Happy half-birthday (the 42½th) to baseball player Scott Brosius! He and I are the same age. Watch out for the crossword about us in the year 2166.
Jim Leeds' New York Times crossword is called "Double-O Seven" because there are seven theme entries in which an O has been doubled to change the meaning of a phrase. Double-O is inherently a fun letter combo, if you ask me—that's why I'm so tempted to change "dude" into "dood." And look at the double double-O words— boo-boo, choo-choo, doo-doo, The Goo Goo Dolls, "koo koo ka choo," the Teletubbies' Noonoo, pooh-pooh, Scooby-Doo, "The Shoop-Shoop Song," too-too, Cubs fan Ronnie "Woo Woo" Wickers. OO is gOOd stuff, I'm telling yoo.
Here are the theme entries:
Let's take a look-see. What else is in this puzzle?
Pamela Awick Klawitter's syndicated Sunday Los Angeles Times crossword (which is not the one in the LA Times itself, but a crossword syndicated to other papers) is called "Snake in the Grass" because there's an ASP (107-Down) hiding in seven long theme answers. For example, SARATOGA SPRINGS is a [New York city with a famous racetrack] and SEA SPRAY is a [Windy day phenomenon near the shore].
Among the less familiar answers and trickier clues in this puzzle's non-theme fill are:
Merl Reagle's Philadelphia Inquirer crossword, "Literally Speaking," interprets common idiomatic phrases as if the speaker tacked on the word "literally," without regard for the inaptness of using "literally" in that setting. Misuse of "literally" is one of my pet peeves, so this theme was right up my alley. Here are my favorite theme answers:
If you want to read more about "literally" and its long history of being used as an intensifier in non-literal ways, check out Jesse Sheidlower's Slate article, "The Word We Love To Hate."
Bob Klahn's CrosSynergy "Sunday Challenge" isn't as challenging as the typical Klahn themeless. Favorite clues/fill:
The previously published Boston Globe crossword now available in Across Lite is Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon's "Search Party." The theme is HIDDEN GEMS, with various gems and semiprecious stones hidden within longer, made-up phrases (see the squares I've highlighted for the gems and stones). The theme feels like a retread because I'd enjoyed Dan Naddor's LAT puzzle with the same sort of theme just two weeks ago. Actually the Globe version of that theme combines real phrases—e.g., DROP A LINE, BAGATELLES—with goofy ones—e.g., MAMET HYSTERIA, NONSTOP AZALEAS—so it feels uneven. Naddor went the full-goofball approach, which I think was more fun.
February 14, 2009