Oliver Hill's New York Times crossword
I'm feeling torn about this puzzle. On the one hand, the theme idea is clever—EXTRACT parsed as "extra CT" added to certain phrases—and there's some terrific fill. On the other hand, one of the theme answers feels off to me, and some of the fill and clues strike the wrong note. First, let's sum up the theme:
Here are the non-theme answers and clues I admired:
The clue for FURY, [Hurricane's force], felt too specific for its answer. Fill that sort of sticks in my craw:
I imagine I had more to say about the puzzle, but I spent so much time watching neo-Journey clips with my husband, and poking around Facebook...I forgot. I'll be more bloggy again in the morning.
Updated Tuesday morning:
Don Gagliardo's L.A. Times crossword
Wow, what an unusual theme! One of the holy grails of crossword construction is to come up with a cool theme nobody's done before, and I don't recall seeing a puzzle like this before. There's no obvious theme until you get down to 67A: [Letter appearing only in down answers; its opposite appears only in across answers]. That's the HARD G, with two or three soft G's in each of the five Across entries placed where you'd expect to see theme entries. GINGER ROGERS has three soft G sounds, but the Down crossings are OLGA (Korbut, ['70s Olympics name]), GOOD AT, and MI AMIGO (which is an [Address to a pal, in Pamplona]), all with hard G's. I suspect it would take too much effort to tailor a program to construct a puzzle like this, so Mr. Gagliardo presumably handcrafted the crossword. One could argue that there's not much point to this theme, but I liked the impact of the one "aha" moment when it hit me.
Let's take a look at some of the content:
This puzzle contains 21 G's. I don't know of anyone who keeps track of this for non-NYT puzzles, but the record for the most G's in a daily NYT is 19.
PuzzleGirl loved this theme too and has more to say at L.A. Crossword Confidential.
Patrick Jordan's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Dead-End Endings"
The theme here is phrases that end with dead ends, like the title says, with the words used in other contexts:
You can be treed, cornered, or trapped when those final words are converted into verbs.
Ben Tausig's Ink Well/Chicago Reader crossword, "You're It!"
Hey, I didn't test-solve this one during vacation, and it darn near killed me today. It was the junction of 3D and 19A that did me in the worst.
The theme's a good one. "Tag, you're it!" means that each theme entry's base phrase has been TAGged (a TAG has been inserted somewhere):
Among the clues I found tough were these ones:
April 15, 2009