I went to a family party today, and one relative reported working on the syndicated Saturday NYT puzzle this morning. That was Joe Krozel's 7/18 puzzle, in which PRENATAL was clued with [Before coming out?] and [Star treks?] clued EGO TRIPS. She worked those ones out, I think, but was mightily vexed along the way and told her granddaughter that I'm one of those people who make these things and that she wanted to punch me in the eye! I assured her that the Saturday NYT is all about eye punching.
Phil Ruzbarsky's New York Times crossword, "E.U. Doings"
Not too many people begin their constructing career with the Sunday New York Times. This crossword's a letter-substitution theme in which a single E becomes a U (each theme phrase contains unchanged E's as well). My favorites: THE LITTLE RED HUN is clued as 114: [Story of a small Communist barbarian?], and THE UMPIRE STRIKES BACK is 77A: [Baseball official gets revenge?]. There are four other theme entries here.
A couple oddball things: 42D" [U.S. rebellion leader of 1842] is DORR. Who? What rebellion? The Dorr Rebellion, which led to Rhode Island expanding voting rights to white men who were not landowners—but still just to white men. Hmph. It's been a while, hasn't it, since we've seen the ORIEL, or 73A: [Cantilevered window]. Crosswordese of the highest order! 113A is [Pitcher Reynolds of the 1940s-'50s Yankees], a.k.a. ALLIE. Not a name I know.
Updated Sunday morning:
Merl Reagle's Philadelphia Inquirer/L.A. Calendar puzzle, "Board Games (the Special Editions)"/"New Board Games"
The Los Angeles Times appears to be alternating constructors for the L.A. Calendar crossword: It had been Sylvia Bursztyn's bailiwick alone, but now she and Merl Reagle are taking turns. Merl's L.A. Times puzzle is the same one that he syndicates elsewhere. And this one is fun! Lots of amusing "aha" moments when the theme entries came together. Here's the theme:
Highlights outside the theme:
Gary Steinmehl's syndicated Los Angeles Times Sunday crossword, "Changing Sides"
I'm pulling double duty today here and at L.A. Crossword Confidential, so I'm just gonna copy and paste and not bother changing the formatting to match this blog's prevailing style.
THEME: "Changing Sides"—In familiar "blank of the blank" phrases, the first and last words are flipped, changing the meaning
I did this puzzle last night when I was drowsing off, so it took me a long time. I don't know if the puzzle's uncommonly hard or if my brain was just dialed down to 2. The theme doesn't do much for me—it's more fun when the mangled phrases present funny images, and miners' detritus and a manor owner's jewelry just don't give me the giggles.
For 15D, I had the ___ OF THE LORD part and couldn't for the life of me figure out the first word. MANOR OF THE LORD was a no-go because "manor" was in the clue and manor ≠ jewelry. Then I thought of FLIES OF THE LORD, and that had comedy potential but didn't fit the crossings. What other phrases could lend themselves to this sort of theme? MATTER OF THE HEART could have been clued as a love affair. CLASS OF THE HEAD? That's totally about potty training. I don't know what to do with FATHER OF THE SINS. Ooh! BRIDE OF THE MOTHER, when Heather has two mommies in a state where same-sex marriage is legal.
And now, a few of my favorite clues and answers:
Henry Hook's Boston Globe crossword, "Drop Me a Note"
The title gave away the theme for me. When I had 1A: RAM from the crossings clued as [Mate of 121 Across], I filled in a EWE at 121A and got going on that corner. 116A: [Indecent Buddhism?] ending with ZEN...drop the last note in the scale, or DO...hey, DOZEN...hey, THE DIRTY DOZEN —> THE DIRTY ZEN. My migraine just returned, so I'm gonna go the quick-and-dirty route with the rest of this post. Henry's theme entries, dropping the notes from the scale in order:
Updated Sunday afternoon
Whoops, I thought I was done blogging for the day. One more puzzle!
Martin Ashwood-Smith's themeless CrosSyergy "Sunday Challenge"
Super-nutty grid! It has 180° rotational symmetry as well as left/right and top/bottom symmetry, with a giant black-squares H in the middle. The triple-stacked 15s run down at the two sides rather than across the top and bottom. The whole thing's got 66 words, so there's a fairly low word count as well.
Toughest and/or most interesting bits:
August 22, 2009