Chuck Hamilton's New York Times crossword has a solid theme, nothing gimmicky or wild about it:
So, the theme doesn't shout "It's Thursday!" but the fill and clues let you know that the first half of the week is over. To wit:
Will Nediger's Sun "Themeless Thursday" was not too fearsome. My favorite answers and clues:
Oddball answers and clues:
Dan Naddor drops nine (!) theme entries into his LA Times crossword. RR XINGS (railroad crossings) are exemplified in eight answers—two-word phrases (and one three-worder) in which adjacent R's end one word and begin the following one. The eight answers are placed in criss-crossing pairs that meet at the R's (I've added circles to highlight these)—so the RR entries are crossing, hence the RR XINGS in the middle of the puzzle. Two of the theme answers intersect with RR XINGS, so theme entries are traipsing all over this grid.
I'm not double-checking my arithmetic, but I think that makes for a total of 77 theme squares. That's quite a lot. The surrounding fill doesn't fill me with awe (very few puzzles do that), but it's all solid stuff with no woeful obscurities or clunky abbreviations. Perhaps the worst entry, for my taste, is HEC ["__ Ramsey": '70s TV Western], but plenty of other crosswords have used HEC before. So the high theme-square count didn't force uncomfortable compromises in quality. Yay!
Two favorite parts of the fill actually introduce a clue/fill duplication, which I didn't notice while solving: [Congressional leader?] is a HARD C sound, and colorful BOOZE is clued as [Hard stuff]. I also liked it that [Peter or Paul but not Mary] didn't clue POPE this time—now it's APOSTLE. Have we seen that clue/answer combo before?
Today's CrosSynergy puzzle is by Bob Klahn, so you know it'll have more challenging clues than most CrosSynergy offerings. In the "Getting Approval" theme, three phrases ingest an OK and take on new meaning:
The clues that stood out for me are these:
October 29, 2008