WIJ's answers to Silvestri's NYT Second Sunday cryptic crossword are here.
Well, I didn't get around to the Newsday "Saturday Stumper" before I left for the day (accompanying someone on her kitten adoption outing—four-month-old tortoiseshell cat who was an excellent car passenger). I got home mid-afternoon, but just when I was ready to settle in with the crossword, a friend called and we spent three hours on the phone. And now it's time to move on to the Sunday puzzles before I go in reverse to finish up Saturday.
The Sunday New York Times crosswordis a jumbo (23x23 vs. the usual 21x21) puzzle by Byron Walden. The title is "Fault-Finding," which makes it sound custom-made for nitpickers. (But I don't think it is.) 117-Down is TYPO, [What each starred clue — and its answer — contains]. I could identify the typos in the clues, but when I finished the puzzle, the theme answers still looked kosher. "Where are the typos?" I wondered. Finally they jumped out at me:
I like the theme concept of having a typo in each clue that changes the clue's meaning. Having a hidden TYPO embedded in each theme entry elevates the puzzle's coolness. In the fill, there are 36 answers that are 7 to 9 letters long, so it's a bit like having a themeless Byron puzzle gift-wrapped in a themed Sunday puzzle. My favorites among the non-thematic answers:
I don't like PRERINSE ([Make ready for the dishwasher]), because what we're doing is rinsing those dishes. (The answer crosses two theme entries.) SCAREY is clued [Chilling: Var.], and that spelling variant doesn't appear in my Random House Webster's Unabridged. It does cross three theme entries so I won't give Byron too much guff for that.
Byron excels at writing clues, if you ask me. Among my favorites:
Some of the tougher clues:
Gail Grabowski's syndicated Los Angeles Times Sunday crossword is called "Bad Guys in Hiding" and appropriately, a bunch of PERPs are hiding in the theme entries:
Tying these all together is 101-Down, PERP. I'm not used to seeing SOUTHPAW used to describe athletes other than baseball players, but here the clue is [Jimmy Connors or John McEnroe]. Favorite answer: PLAY DUMB, or [Keep the surprise party a secret].
Merl Reagle's Philadelphia Inquirer crossword, "Pun Clearance," came with a Notepad annotation: "Puns kind of accumulate around my house, so I have to clear them out every so often." So the theme is unrelated puns that Merl hasn't been able to group with related puns. My favorite of the puns is MALLARDJUSTED, clued with ["I'm not a bad duck; I'm just ___"]. It's just goofy enough to work. The others are as follows:
There's plenty of good fill in this puzzle—an ODD SENSATION, a MARIACHI, NEUROSCIENCE, P DIDDY, a HOMONYM, and GERONIMO. There was one answer I got completely from the crossings—["Ben-Hur" co-star Stephen et al.] clues BOYDS.
Liz Gorski stands in for Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon this weekend in the time-delayed Across Lite version of the Boston Globe crossword. The theme is described by the title, "They're Playing Our Song." Each theme entry is a song title clued as if it were a wedding song for a fictional character. For example, [Mr. Potato Head's wedding song?] could be I ONLY HAVE EYES FOR YOU, and [Humpty Dumpty's wedding song?] is I FALL TO PIECES. Was this puzzle surprisingly easy for others, or was I just tuned into Liz's wavelength? I believe we'll see one or two more Gorskis in the Globe, probably alternating with Henry Hook puzzles, before the Cox/Rathvon puzzles return. Is it selfish to hope that the others are tougher?
Randolph Ross's themeless CrosSynergy "Sunday Challenge" was about as difficult as the Sunday CrosSynergy puzzle usually is. There's just one word in it that I had to piece together from all the crossings—RIMOSELY is clued as [In a way that causes cracks and crevices]. All the Google hits on the first three pages were dictionary entries or word lists and not pages showing the word being used in writing. Eventually there were some scientific references with such phrases as "Thallus crustose, rimosely to verrucosely areolate" and "may be somewhat squamulose becoming rimosely cracked." So it's not a crossword-friendly word, but the crossings include a triple-stack of 9's and a 15-letter answer. My favorite answers and clues: A PROBOSCIS is a [Schnoz]. [King of pop music] is CAROLE King, with that concealed capital K in the clue. A [Title role played by Tommy Lee Jones] is a U.S. MARSHAL. First I racked my brain trying to think of Jones movies with a character's name in the title, not the character's job. [Cocktail with a kick] is the inedible and explosive MOLOTOV cocktail.
October 04, 2008