Tausig — wait for Thursday post
The theme entries in Jerry Rosman's New York Times crossword almost demand not to be read aloud in series:
See what I mean? By the third or fourth one, it sounds like you're lost in a sea of tongue twisters. Don't do it! Just read them silently. Don't challenge your tongue that way.
Let's put the spotlight on some of the fill in this puzzle:
Cool entries/clues: U CONN is the basketball powerhouse that's a [Nutmeg State sch.]. I have U CONN going to the Final Four in my bracket. [Return to one's seat?] clues REELECT. If one is a politician, one is reelected by one's constituents. WHARTON is a [Prestigious business school] and not a name we often see in the grid. Literature fans are sad that Edith Wharton didn't get the nod this time.
When I see a clue like [Umiak passenger], 5 letters, you know what I do? I fill in a T at the end and wait for the crossings to reveal whether it's INUIT (as it is here) or ALEUT. Just another one of those "hang on, you can't be sure which one it is" pairs of answer words.
I think we can all agree that ALB isn't something we love to see parked in a crossword grid. Can we also agree that it's poor form to make up abbreviations? The [Neighbor of B.C.] in Canada is Alberta, which is abbreviated Alta. ALB. can stand for Albania, but it's not Alberta's abbreviation. Sheesh, I blogged about this three years ago and three Canadian commenters backed me up.
Dang, I still have this many puzzles to blog this morning? I stayed up way too late working on my L.A. Crossword Confidential post, and now I see that I still need to blog the LAT puzzle over here.
Up first: Brendan Quigley's puzzle. It took me a while to tune into Brendan's frequency this morning (one [Unit of frequency] is a MEGAHERTZ) and see what the "National League" theme was all about. I figured 'tis the spring training season so it must be baseball, but no. National is a car rental agency, and so are parts of these theme entries:
Brendan's packed the grid with a lot of groovy fill. UGG BOOTS and UTZ CHIPS, two horrible-sounding brand names that haven't gotten in the way of success in the marketplace. IN A JAM and ON A JAG aren't so great by themselves, but the two together in one corner, both with J's? I like that. E-TAIL is horrible, but it's salvaged somewhat by being linked to STORE, a [Blog section emphasizing 38-Down]. I don't have a blog store, but Brendan sells t-shirts at his. The Hawaiian goose NENE doubles as the [Single name that Denver Nuggets player Maybyner Hilario goes by]. Now, why would a guy named Maybyner want a nickname? "Maybyner" is awesome!
The theme in Jack McInturff's L.A. Times crossword is RULEs: What the four theme entries have in common is that their first word can precede the word RULE, which appears at 62D. Here are your theme answers:
Government regulations may be a gag rule. Home rule is a system of local government. The ground rules are the basic principles at play. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" is the Golden Rule. Cute how the Golden Delicious apple and Golden Rule both have a capital G, while the other theme answers and their associated "rules" are lowercase.
One of the clues that snagged me was right there at 1A, Blue or brown follower. It took having most of the crossing answers in place to see EYED. Biblical clues are one of my weak spots, so 31D: Land where Moses died was tantamount to Random four-letter place name in the Bible. MOAB is also a place in Utah. And HATLO! My goodness. 27D: "They'll Do It Every Time" cartoonist Jimmy clues HATLO, which is not a name I recognize from anywhere. Oh, here's why: He drew that cartoon from 1929 to 1963, before I was born. The A in HATLO has a tough crossing, too—33A: Finance major's deg. is BBA, or bachelor's of business administration (the baby sister of an MBA). 10D: School play prop is a PAPER HAT, and that just wasn't coming to mind. I think my kid's school shows have involved real hats, not paper facsimiles. I hadn't seen 23A: Donizetti aria "Regnava __ silenzio" (NEL) while I was working this puzzle, and it's just as well. More commonly, NEL's clue evokes the "Volare" lyrics "____ Blu, Dipinto Di Blu." (Yes, I know the text styling is different in this paragraph than the rest of the post. I'm baldly plagiarizing myself and not covering my tracks by reformatting everything.
Bob Klahn's CrosSynergy crossword, "Beer Blast," has a theme I didn't think about at all while solving. The theme entries were clued straightforwardly, so figuring those out didn't require thematic thoughts.
The Three Favorite Cluing Habits of Successful Klahns:
March 24, 2009