August 06, 2008

Bonus puzzle by Patrick Blindauer

Head over to the Crossword Fiend Google Groups page to download a timely word baby from the atelier of Patrick Blindauer. It's in PDF form, not Across Lite, because of a couple unusual features.

Click the "Read more" link for my write-up after you've tackled the crossword. Spoilers follow.

Patrick Blindauer's "Pop Quiz" is a tribute to an artist who would be turning 80 today if he were still alive. There's a lot to the theme, which involves a good deal of cross-referencing. VALERIE / SOLANAS (1- and 8-Across) is the subject of the film at 35-Across, I SHOT ANDY WARHOL. ANDY WARHOL himself is split out from that entry with a 37-Across clue (this is one of the nonstandard things that mandated the PDF format). YOKO ONO and MARILYN balance out 1- and 8-Across. Two asymmetrically placed Down answers are also thematic: PRESLEY at 22-Down and MAO at 34-Down. The shaded squares in the middle represent a classic Andy Warhol pop-art painting of a soup can, with CAMPBELL'S and VEGETABLE appearing on that can in roughly the same spots as in this Warhol print.

There's one obscure word connecting two theme entries—BEMA is a [Raised part of an Eastern church]. In the same corner of the grid, SHERRI [Steinhauer of the L.P.G.A.] was unfamiliar to me. My favorite clue is [They monkey around] for SIMIANS.