Sun update: The Sun crossword subscription mechanism is now in place at Cruciverb. When submitting your PayPal payment, be sure to use the e-mail address you use for Cruciverb, or you won't be able to access the puzzle without contacting Kevin McCann at Cruciverb. (D'oh. No puzzle for me yet.) The cost is $12.50, or $20 for the "patron amount." Note: You need to be registered as a Cruciverb member (for free) before you subscribe to the Sun puzzles.
Barnes & Noble has a new video magazine series, Barnes & Noble Tagged. This week's short episode focuses on puzzle books and Will Shortz, and Will chats with host Molly Pesce. (You get a brief glimpse of Patrick Blindauer and Frank Longo, too.) One of the interview topics is KenKen puzzles, which I've done some version of in a Games publication. Unlike sudoku but like kakuro, there's arithmetic involved. I'll buy one of the kids' books for my son when it comes out in December.
Lucy Gardner Anderson's New York Times crossword pays tribute to a highway, INTERSTATE / NINETY-FIVE to be specific. I didn't know if I'd ever been on I-95, so I followed its route using Google Maps. Hey! The highway you take to get from LaGuardia Airport to Stamford, Connecticut is I-95, so I have been on it. This road takes you from Maine (ME) down to Florida (FL), passing through 13 other states on the way. All 15 states' 2-letter postal abbreviations are circled in the grid, and there's one in each row in proper north-to-south order. Cool, eh? Mind you, it wasn't so hard to finish the puzzle with zero idea where I-95 went.
Favorite answers and clues: a BON MOT is a [Bit of wit]. [Rolling Stones drummer Charlie] WATTS always seemed like the sanest Stone to me. [Nancy Drew author Carolyn] KEENE summons to mind the YouTube video I saw today, "There's No One As Irish As Barack O'Bama," because the song was written by Hardy Drew and the Nancy Boys. LENNY is clued as [Bruce or Kravitz]; hey, Lenny Kravitz's daughter has a pro-Obama video out there. DEFINE is defined as [Do lexicographical work]. A [User-edited online reference] is a WIKI. You know my objection to PORK, that [Much-criticized Congressional spending]? It is neither kosher nor halal. (You can have your PORK and your OFFAL, or [Butcher's byproducts]. Please. Take my share, too.) Move over, Cheryl Tiegs; Cheryl LADD of the '70s TV show Charlie's Angelsl has given you the boot.
Old-school crossword stuff: ANENT means [Concerning]. STEROL is an [Unsaturated alcohol] and another word I think used to get more play in crosswords. SMITTY was an [Old Walter Berndt comic strip about a teen]. It ran from 1922 to 1973, which explains why I don't recall it.
Matt Jones's Jonesin' crossword, "You're Out!", compiles a group of things "dropped from the world of sports and games in 2008":
Did you know [Richie Rich's metallic, robotic maid] was called IRONA? I sure didn't. This must not be very well-known because I've never seen this in a crossword, not even with those three juicy vowels.
Merle Baker's LA Times crossword presents a vowel change theme. Each theme entry ends with a P*NS word, and A, E, I, O, and U fill in the blank in sequence:
There are a dozen 7-letter answers in the fill to move the puzzle beyond standard Tuesday fill. I like the Polish intersection between LODZ, [Poland's second-largest city], and the ZLOTY, a [Polish coin].
As usual, Bob Klahn's CrosSynergy puzzle has clues that are tougher than the usual Tuesday crossword. The theme is straightforward—"Canned Pears" alludes to the PEAR "canned" within each theme entry. For example, to WAKE UP EARLY is to [Anticipate the alarm], and an ESCAPE ARTIST is [One who gets out a lot]. Toughest clues:
Tuesdays and Fridays are generally the days when anything I don't get to by 9 a.m. will have to wait until evening. And so it is that I'm only solving the Sun puzzle at 6 p.m. I think I'll relocate the Jonesin' puzzle to Tuesdays, since it comes out sometime on Monday, and boot the Onion and Tausig puzzles to Wednesdays, because those usually come out during the day on Tuesday when I'm away.
Anthony Salvia's got a busy byline week, with his NYT puzzle yesterday and the Tuesday Sun crossword, "Sword Swallowers." I do always appreciate the inside-joke aspect of contemporary crosswordese reworked into theme entries, and here the EPEE and three other swords are "swallowed" by longer phrases:
There are some supra-Tuesday clues here. [Cervid horn] asks you to remember that "cervid" has to do with deer, so the horn's an ANTLER. (Anyone else fond of those animal adjectives like cervine, bovine, ovine, ursine, corvine, and lupine?) [Jaguar rival] isn't automotive but NFLish, with a Houston TEXAN being a division rival of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
October 13, 2008