January 13, 2008

Monday, 1/14

NYS 3:23
LAT 2:55
CS 2:48
NYT 2:31

I don't watch much football these days, but I caught the last few minutes of the Giants/Cowboys game this evening. Seeing the Cowboys lose is even more rewarding than watching the Yankees lose. The Cowboys are the only NFL team I've ever been able to summon up any antipathy for. It must've been that whole overplayed "America's Team" nonsense.

Robert Dillman had a better day than quarterback Tony Romo, with the Sunday-evening release of his Monday New York Times puzzle. The theme is [Good sign at/on a...], with END ROADWORK (hooray!), FREE KITTENS (uh, I'll pass), VACANCY (well, if it's the Bates Motel, that's actually not such a good sign to see), JUST MARRIED (mazel tov!), and PRIZE INSIDE a candy box. A candy box? Boxes of candy have prizes? I can't think of any. Cracker Jack and breakfast cereal, yes. The candy is the prize. Surely my readers know examples of candy with a prize inside and will share. I like the Japanese restaurant vibe with SUSHI and SAKE, not to mention PLUMS (which are used to make sweet plum wine) and a TEA SET. Slangy PLUNKS and WEENIE liven up matters. There's a [Despotic ruler] called a SATRAP, which was just a tangential subject at Rex's blog last Monday.

"Pushing the Envelope" is the subject in Mark Feldman's New York Sun crossword. A group of LETTERMEN is represented by its star players: actor TERENCE STAMP, writer NORMAN MAILER, and aviator WILEY POST. Highlights: GOOGLED and RUGRATS, along with the high-Scrabble-count letters throughout the grid (two Js, two Xs, a Z, a Q, a K). Just once, though, I'd love to see MAXIS clued as [Thin ___].


Thomas Schier's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Clean Slate," fills in the blanks with blank, or synonyms of blank—a BLANK EXPRESSION, WHITE SALE, EMPTY NEST, and CLEAR CONSCIENCE. One utterly unfamiliar name in the grid—children's author ELISA Bartone. Her Peppe the Lamplighter is a Caldecott Honor Book.

Doug Peterson's LA Times puzzle is a little aloof. I WANT TO BE ALONE unites a DETACHED GARAGE, COOL ONE'S HEELS, and REMOTE CONTROL. One wonders if the 10-letter answers have any connection: Do the COSA NOSTRA enjoy BOARD GAMES?