February 05, 2008

Wednesday, 2/6

NYS 4:20
LAT 3:44
NYT 3:20
CS 2:56
Forget Super Tuesday—we're moving on to Wacky Wednesday! Yes, Wednesday, February 6, the day my Merv Griffin's Crosswords appearance is scheduled. My mother's coming over to watch the show, so I won't be blogging about it right after it's on. Maybe a day or two later, I will share the sordid tales. If you haven't seen the show yet, be forewarned: The ending is given away in the comments.

Tuesday afternoon, I watched a show featuring five other people from my taping day. Doug, who works with my cousin, acquitted himself quite well, racking up an impressive amount of money in the first round. Alas, spoiler musical chairs cost him the podium. Jackie, whom I hadn't chatted with, lost the lousy podium and worked her way back up to the loaded podium and won! She was so polished in the green room, I figured she was a busy professional of some sort. I learned on TV that she's got three kids under the age of 5! The lack of sleep for five years hasn't dimmed her intellect. I had also chatted with Barbara, and was disappointed that she didn't get many chances to shine. I don't remember the other two contestants—in a green room with 25 people, alas, you can't get to know everyone.

Larry Shearer's New York Times crossword puzzle includes FISH, the last Across answer, as a hint to the theme. As the clue spells it out, it's a [three-word hint], as in "F is H": Each theme entry begins with an F-word changed to an H-word. Follow suit, firing squads, feed the kitty, and fairy tales become a HOLLOW SUIT ([Exec with no ideas?]), HIRING SQUADS, HEED THE KITTY ([First rule of lion taming?]), and HAIRY TALES. Lively fill includes the hopscotch SIDEWALK, "TOP THIS," ECSTASY and BLISS (both clued as a [Cloud-nine state]), and the [Starbucks size] GRANDE. ALIA looks like lousy fill, but clued as [Suffix with Saturn], it evokes Saturnalia—who doesn't like the occasional reversal of the social order?

In Gary Steinmehl's New York Sun puzzle, the "3/4 Turn" title indicates that the third and fourth letters of the five theme entries are swapped. Polo pony and hide-a-bed become a swimming POOL PONY and HIED ABED—the clue for the latter is [Went quickly while lying on a mattress?], and my eyebrow is arched. To [Perform "Aquarius"?] is to SING OF THE ZODIAC (sign). Busy signals and beta-blocker also get the theme treatment. Favorite clues: [Woman famous for channeling her energy?] for Gertrude EDERLE, the woman who swam the English Channel in 1926; [Master, e.g.: Abbr.] for ORIG (as in master recordings); [e, e.g.] for CONSTANT; [Chuffed, this side of the Atlantic] for GLAD; and [Hamburger helper word?] for the German BITTE. Top fill: LE DUC THO, NURSE'S AIDE, BINOCULARS.


Patrick Jordan's CrosSynergy puzzle, "What's the Catch?', puts the spotlight on things that can be caught: a FISH (STORY), a PLANE (GEOMETRY), a BALL (LIGHTNING), and a COLD (CREAM). The only one of those four I've caught lately is a cold, unfortunately.

Elizabeth Long's LA Times crossword has an unusual theme. All three theme entries are things a speaker might say if they're getting cut off because they've rattled on for too long. The clues are truncated, as are the answers—I'M ALMOST FINISHE-, JUST ONE MORE THIN-, and STOP CUTTING ME OF-. I liked this theme.