Happy New Year! At this writing, there are two hours to go before 2008 unfurls its clumsy legs and takes its first baby steps, toddling roughshod over that fusty old 2007. At Casa Crossword Fiend, we're welcoming the new year by watching DVRed episodes of Dirty Jobs (just watched #56, in which Mike Rowe sweats from terror when handling rattlesnakes and alligators) and sipping Prosecco. I thought I'd had plenty of Prosecco for the evening, but then that Wiki link mentioned the Bellini, so my husband fetched the blender to puree some peaches. Ah, Bellinis and blogging.
The New York Sun is on vacation for the holiday (both Monday and Tuesday), but Friday brings us a special treat—a vowelless crossword by Frnk Lng (better known as Frank Longo). It's the sort of meaty challenge that I find at least 50% harder than the toughest themeless crosswords.
The Tuesday New York Times puzzle by Adam Perl has a FOUR-H Club theme. Now, the club itself has PDF guidelines for emblem and name usage that specify a numeral 4, hyphen, and capital H. That means the "FOUR-H" in the grid isn't kosher. (Look out, Will Shortz—the agriculturally inclined youth of America may come after you.) The theme entries are phrases that begin with the four H words—HEAD, HEART, HANDS, and HEALTH. Those four phrases are 15 letters apiece, so there's a total of 65 theme squares; pretty beefy for a Tuesday puzzle. Before I go, allow me to also grumble about TOWNE being clued as [Colonial settlement]; what, Robert Towne, the writer of Chinatown, isn't famous enough? And now, I go.
Ray Hamel's CrosSynergy puzzle is called "Nu Beginnings." Why? Because NU is inserted at the beginning of four phrases (de facto, clear title, thatch palm, T.S. Eliot) to make new opening words, and the resulting phrases are clued accordingly. One factual correction: the [Owner of the highest building in Chicago] has not been SEARS for almost two decades. Sears still has naming rights, but doesn't own the Sears Tower. (Also, the Sears Tower will be dwarfed in a few years by the Chicago Spire, which will become North America's tallest edifice.)
The theme entries in Robert Doll's LA Times puzzle include TRASH TALK, WASTE ENERGY, PICK OF THE LITTER, and CHINESE JUNK—tied together by the DIRTY MIND you need to spot the theme. The first two theme entries start with the detritus, while the second pair end with it. Good puzzle here.
December 31, 2007