Scott Atkinson's New York Times crossword
Do you know how many words can precede time to make a compound word or a phrase? A whole lotta. Why, this TIME AFTER TIME theme has four pairs of "___ time" concepts, and those pairs are themselves established phrases:
You know what "time" didn't make it into this theme? "Hammer time!" I can't think of a word that partners with hammer that can also precede time.
I had a hard time getting into this puzzle, as the clues in the upper left corner just weren't so yielding. Assorted clues I didn't get right away:
Favorite clues: 32A: To [Not just turn down] the volume is to MUTE it. 41A: [Palm product] is palm OIL, not a Palm Pre smartphone. The 13A: [Leading lady] in a field is a DOYENNE. 47D: [-like] clues ESQUE, as in Zolaesque.
The rhyming words NATTER and RATTER stick out. One's a [Vermin hunter] and the other's a verb meaning [Flap one's gums] like a nabob of negativism.
And before I go, let me refer you to the video of the Cyndi Lauper song "Time After Time". I've always liked that one.
Donna Levin's Los Angeles Times crossword
Donna's theme is COVERT OPS, or [Hush-hush activities]. Never noticed before that it looks like "cover tops" if you slide the word space over. The other four theme entries contain a covert OPS spanning two words in a multi-word phrase. To STOP SHORT is to [Jam on the brakes]; in tennis, a DROP SHOT is a [Soft court stroke]; [Small family businesses] are MOM-AND-POP STORES; and CHOP SUEY is a [Stir-fried dish]. There's a singular covert OP that's not part of the theme in COP A PLEA; surely it's our undercover double agent who's been nailed and is now copping a plea.
Not sure why AMOCO/[Big name in gas] isn't clued with a "one-time." Are there still Amoco stations? They've all been converted to BPs around here.
The top half of the grid's got some great fill—JAY-Z meets JIHADS beside SQUIRT crossing PAISLEY. Lower down, though, I'm less happy. PPPS is a post-post-postscript, or [Third afterthought, in a ltr.]. There's a blast from the distant past with the Southeastern pile-up or SEATO, the [1954-1977 defense gp.]; ERGOT, the [Grain disease]; EPODES, or [Lyric poems]; and Britishly spelled OCHRE, or [Yellowish earth tone]. Add in the partial ERR ON and plural DOUGS, and you've got yourself a "meh" corner.
Updated Thursday morning:
Randolph Ross's CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, "Seven EZ Pieces"—Janie's review
I'm not a [Huge fan] of the word ADORER, but if that's the definition, then I'm definitely an adorer of this puzzle. Could I compose a PAEAN [Joyous song] to it, I would. My words will have to suffice. Let's ASSAY [Examine] this creation to see what gives it its decided EDGE [Advantage].
The title tells the tale. There are seven lively theme-answers, and the E-Z pairing makes an appearance in each one. In fact, in six of the seven we get EE-Z; in the seventh (at center), we're treated to EE-ZZ. So there are a lotta Zs today.
Then, and most impressively, these seven theme-answers fill 67 squares. More than that, they all interlock and/or overlap at least one other theme-answer. Holy moly. That's a serious feat of construction and does tend to AMAZE me. And the non-theme fill does not suffer as a result, but holds its own very nicely.
So here we go. There's:
In addition to that legitimate stage mini-theme, Randy also gives a nod to the film industry with both ACAD. [Pt. of AMPAS] and [MPAA issuances] PGS. The former is the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who hand out the Oscars; the latter, the Motion Picture Association of America, who hand out the ratings...
Just because they also enliven the puzzle, let me also note some other good pairings, like:
Ben Tausig's Ink Well/Chicago Reader crossword, "Out on a Limb
Right at 1-Across, there's a SPIDER, an [Animal that has something in common with this week's puzzle]. Boy, my husband was watching a show on the Discovery channel last night about arthropod combat. Lots of large, venomous spiders, plus insects and scorpions. (Luckily, nothing in the centipede department, because those critters freak me out.) Word to the wise: If you are a bug, steer clear of the praying mantis because it will mess you up. So, anyway, there were ample opportunities to note that spiders indeed have eight LEGs, like the fill in this puzzle. The four longest answers and the four 7s in the corners each have a LEG hidden within.
Clues of note:
October 07, 2009