CS 5:47 (J—paper)
Ink Well untimed
Gary & Stephen Kennedy's New York Times crossword
All right, I'm gonna have to piece together this theme while blogging about this 15x16 puzzle. I see that Baha Men's overplayed [Hit song from 2000...and a hint to 10 symmetrically arranged Across answers], WHO LET THE DOGS OUT, pertains to some "___ dog" phrases. I see two of the five pairs of symmetrical entries, and expect to encounter the rest by eyeballing the grid. Oh! I see now. The 10 extra answers need to include the DOG in order to match up with their clue. Give a solver enough wine and she will only notice one of the 10 clues doesn't quite work for the given answer.
Now that's I've scrounged up those 10 answers—nine of which I did not look askance at while solving but certainly ought to have!—I'm ready for bed. What a workout! Before then, 10 clues:
Updated Thursday morning:
Patrick Blindauer's CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, "Metal Detection"—Janie's review
Patrick tests our mettle today by filling his puzzle with 60 squares of theme fill―six words and phrases each containing the name of a familiar metal. Ready? There's:
Not only has Patrick given us a lot of fresh theme-fill (marigolds looks to be a CS debut, and Phil Silvers and Copperfield major-puzzle firsts), but look how he's paired the precious metals gold and silver; the ferrous metals (iron-containing) iron and steel; and the alloy brass with its major component, copper. Additionally, note the bonus fill we get with of RUST [Oxidize]. Those ferrous metals especially are subject to oxidation. All of which is to say, between the quality of the fill and the placement of the fill in the grid, this is one tightly executed theme.
But all metal-work and no play makes Patrick a dull boy. Happily, with Patrick's puzzles, play is usually not far behind. Today's is no exception. In addition to the thematic "...MARIGOLDS," we also get HAMLET [Play set in Denmark] and ["It Might as Well be Spring" musical] STATE FAIR, which came into being as a movie and was later adapted for the stage. Another movie in the mix is ["Cat] BALLOU" [(1965 Fonda/Marvin film); and while the clue doesn't reference this small-screen series, [Top guns] does yield (The) A-TEAM.
Where there are plays, there're gonna be players. Joining PHIL SILVERS in the spotlight are ["Amadeus" star Tom] HULCE, [Actor Milo] O'SHEA, [Raymond ...] BURR, and LON [Chaney of "The Monster"].
You may recall that yesterday's puzzle also featured singer/actor Olivia Newton-John. Now just take a look at the nifty way Patrick's clued that old stand-by SIR: [Title for Olivier, Newton or John]. Love it. (For the uninitiated, that's Sir Laurence Olivier, Sir Isaac Newton and Sir Elton John.)
Btw, our prolific constructor references his own puzzle (yesterday's NYT) not only with OXIDE but in spelling out the first name AES, ADLAI [Ike's opponent, twice]. Of course, that's Ike as in "I LIKE [___ Ike" (campaign slogan)].
And, goin' out on a limb here... ASIAN for [Like some elephants] reminded me of the joke about a particular post-bank robbery exchange:
Detective: Can you describe the robber?
Teller: Like I told you—it was an elephant!!
Detective: Okay. Okay. So—was it an Asian elephant or an African elephant?
Detective: Look—the Asian elephant has small ears; the African elephant has big ears. So...?
Teller: How would I know?? He had a stocking over his head!!
Dan Naddor's Los Angeles Times crossword
My full writeup is across town at the other blog. No time this morning for more than a sentence:
The theme is phrases that you wouldn't necessarily expect to see in a crossword grid that can be clued with [Take___], where the blank is filled with in/out, on/off, and up/down; 72 theme squares have, alas, forced some compromises in the fill.
I'll be back this afternoon to talk about Ben Tausig's Ink Well puzzle.
Okay, so I lied. It's Thursday evening, not afternoon. Long day.
Ben Tausig's Ink Well/Chicago Reader crossword, "J Play"
The theme: H changes to J in six phrases. A blanket hog becomes BLANKET JOG, or [Run taken in the extreme cold?]. I'll take the blanket, hold the jog. Playing on Hot or Not, we have JOT OR NOT, [Rating site that asks users whether they would use a given notepad?]. A group hug turns into a GROUP JUG, or [Big wine vessel passed around?]. The funniest-sounding theme entry is JELLO DOLLY, or [Hand truck for carting around a certain no-bake dessert?]. Remember Carol Channing in Hello, Dolly!? It was just in the news that Johnny Depp wants to play Channing in a musical biopic, and that she's given her blessing. It's the natural evolution for him, going from Willy Wonka to the Mad Hatter to Carol Channing. Anyway...back to the puzzle. The two Down theme answers are JAIL SATAN, a [Chant from a crowd angry at the Antichrist?], and ICE JOCKEY, [One who plays music at skating parties?].
Ben likes the concept of the word at 12-Down, but boy, that one is tough. I needed all seven crossings and still didn't recognize it as a word. PANEITY is [The state of being bread (!)]. A television has much less PANEITY than a bagel, but does the TV have more PANEITY than air does?
Top answers and clues:
The tough stuff is concentrated in the PANEITY corner. We get the E-less spelling variant ABSINTH for [Wormwood plant product now legal in the U.S.: Var.], [Challenger passenger Judith] RESNIK, arbitrary ABAA for [Simple rhyme scheme], ETHYL [___ alcohol], and Sen. KYL, the [Jon who's junior to John McCain, in Arizona].
July 22, 2009