(updated at 12:45 Sunday afternoon)
Hey, if you can swing it financially and logistically, I encourage you to go pick out a "Dear Santa" letter at your post office and make a kid or family's holiday brighter. 'Tis the season, yadda yadda.
The New York Times crossword by Jim Page is called "Hey!" because each theme entry contains PSST embedded in it. PSST gets across the same point as YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE...only the short one's more one-on-one while the long one's addressed to a crowd. Here are the hidden PSST answers, all verb phrases:
There are a number of entries that felt a bit like nails on a chalkboard, less crossword-worthy than the other answers. EYE UP is [Examine covetously]; I know eyeing and I know looking one up and down, but I've never heard anyone use "eye up." [Seconds, say] is SOME MORE. I REFUSE is clued as [Stubborn response]. SALT LAKES are [Some landlocked bodies of water; it's in the dictionary, but I'm not a scientist who deals with salt lakes categorically, so it sounds awkward in the plural. [Like many root vegetables for the winter] is STORABLE. DITMARS is a [Queens neighborhood near La Guardia]; perhaps this is well-known to NYC solvers, but I'd never heard of it. THE LOT is [Everything]; I'm torn as to whether this is a good use of a definite article or not. SAID OK is [Caved in]. I think some of these wouldn't have caught my attention if EYE UP and SOME MORE hadn't triggered the "hey, is that kosher fill?" reflex—and if a few other NYT puzzles in the last week or two hadn't also put me on alert.
Things I liked:
Updated Saturday night:
Merl Reagle's Philadelphia Inquirer puzzle, "Girlfriends," has a really fun theme if you groove on that sort of wordplay (as I do). There are a whopping 12 theme entries, with four of them placed in stacked pairs as is Merl's wont. Each one's the name of a "girlfriend," with familiar first and last names combined to make solid puns, the meanings of which are reflected by the clues:
With 127 theme squares, there's really not all that much room for more cruciverbal bling. A few unusual answers caught my eye:
Pamela Amick Klawitter's syndicated Sunday Los Angeles Times crossword is called "...And So On" because each of the eight theme entries has an ETC hidden within its midst. Two of the theme answers are caffeinated elixirs of life:
Two are computer-related terms:
Two are monetary:
And two...have words that begin with S and C:
I solved this puzzle late last night, so I don't remember what struck me among the clues and fill. Let's take a quick look... [Triangular game accessory] is a billiards RACK; I racked my brains trying to picture a triangular board game accessory. The rest of the puzzle was smooth—nothing super-fancy, nothing too iffy, no clues that stretched things too far.
With his themeless CrosSynergy "Sunday Challenge" crossword, Rich Norris demonstrates once again that he is one of the masters of the themeless form. I would've enjoyed tougher clues, sure, but look at the quality of the fill:
December 06, 2008