NYT cryptic crossword 9:20
Robert Wolfe's New York Times crossword, "The Argonne"
The theme's not about the Argonne wood of WWI fame. Rather, each theme entry has an "R gone" from the last word. I found the theme somewhat vexing on account of the presence of undeleted Rs in earlier words in some theme answers and several unfamiliar base phrases. Here's how the theme plays out:
There were some oddities in the fill. TUTORAGE isn't a common word at all, is it? It's clued as 4D: [Educational work after school], but that's more often called tutoring. The tall flower I know is the gladiolus, but apparently GLADIOLA is an "also:" spelling; here it's clued as 92D: [Relative of an iris]. The 13D: [Metrical accent] called an ICTUS is known to me only as a medical word for a seizure; I had no idea it had a literary application (I much preferred studying prose). TENTH DAY, or 90D: [Part of Christmas when lords a-leaping are given], felt contrived.
Clues I think people will be a-Googling:
Updated late Saturday night:
Merl Reagle's Philadelphia Inquirer (et al.) crossword, "Designers' Holiday"
The first theme entry in Merl's puzzle made me laugh because my husband can't get through a department store clothing department without saying "Ask Tommy; HILFIGER IT OUT." Merl's got that at 22A, with the clue [Confident words about a designer doing this puzzle?]. The remaining theme answers didn't entertain me as much as that first one. They are:
Tough nuts are scattered throughout the fill:
Pancho Harrison's syndicated Los Angeles Times Sunday crossword, "Great Direction"
This one's a centenary tribute puzzle to director ELIA KAZAN (123A: [Born 9/7/1909, he directed the answers to starred clues]). It's too bad that what is perhaps his most famous film, On the Waterfront, didn't find a home in this grid. I hadn't realized Kazan was a theatrical director as well as a movie director, but many of the theme entries are plays. Plays include ALL MY SONS, the 23A: [1947 Tony-winning Arthur Miller play]; two-entry DEATH OF A / SALESMAN, or 28A/113A: [1949 Tony-winning play starring Lee J. Cobb]; and A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, the 68A: [1947 Tennessee Williams play]. His films include 42A/45A: [1945 film based on a Betty Smith novel], A TREE GROWS / IN BROOKLYN; 94A: EAST OF EDEN, the [1955 film based on a Steinbeck novel]; 97A: VIVA ZAPATA, the [1952 biopic starring Marlon Brando]; 103A: CATWOMAN, the [2004 movie starring Halle Berry as a sinuous comics villain]; and 115A: MAVERICK, the [1994 Western starring Gibson and Foster]. Okay, I lied. The last two aren't theme entries, and the clue for MAVERICK reads simply [Loner].
I think I haven't seen any of Kazan's work, actually. Huh. On the plus side, I also skipped Catwoman and Maverick.
What I liked most in the fill, besides those non-Kazan movie titles with non-movie clues, were these answers:
Henry Hook's Boston Globe crossword, "College Knowledge"
I'm going to make this quick because I'm getting sleepy—but I want to get all the Sunday-sized puzzles out of the way tonight because I'm going out for a birthday breakfast with a friend. Yes, my birthday was three weeks ago, and no, there's no reason it can't be a month-long celebration of moi.
I enjoyed the theme, in which college names are paired with rhyming nouns. Some are easy/obvious, like DENISON VENISON, but more fun are the ones with crazy spelling variations for the rhyming sounds. For example, RICE GNEISS, FISK BISQUE, and DUKE SPOOK. The shortest four theme entries travel Down and are stacked beside each other in pairs—that's a Hook/Reagle trademark, that sort of theme stacking. Good stuff.
Updated Sunday morning:
Doug Peterson's themeless CrosSynergy "Sunday Challenge"
Plenty of easy clues plus no obscure fill to get in the way of working the crossings make for a quicker-than-most-themelesses experience. Easy doesn't mean lifeless, though. There's a slew of good stuff here. The highlights:
Mystery name for me: 37D: [Country singer McCoy] is named NEAL. Wikipedia tells me this:
Hubert Neal McGaughey, Jr. (born July 30, 1958 in Jacksonville, Texas) is an American country music singer of mixed Irish and Filipino descent. Known professionally as Neal McCoy, he has released ten studio albums on various labels, and has released thirty-four singles to country radio.What, "Hubert McGaughey, Jr." wasn't zingy enough for the music industry?
Bob Stigger's New York Times second Sunday puzzle, a cryptic crossword
I like Bob Stigger's cryptics in Games and/or World of Puzzles, so I was glad to see his byline here. I've got to run now, so I'm out of time to talk about the toughest clues to unravel or my favorite answers. The Across Lite file is locked, so I can't swear that my solution's 100% correct, but everything made sense to me.
September 05, 2009