(last updated at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday)
Nancy Salomon's New York Times crossword parks itself in the Tuesday puzzle sweet spot. The theme is easy enough—three diverse phrases all clued the same way—there's nothing too obscure muddling it for Tuesday solvers, and a dozen 7- and 8-letter answers freshen the non-theme fill. The three [Rose] answers are the AMERICAN BEAUTY rose, as in the flower; baseball player Pete Rose's nickname, CHARLIE HUSTLE; and the past-tense verb meaning TOOK TO ONE'S FEET.
Clues and answers of note:
Alan Arbesfeld constructed the New York Sun puzzle, "Pick-Me-Ups." The theme answers don't contain bracing tonics; rather, each one is a phrase that picks up a ME, changing the meaning. The six (!) theme entries are as follows:
In the fill, Arbesfeld's crossword includes four X's, which pleases me. The BATON, or [Relay race handoff], is back again. Favorite clues and answers: SIGN HERE is [Words on a sticky note attached to a contract; [Marks with subscript dots] mystified me, but I certainly know what STETS look like; [It might have a certain ring to it] means a bath TUB; [It gets put in a sinkhole] refers to DRANO in a household sink drain; PETER is the name of the [Boy in "The Snowy Day"] by Ezra Jack Keats; and [Like soy sauce] sure as hell means SALTY.
Mel Rosen's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Class Exercise," serves up an exercise in which you fill in five phrases that start with words that can precede class:
Anyone know ["Cavalleria Rusticana" composer Mascagni]'s first name without crossings? I did not; it's PIETRO. [1107, in old Rome] is MCVII—if only the last I hadn't been in a theme entry, it could have been changed to an E for Fleetwood Mac's Christine and John McVie.
Donna Levin's LA Times crossword hides an archery theme:
I'm not sure if the central entry, ENTAILS, is supposed to join the theme. Cursory research suggests that arrows used in archery have fletching (the feathers), not tails, but typographical arrows may have tails.
Beautiful corners in this grid—two quartets of 7-letter answers stand side by side.
Ben Tausig's Ink Well/Chicago Reader crossword for the week, "Dropping E," has naught to do with dropping the drug Ecstasy. Nope. In this Friday-tough puzzle, each of the five theme entries jettisons two E's from assorted spots:
Unusual entries abound:
I only have a couple minutes to blog about Brendan Emmett Quigley's Onion A.V. Club puzzle. The middle theme entry is HELL ON EARTH. The two long theme entries contain EARTH divided among the words in those phrases, WEAR THE TROUSERS and the perfect SORRY TO HEAR THAT. "Where's the HELL?" you ask. Why, it's sitting directly on top of the EART portion of EARTH, that's where. HELL is hiding in 14-Across, SHELL, above the top theme entry, and in MITCHELL at 55-Across. I've circled 'em for you in the grid image.
Weird answers I didn't know:
Apple's ICHAT (or iChat) allows for instant messaging. I rarely use it. Have we seen ICHAT in the grid before?
Time! Cool theme structure, Brendan—it's been a while since I've seen one along these lines.
August 25, 2008