(updated at 9:20 a.m. Tuesday)
Allan Parrish's New York Times crossword sports a retro theme of DANCING in the '60s. Well, I didn't make it to kindergarten until the '70s, so '60s dance crazes are not my strong suit. Here are the theme entries:
This theme is custom-made for those of you who are, say, 50 to 65 years old. The northeast and southwest corners of the puzzle are custom-made for fans of wide-open grids, with triple-stacked 9-letter answers. My favorites there are TOM SNYDER, who was ["The Tomorrow Show" host] some years back, and a TOTEM POLE, or [Indian carving]. Yesterday, I wrote that ET TU was sometimes clued as [Rebuke from Caesar], and sure enough, today it's here as [Caesarean rebuke]. Other crossword regulars that newer solvers should store away in the memory banks:
The Sun puzzle by Tony Orbach has one of those themes that I paid no mind to while solving. I surmise that it's called "Making Out" because each theme entry begins with a way of making an out in baseball. There are six ways? The phrases are mostly lively, and I like their clues:
My favorite answer in the fill: that [Hershey's product] called the KIT-KAT. Solvers outside the U.S. may know it as a Nestlé candy bar. I bought a bag of 55 snack-size Kit-Kats for my kid's school Halloween party a couple weeks ago. There are only 18 left. We're fond of Kit-Kats around here.
Janet Bender's LA Times crossword features a simple theme: two-word phrases with T.T. initials. "So what?" you ask. Well, all five phrases come from the world of sports, so phrases like taste test, Tommy Tune, tuna tartare, and Tiny Toons don't make the team. A [Race against the clock] in cycling (if not other sports) is a TIME TRIAL. TABLE TENNIS has been an [Olympic sport since 1988]. The TENNESSEE TITANS [were the Oilers before 1999]. They played in the Monday Night Football matchup last night, and I was quite taken by their baby blue uniforms. [Hall of Fame pitcher Seaver's nickname] is TOM TERRIFIC. TRASH TALK is a [Taunting exchange during the game]. Other sports-related content in the puzzle includes IVIED, [Like Wrigley Field's walls]—once again lying dormant in October. The INDY 500 is a [Big May race, familiarly]. And Sean PENN could have been clued as PENN State, whose football team is doing well this season.
Patrick Blindauer recently had an NYT puzzle with ANTs on the march in the shortish theme entries. Today, his CrosSynergy crossword, "Moving Violation," offers another version of this theme. This time, it's a SIN (clued as [Violation, and word that "moves" within the six starred clues]) that moves one letter back with each step. It's at the beginning of the first 8-letter entry, SINISTER, and makes its way to the end of the sixth 8-letter answer:
SINISTER means [Ominous].
TSINGTAO is a [Popular Chinese beer brand]
ELSINORE is the ["Hamlet" setting].
BASSINET is a [Baby's bed].
DEPOSING is [Writing one's sworn testimony].
ASSASSIN is [One with a contract, say].
From the non-theme fill, here are my favorite clues: ARSENIC is clued as [One of two elements that ends with the letter C]. I love this sort of clue—can you name the other element? [Classical gas?] clues not music but an old gas company, ESSO. [Short pants] are GASPS and not something like knickers or capris. [It may come out of the closet] refers to LINEN. [Sources of world views?] are GLOBES.
October 27, 2008