Have a happy Thanksgiving! If you're cooking, may all your food be ready on schedule without being overdone. If you're traveling, I wish you smooth and safe journeys. If you're just eating, don't forget the Tums.
Patrick Berry's New York Times puzzle (a plus-sized grid, 15x16) brings together seven words or phrases in which the first and last half contain the same letters in different order:
That's a lot of theme packed into one puzzle. Assorted other clues and answers:
Now that editor Peter Gordon is calling his own shots, the Sun crossword can come out on holidays. (The New York Sun didn't publish an edition on holidays.) Peter Collins' Sun crossword, "Stuffing the Bird," must have been constructed after Peter G. made the decision to have holiday puzzles, because it's got a Thanksgiving theme. The title hints at a rebus gimmick, and sneaker brand [K-S]WISS broke this one open for me. Seeing KS in the upper right corner made me suspect that TH would appear in the upper left corner and AN between those two. Indeed, the rebus squares occupy the four corners and the middle square on each side, spelling out TH/AN/KS/GI/VI/NG TU/RK/EY. The presence in the fill of FEDERICO FELLINI, PERRY COMO, and EMPEROR HIROHITO appears to be incidental.
There were so many echoes between this puzzle's fill and the NYT—SLALOMED here and SKI there, BE[VI]ES here and BEVY there, OP-EDS here and op-ed ESSAYS there. Favorite entry: CONTROL-P. Favorite clues: [Top sellers] for TOY STORES, which are places you might buy a spinning top; and [Harvard proponent of higher education?] for Timothy LEARY. Least familiar answer: ITALO is the name of ["Confessions of Zeno" novelist Svevo]. Svevo?
Barry Silk's LA Times crossword uses the term KICK-START as the impetus for a crossword theme. The first word in four phrases doubles as a ___ kick:
The fill has some trademark Silk Scrabbliness, with answers like RITZY, ZEN, MATZO, UNISEX, and JUG. [Year in which the Colosseum opened] is EIGHTY, not LXXX.
Bob Klahn's CrosSynergy crossword, "Iron Supplements," adds iron's chemical symbol, Fe, to four phrases. (If you're a fan of the periodic table, here's a quiz—how many can you list?) The theme entries are:
Non-thematic clues and answers:
A [Tempest in a teapot] is an ADO, and the [Teapot Dome material] is OIL.
["Bejabbers!"] clues EGAD.
["Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" guy] is a GIGOLO? I had no idea.
[Lime-laced libation] is a GIMLET. Do you think anyone's ever used gimlets instead of giblets in making Thanksgiving stuffing?
[Pies in the sky?] may be UFOS.
Your AVATAR is your on-screen representation of yourself, a [Virtual-reality pinch hitter] that has nothing to do with baseball.
The [Four-armed Hindu deity] is named VISHNU.
[Muppet with two tongues?] is the billingual ROSITA. F.A.O. Schwarz offers custom-designed-by-you Muppets, but you can't order one now because there was too much demand. Dang—I kinda wanted one. Maybe later...
November 26, 2008