!); [Temporary solutions] for BANDAIDS; [Alex Rodriguez, pejoratively] for MR APRIL; [Starr report subject] for ORAL SEX; and ["The Simpsons" character Hans ___] MOLEMAN.
October 08, 2007