CS 6:46 (J—paper)
Mike Nothnagel's New York Times crossword
Most of Mike's puzzles are themeless, so it's a bit of a departure for him to show up on Tuesday. But the six-part theme's augmented by Nothnagelian fill, in addition to being a flawless theme. The theme entries are:
Highlights in the fill, quickly: NANCY DREW's the [Character who first appeared in "The Secret of the Old Clock"]. DOT MATRIX is an [Early printer type]. [Annotates, as a manuscript] clues MARKS UP. K-PAX! That's the [Title planet in a 2001 Kevin Spacey movie]. Tony DANZA is the ["Who's the Boss?" co-star] who, by the way, looks like he could be Rahm Emanuel's brother. Crosswordese name NYE graduates to full-name BILL NYE, [TV's Science Guy]. And a TWINGE is a [Sudden, sharp pain]. Plus we have colloquial language like "GOT ME" and "I KNOW" ("IT IS I" is a lesser caliber of fill). Seeing EGEST in the grid just now made me imagine it as an E-word: E-GEST, a notable adventure or exploit on the Internet.
Updated Tuesday morning:
Donna S. Levin's CrosSynergy puzzle "Going Once, Going Twice,..."—Janie's review
For the second Tuesday in a row we have a CrosSynergy constructor debut. A hearty welcome to Donna, yet another skillful, clever, well-published constructor, whose puzzles have been seen extensively as part of the Creators Syndicate (Newsday), the L. A. Times, the Sun, and more recently in the NYT. Her inaugural summons up the auction block. Live auction, not this kind... Each theme phrase ends with a word related to auctions and the first three of them are appearing for the first time in a CS puzzle; the last is making its major-puzzle debut. Whaddo-I-hear, whaddo-I-hear, whaddo-I-hear for:
And the beauty parts of the grid-as-is are many:
Clocking in at 7:30 (they ain't called INXS fer nuthin'!), here's a link to signature song "Need You Tonight" as the band performed it at Wembley Stadium in the early '90s.
All in all, one PRIMO premiere—and (fair warning) I am going, going,...
Fred Jackson III's Los Angeles Times crossword
The theme here is old musicals whose titles end with women's names:
Favorite entry in this puzzle: the ELKS CLUB, or a [Fraternal group, familiarly]. Super-fresh—or as fresh as a group of mostly older men can be. Biggest fake-out: I combined the Y from HELLO DOLLY and the clue for 46A, [Stevenson's ill-fated doctor], and automatically filled in MR. HYDE, grumbling that this alter ego wasn't a doctor. D'oh! It's Dr. JEKYLL, who has a Y in the same place.
Matt Jones's Jonesin' crossword, "That's B.S.!—at least it's broken up"
Matt's puzzle has seven theme entries in which the first word ends with B and the other word begins with S, so there's a broken-up B.S. in each. Alas, there is a Down answer outside of the theme in which there's an unbroken BS—BEAR CUBS, clued as [Den mother's group]. The theme lacks a certain rationale, as we don't typically think of breaking up bullshit. Here are the theme answers:
There are always some bloggable clues in a Jonesin' puzzle—interesting or unusual answers, oddball names, etc. ["Hinky Dinky Parlay ___" (WWI song)] is completed by VOO (parlez vous). SAL ["___ the Stockbroker" ("The Howard Stern Show" personality)] is nothing I've ever heard of. BOPGUN is a [1977 hit from George Clinton and Parliament] and I can't say I recognize the title. What's a [Rounded architectural framework in cathedrals]? It's a RIB VAULT. LOW BP is clued as a [Healthy heart rate, on a doctor's chart], though actually, blood pressure can be dangerously low too. JOYSTICK, or [Arcade game control], is a terrific-looking crossword answer. I think Brendan Quigley might've had [Aladdin ___ (David Bowie alter ego)]/SANE in a puzzle recently, and yet I still forgot it. "A lad insane"? I'm not convinced that ZOOMANIA, or [Animal fanatic's condition], is a real English word; it might be a Spanish one.
May 25, 2009