July 21, 2008

Boston Globe backlog, part 1

6/22 BG 9:30
6/29 BG 8:34

Henry Hook's "Identity Theft," dated June 22, jettisons an ID from various phrases to generate the eight theme entries. Joan of Arc's epithet, Maid of Orleans, becomes MA OF ORLEANS, or [Mere?]. My eyeballs wanted MAO FOR something. An [Exciting dance?] is a MERRY WOW (Widow) WALTZ. The final theme entry, [1979 Super Bowl?], contains numerals: FRAY (Friday) THE 13TH. That 1 is an I in the crossing, while the 3 is part of BOWL A 3OO, where the zeroes are portrayed by the letter O. I like surprises in a crossword, but that's a bit much in the way of 1/I, 0/O confusion. I enjoyed seeing TOONCES, [SNL's "Driving Cat"], in the fill. Less fun were these three entries: NIZER, or [Attorney Louis]; LT COM, or [Coast Guard rank (abbr.)] (the Coast Guard seems to prefer the abbreviation LCDR, and I'm not clear on where LT COM came from); and MOLNAR, or ["Liliom" playwright]—I leaned heavily on the crossings for all three.

Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon's "Logic Problem," dated June 29, adapts a proof by Raymond SMULLYAN (51-Across), from the book WHAT IS THE NAME OF / THIS BOOK. Two parts are repeated in the quip: (1) NOTHING AT ALL IS BETTER (2) THAN ETERNAL HAPPINESS. (3) A HAM SANDWICH IS BETTER (4) THAN NOTHING. THEREFORE (5) A HAM SANDWICH IS BETTER (6) THAN ETERNAL HAPPINESS. I disagree. Make it a peanut butter sandwich and I could go for that. I'm not wild about quip and quote themes in general, but the name-heavy fill helped redeem this one. SOLEDAD O'Brien, SHAQ O'Neal, SOREN Kierkegaard, LONI Anderson, LBJ, TITIAN, ELIJAH Wood, SALADIN, Henry MOORE, Devon AOKI, OMAR Vizquel, Floyd LANDIS, Lindsay LOHAN, the OSMONDS, Sammy SOSA, OSCAR Madison, NOAH Webster, MOBY, Meriwether LEWIS, and Jim THOME—that is kind of a lot of names, isn't it? It's not many more than in Hook's 6/22 Globe puzzle, but quite a bit more than yesterday's NYT.