December 07, 2008

Monday, 12/8

CS 3:25
Sun 2:58
LAT 2:40
NYT 2:34

(updated at 9 Monday morning)

Sarah Keller's New York Times crossword has a piece of JEWELRY (40-Across) at the beginning of each theme entry:

  • [Many a mall outlet] is a CHAIN STORE, like...Zales. Gold CHAINs are jewelry.
  • [Place to keep a report] is a RING BINDER. This one sounds a bit off to me—three-ring binder, four-ring binder, D-ring binder, yes. Ring binder without further detail? I don't use that term.
  • [A.T.M. access code] is PIN NUMBER. Yes, that means "personal identification number number" and it's redundant. It's also perfectly in-the-language as a familiar phrase.
  • [Five-card or seven-card game] is STUD POKER, and many earrings are STUD earrings. (I hear Ms. Keller's a stud poker whiz, too.)
In the fill, why is ACHOO clued as [Possible reaction from getting a cold shoulder?]? If the implication is that getting chilled causes viral disease, I must demur. (Also? Wet hair poses no health risk. Germ theory!) Beautiful X crossing of two words that probably don't see much use in Monday crosswords—SIOUX is clued as [Sitting Bull or Crazy Horse] and XANADU is [Citizen Kane's estate]. There was one answer that was a complete mystery to me. [Swimmer Debbie who won three golds at the 1968 Olympics]. Who? Debbie MEYER? I've never heard of her. The Meyers I know are the legendary DePaul basketball coach Ray, campy sexploitation moviemaker Russ, actress Dina of Starship Troopers, and actor Breckin whose career avoids really taking off. All are less famous than Oscar Mayer and Mike Myers.

"The Measure of a Man" in Caleb Madison's Sun crossword is the unit of measure hidden inside the man's name. HAROLD RAMIS has a dram, or 0.75 teaspoons. PETER GABRIEL's got an erg, which is equivalent to 0.0000001 joules. AHMET ERTEGUN carries within him one meter, or about 39 1/2 inches. WILLIAM PENN has an amp, or 1 coulomb per second.

The puzzle's got a fairly ambitious structure outside of the theme—14 6-letter answers, 8 7's, and 4 8's look like a lot on a Monday. Much of the fill is lively, too. The highlights: MAMMA MIA, a BEER RUN and BARHOP and STROHS (which, ahem, teenaged Caleb surely knows about only from books and movies), a DAYGLO COWPIE, a BALDING AMOEBA. The fill also has lots of people in it, which I enjoy.


Randolph Ross's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Fruit Salad," replaces a word or part of a word with a sound-alike fruit:
  • [Tariff on dried fruit?] is RAISIN TAXES (raising taxes).
  • [News story about a tart fruit?] is a CURRANT EVENT (current event).
  • [Fruit arranged by a mathematician?] are ORDERED PEARS (ordered pairs—and I don't know what exactly that term means).
  • [Comic strip about Lorna's fruit?] is DOONE'S BERRY (Doonesbury).
Other food in the puzzle includes CHEESE DIP, a [Serving with tortilla chips]; ACORN squash; lemonADE; bagels with LOX; [Brown bread] or TOAST with [Brown beverage] or COLA (not so appetizing when described thus!); ALE and MEATS—all for EATERS. (Note to the CrosSynergy team: Might want to change [Newly hatched insects] to the singular for subsequent printings, as LARVA is singular.)

Jennifer Nutt's LA Times crossword is about CARDS—a [Bridge player's need, and hint to this puzzle's theme]. The theme entries end with words that relate to playing cards:
  • The UPPER DECK is a [High stadium section], and you'll need a DECK of cards.
  • A [Bit of magic for the guests] is a PARTY TRICK, an example of which might be a card TRICK.
  • SECOND-HAND is [Like thrift-shop merchandise], and the dealer deals out HANDs of cards.
  • [Tort action] is a CIVIL SUIT, and one SUIT of cards is spades.
In the fill, I like the sound echoes at the top—WADS of cash, or [Rolled-up bunches of money], cross WADDLE, or [Walk like 7-Down], which are DUCKS. And a LAP or [Length of a pool] meets LA PAZ, the [Bolivian capital that translates to "the peace"]. [Zapping with an electroshock weapon] clues TASING. Technically, this verb may not be dictionarified yet, but this back-formation from the trade name Taser is already in use.