Billie Truitt's New York Times crossword treads some familiar ground—I've seen at least two previous digital-themed puzzles before. This one proceeds through all five fingers on a hand, from thumb to pinky:
Now, in my heart, no fingers theme can top David Pringle's 4/23/07 NYT with PINKY TUSCADERO, but I do like the completeness of including the thumb. I liked seeing [Mr. ___ (Lucy's TV boss)], Mr. MOONEY, here; I don't know why. The [First of 12 popes with a religious-sounding name] is PIUS I. Hmm, we don't see a lot of Roman-numeraled pope names in Monday puzzles, do we?
Mark Feldman's Sun crossword, "Dressing Up in England," compiles a group of clothing items that have taken the name of places in England. All five are clued the same, [Part of an English outfit]. They include ETON JACKET, RUGBY SHIRT, NORFOLK COAT, OXFORD SHOE, and WINDSOR TIE. Wait, what's that one in the middle? The Norfolk coat or jacket is "a loose, belted, single-breasted jacket with box pleats on the back (and sometimes front), now with a belt or half-belt." Outside of the theme, the fill's a bit Scrabbly and two of the corners contain a 6x4 chunk of white space.
Today's LA Times crossword comes from Andrea Carla Michaels and Myles Callum. Three theme entries are tied together by GIMME A KISS, a [Hopeful demand of 17-, 35- or 41-Across]:
Highlights in the fill include an EGG-TIMER, or [Board game gadget]; [Snoopy's foe], the RED BARON; SPLEEN clued as [Anatomical source of ill humor?]; and ST. PETER, [Heaven's gatekeeper]. I didn't know that MIRA meant ["Look!" to Luis]—it's one of those Spanish words I've heard on TV shows without being clear on the meaning. And yes, usually a [Bride's partner] is a GROOM, but sometimes it's another bride.
Randall Hartman's CrosSynergy puzzle, "It's Hot Outside!", has four theme entries with HOT outside—that is, the phrases start with HO and end with T.
The most frightening thing in this puzzle was the clue for CATHY: [Comic strip about modern women]. All the women I know are modern, and I don't think any of us can relate to Cathy. The character is not emblematic of our lives, our concerns. This essay explains why. Who doesn't appreciate an articulate evisceration of something lame?
Bonus points for including TOMMYROT and the FOUR TOPS in the fill—hey, that sounds like a group, doesn't it? Tommy Rot is the frontman. I love the oddball synonyms for [Nonsense]; besides TOMMYROT, we have balderdash, claptrap, poppycock, twaddle, hooey, and malarkey.
November 23, 2008