(post updated at 1:25 p.m. Thursday)
Matt Ginsberg is back with another New York Times crossword, this time taking the Jacqueline Susann novel ONCE IS NOT ENOUGH as the starting point. [...The problem with some of the answers in this puzzle] is that once is not enough—that the first word needs to be used a second time in order to be correct. DUM BULLETS are [Hollow-point projectiles]? No, dumdum bullets are. A [Mutually beneficial interaction] should be a win-WIN SITUATION. The [Puerto Rican-born P.G.A. star] is Chi CHI RODRIGUEZ. And the [Child's fair-weather wish] is the sing-songy "Rain, RAIN, GO AWAY, come again another day." With some 8- and 9-letter answers in the fill and a total word count of 72, there's a Thursdayish touch of themelessness—but then, the theme square count is a hearty 69. Clues and answers of note:
Mark Sherwood's New York Sun puzzle is called "Location! Location! Location!" because location is key. Each theme entry removes a preposition and conveys its meaning by way of words' location. The [1953 Ira Levin novel] A Kiss Before Dying is presented as A KISS DYING—A KISS before DYING. The opposite of before is after, and Dog Day Afternoon ([1975 film set at the First Brooklyn Savings Bank]) is NOON DOG DAY—DOG DAY after NOON. The Down theme entries are MIND MATTER, or MIND over MATTER, a [Phenomenon exhibited by psychokinesis], and GROUND WENT, or WENT underGROUND, clued as [Disappeared, maybe]. In the grid's center is HACUTLF, or CUT in HALF—[Divided fifty-fifty]. I do like this theme a lot—a batch of wacky wordies, sort of, amid our crossword.
Favorite clues and answers and other items of note:
Wow, Don Gagliardo's LA Times crossword has a lot of out-there answers and clues. The five theme entries are linked by the clues, which are all "___ line" phrases; the answers are spoken lines that might be associated with the ___ setting.
[Box behind a painting, maybe] is a wall SAFE. This could be targeted by a THIEF, who might be described as [One taking things badly?]. I like this pair of clues. People in the grid include Phoebe CATES, ["Fast Times at Ridgemont High" actress]; LUISE [Rainer who won back-to-back Oscars]; [German fantasy novelist Michael] ENDE of The Neverending Story; actor ERNEST Borgnine (why wasn't he on Star Trek? The Borg, Seven-of-Nine, Borgnine...seems like a natural fit); Buddy EBSEN, a [Clampett player] on The Beverly Hillbillies; [Noted shoe collector] IMELDA Marcos; [Conductor friend of pianist Vladimir] is ARTURO Toscanini (Vladimir Horowitz married Toscanini's daughter); ["Dracula" director Browning] is named TOD, and he's the go-to one-D TOD in crosswords; and LOU Gehrig was a [Teammate of the Babe].
The oddball or obscurely clued stuff is as follows:
Randall Hartman's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Tiny Baubles," gathers three phrases that start with synonyms for "tiny." There's the [2000 Woody Allen movie], SMALL TIME CROOKS, a MINIATURE POODLE, and the LITTLE RIVER BAND. The latter is clued as ["Cool Change" rockers], and I don't remember that song at all. I still like "Reminiscing," though that video is an odd one. My favorite clue: [Speed reader?] for a traffic cop's RADAR. I wish I understood why PRINT is the answer to [Not stick to the script?]—anyone?
July 23, 2008