Lynn Lempel's New York Times puzzle is well suited for appearing in a newspaper, as the contents of the PAPER make up the theme. A newspaper comprises multiple instances of the following items: (FIFTH) COLUMN, (TOILET) ARTICLE, (SCARLET) LETTER, and (BEST) PICTURE. Favorite clues and entries: ["Jeepers!"] for CRIPES; [Searched] for TROLLED (though I more often see the internet usage of the latter); the LOCH [___ Ness monster], because my kid was captivated by the preview for The Water Horse, a fantasy movie about Nessie that opens on Christmas Day; UNCOOL sitting atop the freshman BEANIE hat; [One who'll easily lend money for a hard-luck story] for SOFT TOUCH; Charlton HESTON (I liked him in the '7os disaster flick, Earthquake); [It gets a paddling] for a CANOE; and [Fella] for BUB.
Peter A. Collins' New York Sun puzzle is called "What Goes Around..." and it comes FULL CIRCLE in two senses. That's the last theme entry, and it aptly describes how the theme goes: Each two-word theme entry links to the ones before and after it. Thus, an athlete might keep her GAME BALL in her trophy case, and that BALL begins BALL ONE, and that ONE begins the next entry, ONE HALF. The first one starts with CIRCLE, which the final one ends with. Best clues: [Cross checks, maybe?] hints at checks given to a joint with crosses on the wall, or TITHES; ["Telephone Line" group] for ELO (whose "Don't Bring Me Down" is my obnoxious cell-phone ringtone); insane [Old biscuit brand], UNEEDA (from the earliest Nabisco company); [Marty of "Young Frankenstein"] for FELDMAN (thinking back fondly on the parody song, "Marty Feldman Eyes," which is mentioned in this parody encyclopedia entry); and ["The Joy of ___" (Gyles Brandreth book about words)] for LEX.
Doug Peterson's LA Times puzzle lets you decide how to pay with JUNE CARTER CASH BACKGROUND CHECK, and PICKETT'S CHARGE. I hadn't heard of Pickett's Charge, the [Ill-fated Civil War assault at Gettysburg] in which the Confederacy was ill-fated. Nice batch of 8-letter fill entries: LUNA MOTH, CAVALIER, KEEP CALM, and DIET COLA.
Another Lynn Lempel byline for today's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Football Follies." The theme is puns on NFL team members. You've got some BALTIMORE RAVING (Raven), a MIAMI DAUPHIN (Dolphin), an OAKLAND RATER (Raider), and a GREEN BAY PACKARD (Packer). Since a RAVING doesn't sound like a person at all, I tried to come up with an alternate 15-letter entry for this theme, and couldn't think of one. But hey, Green Bay won yesterday! Note to cluers: If the only current host of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire is Meredith Vieira, shouldn't the [Game show host for millionaire wannabes] clue for PHILBIN specify "former" or "first"?
November 18, 2007