Well! That was a long day. Ben and I spent the day at my sister's (swimming pool!) and didn't get home until nearly 9:00. Tomorrow is Ben's last day of school...from 8:00 to 9:30 a.m. Dang, I don't know if 8:05 to 9:25 is enough time for me to blog all those Friday puzzles. Not to mention all the other stuff I need to get done...and Father's Day weekend, and no school next week, and going to Minnesota...and, and, and. Aiee!
Patrick Berry's New York Times crossword has, like so many of his puzzles, a certain fresh je ne sais quoi. I'm feeling a little too sun-fried to write lucidly about it, but here goes: BELCH! Such a lovely way to open. That's [Shakespeare's Sir Toby ___]. My favorite clues and answers:
There are some other not-so-familiar names in this crossword. To wit:
Peter Gordon (a.k.a. Ogden Porter) delivers a themed Friday New York Sun puzzle in lieu of a "Weekend Warrior." Aw, I was hoping for the regularly scheduled themeless. The "Tony-Winning Fivesome" theme includes five names (four performers, one show title) that contain five vowels, one of each. It's a nice touch to include VOWEL and AIEOU as the first and last Across entries, but the theme does nothing for me. Heck, a theme of baseball players whose names include the five vowels might be more up my alley. The [Actor who won a Tony for "Bedroom Farce"] is MICHAEL GOUGH. Who? Oh! Alfred in the '89 Batman movie! He's 94 now.
Alrighty, I've got 40 minutes to solve/blog this morning. Go!
Will Johnston's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Be Afraid...Be Very Afraid," has an unusual theme. There are 12 Across theme answers, all of them the objects of phobias, 4 to 7 letters in length. For example, [Suriphobe's fear] is MICE, a [Brontophobe's fear] is THUNDER, and a [Kakorrhaphiophobe's fear] is FAILURE. Most of the phobias included aren't the commonly known ones, so the easy crossings really come in handy.
Dan Naddor's LA Times crossword sort of rebus-izes five people's names in a 16x15 grid. PETER GRAVES, for example, can be split up into [Caress + energy unit + wild parties = ?] or PET + ERG + RAVES. Fun theme game! It gave my brain a good workout. Lots of longish answers in the fill, and good clues—all around, a most enjoyable challenge.
In Bonnie Gentry and Vic Fleming's Chronicle of Higher Education puzzle, "Wright-Ins," they STASH AWAY ([Put aside]) four DRAMATISTs by hiding them within longer phrases. [Benin's capital] PORTO NOVO has Joe ORTON. George Bernard SHAW is inside STASH AWAY. Karel Čapek, author of crossworders' favorite robot drama, R.U.R., lurks within ESCAPE KEY. And MANAGING EDITORS hides...oh, there he is! William INGE. Good puzzle! I don't know anything about the [Nigerian city] ILESHA (also spelled ILESA, so maybe it will show up in another puzzle), but the E looked the most plausible for San STEFANO.
Harvey Estes' Wall Street Journal crossword, "Double-Entry Accounting," dishes up some Sunday-sized rebus action. The four longest Across entries and the two longest Downs contain a [TWO] rebus, with those letters also being used in the words that cross the rebus squares. The last Across theme entry threw me for a loop by including two rebus squares—the [Million-selling 1956 record for Don Rondo] (who??) is [TWO] DIFFEREN[T WO]RLDS. Good theme entries, good overall fill, good clues. I rather liked [Business, facetiously] for BEESWAX, particularly since the WSJ is a business-oriented newspaper.
Whew! I made it. Time to go!
June 12, 2008