January 26, 2006

For Those About to Rock We Salute You

Crossword puzzles don't generally feature too many heavy metal themes, but Pete Muller's NYS, "Cross Currents," exploits AC/DC for a bidirectional rebus—AC for the across entry and DC for down, appropriately enough. Tack on a central BACK IN BLACK entry and an explanatory ACDC in the lower right, mix with lively fill (the rebused HEA[DC]OLD and HAR[DC]ORE, the new GO BLANK and AKRON OH), shake it up with typically interesting Sun clues, and then, for a final touch of elegance, place the rebus squares in symmetrical locations in the grids? Hell's bells! This is a great puzzle. P.S. This is the same constructor who did the recent word ladder puzzle in the Sun. Remember his name...

Okay, I wrote that first paragraph this afternoon when I wasn't quite so sleepy. (I'm nowhere near caught up on sleep after the sleep deprivation that is the Sundance Film Festival.) I just did Sherry O. Blackard's NYT, fighting to stay awake. Um, it's a good puzzle. Great fill, as we expect from SOB, and good clues. Discuss amongst yourselves. Good *yawn* night.


Thomas Schier's CrosSynergy offers another Mozart tribute (following last Sunday's NYT) and includes a shiny new entry: FARM OUT.

In Donna S. Levin's LA Times puzzle, GIB is clued as "spawning salmon's protuberance." Is that a third definition from the Random House Unabridged Dictionary? All I've found are the castrated cat and metal wedge meanings. But does anyone really want to hear more about protuberances used in spawning?

In Manny Nosowsky's WSJ, the most groan-inducing clue was "Money-making company?" for GIGOLO. New entries include A WEEK AGO, PARASKI, and CATSKILL.

Michael Ashley's "Caesar Salad" in the 1/6 Chronicle of Higher Education features a theme of the first nine Roman emperors, along with some great seldom-seen fill (including the new SLOWUPS and HARP SEAL).

Having seen Merl Reagle in Wordplay and conversed with him at Sundance (Has Merl ever met a person he couldn't anagram?), I've been jonesing for another one of his puzzles. Alas, Lloyd Mazer informs us on the NYT forum, "Due to a change in style of the LA Times Sunday Magazine, there is no Merl Reagle puzzle this weekend." All together now: "Aw, rats!" (Which is Star Wars backwards with the R and S gnawed off...)

Okay, here are some pointers for the folks who turn to web searches to find elusive crossword answers:

Antiphon = RESPONSE
Teller's area = MAGIC TRICKS (as in Penn and Teller)
Beat one's gums = NATTER
Ruthless governor = SATRAP (IT'S A TRAP is also in this puzzle—would a terrible technical services manager be an IT SATRAP?)
Something auto-dialed = CAR PHONE (such a retro term now that cell phones aren't tied to cars and special antennas)
Actress Chandler and others = ESTEES (according to IMDb, Estee Chandler was in Teen Wolf Too and now works off camera)

NYT 7:54
NYS 6:10
LAT 6:10
1/6 CHE 4:16
CS 3:04

WSJ 9:10