(updated at 10:40 Friday morning)
O happy day! Even though the Sun crossword has customarily provided just one themeless puzzle a week (alternating between Thursdays and Fridays), yesterday's "Themeless Thursday" is chased by a "Weekend Warrior." Tack onto that the usual two NYT themelesses (Friday and Saturday), the LA Times and Newsday Saturday themelesses, and the themeless CrosSynergy puzzle on Sunday, and you can see why I like the second half of the week best.
Friday's New York Times puzzle is by Brad Wilber. I'm feeling lackadaisical about blogging tonight, so here's a list of what I liked best:
And some knottier stuff:
Doug Peterson's Sun "Weekend Warrior" was easier for me than yesterday's "Themeless Thursday." Was that your experience, too, or was I channeling Doug? Here are the parts I liked best in this fun themeless:
Donna Levin's LA Times crossword tricked me. When I completed the first theme entry—CALLING GAUL CARS, or [APB words in old France and environs]—I assumed the theme would feature intrusive hard G sounds landing where they don't belong, as in "Long Guyland." But it turns out that the game is puns involving former names for various countries:
My eye keeps misreading the BEARDED clue as [Like both of Jesus' faces, usually]. The clue is [Like both of Janus' faces, usually]. Jesus is popularly represented as having just the one bearded face. Here's a smattering of other clues:
Myles Callum's Wall Street Journal crossword, "CD Collection," gathers up a group of phrases with C.D. initials:
Highlights in the fill include EAT MY DUST, or ["Try and catch me!"]; TAR BEACH, or [Sunbather's slang for a tenement roof]; SLAP SHOTS for [Lightning strikes?], that being a hockey term and the Lightning being Tampa Bay's NHL team; [Golf's cousin] is another Volkswagen, the JETTA, and not a sport; CHIP CLIPS, those [Snack bag closers] are so very handy; and a CASH BAR is a [Feature of some receptions].
Thomas Schier's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Half a Loaf," starts the four theme entries with kinds of bread:
BEAR HUG is clued as a [Wrestler's maneuver]. Aw, wrestlers cuddle? That's sweet. CAYUGA is the [Longest of the Finger Lakes]. Curious about how the skinny lakes were formed? Read up on the geology. Speaking of geology, BASALT is the [Tectonic plate material].
Sharon Petersen's Chronicle of Higher Education crossword demands plenty of erudition and familiarity with opera. The "Opera Lovers" theme features three title pairs, all with a different language for the conjunction between the names. ROMEO ET JULIETTE are the French [Gounod opera lovers?]. DIDO AND AENEAS are the [Purcell opera lovers?]. And [Gluck opera lovers?] are ORFEO ED EURIDICE. All right, I cry uncle. In what language is "and" rendered as ed? Other high-end clues that gave me pause: EVE is a [Massenet oratorio]; [Island in the Moluccas] is AMBON, and the A crosses [Brazilian novelist Jorge] AMADO; [Zeno's followers] were the STOICS (OK, this one was a gimme, but not the others); ["To the end," to Salieri] is AL FINE; and ICE-NINE is clued as [Fictional polymorph is Vonnegut's "Cat's Cradle"] (polymorph!).
November 13, 2008