Apparently this is one of those days when my ideal bedtime is 8:30 p.m., but I find myself fighting to stay awake while doing a crossword after 9:00. Newcomer (?) Corey Rubin's New York Times crossword mightn't be as hard as a tough Saturday puzzle, at least if you're awake. Because I'm drowsy, though, I'll just list some clues and answers in lieu of sentient prose:
Jack McInturff's Chronicle of Higher Education puzzle, "Leading Men," gathers up an assortment of Mideast rulers of the male persuasion and puts them into pun circumstances:
I note that none of these generic rulers have female equivalents, and I believe the words are all applied only to men. Sure, there's a sultana, but she's the sultan's wife or concubine and not herself a leader. (Harrumph.)
The toughest crossing in this puzzle was where botany collided with classical Greece—the [Peloponnesian city] ARGOS crosses GALLBERRY, or [Species of holly], at the G. ATMOS is a [Brand of clock powered by changes in temperature]; I know nothing about this. Same with WEIR clued as [Fish catcher]. I like the verb [Couch] as a clue for PHRASE, and the Middle Eastern inflection of HOOKAH, or [Water pipe]. POSEIDON was the [God with a grudge against Odysseus].
Randolph Ross's Wall Street Journal crossword, "Dispossessed," extracts the apostrophe from a dozen possessive phrases and slides the S over to the beginning of the next word. Like so:
Four of the theme entries run vertically, and all of them intersect Across theme answers. That's fancy constructin' there. In the non-theme fill, [Front runners?] confused me for a while. DESERTERS may run from the battlefront. MAPLE TREE is clued [One may be tapped]; yum, maple syrup. [Profitable Internet business] clued PORN, which I was not expecting to see here; EBAY just wouldn't fit the crossings. [Home of the Wildcats] is RUPP ARENA, at least for one university's Wildcats. Which one? University of Kentucky, Google says. [Season segments] are TV show EPISODES, not months of the year. [Old Finnish coin] clues PENNI; they use the euro now. I thought [Cardinal toppers] would be the hats those prelates wear, but they're the CRESTS of feathers on the redbird's head.
There's more Jack McInturff puzzlin' in the LA Times crossword, with a theme summed up by the [Rhyme runaway] DISH ("and the dish ran away with the spoon"). Add a couple spaces and you get the phrase "D is H," which describes the change made to each theme entry.
Lots of tough clues in this puzzle. Such as:
Brendan Quigley kicks it themeless today for his BEQ blog puzzle, "In 70 Words or Less." I did this crossword in the standard order, starting in the 1-Across corner and working my way down and to the right. Hey-o! Look who's down there in the last Across answer: [Five-time American Crossword Puzzle Tournament winner] TYLER HINMAN. Normally I'd be rolling my eyes at fill like NAL, [Publishing house that's a div. of Penguin], but the L's a gimme if you know the name Tyler Hinman—and anyone who's been reading Brendan's blog probably does. Lots of other names in the grid, like EVA LONGORIA, KEN KESEY, the great EDDIE IZZARD, GEORGE IV, ISOCRATES, and MONTEZUMA—now, that's how you run the gamut in having names in crosswords, with Greek and English and Mexican history to offset pop culture and nerd culture. I didn't know that GRUMIO was ["The Taming of the Shrew" servant]—that's one of the Shakespeare comedies I never made it to. And EXMOOR, the [Stocky pony with a fawn-colored nose]? I don't know if that's a breed or a fictional name or what. And EIDOLON, a [Summoned apparition in "Final Fantasy IX"]—total mystery to me. I like the name ZATOPEK, as in [Emil ___, 1948 and '52 Czech track gold medalist], and want to see it paired with the Southern Mexican people, the Zapotec.
Patrick Jordan's CrosSynergy crossword, "Intermittent Showers," reminds me of the Ella Fitzgerald/Ink Spots song, "Into Each Life, Some Rain Must Fall." (Go have a listen if you're in the mood for some moody music.) Patrick drops a little RAIN into each theme entry:
March 05, 2009