Sun 6:02 (by the way, downloading the Sun should work now at Cruciverb)
(updated at noon Friday)
Friday blogging will be light/late—my son is off school, and we need to get started on making a model of the earth. Mantle, anyone?
Frederick Healy's New York Times crossword is riddled with spots to trip or to draw a blank on, but somehow it all came together. What's in this 70-worder? There are some people, specific and general. Two people get the full-name treatment:
Last names only for these folks:
On a first-name basis:
Fictionally, we have the '70s [Sitcom guy with a frequently upturned thumb, with "the"], FONZ, and SATAN. The latter is a [Bad lover?] if he loves bad.
Then there are all the generic sorts:
Geography figures into this puzzle, too:
Assorted other not-so-well-known bits:
Justin Smith's Sun crossword, "Swiss Cheese," has sprouted three HOLEs in rebus squares:
I like that my first name, AMY (or ["This Is the Life" singer Macdonald]—who?]) intersects with MR. HAT, the ["South Park" puppet] wielded by whacked-out teacher Mr. Garrison. I like other stuff, too, but duty calls.
The theme in Larry Shearer's LA Times crossword is spelled out in the final theme entry: DISAPPEARING INK is a [Prankster's item, and this puzzle's theme] because INK is removed from various phrases to create the other four theme entries:
The surrounding clues and fill slaughtered me, alas. TEL [___ Hai: Israeli monument site] was a bit much, as the TEL crosses two theme entries, and the puzzle's already got B'NAI Brith, HORAS, an ESSENE ([Supposed inhabitant of ancient Qumran]), and ERIC Bana (who played an Israeli assassin in Munich) for the Jewish/Israeli sub-theme. I've heard of MORONI as Mormonism's Angel Moroni, but not as the [Capital of the Comoros]. All sorts of clues felt like Stan Newman "Saturday Stumper" clues—the noun [Adept] is an ACE; [Evening] a game is TYING the score; [Beats] are TEMPOS and not a verb; the verb [Rush] means to BOLT. Slightly more specific were these clues that still eluded me for a while: The [Gist] of something is its KERNEL of truth; and [Pleasure seekers?] are IDS.
Was this one tougher than you expected, or am I just not on Larry Shearer's wavelength?
The theme in Raymond Hamel's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Spaghetti Western," kept me guessing, and when it finally added up, it made for a nice "aha" moment." Sergio Leone's The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is the quintessential spaghetti western, and the three theme entries are 15-letter movie titles that begin with THE GOOD, THE BAD, and THE UGLY. The [2006 Matt Damon movie] is THE GOOD SHEPHERD, THE BAD NEWS BEARS is a [1976 Walter Matthau movie], and THE UGLY AMERICAN is a [1963 Marlon Brando movie]. Perfect theme, isn't it?
Karen Adams' crossword in the Chronicle of Higher Education just might be her debut. The theme is "Is There a Wort for That?"—Wort is German for "word," and the theme entries are all German words that have no one-word English equivalents:
Cool theme. I also like the anatomical collision between GLUTE, or [Certain muscle, slangily], and GLOTTIS, or [Laryngeal opening]. Things I didn't know: ROWE is [18th-century Poet Laureate Nicholas]. CAPUA is or was an [Appian Way city]. BODHI is [Enlightenment, in Eastern religion].
I had fun with Pancho Harrison's Wall Street Journal crossword, "Male Bonding." There are nine theme entries, famous men whose names include MAN at least once, and those MANs appear in rebus squares. Since [MAN]FRED MAN[N] has two MANs, that means there are 10 rebus squares that need to work out with intersecting Down entries. It all comes together smoothly, and some of the non-theme clues are fun: [Shell games?] are REGATTAS. [It has little foliage] clues BONSAI. [Tool used when the stakes are high?] is a SLEDGE, used to pound stakes into the earth. Archie [Bunker, for one] is a BIGOT. The fill contains a lively batch of words, such as Miami Vice's TUBBS, a GUSHER, ONE-NOTE, GARBLE, ROOMIES, Huey Lewis and THE NEWS, and SPLATTED like a water balloon. I still want to grumble that the WSJ crosswords have been easier than usual of late, but this one was a little closer to the mean, and the rebuses were fun to root out rather than burdensome. Anyone else notice DANTE and PEAK appearing in sequence together near the bottom? Dante's Peak was a volcano movie.
October 23, 2008