May 25, 2008

Monday, 5/26

CS 2:55
LAT 2:49
NYT 2:36

The New York Sun doesn't publish on holidays, so I assume that there won't be a Monday puzzle this week.

In his post on Liz Gorski's Sunday New York Times puzzle, Rex Parker wrote "Symmetry is great and all, but I think the puzzle should be more willing than it normally is to include the odd asymmetrical element, especially if the rest of the puzzle works so fantastically well." Here it is a day later, and the Monday New York Times crossword by Mark Sherwood also includes an unpaired, uncentered theme element that isn't in the customary bottom row or lower right-hand corner where unifying entries are usually placed, owing to that unifying answer being longer than usual. DENTISTS are [Experts with the ends of] the theme entries: KNEE BRACES are [Strap-on leg supports], covering orthodontics. Restorative and prosthetic dentistry chime in with PIE FILLING, or [Mincemeat, e.g.]; TRIPLE CROWN, or [Feat for Secretariat]; and a BLASTING CAP, clued as [It sets things off]. There are a few noted Chicagoans in the grid: First off, there's BOZO the [Classic clown]. And then there are both late [Film critic Gene] SISKEL and his longtime partner Roger EBERT, who lost his voice to surgical complications but is still writing his Pulitzer-winning movie reviews. The NYT puzzle keeps tossing Toots Shor at us, but this time the [Old Big Apple restaurateur] is SARDI. Lots of names in this puzzle—we also have Princess ANNE, NOAH from the Bible, Michelangelo's DAVID (behold what happens when David doesn't work out), JONI Mitchell, ZANE Grey, OREL Hershiser, fictional HEIDI, Art TATUM (I would've gone with TATUM O'Neal, given the preponderance of male names in the grid), and golfer ZACH Johnson. By the way, if you're like me and you've sometimes had a tough time distinguishing the EBRO River from the Arno (one's in Spain, one's in Italy), remember that the Ebro may well be what the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) was named after. Vowels and a B and R? Check. They go together.


Patrick Jordan's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Toying With Emotions," takes three phrases that begin with emotions and anagrams the emotion into a different word. [Cab rider's concern?] is FARE FACTOR (fear), but I'm not sure how a "fare factor" would figure into things. When I take a taxi, I pay attention to the fare, but what is this unnamed "factor"? Anger management becomes RANGE MANAGEMENT, or [Grazing land supervision?]. And a love affair skews to the rodents with VOLE AFFAIR, a [Gathering of garden pests?]. Scrabbly fill includes KHARTOUM, INXS, JEAN ARP, and ZEALOTS.

Charles Slack's LA Times crossword serves up a chilly dish of Neapolitan ice cream—three sweet theme entries that begin with VANILLA (YOGURT), CHOCOLATE (MOUSSE), and STRAWBERRY (JAM). Yum, chocolate! I'm not sure how accurate the clue [Girls' rec. center] is for the YWCA. The YWCA isn't just a girly version of the YMCA—the organization is dedicated more towards addressing women's economic empowerment, racial justice, domestic violence, and child care than physical fitness.