Jeremy Newton's New York Times crossword, "Shifty Business"
I'm pressed for time, as I have 6:00 dinner plans involving IHOP. The evening meal at IHOP always puts me in a quandary: breakfast for dinner or dinner for dinner? If only they still sold the corn cakes that I loved so.
Jeremy Newton's theme is, I believe, gears that might be found in a car. Now, my gearshift has park, reverse, drive, and neutral, with a couple more "you really need to bother with this?" options off to the side. My car doesn't advertise first, second, third, fourth, or fifth gear—but those are rebus entries in this puzzle, along with reverse and neutral, but no ordinary drive. It's quite possible that car/crossword buffs will be knocked out by the locations of the rebus squares. Are those circled rebus squares laid out like they are in the sort of car that goes to fifth gear? I have no idea. It is hard to marvel at something if you don't know whether it's marvelable.
Without further ado, the theme entries (which can be entered in the puzzle most quickly by just using the first letter of the rebused word):
A handful of non-theme clues before I sign off:
Updated Sunday morning:
Yikes, I've blown most of the morning and have four puzzles to blog about? Yeah, I'll be giving short shrift to them all.
Mike Peluso's syndicated Los Angeles Times Sunday crossword, "Taking the Bite out of the Dog"
The dog says "GR" and that's what's been taken out of assorted phrases to create each theme entry. I liked this theme a lot, particularly these answers:
37D. APES OF WRATH are [Angry gorillas?].
Highlights in the nonthematic parts of the puzzle:
I do want to take issue with 60A. [Dentist's number?] as a clue for OPIATE. Dentists typically use local anesthetics (which are not OPIATEs) to numb you up. For more involved procedures, you might be sedated, but I don't think that involves OPIATEs either. Now, if they prescribe Vicodin for postop pain, that's an OPIATE, but that's for pain relief, not for numbing.
(PuzzleGirl wrote about this puzzle at L.A. Crossword Confidential too.)
Merl Reagle's Philadelphia Inquirer crossword, "Woof Gang"
The theme is "Merl's grab bag of dog-breed puns":
The fill included some unfamilar names. 4D is [Entertainer Theodore] BIKEL, which rings a faint bell. 94D is ["The Group" co-star Joanna] PETTET not only doesn't ring a bell, it denies that bells ever existed. Same with 113D CRAIN, [Actress Jeanne of "A Letter to Three Wives"]—and both PETTET and CRAIN cross the [Grandpa Walton portrayer], Will GEER. If you don't know him, you're kinda stuck Googling these people, aren't you? There's also 55D AKBAR, an [Indian emperor of 1600], crossing OLEA, the [Olive genus].
Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon's Boston Globe puzzle, "Rhyming Game" (delayed Across Lite edition)
Each theme entry takes a two-part, four-syllable rhyme and adds another word that rhymes, creating made-up phrases that are clued accordingly. For example, [Research into bores?] might be FUDDY-DUDDY STUDY, and [Not much of a hat?] is a TEENY-WEENY BEANIE.
In the fill, I learned a new word: [Nuque] is the French word for the NAPE of the neck. There's a cognate in the anatomical term nuchal, which means "of or relating to the nape of the neck." Now, that doesn't explain why an unfamiliar French word is used to clue an English word in this puzzle.
I filled in ALIEN for [Little green man] before I made it over to [Men in green], so I still had Martians on the mind and needed all the crossings to get CELTS. [Supersonics site] is an anachronism now—the SEATTLE Sonics moved to Oklahoma and were renamed the Thunder.
Rich Norris's themeless CrosSynergy/Washington Post "Sunday Challenge"
Easy clues overall meant that I finished this puzzle quickly, which is a shame because so many of the 9- and 10-letter answers are so fabulous—the puzzle has just the sort of fill you hope to find in a themeless puzzle. Among the best:
June 06, 2009