(post updated at 11:15 a.m. Friday)
Joe Krozel packs 10 15-letter answers into his New York Times crossword, but he spaces them out so it feels different from the sort of themeless puzzle with lots of 15's stacked together. Here are the long answers, every one of 'em a lively phrase:
Miscellaneous other clues:
Fraser Simpson's Sun puzzle is a cryptic crossword, and it's a good bit more challenging and involved than the NYT Second Sunday cryptics are. For a guide to solving cryptics, see Fraser's "How to Solve Cryptic Crosswords" tutorial. I wrote up my answers over at the Crossword Fiend forum before I noticed that there was already a PDF of the answers. In the PDF, "anag." means anagram; parentheses indicate letters inserted (CAPS) or deleted (lowercase); "hom." means homophone; "rev." means reversal. If you are hesitant about giving cryptics the old college try, read Fraser's tips and see if you get any of the clues in the puzzle. If you're stuck, peek at an answer or two—in my forum post, the answers are in white text, so you can peek at a single answer without having the rest of the puzzle spoiled. Often, having even just a single letter in place from a crossing will help you figure out what an answer is.
It took me a while to suss out the theme in Donna Levin's LA Times crossword. Each theme entry makes a pun using a demonym or nationality that sounds like a common English word:
Highlights in the fill (which tended to the Scrabbly side): [Capo di tutti capi] is the KINGPIN. CHEEK gets a funny clue: [Half-moon?], as in a single butt cheek. MY GIRL was a [1965 #1 hit for The Temptations]. To NITPICK is to [Cavil]. The [2007 People magazine adjective for Matt Damon] was SEXIEST; Damon's response was funny.
Clues that got in the way of my finding the answers (as they're supposed to on a Friday):
Randy Ross's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Riddle Me Math," dispenses four riddles that hinge on math-oriented puns:
The fill includes 22 answers that are 6 or 7 letters long, which gives the puzzle added freshness. There's the [Persian poet] Omar KHAYYAM, for example, and MT. SINAI, a [NY hospital named after a biblical site]. My favorite clue was [Harry and Tara] for REIDS—one doesn't ordinarily think of the Senate Majority Leader and the largely discredited actress in the same moment.
Ed Sessa's Chronicle of Higher Education puzzle, "School of Victual Arts," is more playful than most CHE crosswords. The theme entries are five fields of academic study punned out with food. For example, ["You'll view the world as thin sheets of pastry in our ___ class"] clues PHYLLOSOPHY, based on philosophy and phyllo dough. LINGUINISTICS combines linguistics and linguini. Sociology becomes SUSHIOLOGY; economics, EGGONOMICS; and literature, LIQUORATURE. Interesting fill includes ALATEEN and DOGBANE, VESPUCCI and the Battle of MIDWAY. Did you look at your fingers to figure out [Second digit from the right]? The answer is the TENS digit next to the ones place.
Dan Fisher's Wall Street Journal crossword has a theme that combines two things I like: word manipulation (e.g., anagrams, reversals) and geography. In each "Global Recession" theme entry, the capital city (or maybe just a large city) points you to a country, the name of which appears in reverse (in highlighted squares) in the answer. The rest of the clue gives a more straightforward definition of the answer:
November 27, 2008