CS 6:59 (J—paper)/3:00 (A—Across Lite)
John Farmer's New York Times crossword
John's crafted a perfect and timely theme, filling 66 symmetrically placed squares to honor the hosts of THE / TONIGHT SHOW on the occasion of CONAN O'BRIEN taking over the show. Since 1-Across and 6-Across's clues tipped the puzzle's hand, I knew early on where the puzzle was going. I just couldn't get my cold fingers (brr! c'mon, meteorological summer is starting!), keyboard, and mouse to work together to get through this puzzle in a Monday amount of time.
Heeeere's the theme!:
Remarks on assorted clues and fill:
Updated Monday morning:
Tony Orbach's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Chalk It Up"—Janie's review
What a great way to start the week. This puzzle is loaded with lively fill and clues, and from beginning to end was simply fun to solve. The theme? As hinted at by the title (and revealed at 66A), POOL. The last word of each of the theme phrases is an object related to that [Game played in a hall]. Brilliant device? Nah. We see it all the time. But look at the fill. This is terrific stuff and contributes to the way this puzzle "pops." Each theme phrase makes a strong showing—and each is appearing for the first time in major puzzle.
I think the only non-theme fill that raised a flag for me was (CS debut) BAKE PAN—which is not a phrase I'm accustomed to using. Especially for meatloaf. Then I use a loaf pan... Otherwise I call that "vessel" a "baking pan." In the strictly for-what-it's-worth column, BAKE PAN gets 1,480,000 Google hits; "baking pan," 4,970,000.
And since we're in the kitchen...toques off to EMERIL, fried RICE and carne ASADA—which was new to me. Looks good!
The shout-out to sports comes by way of SKI, CFL [...org. north of the border] (Canadian Football League), NHLER [Ranger or Duck for short] (National Hockey LeaguER), TAMPA [Buccaneers' home], SUMO (playfully clued as [Big sport in Japan]), and golf [...links] term MAKE PAR (another CS first).
We get a PAIR of movie stars, too: the adorable Alan ARKIN and the controversial (the-less-said-the-better, SHO 'nuff...) Mel GIBSON.
Other happy-making examples:
Cluing (not previously mentioned...) that caught my attention: 38A [Words of agreement] for AMENS followed by 40A [Sign of agreement] for NOD; [Come to] for EQUAL (I was thinking AWAKE...); [First name in moonwalking] for NEIL (and not MICHAEL); and [Hit with a low blow] for KNEE. Ouch.
Because I know almost nothing about photography, ASA clued as [Film speed letters] was completely new (not merely NEWISH) news; and ["The Whole] NINE [Yards"] put me in mind of this whole etymological conundrum. Discuss amongst yourselves!
Orange here again. Following up what Janie said, "bake pan" in quotes gets just 66,000 Google hits, vs. nearly a million (surprisingly low, if you ask me) for "baking pan." "Loaf pan" (which is what I call the thing) garners 460,000.
Now can we get an air hockey theme? Or will someone give me an air hockey table of my own? My hand-eye coordination stinks for POOL, but I like air hockey.
Gary Steinmehl's Los Angeles Times crossword
Gary Steinmehl's theme feels a little bit hit-or-miss, but overall smooth and entertaining. The theme clues are all commands involving the word hand:
The iffiness of those theme entries is offset by the long Down answers in the fill and the pop culture material. I love EMILY [___Litella: Gilda Radner's "Never mind!" character]. There's NESTEA echoing the playful clue for ICE-T: [Refreshing rapper/actor?]. Jimmy Durante's "INKA Dinka Doo," Christopher REEVE, a TALKIE, [Old-time drummer Gene] KRUPA, Bobby FLAY from the Food Network, John LOCKE from Lost (oh, wait, it's clued as [English philosopher John]), and Jay LENO. Two answers in the top row are young animals, a FAWN and a CALF. And those long answers—the CAFETERIA is a [Food fight site], DOUGHNUTS are [Dunked snacks], a VIDEO GAME is a [Purchase for your Xbox], and [Years on the job] are one kind of LONGEVITY.
Brendan Quigley's blog crossword, "Themeless Monday"
Yay! Themeless Monday! Brendan was shooting for easier clues, and he did pull that off. So if you're afraid of Friday and Saturday NYT puzzles, try this themeless.
The fill's mighty splashy. Who's that at the bottom? Sonia SOTOMAYOR, crossing emo boy eyeliner, or GUYLINER. There's an IPHONE APP, GAPKIDS and a HANGOVER (clued as a [Morning sickness?]), AL D'AMATO near SADR CITY, L'CHAIM crossing UNITARIAN in ecumenical corner, MEGADETH and JUVENILE, and a pair of verbs that go well together, BELABOR and DEIGN TO.
I didn't know IAMBUSES was a word—these [Metrical feet] are also called iambs or iambi. And STORIETTE, a [Brief tale], is not a word we used in our college lit classes.
May 31, 2009