November 26, 2008

Thursday, 11/27

Sun 6:43
NYT 4:24
LAT 4:02
CS 3:54

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:

  • [Digestive system parts with recycling?] are INTESTINES, with INTES and TINES being anagrams of one another.
  • [Most promising options with recycling?] are BEST BETS.
  • [Took a risk with recycling?] is STUCK ONE'S NECK OUT.
  • [Come back with recycling?] is REAPPEAR.
  • [Livery blacksmith with recycling?] is HORSESHOER.
  • [Imposition on drinking with recycling?] is LEGAL AGE.
  • [Sporting colleague with recycling?] is a TEAMMATE.
That's a lot of theme packed into one puzzle. Assorted other clues and answers:
  • [Chile's ___ de Pascua] is an ISLA.
  • [Country that has won the most Cricket World Cups] is AUSTRALIA.
  • [Day trader's wish] is a FAST BUCK.
  • [Dynasty in which Confucianism became dominant] is HAN.
  • [Org. with a National Historic Landmark in lower Manhattan] is the NYSE.
  • [Contemporary of Kepler] was Tycho BRAHE, the least felicitously named of all the astronomers. Didn't he lose his nose?
  • [Spicy biscuit served at English teas] is a GINGERNUT.
  • [Symbol seen on viola music] is the C CLEF.
  • [1994 film noir by Preminger] is LAURA.
  • [Craft union of old] is a GUILD.
  • CANES are [Victorian gents' accessories]? Gee, I wonder why that trend faded away.
  • Did you know that BASIL is the [So-called "king of herbs"]? I don't think I did.
  • To [Ask for by name] is to PAGE someone.
  • To [Discommode] is to IRK. If you knock someone off the toilet, I'll bet that discommodes them.

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:
  • [Two paces per second, in a march] is QUICK TIME. I don't know what "quick kick" means. Let's look it up: It's a football term.
  • PENALTY BOX is [Where a rule-breaking Canadien may be seen] in a hockey game. Penalty kicks are a soccer thing.
  • FREE ASSOCIATION is a [Freudian technique]. I don't really know what a free kick is.
  • [Park surrounded by water?] uses "park" as a verb, not a noun. The answer's DROP ANCHOR, and football has (had?) a drop 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:
  • [There's at least one in every "I Love Lucy" show] clues WIFELY STRATEGEM (playing on "wily stratagem").
  • A dense fog becomes DEFENSE FOG, or [Game-long stupor responsible for multiple touchdowns?].
  • War crime? Try a WAFER CRIME, or [Crisp cookie caper?].
  • [Garfield's response to most phone calls?] is THE FELINE IS BUSY.
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...