CS 7:37 (J—paper)
Ashish Vengsarkar's New York Times crossword
Ashish repurposes the term FOUR-LETTER WORDS by representing eight words with four identical letters that sound alike if pronounced in the plural. Oh, dear. That doesn't make a lick of sense, does it? Demonstration will help:
What, no seize/CCCC, use/UUUU, or pees/PPPP?
Having a stretch of consecutive vowels or consecutive consonants can make it harder to fill a grid. So can planting a couple 15s in the grid—FOUR-LETTER WORDS are [Profanities (and a hint to this puzzle's anomalies)], and REPEAT OFFENDERS are [Record holders? (and a punny hint to this puzzle's anomalies)]. The eight short theme entries, the anomalies, are 4-letter repeat offenders...and they are offenders in that things like GGGG and OOOO make for ugly fill and can't be clued in ordinary fashion. I hereby sentence the constructor to five years of hard labor...making more Thursday through Sunday crosswords.
Highlights in the fill and clues:
Updated Thursday morning:
Donna S. Levin's CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, "I Love a Parade!"—Janie's review
And really, don't a lot of us? Whether it's something ginormous, like the Macy's Thanksgiving affair or something on a smaller, more human scale, like your local Memorial Day or Independence Day tribute, there's usually something in the event itself and/or its effect on you that's made it memorable. At least that's the hope!! In her puzzle, Donna has given us four theme-phrases, each of which begins with a word that is also something you're likely to see at a parade. All but the last look to be making major-puzzle bows, and that last one looks to be a CS-first. Nice to have the fresh 'n' lively theme-fill!
To complement the stirring theme-fill, Donna has filled the grid with little that is SO-SO [Middling] and much that is A-OK [Hunky dory]. There's first-timer OPEN-MINDED; and PAPER TRAIL, ODD LOTS, HYBRID and LEEWAY. Did you know that a [Journey in Swahili] is a SAFARI? I love getting tidbits like that from the puzzles. Ditto [Maximum number of marbles at play in a Chinese checkers game] for SIXTY or [Sheep species originating in Siberia] for BIG HORN or being reminded that the [Sides of a pie slice, geometrically] are RADII.
Some nicely related clue/fill pairs: a [Seer] is a SIBYL, someone who may have [Peered, as at a crystal ball] GAZED; [Like the 1890s, supposedly], the GAY '90s was a specific [Period of time], just after the Gilded AGE (1878-1889); and make sure everything's in order with your ERISA [Pension legislation acronym] or you may have the T-MAN [Revenuer, for short] after you!
And to bring it all back to the beginning, here's a link to picture of a Willy WONKA theme-FLOAT. YEOW!
Fred Jackson's Los Angeles Times crossword
The LAT puzzle pokes around the same region as the NYT puzzle: the Land of Letters Replacing Words That Sound Alike. This time, it's the beginning of a compound word or phrase that's changed from a short word to the single letter it sounds like. And then it's clued as if it has nothing to do with the original phrase. To wit: A pea-shooter becomes P SHOOTER, or [Photographer of a letter?]. An eyedropper turns into I DROPPER, or [One who can't hold a letter?]. The [Letter out for a stroll?] is a J WALKING (jaywalking). "Tea break" is the least in-the-language base phrase; it transforms into T BREAK, or [Letter's rest period?]. The [Undercover operation to trap a letter?] is the dreaded B STING (bee sting). And a sea captain becomes C CAPTAIN, or [Official in charge of a letter?].
I have to dock Jackson a couple points for including D-DAYS ([Times to attack]) in the fill—it looks like another of the theme entries, but "dee-days" means nothing. Maybe dee-days could be like months with an R—the rest of you maybe eat oysters only in the months that have an R, and I won't eat oysters on any day that has a D.
For more on today's crossword, see PuzzleGirl's L.A.C.C. post. She's got a photo that proves Scottish men are way better at the CURTSY ([Respectful gesture]) than I am.
Ben Tausig's Ink Well/Chicago Reader crossword, "Adenine"
Pronounce that title as "add a nine," convert into Roman numerals, and that's your theme: an added IX inserted into four familiar words or phrases to change 'em completely. Here are the theme entries:
Favorite clues and answers:
July 29, 2009