CS 6:29 (J/paper)
Who knew a kid could have strep in the absence of a sore throat? Yep. Fever, cough, and headache are the manifestations of the strep that's making the rounds in Chicago. I wrote up the CHE puzzle earlier this evening, but I promised to check on my son, who's having trouble getting to sleep, so I'll have only an abbreviated write-up of the New York Times puzzle.
Manny Nosowsky's New York Times crossword
Yay! A Manny Friday! Such a puzzle always promises to be deftly constructed and enjoyable, but not disappointingly easy. Without further ado, clues and answers of particular note:
Cathy Allis's Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, "Mystery Guest"
I've never read any Sherlock Holmes stories, nor seen any film adaptations. But I can still appreciate the Mystery Guest theme that Cathy Allis (the artist formerly known as Cathy Millhauser) has wrought in this 15x16 tribute puzzle. There are four theme entries and a smattering of circled squares. The theme entries are:
The circled squares, read in a zigzag from top to bottom, spell out ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE. And I certainly had no idea that was the hidden name, not based on the theme answers. Is the capitalized "Mystery Guest" another clue that it's Doyle?
Look how loose the grid is—there are two diagonal swaths of fill that traverse three quarters of the grid, easing your path through the grid. There are plenty of routes in and out of each section of the puzzle. And the fill doesn't feel constrained by the requirement that a specific letter must appear somewhere within each row (though there's some flexibility as to where the letter goes).
Hey, Cathy, let's see some more of your puzzles soon!
Updated Friday Morning:
Patrick Blindauer's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Double Time"—Janie's review
In other words, it's time to double something—and today that would be the central consonant of a five-letter noun or adjective, and then pair it with the resulting six-letter noun to create a two-word (kinda whimsical, alliterative) adjectival phrase. Get it? If that doesn't make sense, perhaps this will:
This was a fairly easy puzzle for me, probably because there was a lot of "sweet spot" fill. Fill-um stars NEESON and MR. T (who has a real name—Laurence Tureaud!); and the JOADS of Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath.
But let's not forget that "Double time" is also a musical term—and there was lots of musical fill here: DO-RE-MI, ["I] AM THE [Walrus"], ["I] HEAR A [Symphony"], ARLO Guthrie, Paul ANKA, AIMEE Grant, TITOS Puente and Jackson, ERNO Dohnányi, not to mention the well-clued [A flat's equivalent] G SHARP. (I also had to smile when sound-alike SHARPEI ["sharp A?"] showed up in the same NW territory.)
The longest of the non-theme fill is also rich: PASTE IN, MOUSETRAP (smartly clued as [Danger for Stuart Little]), FLAPJACKS (making its CS debut) and BEERCAN. This last one, clued as [Coors container], is well-paired with [Keep in a barrel, perhaps] for AGE. Wine and hard-liquor, I learned, are not the only alcoholic beverages to be barrel-aged. Yep, it's also a process for some mighty pricey beer these days. Yikes.
There's a fine pairing, too, of POGO [stick] and then [Stick with a blade, a loom, and a handle]. That latter one is a fancy way of getting to OAR. Here's a diagram that'll show ya what's what. (Full disclosure: this one uses the word "grip" instead of "handle"... The diagram that pointed out the "blade" and the "handle" made no mention of the "loom," which was a new term to me.)
And there's another lively pair of related clues/fill: SMUSH for [Compress] and RAZE for [Flatten]. Love SMUSH especially—though I did start out with SMASH...
BEEPER for [Cell phone predecessor] conjured up the first season of The Wire, and TRIO for [The Fates] sent me looking for more details. I was reminded that these dames are not unique to Greek mythology, but have their counterparts in Roman and Norse/Germanic mythology as well—possibly including even Macbeth's witches.
To re-address the theme before closing—you know what? There are a lot of six-letter words with a repeated consonant in the middle. But there really aren't lots and lots to choose from when you're trying to come up with phrases that sound like they could be "in the language." Bravo, Patrick. You came up with four good ones, giving us two with a repeated "T" and two with a repeated "P." That, too, keeps the theme-fill tight and consistent within itself. No mean FEAT, that!
Mike Peluso's Los Angeles Times crossword
The theme here is familiar phrases in which the first word adopts a -LER'S ending. The new words are completely unrelated etymologically in three of the four cases:
New clues (which may not actually be new, but they felt fresh to me):
More on the puzzle from Rex at L.A. Crossword Confidential.
Brendan Quigley's blog crossword, "Themeless Friday"
Those of you who've been perplexed by intriguing titles for Brendan's themelesses can rest easy today—"Themeless Friday" is indeed themeless. I'm glad Brendan sometimes writes about the genesis and crafting of his puzzles, because I always find that interesting. (Open invitation to constructors: If you're particularly pleased with how your puzzle came out and want somewhere to talk about the process of creating it, you're welcome to do that here. Either in the comments or via an e-mail from which I can copy and paste your story.) Among the freshest fill and clues in today's puzzle is this stuff:
Cathy Allis's Wall Street Journal crossword, "It's Not the Economy"
Yay! Another puzzle from Cathy! I really thought I'd have to wait more than a day before I saw another of her creations. The theme entries are familiar phrases with financial implications, but Cathy reimagines them and the clues suggest that "It's Not the Economy" that these phrases are about at all:
Fun theme! I like the Reaglesque partial stacking of the top and bottom pairs of theme entries, too. Highlights in the fill: DOO DAH is a ["Camptown Races" bit]. POST-IT is a [Brand of note]. EGOISTE is that [Chanel fragrance for men] that had those ludicrous TV commercials about a decade ago. Remember that one? All the windows being thrown open and various European women shouting "Egoiste!" into the rue before closing the windows again?
May 21, 2009