What do you write when you want to say just "One More Thing"? Zack Kushner's New York Times crossword adds a P.S. somewhere within a phrase or at the end of it to change the meaning. The hands-down winner, the theme entry that made me laugh out loud, was USE THE FORCEPS, LUKE, clued as [Advice to actor Perry when delivering a baby?]. I just picked up my son from a Star Wars: The Clone Wars-themed birthday party where there was a Yoda hippity-hop ball, so the 90210-ization of Jedi force was welcome. The other theme entries were pretty solid, but they didn't hit the funny bone like 47-Across did:
We've got one of those roll-your-own words here—REGRAB, or [Get a better grip on]. There's a smidgen of blah crosswordese, like EBOLI, or [Where Christ stopped in a Carlo Levi novel] and SISALS, or [Rope fibers]. But there's also lively stuff like a PRETZEL, or [Ballpark snack]. [Steal from, as in Grand Theft Auto] clues CARJACK. There's a comedian's SCHTICK, like ["I don't get no respect," to Rodney Dangerfield]. H.G. WELLS is [The Father of Science Fiction]. Someone's HIT LIST is clued as [It's dangerous to be on this]. There's some pasta etymology: RAVIOLI means [Literally, "little turnips"]. And GEORGE is clued as [Any of boxer Foreman's five sons]; yes, George Foreman likes to name his sons after himself.
It took me a while to find the hidden word in Merl Reagle's Philadelphia Inquirer crossword, "See the Secret Word." In Across Lite, the note explaining the theme is appended to the first theme clue, 22-Across. And that note is long. As a Mac user, I can see the full clue only in teeny print with the Across Lite window components resized and stretched fully across a 21" screen (there's no mouse-over pop-up unless you're in Windows)—I don't know why the note wasn't moved to the Across Lite Notepad, where such things usually appear. Annoying. Anyway: The note says that the same six-letter word is hidden nonconsecutively within each theme answer, and it's left to the solver to figure out that the hidden word is...hidden. To wit:
Rich Norris, a.k.a. Gia Christian, constructed today's syndicated Los Angeles Times Sunday crossword (which isn't the puzzle the LA Times happens to run on Sundays). In "HR Derby," an H takes the place of an R in each theme answer:
The most interesting word in the fill is GYNARCHY, or [Government by women]. There is frightfully little of that to be found.
This weekend's old Boston Globe crossword in Across Lite is a savory treat from Henry Hook. In "Versatile Viands," each theme entry contains a word that's also a food. There's a HAM RADIO OPERATOR and KEVIN BACON, a Wisconsin CHEESEHEAD, and assorted veggies, like SERGEANT PEPPER, a MUSHROOM CLOUD, and the ONION NEWS NETWORK. There are two more theme answers stacked together to tie these all together—they are both OMELET FILLINGS and PIZZA TOPPINGS. Between the two-meal elegance of the theme, the stacking of theme entries, the sections of white space (look at the three sections running down the middle of the grid, with all those 6+ letter answers bunched together), and the overall smoothness of the fill, and you've got yourself a beaut of a Sunday puzzle. Really, the only thing I looked a little askance at was CAMIONS, or [Trucks]—it's a legitimate dictionary entry and all, but not a word I'd seen before. I wanted CAMINOS, as in the '70s car/truck blend, El Camino.
Bruce Venzke and Stella Daily's themeless CrosSynergy "Sunday Challenge" has an unusual-looking grid, with stacked pairs of 15-letter answers criss-crossed by single 15's going down. There are plenty of rather arid answers that look like the sort of things solvers will be Googling today:
March 07, 2009