BG tba—file not found
Congratulations to Eric Maddy, champion of Saturday's Bay Area Crossword Puzzle Tournament. I haven't heard any other details, such as who the finalists were and whether Tyler Hinman's Sunday-sized tournament puzzle will be published in a newspaper or online. I'll share what I learn.
Todd Gross's New York Times crossword, "Let's Play Bingo"
I've seen a few of Todd Gross's unpublished (or not yet published) puzzles, so I know he's drawn to gimmicks. Gimmicks can be highly polarizing, but I had fun with this one. The bingo gimmick is that a dozen interlocking entries are unclued, and you have to piece them together with the crossings and check to see which letter/number combos on the bingo card in the middle of the grid will fit in those spaces. When you fill in, say, B-SEVEN, you circle B-7 on the bingo card (the clue says Mark your card! for each). Play the crossbingo game right, and you'll get bingo. The last bingo number I filled in in the crossword was N-FORTY at 124-Across, and that won bingo for me. Congrats on your debut, Todd.
The bingo entries lack any sort of wordplay, of course, as you're looking at the bingo card to see what those answers could be. They are:
Suddenly I feel like I'm blogging about sudoku...but I did enjoy teasing out the bingo entries. Plus, I got bingo, so I assume the New York Times will be sending me my prize money shortly.
Returning to crosswordland, the least familiar word in the whole puzzle was in the 119A clue: [What an aurilave cleans]. That is a dreadfully obscure word! But the auri- root shouts EAR, and -lave covers the washing part of the word. Also on the unfamiliar side is 33A: [Third year in 31-Across's reign]. Cross-referenced Roman numeral clue? Good gravy! The year is LVI, for NERO, the 31A: [Emperor who married his stepsister]. (Ick.) Then there's 44A: [Manfred ___, 1967 Chemistry Nobelist] EIGEN. And I'm not sure I've seen NET TV used; that's 50A: [Hulu, e.g.], a website on which you can watch TV shows and clips. DARE ME as a 13D: [Statement of self-confidence] sounds weird, too. Moreover, I hadn't heard of either of the early 20th-century pop culture bits—94D: [Popular 1940s radio show "___ Alley"] is ALLEN'S, and then there's 100D: ELSIE [___ Janis, star of Broadway's "Puzzles of 1925"].
This could be a horrible class of clues, but I dig genealogy and geography so I liked 26D: [Second-most common Vietnamese family name, after Nguyen] for TRAN. If you're curious about the most common surnames in various countries, Wikipedia has a compilation.
Ooh, U.S. Open play has resumed after lengthy rain delays. Must go!
Updated Sunday morning:
My husband offered to pay me a dollar if I'd take his turn putting the kid to bed so he could watch tennis. I fell asleep before the kid and missed the dramatic end to the S. Williams/Clijsters match. Oh, well. I still think Serena is a phenomenal athlete.
Merl Reagle's Philadelphia Inquirer crossword, "See You in September"
It's September, and the "See You" of the title can be read as "C.U."—the letters that begin the words in each two-word phrase in this theme. Although the entertainment oomph of such initials themes can be lacking, most of the phrases here qualify as lively fill. Merl being Merl, the top and bottom pairs of theme entries are stacked.
I did this puzzle last night, so it's not fresh in my head and I can't think of anything else to say about it. Onward to other crosswords!
Pamela Amick Klawitter's syndicated Los Angeles Times crossword, "Rainbow Connection"
Whoa, nelly—the only Sunday puzzles I've finished this fast are Frank Longo's Premier King crossword and the Newsday puzzles. The sixth clue I read was for RED HERRING, and with the title, I skipped to the next long answer and filled in the ORANGE through INDIGO theme entries right away. Didn't see the VIOLET one and couldn't have filled that in with no crossings, but it made a huge difference to have the theme entries anchoring large swaths of the grid. Here are the theme answers:
Not all of the fill was so easy (particularly the lesser-known names in the grid), but the color spectrum theme was a romp in a way very few themes are. It's kinda fun (sometimes, not all the time) to have a puzzle that's markedly easier than the norm, isn't it?
Paula Gamache's themeless CrosSynergy "Sunday Challenge"
This grid's anchored by the four 14-letter answers that criss-cross around the center square. (Do you see the spirit of Paul Lynde in that black square?) Today, though, let's focus on the entries that evoke other languages.
September 12, 2009