(post updated at 9:15 Tuesday morning)
I think the Tuesday New York Times crossword by Jim Hyres was a little easier than yesterday's puzzle. (I had a typo, so my time should've been 10 or 15 seconds faster.) The theme entries all end with homophones:
Assorted other clues and answers in this puzzle: [Cop's cruiser] is a PROWL CAR. Squad car and patrol car are more familiar terms to me. [High-voltage weapon] clues AIR TASER, but I have never heard the term with "air" included. I, ROBOT is a [Classic Isaac Asimov short-story collection]. BENIN is the [Nation once known as Dahomey]. If you like African geography, try this map quiz. [Exert one's superiority] is PULL RANK. [Vigorous feelings] is a strange clue for ENERGIES. I'll bet PONZI [___ scheme (investment scam)] is far more familiar to crossword solvers in the wake of the Madoff debacle.
Peter Gordon/Ogden Porter's 15x16 Sun crossword, "Hitchcock Double Features," includes four mash-ups of Hitchcock movie titles that can be clued plausibly as made-up phrases. 10-Down was my favorite of the four. The clue [Subvert hawks and doves?] made me think of metaphorically pro- and anti-war groups, but the answer is more avian-minded: SABOTAGE THE BIRDS. Holy crow, The Birds freaked me out when I saw it late at night by myself when I was about 18. Birds have beaks or [Bills, e.g.], but that clue is for an NFL TEAM. [Thing that gets socked?] is a FOOT; the official socks of this blog are Smartwool.
Matt Jones's Jonesin' crossword, "Just Add Vodka," creates its theme entries by adding vodka to something in the base phrases and thereby mixing a cocktail. This is one of those puzzles with a slightly delayed "aha" moment, where I had the whole thing done but didn't understand the theme yet. I don't understand all of the theme entries, so I need to Google up some info. What's a Greyhound? It's grapefruit juice and vodka. So:
In the non-thematic fill, there are some cool answers. DARA TORRES was a [Swimmer in the 1984 and 2008 Olympic Games]; she won a silver medal last summer at about age 40. TUNA HELPER is a [Dinner mix with a glove on the box]. Cute little cartoony glove with a face on its palm, too. [It's promoted as infallible truth] clues THE GOSPEL, and I like the clue's vague suggestion that there's a marketing or P.R. team working on that account. GOOD LOOKS are [What vain people think may get them far in life].
The theme answers in today's LA Times crossword begin with FEE, FI, FO, and FUM, all tied together by the GIANT (67-Across) who is the [Fairy tale bellower of the starts of 20-, 31-, 42-, and 53-Across]:
I thought I'd seen this theme concept before, so I Googled it—there were two FEE FI FO FUM rebus puzzles in 2006, from Levi Denham and Nancy Salomon (NYT) and Edgar Fontaine (Sun).
Miscellaneous clues and answers:
January 26, 2009