Christmas Eve Eve! Where did the year go? And does someone else wish to volunteer to peel the potatoes for me Monday morning? Anyone?
Because the New York Sun doesn't publish on holidays, there's no Monday or Tuesday puzzle this week or next.
The Monday New York Times puzzle by Mark Sherwood was super-duper easy. I first clicked "done" at 2:16, which might well be the fastest I've finished a Times puzzle. Although the word "finished" isn't quite accurate, because I had a typo. The quartet of theme entries begin with words that can precede the word LINE (52-Down): PARTY ANIMAL, CREDIT REPORT, LIFE IN PRISON, and PICKUP TRUCK. It's a little splashy, what with the J and X in the top row, though the Scrabbly letters peter out after that until PICKUP TRUCK ponies up the K's. Pop culture permeates the grid: RAPPERS [Jay-Z and Timbaland], '80s cheese-rock band REO Speedwagon, dummy Mortimer SNERD, JAPAN's Pokemon connection, MARIO of Nintendo video game fame, Springsteen's BORN TO RUN, a singular X-MAN from the X-Men comics, Hans Christian ANDERSEN's fairy tales, reference to movie actor Ed Harris for EDS, '70s TV show CPO Sharkey, The Nutty PROFESSOR movie, and the "ROCKIN' Around the Christmas Tree" song.
Rich Norris's CrosSynergy puzzle's title is "Who Do We Appreciate?"—as in a "2, 4, 6, 8" cheer. It's not a new theme, but that's fine. Best entries: ARMY BRAT, PRECINCT (I like the sound of words that end with -inct), and SAM I AM. It's a fairly Scrabbly grid for a Monday, too.
Fred Jackson III's LA Times puzzle wonders, "Can I get a WITNESS?" 26-Down is WITNESS, and the four theme entries end with kinds of witnesses: MATERIAL, EYE-, KEY, and STAR. A smattering of crosswordese that isn't seen much any more shows up—TERN and STEN in particular. (They've been used two and three times apiece in 2007's NYT puzzles, Cruciverb tells me.) You know the Simon & Garfunkel song, "Sounds of Silence"? "Hello, etui, my old friend. I've come to solve with you again."
December 23, 2007