Greg Kaiser and Steven Ginzburg's New York Times crossword
Previously published constructor Ginzburg partnered with newcomer Kaiser on this geographic pun puzzle. Hooray, geography theme! And it's a cool one—they riff on CAPITAL OFFENSES, or [Pun-crimes committed by the answers to the six starred clues?], by featuring six countries' capital cities that sound like phrases:
I usually enjoy a theme custom-made for the geographically inclined, and I did indeed enjoy this puzzle. Let's see what else this crossword's got. There's more geography! [Congo tributary] is the UBANGI. [Like Gamal Abdel Nasser's movement], PAN-ARAB, sort of fits that category. There's ASIA [___-Pacific]. OKRA's clue tells us the word's place of origin: [Food whose name comes from a language of West Africa]. SIBERIA is the [Home of the 2,700-mile-long Lena River]; LENA is one of those Russian crosswordese rivers, along with NEVA, URAL, and OKA. IDAHO is the [Home of the Sawtooth Range], and MTN. is an [Atlas abbr.].
Other clues of note: [Wm. H. Taft was the only U.S. president born in this month] is SEP. ALFA is a [Preceder of bravo in a radio alphabet]. [Long key] isn't an island off Florida, it's the SPACE BAR on your keyboard. DART is clued [It has feathers and flies].
Updated Thursday morning:
Randolph Ross's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Yucky Yuks"—reviewed by Janie
Wanna hear a dirty joke? Boy fell in the mud.
Wanna hear a clean one? Boy washed up.
And that, dear readers, usta give me real "cause to crack up." In the second grade...
How nice to be a (chronological) grownup and still be AMUSEd by the very clean "dirty" jokes that unify Randolph Ross's puzzle:
Since I basically never met a pun I didn't like, this puzzle had a high smile-factor for me.
And there's lots to love in the range of the non-theme fill as well -- mythology's CYCLOPS [One-eyed giant]; music's MOOGS [Some synthsizers] "Switched-On Bach", anyone?; philosophy's Immanuel KANT ["Critique of Pure Reason" author]; television (Sesame Street) and filmdom's (It's a Wonderful Life) [Bert's buddy] ERNIE. There's even a sports reference: GOAL!
Clue/fill pairs that just sat right: [Concentrate]/FOCUS; [Something to blow when angry/GASKET; [De-tension camp?]/SPA (since I basically never met a pun I didn't like...); [Vanity cases?]/EGOS; and the "bonus" [Dirty stuff]/SMUT.
Fave cross: AGRA/AMES. Exotic India and heartland Iowa. Quel juxtaposition!
And with the shout out to GELATI and DOVE chocolate, consider this post to be a RAVE!
Dan Naddor's L.A. Times crossword—back to Orange
This unusual theme hinges on 73A ATE, a [Word that homophonically forms a familiar word when attached to the end of the answer to each starred clue]. How does that work? Like this:
Eight theme entries! Plus a theme that goes beyond the "same old, same old." Dan Naddor continues to put out interesting, well-crafted puzzles.
After I finished this crossword frowning at the unfamiliarity of CAPE CORAL, I returned to the April 20 New Yorker article "Swamp Things" (abstract here) and the very next section focused on Cape Coral! The town was built with 400 miles of canals, which makes it a homey place for the Nile monitor, an invasive species of lizard that can reach 7 feet in length and eats anything that moves. Now I'll remember Cape Coral.
Ben Tausig's Ink Well/Chicago Reader crossword, "Broken Bones"
The theme here is bones that are "broken" by having their letters spaced out within the four longest answers. In my solution grid, I've circled the bone letters. The clues indicate how many places each bone is broken—so a bone broken in two places is in three pieces, and a bone with three breaks is in four pieces. RIB appears in the RUSSIAN MOB ([Certain Grand Theft Auto antagonists]). The FEMUR is in FORCE MAJEURE, or [Act of God, e.g.]. [Biased coverage of a court case] is TRIAL BY MEDIA, in which TIBIA is broken. And UNCLE VANYA, the [Chekhov classic], hides crosswords' favorite bone, the ULNA.
Assorted clues and answers:
April 29, 2009