NYT 10:50 (joon—paper)/7:19 (A—applet)
Robert W. Harris's Sunday New York Times crossword, "Colonization"
hi folks. joon here, subbing in for amy, who's at her *cough*25th*cough* high school reunion. she'll be in later tonight and will be blogging the rest of the puzzles tomorrow, but here i am with the sunday NYT puzzle. it's a good one. it's a letter insertion theme involving ANT:
what else did i like about this puzzle? well, the fill was reasonably smooth. not much really jumped out at me as being particularly eye-catching, though i did enjoy the ZEBU [Indian bovine] sighting at 10d. we like to visit the ZEBU at the local zoo; it's got a crazy-looking hump/shield/shoulder thingy going for it. the notable exception to the smoothness of the fill was in the "midatlantic" region, which featured the following less-than-ideal fill:
a sunday NYT is usually good for at least two or three really great clues, but this one was fairly dry. the only tricky clue was [Cause of star wars?] for EGOS. oh, i guess [Part of a book ... or something to book] for PASSAGE had a nice "aha" moment. some others that i enjoyed, even if they weren't exactly uproarious:
two clues i could have done without: [Brand with a pyramid on the package] for CAMEL and [Back-room cigar smokers, say] for CRONIES. smoking = yuck. more humped beasts of burden, please.
that's all for me, at least until the MGWCC blog post on tuesday. i'll see you in the comment box.
Updated Sunday late morning, because whoo, did I ever sleep late today:
Merl Reagle's syndicated crossword, "Like, Totally Jazzed"
Merl riffs on various familiar phrases by punningly changing a word to one with jazz connotations:
• 23A. [Jazz guitarist's admission?] is IT'S ALL IN THE RIFFS ("it's all in the wrist").
• 40A. [What lifelong jazz musicians are?] is BORN TO BLUES ("born to lose").
• 56A. [Name for a jazz club?] is THE BASSMENT ("the basement").
• 69A. [Play clarinet?] is BLOW YOUR NOTES ("blow your nose").
• 84A. [Jazz crooner?] is NAT KING COOL ("Nat King Cole").
• 98A. [Where to buy jazz instruments?] is SAX FIFTH AVE. ("Saks Fifth Avenue").
• 118A. [Our jazziest president?] is not saxophone-playing Bill Clinton, it's GROOVER CLEVELAND ("Grover Cleveland").
• 16D. [Name for a jazz revue?] is SNAP, CRACKLE, BOP ("Snap, crackle, pop").
• 51D. [Like jazz movies?] is MELLOW-DRAMATIC ("melodramatic").
• 48D. [Fish made of vitamins?] is the not-so-well-known DACE. I used the crossings to pin down DACE after asking myself if there was a vitamin H for HAKE. Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K were the letter bank for the fish name.
• 65A. [Big name in skis and snowboards] is ELAN. I originally had EBAN crossing SNAPCRACKBEBOP.
• 80D. [WWI Treasury secretary William] MCADOO.
• 87A. [Large evergreen, ironically] clues RED FIR. Is it "ironic" if an evergreen has red in its name? I don't think that's irony.
James Sajdak's syndicated Los Angeles Times crossword, "What's Yours?"
I liked this one a little more than the first two Sunday puzzles. Fun theme, smooth fill. The theme is cocktails that sound occupationally appropriate:
• 25A. [The barber ordered a __] VODKA TONIC. Barbers slap some tonic on a man's face sometimes, right?
• 27A. [The heating contractor ordered a] BOILERMAKER. That's a whiskey shot with a beer chaser.
• 40A. [The farmer ordered a] PLANTER'S PUNCH. What's in that? Rum, lime juice, carbonated water, and sugar. Sounds good.
• 60A. [The popcorn producer ordered a] HOT BUTTERED RUM. If you buy microwave popcorn, go for brands that don't use diacetyl flavorings—those cause lung disease in the people working at the popcorn factory.
• 84A. [The orthopedist ordered a] SINGAPORE SLING. Gin and cherry brandy? That sounds gross.
• 102A. [The high roller ordered a] SEVEN AND SEVEN. Some sort of whiskey plus 7-Up, I think.
• 119A. [THe handyman ordered a] SCREWDRIVER. Vodka and OJ, for your vitamin C and potassium needs.
• 123A. [The citrus grower ordered a] FUZZY NAVEL. OJ (the "navel") with peach schapps (the "fuzzy").
• 66D. RIFFLES is [Mixes, as cards]. Less mixing than a full-bore shuffle, right?
• 112D. [Where to get down] is from an EIDER.
• 13D. ASK FOR IT means to [Invite trouble].
• 30A. A REF is a [Whistling zebra?].
• 75A. HANG-UPS are [Emotional problems].
Randolph Ross's CrosSynergy/Washington Post "Sunday Challenge"
I'm not sure why the CS team calls it a "Sunday Challenge" when its difficulty is often on a par with the weekday themed offerings. If it's clearly labeled as a challenge, why not toughen the clues up a notch?
• 1A. [Informing secondarily, for short] is CCING.
• 16A. [Baked goods at an English Christmas] are MINCE PIES.
• 28A. [Top draft selection in the NBA, e.g.] is a LOTTERY PICK.
• 31A. [Small breakfast] clues ONE EGG. No, this answer does not rise to the level of an "in the language" unit of meaning.
• 52A. [Words before Olay or vitriol] are OIL OF. "Oil of vitriol"??
• 54A. [Truman, Clinton, Reagan, or Obama, e.g.] clues a LEFTY, or left-handed person.
• 1D. [Where to hear church music] is the CHOIR LOFT. But don't people hear the music from everywhere else in the church?
• 35D. [Second largest island in the world] is NEW GUINEA.
• 37D. [Put on a pedestal] clues IDEALIZE. I wanted IDOLIZE(D), but COTE D'AZUR's Z said no.
• 47D. [Cosmonaut Gherman or Vladimir] TITOV? Never heard of either one.
Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon's Boston Globe crossword, "Interior Hues"
I liked this kind of theme better when it's a little tighter, as when they had contrived phrases with hidden gemstones. Here, the first hidden-color entry is EPHEMERAL DOME, with a hidden EMERALD, and that one's good. But there's practically no limit on made-up phrases in which you could find a hidden RED, so VAMPIRE DEN did nothing for me. The embedded colors in the theme entries also include apricot, silver, orange, pink, indigo, green, peach, amber (another gem), and teal. It all feels kind of loose—the colors don't form a logical set (as the seven colors on the ROYGBIV spectrum would), and there's no particular logical order in which they're presented.
Favorite clue: [Bacon with links?] for "Six Degrees of KEVIN Bacon."
November 07, 2009