CS 6:40 (J—paper)
David Kahn's New York Times crossword
What an odd puzzle. What can one make of it? The theme is an interesting one—all around the PERIMETER are 7-letter answers that are anagrams, or SCRAMBLES, of one another. Those anagrams are as follows, clockwise from the upper left:
Given the constraints of perimeter theme entry placement and the limited letter choices for the squares around the perimeter—plus the crossing entries in the middle—the rest of the was going to have some compromises, but I'm not sure the theme provides quite enough payoff for the fill. UNNERVE ([Upset]) is good but its crosser UNBRAVE ([Cowardly]), not so much. INSANER ([More cracked]), an awkward comparative word. SEROW, the [Asian goatlike animal]? Wow. One prior in the Cruciverb database, from a 1999 Washington Post puzzle. I missed that puzzle, so I more or less had to guess at the O, which is shared by DROP SET, or [Weight training unit]—a term I've never seen. ALAE, or [Wings, zoologically], is old-school crosswordese—rarely seen now, but at least I knew that one.
The rest of the fill is fine, now that I take a look at it, but I have a SEROW stuck in my craw and it's giving me a little indigestion. You know how that goes. Assorted clues and answers, coming right up:
It's storming like crazy outside, so I'd best post this before my electricity gets zapped. Good night!
Updated Thursday morning:
Patrick Jordan's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Beer Bearers"—Janie's review
"Oh, it's beer, beer, beer that makes you want to cheer"—and it's Patrick's "Beer Bearers" that celebrates four of the ways this most popular alcoholic beverage may be delivered—namely, by:
Other OASES in this puzzle are the excellent seven-, nine- and ten-letter fill: STRUDEL and LARCENY; ARMYWORMS and TUNESMITH; UNDERWATER and PRESS AGENT. Gotta re-visit that middle pair, each of which is making its major-puzzle debut. Now I'm not so keen on what I learned about the wildly destructive behavior of ARMYWORMS, but TUNESMITH (and its [Melody master] clue) is about as lovely as they come (saith the lyricist...).
Then there's the family gathering to be enjoyed: MAMA, PATER and BABY. And the foreign destinations of ULAN Bator and IRAN to be contemplated. Has anyone else read The Complete Persepolis? This is one powerful graphic-format autobiography about author Marjane Satrapi's coming of age in post-revolutionary IRAN. Will view the award-winning DVD this weekend.
Once again, there are loads of alliterative clues to keep things lively, and there are others that are just plain lively: [Command in a levitation act] for RISE, [Take a spouse] for WED, ["Everybody lift together!"] for HEAVE, [Passing notes?] for OBITS.
And I nearly forgot to mention another fave combo: [Spotlight hoggers] for HAMS. Get it? HOGgerS and HAMS..... (I know—you got it!)
Finally, let me also mention that before [Former Dolphins coach Don] SHULA was a "former Dolphins coach" he was "former Baltimore Colts coach (and player) Don." I mean, ya never know when yer gonna need that piece of information!
Gary Steinmehl's L.A. Times crossword
We used to see Steinmehl's byline more often when the New York Sun was still publishing. Here, he interprets LINCOLN CENTER as an ABE Lincoln in the exact center of four starred theme entries:
A few things jumped out at me. We have the proofreading one-two of STETS, or [Leaves in], and DELE, or [Editing mark]. PATEN, or [Communion bread holder], is the sort of answer that used to appear much more often in crosswords. Two consonant-heavy celeb names are MR. T, a ["Rocky III" actor], and ["The Brady Bunch" actress Davis], ANN B. The most interesting long answer in the fill is BLIND SPOT—[The right side-view mirror compensates for it] in your car.
Why do this theme now? Because today is the 50th anniversary of when they broke ground to build LINCOLN CENTER. Usually a tribute puzzle assembles a batch of trivia for the theme, but this is a cool twist on the norm.
Ben Tausig's Ink Well/Chicago Reader crossword, "Double Switch"
The "Double Switch" here involves phrases that contain 3-letter words with double letters. The letter that's doubled is switched, thereby altering the phrases' meanings:
Tricky spots, good stuff, etc.:
May 13, 2009