(post updated at 8 a.m. Thursday)
Man, am I beat. I was up for a few of the wee hours last night after the smoke from an Uptown fire (in the Vietnamese district, not the entertainment district) wafted a mile and a half and into my window. Then my son and I spent the day at my sister's and got home at 9:30, and I never did have a nap. So please pardon the abbreviated blogging.
Peter Collins and Joe Krozel joined forces again for the New York Times crossword. Let's get right to the theme: Vivien LEIGH (hat tip to Donald for the correction) and Clark GABLE were in Gone With the Wind, and those words are hidden within the four longest entries:
The fill's got a quartet of non-thematic 10-letter entries spicing things up. Yesterday's TAEL falls in my "old-school crosswordese" category; so does AINU, or [Japanese aborigine], a word I used to see much more often in crosswords. That A crosses [Quatrain form], ABAA; I wonder how many solvers across the country opted for the incorrect ABBA/BINU or left that square frustratingly blank.
Regular constructing partners Patrick Blindauer and Tony Orbach teamed up once more for the New York Sun puzzle, "Gevalt!" They insert an OY into four phrases to radically alter their meanings:
I hadn't seen the ATELIER/[Painting place] combo when I used the word atelier in the previous post about Patrick's special puzzle. (It's possible I'm clairvoyant. Or clairvOYant.) Tough spots: [Apple variety] ending in I is FUJI (crunchy, juicy), not the Mini computer from a couple years back. [Men's fragrance brand] is IZOD. KIX isn't just a cereal (who knew?)—it's also [Band with the 1988 album "Blow My Fuse"]. Good gravy, why are RAISINS an [Ice cream mix-in]? Chocolate chips, sure. Berries, cake, candy bars, sure. Raisins in ice cream? Bleh. [It's used in the months of Kislev and Tevet] takes my crosswordy knowledge of Hebrew months (Elul and Adar) two months further—the answer's MENORAH.
Over and out for tonight.
The LA Times crossword by "Lila Cherry" (really Rich Norris) took me longer than today's other puzzles, partly because it's got a 16x15 grid and partly because of a key misstep. The theme marks the return of the Summer Olympics this week with five events:
I might've liked this theme more if all the theme entries had been clued as sporting endeavors—that Christopher Cross song takes me away to a bad place. I mucked things up in the middle of the puzzle by thinking MODERN DECATHLONS before I made it down to 61-Across. Outside of the thematic stuff, this puzzle seemed rather tough to me. Cases in point: The Spanish word CAPA, [Matador's cloak]. GMS clued as [Trading execs], presumably in baseball (?). LINO, or [Kent kitchen floor]. [More likely to bend] sounding like an -ER comparative, but it's LENIENT. IMMESH, or [Entangle]. The [Spanish sherry city] JEREZ, which can be spelled other ways too. TENT clued trickily as a [Clearing house?], or small house in a forest clearing. [Mountain, in Quechua] for PICCHU, as in Machu Picchu. [Kid of jazz] ORY. [Since] for IN THAT. [Java site] for an URN of coffee.
Randolph Ross's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Post Exchanges," takes four phrases that end with post and anagrams that word to change the meaning of the phrase:
PLATYPI is a tricky non-S plural, [Swimmers with flat feet]. The lunch meat called BOLOGNA [may be coming through the rye] bread. NAPHTHA is a [Highly volatile hydrocarbon], as in fels naphtha soap. I like this one: [Diamonds on the soles of one's feet?] clues ARGYLES, or Argyle socks. I don't know that the argyle pattern is knit into the sole of the sock, but I like the evocation of Paul Simon's song, "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes."
August 06, 2008