(updated at 10:05 a.m. Thursday)
Michael Vuolo's New York Times puzzle tells a spy tale in the long theme answers:
I mucked things up for myself by not noticing a typo for a long time and thus having trouble with the crossing. One of the two [Part of a famous septet] clues wants ASIA, but I'd entered ASIS and thus couldn't get SABBATH as the [Subject of Exodus 20:10]. The other 4-letter [Part of a famous septet] is ENVY. I prefer continents to sins, personally. The peaceable olive branch corner holds AT PEACE ([Tranquil]) beside OLIVES ([Tapenade ingredients]). Other clues/answers of note:
Patrick Jordan's "Themeless Thursday" Sun crossword was excellent—right up my alley in terms of fill. Scrabbly stuff, interesting phrases that don't get much play in crosswords, pop culture, plenty of people's names. JUAN VALDEZ, the coffee commercial guy! AL BUNDY, from Married With Children! YALE LAW right next to SHOW BIZ! QUEASINESS crossing the LAST SUPPER! SAM'S CLUB and THAILAND! There are so many cool answers packed into this grid. Among the names are young actress AMANDA Bynes, hip-hop/crunk pioneer LIL Jon, cartoonist BIL Keane, fictional CHIP from My Three Sons, and gross GENE Simmons of Kiss fame. Sandwiched between the incongruous pairing of CHIP and GENE S. are three Mideast-inflected answers. LUNE is a [Crescent-shaped figure], and the crescent is a symbol of Islam. DOHA, Qatar, is a [Capital on the Persian Gulf]. And IRAN's [flag says "God is great" 22 times].
Jack McInturff's LA Times crossword changes double-D's to double-T's:
Less familiar stuff: AGNES is the [Patron saint of chastity]. [Old ski lift contraption] is a J-BAR. SECRETS are ["...edged tools [to] be kept from children and from fools": Dryden]. [Day star] isn't the sun but OPRAH. ['80s-'90s Serbian import] clues YUGO; I always heard it described as a Yugoslavian car, not a Serbian one. ["Jesus Christ Superstar" song] HOSANNA meets [Medicinal plant] SENNA at the S.
Sarah Keller's CrosSynergy puzzle is easier than most CS crosswords. The "PC Pieces" theme is phrases that end with words that are also computer peripherals:
Three allied answers are EDIT, or [Wield a blue pencil]; CARET, or [Insertion mark]; and STET, or [Leave in, as text]. We also get some notable women: ELLEN is [Talk show host DeGeneres]; ANNE is [Author Tyler or Rice]; and STEFFI is the great [Graf of tennis].
December 17, 2008