Hey, sometimes Brendan Quigley makes crosswords that people pay him for, and not just those three free puzzles each week at his blog. His New York Times crossword has four theme entries, four phrases that have INGQ (or just GQ) in the middle. That sounds lifeless, doesn't it? It's not, because the Q is always up for a good time and the phrases are interesting ones:
I got off on the wrong foot with this puzzle by making 1-Down a wandering EYE instead of JEW. I just this minute learned that there was a wandering Jew in medieval Christian folklore—I only knew it as a houseplant. That corner was the last part I filled in, and KIRI wasn't helping me one whit (that's [___ Davis, "A Girl Like Me" documentarian].
I've got some favorite clues and whatnot:
It wouldn't be a Thursday Times without some curveballs:
Tony Orbach's Sun "Themeless Thursday" reminded me a bit of Karen Tracey's puzzles thanks to some Scrabbly names. There's TORQUEMADA (is it a coincidence that this [Cruel inquisitor] appears opposite MISTREATED with SADIST in between?) and the band JAMIROQUAI, and a most timely PONZI SCHEME crossing UZBEK. There's also a bakery zone, with TEACAKE (I'd have loved it if that were clued as the character in Zora Neal Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God) atop SODA BREAD. Never heard of the ["Mighty Mouse" villain] called OIL CAN HARRY. Favorite clue: [Jessica Simpson, to Bronx Mowgli Wentz] for AUNT. I haven't heard the term [Pigeon-hearted] before; it means MEEK. I was disappointed that the puzzle didn't have more challenging clues, but relieved that Tony didn't pelt me with an unfamiliar fish crossing a Puerto Rican fried food (as he did in his first NYT themeless).
In his LA Times crossword, David Kwong riffs on the phrase "kill two birds with one stone" with some rock 'n' roll trivia:
Ben Tausig's Ink Well/Chicago Reader puzzle, "Reel Copies," has a theme that was utterly unfamiliar to me when I test-solved it.
Miscellaneous non-theme clues:
February 25, 2009