(Updated at 10:15 Thursday morning)
Darn those Cubs. They were supposed to win tonight's game so that when I go tomorrow, that'd be the game when they clinch the NL Central. Is this it? Is this the beginning of the end of a good run? Is this when the Cubs slide into heartbreak again?
The Thursday New York Times crossword is by Mike Nothnagel, and it's got a zigzag path of circled squares across the middle. The letters in those squares spell out the clue for the four theme entries: IT GOES UP AND DOWN. The four [See circles] answers are a WINDOW SHADE, ELEVATOR, SINE WAVE (which is very roughly what the circled squares look like), and, uh, the STOCK MARKET. Yes, the stock market will go up again. Although the midsection of the puzzle basically adds a third direction of checking (across, down, and zigzagging), Nothnagel managed to include an X and Q in the mix. Assorted clues and answers of note:
Alex Boisvert's New York Sun crossword, "Those Were the Days," features a [quip by comedian Demetri Martin]: I REMEMBER WHEN / I USED TO BE REALLY / INTO NOSTALGIA. A younger friend of mine has seen this guy perform, I think, but I'd never seen Martin until watching this video (18 minutes of standup from Comedy Central) just now. Funny guy. Alas, I spent so long watching the video that I'm too sleepy to single out other answers and clues from this puzzle. Feel free to call out what you liked—such as the YUMMIEST / EUNUCH.
It took some staring to tease out the theme in Will Nediger's LA Times crossword. Three unrelated stars of film and TV...what connects them? The Greek alphabet:
Tons of Scrabbly and lively fill in this puzzle (with more than the usual amount of 7-letter or longer answers), mingled with some less interesting stuff (FDIC, OJO, BED OF, IRES, e.g.). There are a dozen instances of the letters Z, Q, X, J, and K, in answers like OLD JOKE ([Groan elicitor]), the RAZZIE award for a BAD ACTOR, and QUIZ. Other entries I liked: a SCHLOSS is a [German castle] with just one vowel (like SCHWAS); OJ's lawyer Robert SHAPIRO sits beside ACCUSES; and a TRAPEZE is a [Flying act?]. My son just started an acrobatic and aerial dance class on Monday that combines tumbling with trapeze action.
Randall Hartman's CrosSynergy crossword, "Cheers," uses its title to evoke bars, as in the TV bar called Cheers. 55-Across, [In jail (and a hint to 17-, 25-, and 41-Across)], is BEHIND BARS, and the behind of each theme entry is another word for "bar":
Good fill, with relatively little of the stale stuff that fills in the cracks in a great many crosswords. The fill includes two 10-letter answers. SIMMER DOWN is clued with the exhortation ["Take a chill pill!"], and IN A PIG'S EYE is a skeptical ["Yeah...right!"].
September 17, 2008