Tausig (not timed)
Ooh, I really liked Laura Sternberg's New York Times crossword. The theme replaces a word in each long answer with a sound-alike 2-letter state postal abbreviation, and the state is evoked by the city mentioned in the clue:
Where I went awry in doing this puzzle was filling in *EE for [___-necked] at 27-Down and leaving that middle E in place when it meant that answer would be EEE. Whoops—it's EWE-necked, and no, I never would have had a clue what that meant if not for that semi-recent crossword that introduced EWENECK to us non-horsy types. The errant E had me mired in [Tax-free transaction, usually], or SWAP. That A came from PAL, with the tough clue [Shadow, so to speak]. [Preceder of a case name] clues the phrase IN RE. NAGGER, as in "one who nags," is clued as an [Unpleasant reminder?], but in general one who nags is called a nag and not a nagger, no?
Ben Tausig's Ink Well/Chicago Reader crossword for this week is called "Springing Ahead." When I test-solved this one, it was a day before daylight saving time kicked in, and the theme seemed all backwards to me. Then after moving my clocks ahead an hour, everything made sense. The theme touches on TIME ZONES, which are [Things standardized by Congress on March 19, 1918]—happy 91st birthday, time zones! Where the TIME ZONEs hit the arbitrary division between days of the week is called the DATE LINE, which for the terms of this puzzle is the [International boundary which, when crossed from east to west, causes a traveler to 49-Across (and a hint to this puzzle)]. 49-Across is LOSE A DAY. The other three theme answers involve our hypothetical traveler LOSing A DAY thusly:
Lots of clues from music in this puzzle:
Other clues, in the They Come in Pairs category:
It took some thinking and some looking to find the theme in Ernie Lampert's LA Times crossword. HIT THE HAY appears in the middle at 35-Across, clued as [Turn in, perhaps using items hidden in 17-, 24-, 48- and 57-Across]. Those items for hitting the hay are shown in bold within the following phrases:
Ideally, a hidden-word theme will be consistent in where the words are hidden—within a single word (e.g., SCOTCH), across two words (BEBE DANIELS), or across three words (WORKS OF ART). It can be mildly jarring to have an assortment of multiple routes.
Here's an olio of clues and answers, which bundle themselves into various categories:
Favorite clue: SOCCER is a [Goal-oriented activity?].
Randy Ross's CrosSynergy puzzle is called "Hamburger Helpers," and the phrases all contain hamburger toppings in other contexts:
I had a turkey burger the other day, and my burger wants to know where the lettuce, tomato, and ketchup phrases are.
March 18, 2009