I feel like I've been a less attentive crossword blogger than usual lately—I blame this month's cold, which focuses its attentions primarily on making me cough.
Patrick Blindauer's New York Times puzzle has a somewhat subtle, if buggy, theme. The ANTS that are ["Marchers" through the answers to the five starred clues] start at the left of a 7-letter word and march one square over through a progression of five words, ending at the right side of the fifth word:
ANTACID is a stomach [Settler in a pharmacy].
FANTASY completes the TV title, ["___ Island"].
PHANTOM is (was?) a [B'way hit beginning in '88].
ATLANTA is [Where Delta Air Lines is headquartered].
ENCHANT means to [Cast a spell over].
Including the theme entries, there are 20 answers containing 7 or more letters, giving this puzzle a moderately themeless vibe. Among the more interesting bits:
Holy cow, are there ever a ton of Smurfs characters—more than 100. Just five of them made the cut to be included in Kevan Choset's Sun crossword theme. The cartoon Smurfs are blue, hence the "Blue Man Group" title for this puzzle. I know next to nothing about The Smurfs, having never watched the cartoon (I was too old when it began airing here) or sought out the original Belgian comics—so this theme had no resonance for me. These long answers begin with SMURF (71-Across) names:
Here's one reason the Smurfs are dumb: More than 100 of 'em, and only three are female. Or maybe they're just a largely gay group of blue men, I dunno. The crossword seemed a good bit easier than the usual Thursday Sun puzzle, but October 23 marks the 50th anniversary of the Smurfs' creation.
Sarah Keller's CrosSynergy crossword, "What a Trooper!", has an arresting theme featuring slang terms for law enforcement officers:
Dan Naddor's LA Times crossword has an explosive theme, with five theme entries starting with synonyms for "explode":
This puzzle contained one completely unfamiliar name: [1980s KGB defector Gordievsky]'s first name is OLEG. On the plus side, it's a familiar enough Russian first name. [Saints' quarterback Drew] BREES and LEORA, [Arrowsmith's first wife] in the Sinclair Lewis novel, sit beside each other and potentially knot up the left side of the grid. Favorite fill entry: "IS IT EVER!" clued with ["You got that right!"].
October 22, 2008