October 06, 2008

Tuesday, 10/7

Sun 3:36
CS 3:07
NYT 3:04
LAT 2:57
Onion tba
Tausig tba

The New York Times puzzle is a solid effort from Kevin Der. The theme entries are a fresh assortment of phrases that end with a solid shape:

  • WAFFLE CONE is a tasty [Ice cream holder].
  • Over the weekend, my kid was reviewing the FOOD PYRAMID, or [Diagram of nutritional needs], in his science textbook—for fun.
  • This here BLOGOSPHERE is the [Community of Web journals].
  • RUBIK'S CUBE is a [Six-colored puzzle].
The crossword fill sparkles overall, with a smattering of Scrabbly letters and whizbang answers like these:
  • The DOTCOM BOOM was a [Short-lived economic expansion of the late 1990s]. Maybe clues about economic bubbles that have burst are about to fail the breakfast test, as they may now cause dyspepsia.
  • 11-Down, [Occasions to cry "Eureka!"], looked like something-MENTS, some word ending with that noun ending. Can you imagine the "aha" moment I had when the crossings led me to AHA MOMENTS?
  • SHOW BIZ involves [Movies, TV, Broadway, etc.]. That Z crosses DOZEN, a [Baker's 13], and there are two other Z's in the grid.
  • Lots of verb action—BAWL, YANK, SMOTE, LEARN OF, JAB (clued as a noun here), NAG AT, SNORED, BOBS UP, FLEW BY, EARN, and...DEFAT.
Clues of note:
  • [Telly watcher] is a BRIT. Why this wasn't obvious to me right off the bat, I don't know.
  • ["Then what happened?"] clues AND.
  • [Many pizza slices, geometrically] are OCTANTS. An eighth of a pie is easier to hold than, say, a half.
  • Mount ETNA gets a clue I haven't seen (or remembered): [Volcano in Verne's "Journey to the Center of the Earth"].
  • [Upscale autos], 4 letters—why did I reflexively want to enter REOS? The answer is BMWS.
  • [Part of EGBDF] is BOY, as in the music mnemonic "every good boy deserves fudge."
  • I'm not sure that [For dieters] is the best clue for NO-CAL. Let's see, what has no calories? Water. And diet pop. These things are also for a lot of people who aren't dieters.
  • NO OIL, or [Cause of a blown engine], may not be a truly crossword-worthy phrase. I like the fill around it, though.
  • EONS is [How long it takes canyons to form]. True enough.

Lee Glickstein's Sun crossword exhorts "Not You!" because the solver is to jettison a "U" sound (you/yew) and replace it with an "OO" sound.
  • Church pew turns into CHURCH POOH, a [Pious Milne character?]. Wow, this one could've gone in a whole 'nother direction.
  • The game show Family Feud becomes FAMILY FOOD, a [Reunion spread?].
  • A beauty shop changes into a BOOTEE SHOP, or [Baby boutique?]. What, no BOOTY SHOP? That'd be the wrong length to balance out CHURCH POO, so neither transgressive entry made the puzzle.
  • Cutie-pies is transformed into COOTIE PIES, or [Lousy pastries?] filled with lice. Icky!
Answers and clues I want to comment on:
  • WORDPLAY is the [2006 documentary directed by Patrick Creadon]. Patrick's 2008 documentary is called I.O.U.S.A., and that would also make a lovely crossword answer; the movie is about the national debt, or IOU + USA.
  • [Dutch painter Hieronymus] BOSCH has one of the coolest names in art history. They didn't have LSD 500 years ago, but looking at his trippy artwork, one wonders if his consciousness was altered.
  • [Fortune seller] isn't the company that makes fortune cookies, it's TIME INC., publisher of Fortune magazine.
  • I like the play on the adjective lawless the solver may be tricked into with [Lawless part]. XENA the Warrior Princess was a part played by Lucy Lawless.
  • I've never heard of TY LAW, an [All-Pro cornerback with three Super Bowl rings]. I don't know why TAMPA is the [Setting of Steinbrenner Field]. I did learn recently that the New Jersey Nets' arena is the IZOD Center, so [Center for the Nets?] wasn't as hard as it would have been for me a month ago. And BOOS are [Garden sounds, sometimes], if you're talking about Madison Square Garden, home of sporting events.


Billie Truitt's LA Times crossword could give Fred Durst a thirst for attention—each of the five theme entries rhymes with those words.
  • PATTY HEARST was a [1974 kidnap victim].
  • BELLE OF AMHERST is a [Play about Emily Dickinson, with "The"]. I don't know this play at all.
  • "ME FIRST!" means ["I'm going before everyone else!"].
  • FEARED THE WORST is clued [Took a pessimistic view].
  • And a GROUND BURST is a [Surface-level bomb detonation]. Such violence first thing in the morning! If only it had been CLOUDBURST paired with another 10-letter answer.
The four-word phrase FITS TO A T (meaning [Needs no alterations]) looks odd in the grid. Alternate clue: [Toned weasel]. Frequent crossword denizen TERI GARR graduates to full-name status here, and she's clued as a ["Tootsie" Oscar nominee]. She spoke my favorite line in that movie, to Dustin Hoffman's character: "No, we are not friends. I don't take this shit from friends. Only lovers."

I like pop culture themes, and some of Patrick Jordan's theme entries in today's CrosSynergy puzzle double up on the pop culture. "Look! Celebrities!" plays with the interjection "Lo!" by adding LO to the beginning of a phrase and transforming the first word into a celebrity's name.
  • LORING OUT is an [Alibi for soap star Gloria?]. Gloria Loring is probably the least well-known of the names in this theme. Ring out is what church bells do, for example.
  • LOPEZ DISPENSER is a [Store that sells pop diva Jennifer's CDs?]. Jennifer Lopez is a superstar, and Pez dispenser is a terrific phrase to build on.
  • LOREN AND STIMPY could be a [Cartoon show featuring film legend Sophia?]. Sophia Loren is also a superstar, and I was a big fan of Ren and Stimpy in my 20s.
  • LOHAN SOLO is clued as [Song by actress Lindsay?]. Lindsay Lohan made herself into a tabloid magnet, but has demonstrated plenty of acting talent. Han Solo, of course, is Harrison Ford's Star Wars character.
LORING OUT doesn't do much for me, but those other three! A delightful theme indeed.