NYT 3:24 (paper)
Wow, when you don't blog a bunch of puzzles until Sunday afternoon, when 5:00 rolls around the last thing you want to do is blog another crossword. Sorry to be so tardy. Long weekend!
Randall Hartman's New York Times crossword
I did this puzzle last week when Will Shortz sent the puzzles along for the Marbles Amateur Crossword Tournament, and it felt like such slow going. Paper! I don't like doing crosswords on paper as much as online.
The theme is the J CREW, a [Retail clothing giant...or a description of 17- and 53-Across and 10- and 24-Down?]. The J CREW are four people with J.J. initials, supplemented by a JELLY JAR that's not part of the theme. The people include JANIS JOPLIN, the ["Me and Bobby McGee" singer, 1971]—and I just now noticed that this clue repeats a word in the grid, MCGEE or [Fibber of old radio]. I missed seeing that a few days ago, just as I often miss seeing such duplications. JACOB JAVITS is the NYC-centric answer here; [Longtime New York senator for whom a center is named] refers to a convention center in New York. JOE JACKSON is not only the "Stepping Out" singer but also [White Sox outfielder nicknamed Shoeless]. JESSE JAMES was a [Brother outlaw in the Wild West]. Jesse Jackson's first and last name were used elsewhere, so he's an honorary member of the theme.
It's fun to have so many J words in a Monday puzzle, isn't it? A knights' JOUST meets JOJO, clued by way of ["___ left his home in Tucson, Arizona" (Beatles lyric)]. There's a HUNG JURY, which is [Cause for a mistrial]. And [Mexican beans] of the mushy refried variety are FRIJOLES (yum). It's been a long time since I've run across a mention of JAYE, ["The Gong Show" panelist ___ P. Morgan]. Remember her? Without a J, we have other good stuff, like THE MASK, the [1994 Jim Carrey film]; PANACHE, or [Flair]; and YES, I KNOW, or ["So you've said"]. The most topically current clue is [Bo : Obama :: ___ : Roosevelt]. Bo is the First Family's new Portuguese water dog, and FALA was FDR's dog. FALA's a lousy entry, if you ask me, but the topicality of White House dogs this month revives it.
Updated Monday morning:
David Cromer's L.A. Times crossword
Back in the '70s, there was a pop-culture moment in which CB radios were all the rage. The song "Convoy" ensured that my generation learned the basic CB lingo. So when the beginning of [Start of a trucker's communication] was BREAKER, I filled in the rest immediately: BREAKER ONE-NINE. The following theme clue, [Start of a sound man's mike check], began with TESTING, and though there wasn't enough room for ONE, TWO, THREE to follow it, clearly this was a word + numbers theme, right? Wrong:
Among the tougher clues in this Monday puzzle were these:
Stella Daily and Bruce Venzke's CrosSynergy crossword, "On the Ball"
"On the ball" means smart, quick-witted, and the four theme entries in this puzzle begin with SMART and its synonyms:
Brendan Quigley's blog crossword, "Comparatively Speaking"
This puzzle discriminates against Mac users, I tell you. It took me a long time to figure out the theme and fill in the upper left corner, because [Where most downloaded files go] is to my Downloads folder or to the desktop. TEMP DIRECTORY? Uh, no. I've been using Macs since the early '90s and this is not a phrase that means anything to me.
The theme goes on to make things TEMPER and TEMPEST: [Hissy fit] is a TEMPER TANTRUM and [Buffeted during a strong blow at sea] clues TEMPEST-TOSSED. Wouldn't it be fun if there were varying degrees of temporariness that could be used in superlative forms? If there were a temp directory, a temper directory for files stored for less time, and a tempest directory for the most fleeting file storage?
Favorite clues and answers:
April 19, 2009