I'm not an ardent baseball fan, but it was cool to see the Mets' new home, CitiField (brick wall? totally copying Wrigley Field), and to watch the pitcher throw himself clear off the mound. If things like that happened more often, I, for one, would watch more baseball.
Hey, last week when I resolutely avoided turning on my laptop during vacation, it turns out I missed an e-mail from the Jeopardy! folks inviting me to the Chicago auditions this spring. I thought there was no chance they'd take a tardy RSVP, but whaddaya know? They did! Jeopardy! veterans, don't hesitate to send me your audition success tips before May 28.
Barry Boone's New York Times crossword
Two recent Sunday puzzles (one by Dan Naddor for the syndicated L.A. Times crossword, the other a Cox/Rathvon creation for the Boston Globe) had a hidden gems theme in which made-up phrases like TAGAMET HYSTERIA hid the names of gems. In Barry Boone's NYT puzzle, the five phrases that hide the gems are real ones, so the letters in the gem names don't appear consecutively. The five HIDDEN GEMS are in the circled squares in these answers:
Let's see what else we have here. Plenty of good stuff: There's the unlucky EIGHT BALL, clued with [It's last to be sunk]. Its opposite number is DISSIDENT, like [Andrei Sakharov in the Soviet era, e.g.]. Speaking of Soviets, ISTO is clued by way of [Lenin's "What ___ Be Done?"]. On the capitalist side, there's [Economist John Maynard ___] KEYNES. KETTLES is another KE-ES word; they're [Fish stew containers] like the one filled with the crawfish my husband ordered last Friday. INDY is the nickname of Indiana Jones, a [Four-time Harrison Ford film role]. [St. Barthelemy et d'autres] are ILES, or "islands" in French. ZAIRE was [Congo's name before 1997]. SAXON is clued well, as [The "S" in WASP]. [Groveled] means ATE DIRT, figuratively. The [Contents of the Spanish Main] are AGUA, just plain seawater.
Italy comes in for TREVI, or [Rome's ___ Fountain]. [Love, Italian-style] is AMORE. And SETTE is "seven," the [Number of hills in Roma].
Baseball gets a few references, too. MLB is the [World Series org.]. [Most Little Leaguers] are BOYS, still. [Bat, ball, glove, etc.] are a baseball player's GEAR. To SHAG is to [Catch and throw back, as fly balls]. And [Farm team] is...OXEN!
Matt Jones's Jonesin' crossword, "Triple Threats"
Cool theme—famous (or at least somewhat noted) people whose names have a pile-up of three consecutive letters that are the same:
My mom just did a crossword in which AGAMA was clued as a lizard. Here, it's [Scripture that's source to yoga methods]. Do lizards excel at yoga? They certainly know how to enter a zen state of serene mindfulness. Or maybe that's cold-blooded torpor. Hard to tell the difference.
XENIA is clued as the [Ohio city where a Burger King worker YouTubed himself bathing in the sink in 2008]. Say what? I missed that one. Here's a video for you if you're curious. (It's a large sink.) In other geography, we've got FIJI clued as a [Nation with three dots in a row]. (Not in all caps, but as Fiji, yes.) That ties in nicely with the letter-trio theme. How often do you suppose there are Fiji hijinks going on? Every single day, I'm guessing.
Billie Truitt's Los Angeles Times crossword
Billie Truitt cooked up five phrases consisting of two words that are the same save for an R after the initial consonant in the first word. That doesn't sound clear at all, does it? But it looks clear as day:
A nice feature of this puzzle is the double-action clues. [Caboose's place] clues both REAR and END—and those two together could be clued as [Caboose, slangily]. [Deadlocked] means both EVEN and TIED.
Updated Tuesday morning:
Randall Hartman's CrosSynergy crossword, "Jump the Gun"
If you jump the gun, you get a HEAD START ([Unfair advantage]). The beginnings of three theme answers don't have unfair advantages, but they do start with words that are slang for the head:
The LILAC is the [State flower of New Hampshire] and no other state, which surprises me. Lilacs are so lovely, more states should single them out for this honor. I suspect the local blooms are at least a month off, as the lilac bushes are barely beginning to leaf out. If you're fond of flora, you'll like Wikipedia's photo-illustrated list of state flowers.
Favorite nonfloral clue: [It doesn't take much] for a DEUCE, the playing card.
April 13, 2009