BG—provider of Across Lite file still on vacation
Post updated at 10:20 a.m. Sunday
Aw, thanks, folks! Some of you chipped in and covered the first three months of web-hosting fees. You know who you are, and you all deserve fresh-baked cookies for your kindness.
Based on the eight gazillion showtimes for Hancock at the multiplex today, I'd say that's the current Hot Summer Movie. We saw Hellboy II: The Golden Army instead. Who would have guessed that a Barry Manilow ballad would figure into it? Plus kittens and assorted trolls. What's not to love? Go see it.
There are first-name dynasties in crosswords, you know. There is a sisterhood of Nancys, a posse of Patricks, and also a budding duchy of Matts. Matt Gaffney and Matt Jones are supplemented by new kid on the block Matt Ginsberg. Matt Ginsberg's New York Times crossword is called "Parting Thoughts," and it's that rarity, a quip puzzle in the NYT. The [Last request] is TO DIE QUIETLY IN MY SLEEP / LIKE MY GRANDFATHER, / NOT / SCREAMING IN TERROR / LIKE THE PEOPLE IN HIS CAR. Macabre...yet funny. About 40% of the fill is 6+ letters long, and the grid's pretty low on the ARIA/OLEO/ERN scale. The answers and clues that sparkle the most are:
Familiarity with assorted European languages helps out in this puzzle:
French: [Crowd in Calais?] is TROIS; the [1970s Renault] was LE CAR; [Very dry], as wine, is BRUT; ENNUI is [Lassitude]; the [Deep bleu sea] is la MER; [Word of thanks] is MERCI.
Spanish: [Rains in Spain], which of course fall mainly in the plain, are waters, or AGUAS; [God, in Granada] is DIOS; [Salma Hayek, for one] is a LATINA; that [European carrier] is IBERIA; [Matador's move] is PASE.
Italian: PRIMA [___ ballerina]; [Uno + due] = TRE; some [Tasty tubes] of pasta are PENNE.
Latin: MEA [___ culpa]; QUASI is [Not exactly]; RES is a [Matter of law].
German: [Ein Berliner, often] is HERR.
I solved Merl Reagle's Philadelphia Inquirer puzzle late Saturday night, when my head really wished that I'd just go to bed. Merl packs nine hat puns (one spans two entries) into "Hat Tricks":
Nobody does puns in bizarre categories like Merl.
The title of Dan Naddor's syndicated LA Times Sunday crossword, "Chuck Schwa," looks like Charles Schwab minus his last letter, but the theme's got nothing to do with investing. Rather, a schwa sound is chucked from 11 phrases to alter their meaning, often to comic effect:
That's a helluva lot of theme entries, with one spanning the entire width of the grid and the two Down ones crossing two Across theme entries each. Some of the fill is toughish, which I like. an [Old German coin] is a THALER (this eventually morphed into the word dollar). ORRIS ROOT is a [Perfumery fixative]. [Nearly 29% of TEL AVIV?] is VEES, as in the letters. An AGOUTI is a [Rabbitlike rodent]. [Brno's region] is MORAVIA in the Czech Republic (the other main Czech chunk is Bohemia).
This week's themeless CrosSynergy "Sunday Challenge" comes from Bruce Venzke and Stella Daily. [Division symbols] (÷) are called OBELI, but that symbol has older manuscript marking purposes, and the name obelus is also applied to the typographical dagger. Favorite entries: HA'PENNY, or [Currency unit in the song "Christmas Is Coming"]; TIME WARNER, or [Big name in media]; and the two -DO entries, THE MIKADO and TAE KWON DO. Favorite clue: [Coach often lacks it] for LEGROOM.
July 12, 2008