October 18, 2008

Sunday, 10/19

LAT 8:30
PI 7:55
NYT 7:47
BG 7:12
CS 3:50

Split Decisions, Second Sunday NYT puzzle 9:27

(updated at 9:25 a.m. Sunday)

I only saw half of the theme in Joe DiPietro's New York Times crossword, "Perjury." I saw the hidden OATH tucked inside all the long entries, but it wasn't until I reached 112-Across that I learned of the other half: [Perjure oneself ... or what can be found six times in this puzzle] clues LIE UNDER OATH, and below each of those five hidden OATHs, the word LIE appears.
CAN'T DO A THING, or [Is completely hamstrung], sits above LIE OVER, or [Completely cover]. The LIE portion is under OATH.

  • MY THROAT HURTS is a [Cold sufferer's complaint] (yep, I'm there), and the OATH is above BELIE, or [Contradict].
  • SEMI-PRO ATHLETES are [Part-time players], and that answer is paired with PURLIEU, or [Confines].
  • THE ROAD TO ATHENS, or [Title of some 2004 Summer Olympics preview shows], is partnered with LIENS, or [Security agreements].
  • OAT HAYS, [Certain feeds for horses], sits atop the LIE in explanatory theme entry, LIE UNDER OATH—and it took me a while to see that OATH.
  • The SHOWBOAT HOTEL, an [Atlantic City casino], appears above FLIED OUT, or [Batted the ball too high, perhaps].
The visual rebus aspect of the theme is cool—"lie under oath" is represented by LIE beneath the word OATH, making it a far more intricate theme than one with just an embedded word.

Here's today's assortment of answers and clues:
  • LECTIN is a [Carbohydrate-binding protein]. Did anyone get that answer with fewer than three crossings?
  • [Stream bank sliders] are OTTERS. Doesn't that clue sound like it should be sports jargon? "Ripken's specialty, of course, is the stream bank slider."
  • [Stomach section] is the PIT. Anatomically, I'm not so sure this is a thing, but metaphorically and emotionally, sure, it works.
  • [Ballet's Markova or Alonso] is ALICIA. ALICIA doesn't sound like it matches the Russian-seeming Markova. Ah, because it doesn't. She was English, born Lilian Alicia Marks.
  • [IV to III, maybe] is a SON. I know a guy whose wife is pregnant with a boy, and he's excited because the kid'll be Henry VI or XXIII or something. A long line of Henrys in the family...
  • [Not quite boiling] means the pot is ON SIMMER.
  • SOW'S EAR is a weird entry. It's gettable with its clue, [It's not a silk purse source, it's said].
  • [High society] is BON TON. That's a department store somewhere, isn't it?
  • RETEST is an [Opportunity to go beyond the first grade?], as in getting a new grade on the same exam.
  • [Child's attention-getting call to a parent] is HEY, MOM. Yep, I hear that one a lot.
  • WRAP PARTIES, or [Cast events after filming is done], is a lovely entry to grace the middle of the puzzle, crossing two of the theme entries.
  • We get the three-word crossword answer TO A T fairly often. Here, FIT TO A TEE expands on that. It means to [Be perfect] for its purpose.
  • A SLUG [doesn't really represent change], as it's a fake coin.
  • [New York City racetrack, informally] is BIG A. I don't know a thing about this.
  • [Concerned wife's question in the E.R., maybe] is HOW IS HE?
  • BOLO TIES are [Western wear].
  • [Soap-making solution] is SODA LYE. Is that available in a diet version?
  • [Longtime Philippine archbishop ___ Sin] is named JAIME. That one was a gimme for me—who can forget a prelate named Sin?


This weekend's second Sunday puzzle in the New York Times is another "Split Decisions" by George Bredehorn. I found the upper right corner to be kinda tough, and the lower left corner to be much knottier than the opposite side. From top to bottom, left to right, here are my answer pairs (use your mouse to highlight the white text to see the answers):


This kind of puzzle's good training for looking at spaces in a crossword and thinking about what words could fit there, narrowing down the list of options as you read the clue.

Merl Reagle's Philadelphia Inquirer crossword, "The NASA Gift Shop," marks the 50th birthday of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration with a batch of NASA-related puns. The ones I liked best were GEMINI CRICKET, the [NASA doll that sings "When You Wish Upon a Star"], playing on Jiminy Cricket, and ORBITAL REDENBACHER'S, [NASA's special-edition popcorn?], citing Orville Redenbacher. I liked the puzzle just fine, but find myself having nothing much to say about it. (This coughing, sneezing, and sniffling business is distracting.)

Pamela Amick Klawitter's syndicated Los Angeles Times Sunday crossword, "All Is Lost," dumps an ALL from eight phrases to change the meaning. The most amusing theme entries were:
  • DAS COWBOYS (Dallas Cowboys), or [Rodeo competitors, in ungrammatical German?].
  • A HOLE IN THE W (a hole in the wall), or [Result of pranksters shooting at Wal-Mart's sign?].
  • ABSENTEE BOT (absentee ballot), or [Automaton gone missing?].
My favorite bit of fill here is CAMP IT UP, clued as [Act in an amusingly affected way].

Liz Gorski's Boston Globe crossword in Across Lite, "I'll Pencil U In," inserts a U into eight phrases to change the meaning. I had a little trouble with one crossing, where a ["TV Guide" acronym] that's really an abbreviation (acronyms are pronounceable words) crosses a [Baroque dance]. There are four time zones in the U.S., but apparently the one TV Guide mentions is Central, or CST (the other time zones' TV shows are scheduled an hour off from when they air in the Midwest, where prime-time shows run from 7 to 10 p.m.). The dance is CHACONNE, and I'll bet not many people know that word. I'd have clued CST more specifically to unknot that square. My favorite theme entries are CARPENTER AUNT (ant), or [Kin seen sawing?], and LOBSTER FRAU DIABLO (Fra), or [Mrs. Freud's spicy seafood recipe?]. That last one's just plain nuts, but it goes for broke so I like it. Highlights in the fill include GLASNOST, THINK BIG, LAKE ONTARIO, USER'S MANUAL, and SPY RING.

Patrick Jordan's themeless CrosSynergy "Sunday Challenge" is the week's easiest themeless puzzle. Patrick is perhaps more drawn to pangrams than any other constructor, and he did manage to get all 26 letters of the alphabet into this grid without having any horrid abbreviations or woebegone obscurities. He did trick me with [Pina colada ingredient], 3 letters—not rum but ICE. [Engages in logrolling] is BIRLS—this lumberjack sport is sometimes called roleo, which is another word that seems to pop up more in crosswords than in day-to-day living.