CS 5:35 (J—paper)
It would be hard for me to be any crankier than I am right now. The freelance assignments are piling up around my head, time is short, and every so many minutes, a malfunctioning car alarm right across the street goes off. Mind you, it's the first day in a couple weeks that the lakeside temperature topped 70°, so I'd love to have the window open but the car alarm just might drive me mad.
David Levinson Wilk's New York Times crossword
So that's the mood I was in when I started this puzzle and I was still in that mood when I finished. If you adored David's puzzle, you are probably quite right. I have no reason to think my negativity is a reflection of the puzzle's quality. Did it beat you up like a Saturday puzzle, or was that just me? Here are the bits that didn't sit with me:
And what parts of this puzzle could make me forget about stray car alarms? This stuff:
Oh, that car alarm? It went off at 10:02, 10:09, 10:14, and 10:18. It's been quiet for 9 minutes now. I grow worried when it doesn't check in regularly.
Updated Friday morning:
Martin Ashwood-Smith's CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, "Middle Ears"—Janie's review
You remember your rudimentary introduction to the miraculous workings of the middle ear, don't you? The hammer, the anvil, the stirrup? Well, this puzzle has nothing to do with that. This puzzle has to do with the placement of the letters E, A and R in the middle of three 15-letter phrases—but literally, right smack-dab in the middle, occupying blocks 7, 8 and 9 of the entertaining fill. Take a look:
The clues for the theme fill are very direct—as is most of the cluing in this puzzle. This makes for a fairly easy kind of solve. Still, the grid throughout is embroidered with fine fill. At center is a column of 7s: TIBETAN (CS debut), AREA RUG and CORRODE; then we get two 8s, each of which is appearing in a CS puzzle for the first time: ATTACHÉS and another adverbial phrase, IN HIDING; and two CS-debut 10s: SCIENTISTS and the fabulous ROAD TO RUIN. In this case, the Triple A will probably not be able to provide you with a TripTik for the best RTE to follow. This is strictly a "make your own adventure" venture!
There's some eclectic music-related fill with two portions of the Requiem Mass: the Dies IRAE and the Agnus DEI; ["Lulu" composer], modernist Alban BERG; pop's Paul ANKA and the Beatles' "I ME [Mine"]. We also get weaponry fill: STEN and SABER (and a summoning of the NRA, cleverly clued as [Gp. that sticks to their guns]); and a trio of words that take us inside the boxing ring: champs Mohammed ALI, Leon SPINKS and the [Pugilist's weapon], his/her FIST.
The architectural term FASCIA board was new to me, but easily attainable through the crosses. (Pronounced with a long "a.") More familiar to me is anatomical connective-tissue fascia. (Pronounced with a short "a.") Many years ago I suffered a fascia tear in my calf. Major "ow" and definitely not recommended.
Other fill I fancied: HADJI, GNOME, JETTY, BRASS, AVENGE, LAUDE and SET IN clued almost poetically as [Arrive, as darkness]. Did I [Really enjoy] this puzzle? Yep, like a tasty ENTREE, this was one to EAT UP.
Orange here again—am pressed for time, so the blogging will be cursory. The Wall Street Journal puzzle wasn't posted yet, so I'll check back later.
Stella Daily and Bruce Venzke's Los Angeles Times crossword
The theme is a quote I've seen before: I NEVER HATED A MAN / ENOUGH TO GIVE HIM / HIS DIAMONDS BACK, uttered by ZSA ZSA Gabor, [Speaker of the quote, familiarly]. In the fill, SPACE AGE ([Period that started with Sputnik]) crosses PHASER (["Star Trek" weapon]). I'll bet at least a few girls got their first period coincident with Sputnik's launch, and I like to think one of them's doing this puzzle and filled in THE CURSE for 10D.
Brendan Quigley's blog crossword, "Themeless Friday"
There's time only for mentions of a few favorite bits:
June 18, 2009