NYT 3:54 (Across Lite file here)
CS 8:56 (J—paper)
Peter Collins and Joe Krozel's New York Times crossword
Did you ever read Moby Dick? I read it in a college American lit class. If you ask me, you can save a lot of time by skipping the chapters on whaling techniques and stick to the character- and action-driven parts.
The theme here all relates to the Melville novel:
Okay, I admire the theme and I do like plenty of the fill, but I wish the constructors had found a way to root out fill like ORLE ([Shield border]), RETRIM ([Stylize anew, as a car seat]), and -ERY ([Fish tail?]).
Five highlights in the fill:
Updated Wednesday morning:
Raymond Hamel's CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, "Idiot's Delight"—Janie's review
Idiot's Delight is the the name of a Pulitzer prize-winning play (1936) by Robert E. Sherwood. It is about the foolishness of war, and in 1939, on the eve of WWII, it was made into a movie with Clark Gable and Norma Shearer. But for the title, Sherwood's Idiot's Delight has little to do with Hamel's. But what a great title—and how beautifully Ray's played it out in the grid, where each of the four lively theme-phrases ends with yet another epithet that you might want to bestow on the person who cuts you off in traffic, calls you as you're enjoying dinner to sell you property in Florida, rejects the manuscript for your novel. You get the drift. Here's how Ray does it:
There's lotso strong fill and strong grid-making craft thoughout the puzzle as well. A [Mohawk, e.g] is a HAIR-DO you might have asked a STYLIST [Salon employee] to fashion for you. ART DECO on the other hand, is a style—and its distinctive lines may be seen in paintings, jewelry, fashion items and even structures [Like the Empire State Building]. Structures that are likely to leave you less AWED include the LEAN-TO and MODEST [Not pretentious] HUTS. Then again, there are huts and there are huts...
A [Business combine] is a CARTEL; on a smaller scale, a [Jointly-owned business] is a CO-OP. John Lennon gets a mention in the clue for 17A, and YOKO is present in response to ["Walking on Thin Ice" artist Ono]. We also get a pair of extraterrestrials, one "bad" and one "good": NERO [Romulan villain in "Star Trek"...] and KLAATU [Alien visitor in "The Day the Earth Stood Still"]. "All [he was] saying is 'give peace a chance.'" If you haven't seen the 1951 version, do. It's filled with holes but it'll give you great insight into the period.
A couple of clue observations: first the [Ceases]/[Cease] sequence (for ENDS and STOP); and then [Put the whammy on] for HEXED. The tricky part here is figuring out that this needs the past tense.
Love the punchiness of RAT-A-TAT, TRESTLE and EXTINCT; and love the way MOOR, MOOD and YOKO line up beside one another for a total of six O's in a 12-letter block. Seeing JEWISH clued as [Kind of calendar] made me sit up some, too. Guess it's that I think of the "Jewish calendar" as the "Jewish calendar." As for the "kind of calendar" it is, well, it's a lunar calendar—which the Chinese and Hindus also use to mark time.
Finally, a shout-out to THESE, (yes..."THESE") clued within the quote that is today's bonus entry: ["Lord, what fools] THESE [mortals be!"]. Author? Source? Speaker? No artificial intelligence, please!
James Sajdak's Los Angeles Times crossword
My complete writeup is at L.A. Crossword Confidential. We'll stick with theme explication here:
More at the other blog.
Deb Amlen's Onion A.V. Club crossword
Deb's theme involves parsing various words or phrases as entirely different phrases that they kinda sound like:
This grid is packed with pop culture, which I enjoyed.
Two bits of careless cluing: AIMED is in the grid but TRUE is clued by way of Elvis [Costello's "My Aim Is ___"]. There's also a missing blank at the beginning of the NEIL clue, [Patrick Harris of the "Harold & Kumar" franchise].
Brendan Quigley's blog crossword, "Jiminy Cricket"
The theme is...cricket. The theme entries probably begin with words that mean something in cricket. Wicket and bowler, I recognize—but not crease, stump, slip, or ashes. Zero entertainment value in the theme for me. Plus: WICKET DOOR ([Small gate, usually part of a larger gate]) is a thing? The dictionary says yes, it is, but it's not a term I recall encountering before.
This puzzle was more filled than usual with names I didn't know. O'NEIL is [Model Linda], and the avant-garde filmmaker Paul LENI is no Riefenstahl in the Leni Familiarity Sweepstakes. The lower right corner was slow to fall. DRE, sure; [Rap producers ___ & Vidal], I drew a blank on. ["The Slider" glam band] is T. REX. AROSE is clued as [Broached in conversation], but the clue needs to start with "was" in order to have equivalency. Why does XEROX use the British/Canadian spelling in the product name in [WorkCentre 4150 maker]?
August 11, 2009