Happy birthday to three of my favorite puzzle people! Evad, Byron, and PuzzleGirl were all April 24 babies, as was my son. Luckily, only one of the four expects me to present him with Legos tomorrow.
Barry Silk's New York Times crossword
Apparently I shouldn't fritter away an hour on Lexulous and phone calls before making it to the puzzle, because I got trounced by Howard Barkin to the tune of 3 minutes plus, and 4 minutes plus by Dan Feyer ("fredwbear" clocked in between Howard and Dan but I don't know that I buy that 3:20 time.) I took any number of detours in this crossword—RENTA instead of ECONO [___-Car], CREW instead of NAVY for the [Sub group], LAST WEEK instead of LAST YEAR, BIOLOGY instead of ZOOLOGY for [Alfred Kinsey's field], and my favorite wrong turn, BIKINI instead of INNING for [It has top and bottom parts]. Either answer is good for that last one and they share a couple letters.
I was also looking for 18A [Running] to end with a long A sound (the answer turns out to be ON THE LAM) because it sits opposite FIND A WAY, and SUSAN DEY and ENOLA GAY ([Carrier of very destructive cargo]) are another pair of long-A rhymes.
My favorite clues and answers follow:
Answers I didn't know:
Updated Friday morning:
That rapper in the NYT puzzle, Ric-A-Che? I guess the name's supposed to be pronounced like "ricochet," but I see Che and hear the "Che Guevara" pronunciation. This puts me in mind of the little Pokemon critter called Pikachu, and I'm thinking that's not what any male over the age of 10 would wish his name to evoke.
Robert Wolfe's L.A. Times crossword
The theme doesn't seem to signaled in any way at all. Each theme entry contains an abbreviation for a road of some sort (abbreviations you'd see in a street address), but taking the place of words that aren't normally abbreviated in phrases. There's no hint that there will be abbreviations, no unifying entry whose clue explains it all. And that is why this puzzle's running on a Friday and no earlier in the week. Did you like the theme? It did not move me (or my car). Here's the theme:
Does SOEVER work for 47A: [In any way] without a preceding what? My dictionary says yes: adverb, archaic or poetic/literary, "of any kind, to any extent." Hey, how did you like 51D: [Lincoln-to-Cheyenne direction]? Four letters...hmm, that won't work for something like NNE, so what could it be? Just plain ol' WEST. I don't recall seeing a cardinal direction clued in relation to the space between two geographic points before. 7D: [Edwards who played Ben Casey] is VINCE, and I sure didn't know that one.
Mike Torch's Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, "Rock Festival"
All right! A puzzle for the geologically inclined out there! You don't see that too often. The theme answers are puns with the names of minerals (or a rock) substituted for words that sound similar:
I did this one on paper last night while putting a birthday boy to bed, so I have no solving time to report.
Brendan Quigley's blog puzzle, "Going Through Hoops"
I finished the little bitty northwest corner, the PBJ/BOZO/JOSS stick corner, and moved along to 20A: [Sugar-covered peanuts]. Well, it doesn't take a Bostonian to know those are called BOSTON BAKED BEANS, but that wouldn't fit. It started with BOS, though, so that confirmed the answer and shouted "rebus" at me. "Hoops" in the puzzle's title? OK, so it's an NBA rebus. The other long rebus theme answers are AMERICAN BANDSTAND, which Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon appeared on a record 110 times. Is it OK that I've never heard of him? I know only Freddie "Boom Boom" Washington from Welcome Back, Kotter. Then there's BENJAMIN BANNEKER, the [African American mathematician who purportedly surveyed the District of Columbia. There's an extra rebus in the southeast corner, with no long answer anchoring it into place; Brendan wants to know if you felt that was fair. I wasn't on the hunt for symmetry, so I didn't mind it.
Among the flashiest answers were these:
Ray Hamel's CrosSynergy crossword, "Roomful of Roses"
Ray Hamel is one of those legends in the trivia world, and this puzzle's theme answers could be a tough trivia question: "What do BETTY WHITE, the KEWPIE DOLL, the country GEORGIA, BING CROSBY, and UMBERTO ECO have in common?" The word "rose" or the name "Rose" ties them all together:
A couple of the fill answers relate to rose, too. A [Rose supporter] is a STEM. WILTS is clued [Droops, like an old rose]. And SMELL completes the phrase ["Stop and ___ the roses"]. Unusual theme but not a difficult puzzle; good fill. Two thumbs up.
Harvey Estes' Wall Street Journal crossword, "The Bases Are Loaded"
Boy, I could've save myself a lot of time and mystification if only I'd paid attention to the puzzle's title. It didn't take me forever to find the rebus square with THIRD in it, and eventually I found FIRST, but it didn't occur to me that they were in symmetrical spots and would be accompanied by SECOND base and HOME plate, the four rebus squares forming a baseball diamond. I was just thinking of ordinal numbers. 'Tis the season for baseball themes, and even without the New York Sun delivering a barrage of them, there are still so many. (Sigh.)
The long theme entries weren't straightforward answers at all, so there was a gimmick underlying the gimmick:
I'm past being out of time to blog this morning, so I'll sign off here. Hope your Friday will be unseasonably warm but not too hot!
April 23, 2009