BEQ it's a long story
Check out the previous post for a link to Patrick Blindauer's new crossword project (and a free puzzle of Fridayish difficulty).
Brad Wilber's New York Times crossword
Brad WIlber's back with a six-pack of 11s and a six-pack of 10s in a smooth crossword. The highlights...in a bit. A thunderstorm's worrying my son at the moment. Back soon.
Okay, then. Favorite fill and clues:
Less familiar things in this puzzle:
Pretty much a standard Friday level of difficulty, no? Just enough challenge without being too easy or too hard.
Updated Friday morning:
Stella Daily & Bruce Venzke's CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle,"Hello Kitty"—Janie's review
I confess. That image at the left is the "Hello Kitty" I was secretly hoping for. Still, Stella and Bruce do a fine job giving us four phrases and one name whose first word can follow "kitty," thus producing a whole new phrase. And there's lots of fine non-theme as well to keep this puzzle lively. First things first:
In the non-theme department, as promised, there are some real beauts, most notably those symmetrical tens: LOVERS' LANE [Place for makeout sessions] and WISECRACKS [Wit-filled words]. It seems to me that another [Place for makeout sessions] might be that divine DIVAN [Place to recline]. And although RED has been clued as [Visibly embarrassed], I was taken with the "D" it shares with DIVAN, and keep seeing the fill as RED DIVAN.
That DIVAN really is a multifunctional piece, too. For anyone who TIRES [Runs out of gas], what could be better? Hopefully SLEEP [Ambien user's goal] will come easily, but if not, well, "better living through chemistry" is a phrase that comes to mind...
Back to WISECRACKS. I usually think of these as being more flip than "wit-filled"—but sometimes flip remarks can also be witty. Someone who cracks wise or even [Delivers a sassy retort] is someone who ZINGS. Cyrano de Bergerac would be a classic example of someone who could deliver the wittiest of zingers. Some of these quotes may serve to illustrate.
On the topic of language, there's also [Colorful language, sometimes] for SLANG (e.g., that [Total bore]/SNOOZE combo)—preceded by its complementary clue [Colorful card game] for UNO and the reminder of its bright, primary(-ish) color-wheel playing cards. Then there's the tricky language we find in some of the cluing: [Plies the needle]? That's SEWS. [Creates a chair, perhaps]? ENDOWS. Clever. I think my favorite clues, though, are [Bride's handful] for NOSEGAY (anyone else first think IN-LAWS?) and the almost redundant sounding [Tiny time unit, for short] for NSEC. Don't ask why, I just find that one "cute."
Janie, NSEC isn't "cute"! It's insistently "meh," in fact.
Jack McInturff's Los Angeles Times crossword
The theme entries change second words that start with R- into CR- words. The first one I filled in was 27A: PUNK CROCK, or [Small-time hood's pottery?], where "punk rock" and "punk crock" sound quite similar, so I figured the others would also have first words ending with the "k" sound. 'Twas not to be. The others are 20A: MILITARY CRANK ([Grouch in the army?]—I prefer my grouches in trash cans on Sesame Street), 36A: HEAT CRASH ([Accident in a qualifying race?]), 47A: HEAD CREST ([Family insignia for designer Edith?]), and 54A: EXCHANGE CRATE ([Jalopy used as a trade-in?]). I love "jalopy."
An olio of other stuff:
Gary Steinmehl's Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, "Round Table"
Yay! The CHE puzzle bearing today's date is on the Chronicle's website today! (Link at top of post.) Get this: A themed Friday puzzle that made me think. With the New York Sun's disappearance a year ago and the easing up of the L.A. Times crossword, Steinmehl's puzzle was a welcome Friday-morning find.
The theme features people from the Algonquin Round Table—Dorothy PARKER, Robert BENCHLEY, Edna FERBER, and Robert SHERWOOD sit around the edges of the big circle of circled squares, which aptly spell out THE VICIOUS CIRCLE.
Tough fill abounds. HETAERA is a [Courtesan of ancient Greece]. HENAN is the [Chinese province that was the center of the Shang dynasty]. Poet James THOMSON is clued as ["Rule Brittania" lyricist James], but the title is flubbed in the clue—it's punctuated and spelled like this: Rule, Britannia! (That's the work, of course, composed by crosswordese composer ARNE.) Spanish missionary, old-time actress VERNA Bloom, [Sea-lily appendages] with the cloud name CIRRI—there's plenty of challenging fill and clues in this puzzle.
Randolph Ross's Wall Street Journal crossword, "Puzzle 5.O"
Each theme entry has five Os in it (and no other vowels, save Y), but some of them aren't "in the language" phrases that merit their appearance in a crossword grid. HOOK OR CROOK? Without the "by" before each noun, what is this? BOWL OF DOG FOOD? NOT FOOLPROOF? GO ON TOO LONG? I say "no, no, no, no, no" to those four. Much better are SHOOP SHOOP SONG, VOODOO DOLL, DOOR TO DOOR, and the BOOK OF MORMON. I'm torn on "BOY, OH BOY, OH BOY" and "BLOODY GOOD SHOW." The latter Googles up OK, but it makes me think of bloody show and mucus plugs.
The solving experience was further dampened by fill like REWEAR, SHOERS and a FLAYER, NO ONE'S, SNEERY, NON-PROS, and assorted abbreviations. I just didn't find the entertainment I was hoping for. Oh, well.
Updated Friday afternoon:
Brendan Quigley's blog crossword, "Sorry, Wrong Number: Nope, not nouns"
Okay, I've gotta quit trying Brendan's easy puzzles with Down clues only. The combination of fill that isn't the same ol', same ol' and twisty clues means that holy cats, the puzzle is no fun with just the Downs. I ended up using some Acrosses to iron things out. If you don't know JA RULE's oeuvre and MCQ and STIED and WOWIE don't come readily to mind as possibilities, you're probably not going to be happy working off of half the clues.
Yesterday, Brendan gathered theme material via Twitter and Facebook crowdsourcing, asking people to think of verbs that look like violations of irregular plurals. E.g., loaves of bread vs. the verb loafs. But...the theme entries are clued as straightforward verb phrases, so the ties that bind the theme are largely absent from the puzzle itself. The puzzle's subtitle is "Nope, not nouns," but the theme clues have absolutely nothing to do with the nouns. So what we have here is a "huh, these words all share a halfway interesting trait, that they could double as incorrect plurals, except that they're used correctly as verbs so that's beside the point" theme.
Who is this [Feminist Russell] named DORA? Dora Black married Bertrand Russell. She supported birth control back in the 1920s, was polyamorous, and was a peace activist. Good to know.
October 01, 2009