Brendan Emmett Quigley's New York Sun "Weekend Warrior" includes the full names of five people (one fictional) in the grid—the Scrabblerific NIKKI SIXX ([Bassist on the two "Girls, Girls, Girls"] by Mötley Crüe; birth name Frank Ferrana), the crosswordese-first-named ANA ALICIA (["Falcon Crest" actress]; birth name Ana Alicia Ortiz), JANGO FETT ([Bounty hunter in "Attack of the Clones," one of the Star Wars flicks), the crossword-friendly ANNE MEARA (["Archie Bunker's Place costar], wife of Jerry Stiller and mother of Ben Stiller), and two-part crosswordese ETTA KETT ([Old comics girl whose boyfriend was Wingey]). Favorite clues:
Speaking of Mister X, Natan Last's New York Times crossword has two full names that end with an X: JIMI HENDRIX, [Follower of Sha Na Na at Woodstock], and CHICO MARX, [Old comedian known for his unique piano-playing style]. The least dictionarified entries in the grid are "CAN I TRY SOME?", [Question while eying someone else's plate], and D-TEN, [Call in the game Battleship]. My favorite entries:
LOKI, the [Shape-shifting giant of myth], is sometimes called a trickster—but the [Playful trickster] in this crossword is a PIXIE
Clues that may vex:
James Sajdak's LA Times crossword shifts a vowel sound in each theme entry, from a long E to a short I, along the lines of really getting pronounced as rilly. [Sass from a preacher?] is LIP OF FAITH. [Classroom clamor] is DIN OF EDUCATION. [Pickle to die for?] is DILL OF A LIFETIME. [Klutzy pageant entrant?] is SLIPPING BEAUTY. And [Treatment using spirits?] is GIN THERAPY; this is especially popular among fans of the traditional, non-fruit-flavored martini. Did you know [Minnie Mouse's dog] was named FIFI? Or that OPEL is an [Automaker with a lightning bolt logo]? WAX POETIC, clued as [Speak in a rhythmic and flowery way], is an especially nice entry.
Tom Heilman's Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, "Philosophertherance," provides furtherance of philosophers' names. Two of the theme entries are 16 letters long, forcing a 15x16 grid. [Belief that I think, therefore I can do whatever I want?] is a mashup of René Descartes and carte blanche: DESCARTES BLANCHE. [Place to relax while reading "The Social Contract"?] is a ROUSSEAUFABED (Jean-Jacques Rousseau, sofabed). If you don't watch Lost, you may not know that there are characters named Rousseau and Locke. Voltaire and a tearsheet combine into VOLTAIRE SHEET, [Pamphlet that claims this is the best of all possible worlds?]. It was just last week that I learned that Voltaire snagged that optimistic idea from Leibniz and gave it to his character, Dr. Pangloss. Søren Kierkegaard and gardening become KIERKEGAARDENING, [Growing plants by means of a leap of faith?].
Matt Jones's Jonesin' puzzle, "Out With the Old," has a theme. Yes, it does. And I began this paragraph without knowing what it was, but now I see it. Each theme entry includes the letter string NEW, split across word breaks: there's GENE WILDER, for example, and NINE WEST shoes, along with four other phrases. Ambitious grid, with a dozen 7-letter entries in the fill.
Randall Hartman's CrosSynergy crossword, "Let On," puts a LET on the end of each theme entry's base phrase. "Put it on my tab" becomes a [Comment from Moses to God?], PUT IT ON MY TABLET. Favorite fill: HANG TEN, LAB RAT, HOT TUBS.
In the Wall Street Journal, Tracey Snyder's crossword has the memo-ese title "In Re." Each theme entry has an RE put into it. My favorites are [Wave to Billy?] for GREET ONE'S GOAT (get one's goat), [Special Forces order when greeting a lady?] for ALL BERETS ARE OFF (bets), and [Enjoy "The Devil Wears Prada"?] for WATCH ONE'S STREEP (step). I don't remember seeing this Brian ENO clue before: ["My Squelchy Life" musician]; you can scroll down here to read the lyrics. The [Mexican confection] PANOCHA is, Wikipedia says, a New Mexico and southern Colorado pudding as well as a slang term for vulva.
May 29, 2008