CHE (?) tba—nothing posted since Aug. 7
CS untimed (Downs. Mostly...)
Are you out west? Do you like crossword tournaments? Then go to the Bay Area Crossword Tournament on Saturday, September 12, at Alameda High School. All the info is right here. The basics: $25 to register in advance, or $30 at the door. Proceeds benefit the California Dictionary Project, "whose mission is to put a paperback dictionary into the hands of every California third grader." The contest puzzles include three NYT puzzles from the following week and a Sunday-sized crossword by local yokel Tyler Hinman. Prizes for winners!
David Quarfoot's New York Times crossword
Why, just the other day there was a puzzle with a D.Q. theme, and now, after a long wait, we're treated to a D.Q. themeless. Good to see your byline again, David! Is it just me, though, or does Will Shortz have his days mixed up a bit? I could swear this is a Saturday puzzle, and yet it purports to be a Friday one.
But look at this beautiful beast. It's insane, this guy's crossword! I'm not going to check a database, but I'm guessing that the following entries are all (or mostly) shiny, new crossword answers. There are so many of them, I will barely have time to mention anything else in the puzzle.
Least familiar (to me) things in this puzzle:
I love [Swiftly done?] as the clue for 41D: SATIRIC—as in "done by satirist Jonathan Swift." And I always like to be reminded that the VATICAN is the 46D: [Swiss Guards' setting]—you just know a lot of people will scour their brains for 7-letter Swiss locales. Another clue I like: 56A: [All of them may be off] for BETS, as in "all bets are off."
Welcome back to the puzzle page, Mr. Quarfoot! I hope you've got more in the pipeline because I do appreciate your constructing style.
Updated Friday morning:
Gail Grabowski's CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, "Not Quite White"—Janie's review
The title of today's puzzle is not an assessment by Elmer Fudd on, say, the conditions in Hamlet's Denmark, but a hint to the various shades that appear as the first words in the four theme-phrases—each a variation of "off-white." While there's something a tad "beige" in this theme idea, there's some nice fill—themed and un-—to be enjoyed. Namely:
There are some of the TAMEST, most EARNEST clues in this puzzle, but really there's a lot of good fill:
Would love to have seen more clues like [Overcharge] for SOAK, [Flat substitute] for SPARE (tire...) or [Futures analyst?] for SEER. In an "off-white" puzzle like this one, I think they'd give it some much needed color. Mind you, I'm not at all CROSS [Annoyed]. I'm just sayin'...
Elizabeth Long's L.A. Times crossword
This one's pretty easy for a Friday LAT. If newspaper solvers complain that it's too hard, I just don't know what to tell them.
The theme involves lopping off the first S in phrases starting with ST- words:
I noticed that the two S's that begin words in the top row of this puzzle could also be dropped—SASS and SAUDI would become ASS and AUDI, and SMELT and STILT would be MELT and TILT, all legitimate fill.
44D: [Former NBA star Mourning] is named ALONZO. He got quite ill with kidney disease, had a transplant, and returned to the NBA. That's impressive.
A commenter on Rex's L.A. Crossword Confidential post noted that TRESS FRACTURE duplicates a clue word: CAST is clued as a [Fracture treatment]. Is it just me, or is this sort of duplication popping up more frequently this year?
Brendan Quigley's blog crossword, "Themeless Friday"
Not my favorite themeless BEQ, thanks to some out-there names, but there's some terrific fill for sure:
On the blah side are things like TIN PLATE, REWELD, a WAXER crossing a COAXER over yonder from the SASSERS, variant AMEER, and the [Naples resort] called ISCHIA. The ischia are also your butt bones. The unfamiliar people hanging out in the grid include NIELS Mueller (I know Bohr), ['70s All-Star Ralph] GARR (I know Teri), and [Rangers reliever Darren] O'DAY (I know Anita).
Harvey Estes' Wall Street Journal crossword, "My 8 Favorite Texting Words"
You know how kids these days use "gr8" as a texting shortcut for "great" and "h8" for "hate"? They may or may not be using the other 8-for-"ate"-sound substitutions in Harvey's puzzle. Me, I can't bring myself to use numbers instead of sounds, or "u" for "you"—but I do get lazy about capitalization when texting. I admit it.
The theme entries are eight phrases that intersect at an 8 rebus square, where it may stand in for ate, eat, at, or ait. There are a bunch of sections in this grid with 7-, 8-, and 9-letter fill hanging around the theme entries. Can you tell that Harvey is good at making wide-open themeless 25x25 puzzles for Games magazine? I do love me an Ornery Crossword, and Harvey's one of the more regular Ornery contributors.
I'd go into the specifics of this puzzle but you know what? You should just solve it yourself. It's smooth, it's got some entertaining clues, and the rebus theme has its little surprises.
August 27, 2009