Tausig —> will be in Thursday post
(post updated at 9:40 Wed. morning)
Susan Gelfand skews automotive in her Wednesday New York Times crossword. The four longest answers are phrases that begin with the P-R-N-D gears in a car:
The northeast and southwest corners of the grid tie these together as [a possible title for this puzzle]: SHIFT / GEARS.
I launched this puzzle with a wrong answer at 1-Down, trying ZILCH instead of ZIPPO. With ADLAI Stevenson, the [First name in 1950s politics], in place, the ZILCH quickly proved its wrongness. Interesting bits:
Andrea Carla Michaels and Patrick Blindauer teamed up for Wednesday's Sun crossword, another Oscar-week special. Their last shared byline was on the January 2 Wall Street Journal puzzle, the one with ant farm tunnels snaking through the grid. Today's puzzle is called "Screenwriting Can Be a Drag," and the theme is "movies that won Best Screenplay Oscars and feature characters in drag." Tootsie and Mrs. Doubtfire don't make the grade, but THE CRYING GAME, VICTOR/VICTORIA, and SOME LIKE IT HOT all do. This 16-square-high grid makes room for long answers like STEP-BY-STEP, MIRACLE GRO, a CRACKPOT, and DOMINEER—along with not one but two [Old Olds] cars, the ALERO and CIERA. (Fie on both!) NINE P.M. gets a 24-hour-time clue, .
Jack McInturff's LA Times crossword has five theme entries bound together by WIND (70-Across), the [Word that can precede the first word of the answers to starred clues]:
In the fill, we have ["SNL" alum Nora] DUNN not cross-referenced to SNL, the [NBC weekend show]. The two most interesting words in this puzzle are KRAALS, or [South African villages]—no relation to jazz singer Diana Krall—and MAENAD, or [Frenzied woman]. In Greek mythology, the Maenads were Bacchanalian female followers of Dionysus (Bacchus being the Roman equivalent of Dionysus). They were said to get into a frenzy and rip raw flesh from living creaturese to devour. You have to wonder what sort of fears the guys who wrote these myths had.
Tyler Hinman's Onion A.V. Club crossword follows up Valentine's Day with five suggestions for the unpartnered. Various options for seeking a date include SPEED DATING, a PERSONAL AD, MATCH DOT COM, a SINGLES BAR, or getting a FIX-UP from a friend. There's also the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, but you tend to meet people who live thousands of miles away from you. (I've heard of at least one or two married couples who first met at the ACPT.)
Among the trickier clues are these:
Brendan Emmett Quigley's puzzle today is called "Stretching Out: Go bust or get busy." The bust/busy pairing explains the theme—in eight phrases, a Y is turned into a T and the resulting new phrase is clued:
I can't say I'm familiar with SAVARIN, a [Folgers alternative]. I like PARKS IT, or [Sits, slangily], as a crossword answer. My first guess for the [Shoulderless shirt] was TANK TOP, but that does have straps over the shoulders, whereas a TUBE TOP does not. METH is clued as [One of the Wu-Tang Clan rappers, for short]; that's Method Man. I could've done without TONGUE being clued as [Kebab meat]; never seen tongue kebabs and hope never to see 'em. [Stamp, as a document] clues the obscure, blah word ENSEAL. I wanted TACTILE for [Touch-related], but the less common TACTUAL insisted on showing up. SWAGGER is a great word; it means [Bravado] and apparently the word has been with us for about 500 years.
February 17, 2009