Aw, not again? One of the 15-letter answers in Brad Wilber's New York Times crossword is a showy one, no doubt about it, but when an answer as memorable as that appears in multiple crosswords, it loses its surprise. Yes, GONZO JOURNALISM ([Writing that mixes reportage and fiction]) has that Hunter S. Thompson vibe and good Scrabble letters, but it's been done before. Here, it's stacked atop LOCAL ANESTHESIA, which has the great clue [It's not a total knockout]—technically, local anesthesia isn't any kind of knockout, but given that general anesthesia does totally knock one out, the clue's spot on. That pair of 15s crosses SKIRT THE ISSUE ([Equivocate]), which links to another pair of stacked 15s. The top stack consists of an OPEN AND SHUT CASE, clued as a [Court slam dunk] as in a trial court, not a basketball court, and GO TO RACK AND RUIN, or [Seriously deteriorate].
Favorite clues and answers:
Things that were less obvious:
Doug Peterson's Newsday "Saturday Stumper" (PDF solution grid here) struck me as much less of a stumper than most recent offerings. It helped that I was recently stumped by the [Soccer Hall of Fame city] in another crossword, because that experience scarred ONEONTA into my brain. An INSIDE JOB is a [Kind of crime]—and hey, this "kind of ___" clue actually has a noun for its answer, rather than having, say, SEA as a [Kind of anemone], when a sea is no kind of anemone at all. NITROGEN is a [Product of star fusion]? I know nothing about star fusion. I don't care for [Thoughts on paper] as the clue for an EEG, because electrical activity in the brain is not the same as thoughts. I do like [Be sedimental] for SETTLE; sounds like "be sentimental" spoken by someone with a stuffy nose.
Holy cow! Look at the theme entries in Paula Gamache's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Pre-tense." Why couldn't this puzzle have run a few days ago? Then I would have heard of PAST MASTERS before the word stumped me in the Friday NYT. The theme entries are phrases that begin with grammatical tenses, so of course PLUPERFECT JONES anchors the puzzle. No, wait, I made that up. The first theme entry is PAST MASTERS, clued as [Rembrandt and Picasso, to the art world], which doesn't quite convey the same meaning as in the NYT puzzle. The second one's the PRESENT MOMENT, or the [Here and now]. The third is FUTURE SHOCK, the [Result of "too much change in too short a period of time" (Alvin Toffler)].
Updated Saturday evening:
Barry Silk's themeless LA Times crossword seemed about as difficult (i.e., not very) as the Newsday puzzle today. It's late, so I'll just mention some of my favorite parts of this puzzle:
In the "unfamiliar clues" category, we have [Cerussite or wolfenite], referring to LEAD ORE, and a quote: ["The even mead, that ___ brought sweetly forth / The freckled cowslip": "Henry V"] clues ERST. I originally had EXHALING instead of EXHALANT for the crossing, and thought I was contending with an E**G word. Eek!
October 17, 2008