CS 12...(J—paper)/4:32 (A—Across Lite)
Paula Gamache's New York Times crossword
Paula comes up with a substantial set of theme entries for a Monday puzzle—a HANDSET of theme answers, in fact. 27D: HANDSET is clued as a [Phone part...or a title for this puzzle?], and the other four thematic entries begin with hand parts:
Raise your hand if you did the non-Monday thing of waiting for the crossings to reveal 42A for you—that's the [Tableware inspired by Scandinavian design] called DANSK.
Highlights in the fill include a [Partitioned-off work space], or CUBICLE. With only the third letter blank, I wanted this to be CUTICLE and tie in with the HANDSET theme. Two intersecting two-word terms work well together: a PEN PAL is [Someone from whom you might collect exotic stamps] and a PEG LEG is a [Pirate support, stereotypically]. [Louis Armstrong's instrument] is the TRUMPET, which is what my brother-in-law plays. And then there's VLAD! He was the [Prince called "the Impaler," who was the inspiration for Dracula].
Seeing the CADET, or [Student at the Citadel], so soon after the ETS, or [Beings from out of this world, in brief], makes me contemplate a theme with a CAD ET who isn't as sweet as Spielberg's E.T.
Updated Monday morning:
Bob Klahn's CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, "Support Group"—Janie's review
On Saturday, Hmm... opined that s/he hoped the CS puzzles "...especially the Friday/Saturday ones become a little more difficult." Based on his solving times, Gareth posited that "except for Sunday they were all the same [level of] difficulty, more or less." And this is so. A week's worth of NYT or LAT puzzles gets trickier/more difficult on a daily basis. But the CS puzzles have a Tuesday vibe, with the occasional Monday or Wednesday appearing along the way. The Sunday Challenge gives solvers a crack at a themeless—and rewards them on occasion with a construction as beautiful as yesterday's by Martin Ashwood-Smith.
So when Monday rolls around, regular NYT and LAT solvers figure they've got it made, keeping relatively low the expectation of a "real" challenge. If you're not going for speed, this is a good time to use only the acrosses or only the downs to solve. Regular CS solvers are sometimes thrown a curve, however, and get a "Wednesday" instead. That's what happened today—judging by this solver's time anyway. When the "Bob Klahn" byline appears, tricky clues prevail—and they always slow me down, no matter how "easy" the theme.
Today's "Support Group" gives us four phrases and names whose last word may be paired with the word support. In this way:
Sticking points? One or four. Besides Destiny's Child:
The witty cluing that's a Klahn trademark is here today in such examples as: the way [High up] for ALOFT is followed by [Pick up] for GAIN; [Bit of a whirl] for EDDY; [Brogue or brogan] for SHOE; [Locks without keys] for HAIR; [Italian cheese burg] for PARMA (my personal fave); and [Craving for kisses?] for SWEET TOOTH. Those'd be Hershey's Kisses, of course.
Fill I was happiest to see? PATOIS [Local lingo]. It's just a great word.
And what am I overlooking? Oh, yes. The bonus fill for the titular "support group"—offering its own brand of "group support"—our [Bosom companion?]: the BRA!!
Billie Truitt's Los Angeles Times crossword
I'm covering for Rex Parker today at L.A. Crossword Confidential so I'll adapt that post here. The theme could be called Fuss and Feathers": three "f___ and f___" phrases, not including fuss and feathers, make up the theme. Simple and straightforward for a Monday, with plenty of Monday-friendly clues and fill. The theme answers are:
And now, a smattering of my favorite answers and their clues:
Brendan Quigley's blog crossword, "Themeless Monday"
Brendan's hobby is working interesting new words and phrases into his puzzles. Here are some of today's fresh-looking answers:
August 09, 2009