CS untimed (J)
Caleb Madison's New York Times crossword
I am about to fall asleep here, so let me just share my five favorite parts and the 10 toughest clues.
Updated Friday morning:
Lynn Lempel's CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, "Final Say"—Janie's review
Where puzzle titles are concerned, Lynn's is the perfect complement to yesterday's "Final Answer" by Tony Orbach. But where Tony's theme-names and -phrases ended with -yes, Lynn's end with words that are synonymous with the verb say, but are not used in that context. And these fine phrases are:
Elsewhere in the puzzle there are some wonderful clue/fill combos and tie-ins:
Dan Naddor's Los Angeles Times crossword
Cool theme—Dan takes the phrase TWO FOR ONE (61A: [Restaurant special, and a hint to this puzzle's theme]) as justification for swapping out four one-related words for their doubled versions:
I like the 9-letter stacks in the corners even though a third of those answers are theme entries and the others are of the same length. The SLEPT LATE/EARLY BIRD cross-reference is lovely ([Proverbial worm catcher]/[Hardly emulated the 16-Across]). My sister's given name is LAUREL and we were fond of Laurel and Hardy shorts, so I'm partial to the [Hardy partner] aspect of LAUREL.
I didn't know that C MAJOR was the [Key in which "Chopsticks" is usually played]. When I filled that in, it wasn't yet obvious to me that NUMERO DOS was a theme entry, so with C MAJOR crossing the NAPOLEON DUET for piano, I was prepared to loathe a music theme. (Yes, I know, it's not likely that a 6-letter Down answer would be part of a theme.) Hooray for a solid wordplay theme instead.
Brendan Quigley's blog crossword, "I'll Have the Number Two"
Brendan's juvenile theme is "words that mean 'poop' used in food puns." Are you working up an appetite for REESE'S FECES, a DING-DUNG, the POO-POO PLATTER, a CRAP CAKE, or the SURF AND TURD? I'm now in the mood for some Reese's Pieces, actually.
The theme echoes the NUMERO DOS and DEUCE... answers in the L.A. Times puzzle, doesn't it?
I couldn't rate this better than 3 stars out of 5 at Brendan's blog. Why? Because of REDOSE ([Up the medication]) and the upper right corner. I didn't know that [Nirvana's record label] was called DGC. I didn't know that Stephen REA was a ["Fever Pitch" actor, 1997], having not seen the movie. The crossing [Rotten egg] is CAD, but I think DUD could've worked too. And then there's 11-Down, [Newborn attendant], with nothing in the clue saying "this is an archaic term." DRY NURSE? Really? Dictionary says archaic: "a woman who looks after a baby but does not breastfeed it". I've heard of wet nurse, nurse, baby nurse—never DRY NURSE.
I did like the crossing of an EST(imate), clued as [Rough amt.] rather than [Ballpark fig.?], with the ORGANIST who is a [Ballpark figure]. I did not care for the [Jack-of-all-trades at times, perhaps] clue for SOLDERER...or for that answer. [Like a jack-of-all-trades] is fine for DEFT, though.
This is a 72-worder. I wonder if I'd have liked the fill better if Brendan had gone with an easier grid, say, a 76-worder.
Liz Gorski's Wall Street Journal crossword, "Hear, Hear!"
The SURROUND SOUND theme includes six other phrases whose beginnings and ends make an surrounding SOUND. For example, [Compared prices] clues SHOPPED AROUND.
There were some unfamiliar things lurking in this puzzle. Like RAHU, the [Sun-swallowing demon of Hindu myth]—completely new to me. And my dictionary tells me that theme entry SLEUTH-HOUND, or [Detective with a nose for crime fighting], is a dated term for bloodhound or an informal word for an eager investigator. I thought the [Creole entree] was going to be a two-word phrase for some reason, but it's CATFISH; I needed that C for the unfamiliar CESS, or [Luck, in Ireland].
September 10, 2009