(updated at 3:50 p.m. Friday)
Kevin Der's 70-word New York Times crossword bears the hallmarks of his shtick. Yes, I know he's only had a few puzzles published, but they tend to have some fill that says "person who's too young to remember a time before the ubiquity of tech gadgets." He's got INSTANT MESSAGES ([E-mail alternatives]) crossing KARAOKE MACHINES ([Self-contained music equipment]). The icky word ETAIL is [What PayPal facilitates]; don't get me started on PayPal, which is holding my personal information hostage in an unpleasantly bossy way.
I just have a minute to convey a few highlights before I tuck my son in and probably fall fast asleep myself:
I don't care for BRAVE MAN, or [Medal of Honor recipient, say]. If that passes muster as a crossword entry, then so should WEAK MAN, BRASH WOMAN, or STALWART INDIVIDUAL. It's basically just adjective + noun.
Doug Peterson's "Weekend Warrior" Sun crossword has clashing 15-letter entries that collide in the middle. SUPER BOWL SUNDAY is one thing, but Celine Dion's "MY HEART WILL GO ON" is even more bombastic. I like how the song looks in a crossword grid, with the word spaces removed: "My Heart Will Goon." "My Hear Twill Goon." Goons make anything more interesting. Shiny things:
PAYNE is clued as ["Major ___" (1995 Damon Wayans film)]. A more current clue would be ["Max ___" (2008 Mark Wahlberg film)]. I call a moratorium on any more "___ Payne" movies, at least until such time as the Trip Payne biopic begins production.
Patrick Berry's Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, "Switching Parties," goes seasonal with a political gimmick. In each of six theme entries, a D and an R switch places to change a phrase:
Dan Naddor's LA Times crossword reworks five phrases by changing a P sound to a B sound and adjusting the spelling as needed:
I was misinterpreting [NBA one-pointers] as two-point field goals rather than free throws, or FGS intead of FTS. That made [High-___: dignified] look like it might be GONAD. Whoops. It's TONED. The longest non-theme answers are BOX SCORES, or [Sports summaries], and DISSOLUTE, or [Rakish]. We should use dissolute more often. [Prefix for a cab collector] turned out to be OENO, and the cabs being collected are the red wines called cabernets; tough clue. I had no idea that ECOL. (ecology) is a [Sci. founded by Danish botanist Eugen Warming]. Wait, is he the guy global warming is named after? Another tough clue was [Event at which multiple repeats are common]—a spelling BEE. [Where kwanzas are spent: Abbr.] is ANG., or Angola. The [Piscine symbol of overcrowdedness] is a SARDINE. [There are two in Beethoven's Fifth] is an awfully numeric clue for OBOISTS.
Today's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Zone Blitz," has an odd sort of theme. Bob Klahn fills five rows of the grid with a dozen kinds of zones. The two 15-letter theme entries have three terms that modify zone squashed together—TOWAWAY, WAR, NO-FLY and CANAL, END, COMFORT. Two 12-letter enries each contain two zones—STRIKE, DANGER and SCHOOL, SAFETY. And two 7-letter zones in the middle are single zone types—LOADING and NEUTRAL. Other clues: [Deco designer de Tirtoff] provides the real last name of ERTE. [The cat in "Peter and the Wolf"] is portrayed by a CLARINET. ["Have I got moos for you!" utterer] is a COW. Is this a famous cow line, or just something Klahn imagines a cow would say? [WWII's Uncle Joe] is STALIN; I daresay I didn't know Stalin was called Uncle Joe. That would be one scary-ass uncle. [Lock, stock, and barrel?] make up a RIFLE. [Enoch, Eve, or Elizabeth] are famous real or fictional people surnamed ARDEN. And one [Color on the Irish flag] is, of course, ORANGE.
The Wall Street Journal crossword isn't posted in Across Lite yet. I hope to get to it later today when it's up, but my son's off school from now 'til next Thursday, so I'll be getting pulled away from blogging.
Updated Friday afternoon:
Again? Another easier-than-usual Wall Street Journal crossword that tumbled faster than most past WSJ or NYT Sunday-sized puzzles. I'm always pleased if I can break the 8:00 mark in a 21x21 crossword, but dipping below 7:00 cries "easy." In Randolph Ross's "What's My Line?" crossword, the theme entries are phrases that end with words that can mean "career" or "job":
Did you realize that the plural of arboretum is ARBORETA? These [Sylvan showplaces] can also be pluralized with a simple -S. Favorite entries: FLAG DAY, which is [June 14] and my cousin Mike's birthday; BOWL GAME, one of many events for [January sports viewing]; UNCLE SAM, the [Finger-pointing character]; and LINE ONE, an [Office phone button] as in "call on line one."
November 06, 2008