CS 6:14 (J—paper)
Paula Gamache's New York Times crossword
At last! A woman in the NYT crossword byline!
Paula's puzzle has a bunch of PERPS ([Those "walking" through the answers to the starred clues]) doing a perp walk in the theme entries:
Yep, that's four 11's and a 13 plus the 5-letter PERPS to tie them together. Good job, Paula. Smooth and simple for a Tuesday, but with extra theme content and, just for the hell of it, a new record—this puzzle has 19 P's, while the old record was 17.
What else is in the puzzle? There's some hugging and kissing with BUSSING, or [Playful kissing], brushing up against CUDDLES, or [Nestles]. "IT'S YOU" is perfectly clued as a [Compliment heard in the dress department]. COMMAS get the weirdest little clue: [,,,,,]. That looks like a surreal emoticon there, doesn't it? Did you notice that there are 20 answers ranging from 6 to 8 letters long? That lends the venture an extra dollop or two of freshness.
P.S. I meant to mention something else when I first wrote about this puzzle, and that is the lack of movement of the walking PERPs. Patrick Blindauer has had one or two (or more?) crosswords in which an embedded word marches through the theme entries, progressing from the beginning of the word to the end. Along these lines: the words ANTENNA, PANTENE, PLANTER, PICANTE, and BLATANT have an ANT "walking through" them. Too bad this NYT puzzle didn't begin with PERPENDICULAR and walk the PERP to the right with each theme answer.
Updated Tuesday morning:
Patrick Blindauer's CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, "I Before E" —Janie's review
Serving up a pun-lover's delight, Patrick has altered the spelling of the "long e" sound in four words that can be found in familiar settings: a phrase, a frozen food product, an epithet for a late real estate magnate and tax-evader, and a band that has been together since the early '80s. Where once the sound was spelled "EA," now it's "I [before] E." In this way:
I know, not everyone loves a pun—no matter how low, no matter how high—but I find all of these to be exemplary and sussing them out made for a most enjoyable solve.
The remainder of the fill gives us many, many names: [Hoopster] NATE Archibald; the music world's CHAKA Khan (never remember if it's CHAKA or SHAKA...), Bobby DARIN, DION DiMucci, The Oak RIDGE Boys; [Pop star] ANDY [Warhol]; (tv and/or stage and/or) filmdom's Bert LAHR (who, with his clued costars, appeared in The Wizard of Oz), ESAI Morales (see how constructor Tony Orbach clues him in Orange's Bloggiversary Contest), TINA Fey, PAT Sajak, Kukla, Fran and OLLIE, ARTOO Detoo, Professor SNAPE (from the Harry Potter books/movies); mythology's ARES; the Bible's LEAH and LOT. As I said—a LOT of names!
Fill from south of the border gives us the crossing of SRAS [Married mujeres (abbr.)] and SIESTAS, cleverly clued as [Rest of the afternoon?]; techno-fill gives us PAYPAL [Big name in e-commerce], E-FILE [Submit paperless taxes] and USER [Cybercafe patron].
Finally, [Hammerlock or full nelson] for HOLD summoned up a tart Larry Hart lyric:
I've a powerful anesthesia in my fist,To enjoy the entire funny un-valentine, check out this site.
And the perfect wrist to give your neck a twist.
There are hammerlock holds,
I've mastered a few,
And ev'rything I've got belongs to you.
Updated again Tuesday afternoon:
Whoops, sorry about the delay here, folks. My kid woke me up at 9:05 this morning and wow, did I feel great waking up then. Bright-eyed and energetic, but with a 10:15 appointment downtown. Then I met my husband for lunch and did a little shopping and next thing you know, it's mid-afternoon and I'm feeling ready for a nap. Crosswords? Onward!
Betty Keller's Los Angeles Times crossword
Did you give up on me and head over to L.A. Crossword Confidential hours ago? Alrighty, the theme today is LUNCH things, and there's an HOURGLASS FIGURE (lunch hour), MONEY TO BURN (lunch money), ROOM FOR RENT (lunchroom), and BOX OF CHOCOLATES (lunchbox). That's as solid as a turkey sandwich, I tell you. Not a particularly exciting theme, but solid.
Doesn't the grid look crazy? The pattern of black squares looks more abstract than usual, but there's some good stuff in here, some lively resonances. The yummy BOX OF CHOCOLATES is echoed by CAROB, clued as [Poor substitute for 62-Across]. Yes! A lousy substitute. I always grumble when CAROB is clued as a chocolate substitute. As if. Then there's the Z zone, where ZINGS and GONZO cross but not at a Z. Another edible cross-reference pairing is ICE TEA (I prefer to call it ICED TEA but will take either wording when I'm thirsty...or doing a crossword) with LEMON. I prefer my iced tea plain, thanks. Fruit flavors a plus, but no sweeteners, please. Don't recall seeing ENERO, Spanish for January, clued this way before: [Año Nuevo month]. Happy New Year!
Matt Jones's Jonesin' crossword, "They Were in That?"
Matt does pop culture themes well, and this puzzle's no exception. The theme is six popular actors (all male, hmph), clued with the trivia of what their debut movies were:
Hooray for cluing RAJ as the ["What's Happening!!" character]—and yes, the show did use twice as many exclamation points as Jeopardy! Also taking me back to my televisual childhood is RHODA, ["The Mary Tyler Moore Show" spinoff] (there were also Phyllis and Lou Grant). And FRED! [Mister Rogers] was awesome.
No, I did not know that NAJIB was the answer to [Malaysia's current prime minister ___ Tun Razak]. I got the J from A.J. Foyt but not the other person in the AJS clue, [Racecar driver Foyt and CNN host Hammer]. Hammer, don't hurt 'em. I got all the letters in BURJ from the crossings; that's the first word of [___ Dubai (world's tallest skyscraper, as of 2009)].
June 15, 2009