I know I'm sleepy, but the theme in Joe Krozel's New York Times crossword doesn't quite make sense to me. ON AGAIN, OFF AGAIN in the middle means that ON and OFF are repeated in the other theme entries, but with different structures? ON COMET, ON CUPID is balanced out by OFF-OFF-BROADWAY, but the ON_ON_ vs. OFFOFF_ format is throwing me off. Is there another layer I'm missing? The clues for two of the bottom sections of the grid just weren't making sense to my addled brain. [Ballpark figures] are FANS, [Modern writing] is (hello!) BLOG, [Chisels] is ROOKS, [Corner] is NOOK, [Company leaders: Abbr.] are SGTS (not CEOS or MGMT or MGRS). Yes, DNAS can be plural as [Genetic strands]. [MCI and others] means Roman-numeral years, or ANNI, and not phone companies. Quite a few long fill entries here, too, and their clues also didn't yield answers too quickly. Am feeling mentally very leaden tonight!
Case in point: After writing that paragraph, I tackled Tony Orbach's New York Sun puzzle, "Scoreboard Game," and it too is not quite making sense to me. Oh, wait. Okay. I see it now: Three-letter scoreboard abbreviations for baseball (?) teams. PHI for Philadelphia is added to lip-reads, making Prince PHILIP READS for a part. NYM, or the Mets, is added to pH balance, making NYMPH BALANCE. ATL for Atlanta finds its way into the bee's knees for THE BEATLES' KNEES. FLA for Florida joins a king cobra for FLAKING COBRA. And WSH for Washington interrupts a coed dorm to make COWSHED DORM. Relatively Scrabbly fill is a plus. Favorite clue: [Dr. in the hizzle?] for DRE.
I hear there's a good Karen Tracey "Weekend Warrior" on tap for tomorrow's Sun, but I dasn't try that one in this logy state!
Alan Olschwang's LA Times puzzle's theme is outlined in the first and last Across answers, MUSIC and SCALE. The theme entries are, in order, DOT RECORDS, MIA FARROW, SOLAR LAMP, and TILTED DOWN. These phrases are mostly lifeless (in my opinion), but I like their initial musical bits and the consistent structure the octet imposes on the crossword.
Patrick Blindauer's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Company Mergers," spotlights five phrases in which INC is hidden, with the IN ending the first word and C starting the second. Pretty straightforward business here.
December 05, 2007