January 28, 2009

Thursday, 1/29

Sun 3:53
LAT 3:48
NYT 3:42

I was just thinking to myself, geeze, I haven't found the time to do the themed CrosSynergy puzzles in at least a week. Maybe I should be doing them so I'm not too rusty by the time the ACPT rolls around. And then I remembered that I test-solved and proofread 51 other crosswords between January 20 and 27 and felt a little more prepared.

Barry Silk's New York Times crossword defines BAR (66-Across) in five ways, with all five definitions being clued simply with [See 66-Across]. Now, if I'd had any sense, I would have traveled directly to the lower right corner and used the crossings to give me BAR right away, but no, that didn't occur to me until now. The five theme answers are the LEGAL PROFESSION, to BANISH BY DECREE, a TAPROOM, a UNIT OF PRESSURE (not to mention cell phone signal strength), and MUSICAL NOTATION. Favorite stuff from elsewhere in the puzzle:

  • The IPHONE is [Time magazine's 2007 Invention of the Year] and IPODS are [Products once pitched by U2 and Eminem]. You go, Apple! IPASS is not an Apple product. It's clued as a [Bridge declaration], but it's also the name of Illinois's toll-collecting transponder doohickey, the I-Pass. I CAME is also not from Apple—it's [Start of Caesar's boast], "I came, I saw, I conquered" (a.k.a. "Veni, vidi, vici"). And then there's IMAX, a [Big film shower].
  • MISTRALS are [Cold northerly winds of southern France]. The prettiest-named of all the notable winds, if you ask me.
  • Slangy CUKE gets the slangy [Salad veggie] clue.
  • [Sixth graders, e.g.] are TWEENS.
  • I didn't know that Mr. SEATON was the [George who directed "Miracle on 34th Street"], so it's a good thing I'm hip to the ol' crosswordese—the E came from LETT, a Latvian or [Riga resident].

David Kahn's Sun crossword, "Chop To It," builds a theme around the ADDAX, an [Antelope with spiraled horns (and a hint to this puzzle's theme)]. Everyone knows the oryx is the cooler antelope, right? Six theme entries incorporate and ADDed AX that changes a phrase's meaning:
  • A Model-T Ford becomes a MODEL TAX, or [Levy on cover girls?]. Feminist grumble: Men are models too, and many cover "girls" are grown women. The clue could've included runway workers instead, with an airline pilot mislead.
  • Co-host turns into COAX HOST, or [Try to influence a game show leader?]. Hey, I just took the Jeopardy! online test tonight. If you missed tonight and last night, you can register for tomorrow's, at 8:00 p.m. Pacific time.
  • A native son morphs into NATIVE SAXON, or [Person born in northwest Germany 1,500 years ago].
  • [Deception requiring a vote recount?] is a TALLY HOAX (tally-ho).
  • "Takes wing" becomes TAKES WAXING, or [Is a student in a housekeeping course?]. If "housekeeping" courses exist, I highly doubt that floor waxing is taught. Now, cosmetology school may well include a waxing course.
  • "On paper," or theoretical, takes an AX to become AXON PAPER, a [Disssertation about neuron appendages?].

Congratulations to regular reader Gareth Bain on his constructing debut—today's LA Times crossword. The theme was a little tough to suss out, but eventually it hit me. The four longest answers end with slang terms used to refer to the police:
  • [Landmark birthday, informally] is THE BIG FIVE-O. (I went with FOUR-O first.) I think the old TV show Hawaii Five-O is the origin of this slang, which I only learned of in the last year or so.
  • [Gives strict orders] clues LAYS DOWN THE LAW. "I fought the law and the law won."
  • I'd never heard of the [Bird who loved Horton in Broadway's "Seussical"] the musical, but GERTRUDE MCFUZZ ends with the fuzz.
  • [Hot-weather rash] is PRICKLY HEAT, and the fuzz are also called...are they "heat" or "the heat"?
The pigs and po-po are sitting this one out, but there is a KOP ([Keystone bumbler]). TRINI LOPEZ gets promoted to full-name treatment; she's the ["Lemon Tree" singer, 1965]. FLOYDS is clued with [Pink and golfer Raymond?], the question mark reflecting the playfulness of treating Pink Floyd like a first and last name. Anyone else find that their first impulse for [Capital near Troy] was ANKARA? I don't know how close ancient Troy is to modern-day Turkey's capital, but New York's ALBANY rules the day here.