NYT 3:00 (there was a 20- or 30-second search for a typo)
Lynn Lempel has been one of my favorite Monday constructors since she arrived on the puzzle scene a few years ago. Her New York Times crossword pokes at the usual guidelines which say that Across answers that aren't part of theme should be shorter than the theme entries. Here, there are eight theme answers that are 6, 7, and 8 letters long that end with a long-I sound spelled eight (!) different ways, set apart from the other fill by starred clues:
There's also the German ei spelling, but the dreadful 15-letter Arbeit macht frei would not be welcome in a crossword. Other German words ending -ei (like Bäckerei, or "bakery") aren't familiar enough for an American crossword. Are there other long-I spellings left out?
The longest Down answers are longer than any of the theme entries, which is fine, as they're not starred, they're not Across, and there is a Notepad message about the theme. Oh, hey, applet users, did you see the new(ish) Notepad button above the grid? This is a welcome enhancement to the applet experience. If you click it, a box pops up saying "The answers to the eight starred clues all have something in common, each in a different way." The grid disappears when the Notepad is visible, but when you click "back," the puzzle is there in all its splendor.
Speaking of things in all their splendor, NUDE is clued as [Ready for skinny-dipping]. And those long Down answers I mentioned are ORGAN MUSIC, clued as [Hymn accompaniment], and a MODEL PLANE, or [Small replica of the Spirit of St. Louis, e.g.]. Ordinarily I'm no fan of "wife of famous guy" clues, but today's pair of actresses had been married to the same guy: AVA [___ Gardner, Mrs. Sinatra #2] and MIA [___ Farrow, Mrs. Sinatra #3]. Did you know that O GAUGE is a [Track choice for Lionel trains]? I filled in the GAUGE parts and leaned on the crossing JOINTS ([Wrist, elbow and ankle]) for the O. Of course, having FITS instead of the correct NETS for [Meshes] slowed down the appearance of JOINTS. IMS gets clued as [AOL chitchat]—I wonder what percentage of IMing is carried out via AOL/AIM, which seems to be alluded to in half of the IMS clues I see. A lot, but not most, this chart suggests.
My favorite answer in this puzzle, given the loudness of my kid this afternoon, is SHUSH, or ["Be quiet!"]. See also YAP AT, or [Talk to persistently and with a big mouth]. This is my PLAINT, or [Lament].
Jerome Gunderson's LA Times puzzle was so easy, I plowed through the Down clues and glanced only cursorily at the Acrosses along the way. I did read one of the three theme clues:
The rock 'n' roll vibe carries through to The King, ELVIS / PRESLEY. Assorted non-theme clues:
Now, which of the three songs in this puzzle is still going through your head? I have an "Honesty" earworm this morning.
Updated again Monday afternoon:
Sorry about that delay—I went out to IHOP for breakfast, then to the hair salon and the grocery store, and the next thing you know, school's letting out and it's a lovely day so we stayed at the playground for over an hour. During my outings, I had the opportunity to see Broadway's potholes (this being Chicago's Broadway St., not NYC's) up close. You know what's in the bottom of these potholes? Cobblestones and decades-old streetcar tracks (the Broadway streetcar ceased service in 1957). I had no idea the history was buried so shallow.
The theme in Bob Klahn's CrosSynergy puzzle, "The End Is Near," wasn't all that easy to tease out. The end of each theme answer is a synonym, sort of, of "near":
Lots of goodies here, but I'm short on time so I'll just mention three favorite clues/answers:
Today's Brendan Quigley crossword, "Stimulus Package," features a theme with five illicit stimulants. I think. I'm not sure.
Brendan's got four nice corners of fill in his puzzle, with 10-letter Down words each intersecting four theme entries. There probably aren't many alternatives for F*R*S*O***, so it's good that the southwest corner cooperated with FIRESTORMS. What did I like the most in this puzzle? This stuff:
March 15, 2009