December 28, 2006

Friday, 12/29

NYS 6:25
LAT 5:25
12/15 CHE 4:05
NYT 4:02
CS 3:09

WSJ 7:54
Reagle MIA—the source for the Across Lite version isn't publishing this weekend

(post updated at 11:20 a.m. Friday)

First up, Seth Abel's NYT crossword, which I kept thinking was a Thursday puzzle, wondering what the theme or gimmick was. (Hmm, Friday, themeless. Gotcha.)

And Jeffrey Harris's 15x16 Sun puzzle, "Where Have All the Vowels Gone?" As it turns out, the vowels are mostly there. This reminds me of the ad copy in the Polana food catalog: "Who stole the kiszka? Nobody stole our kiszka, we have plenty of it!" (I also kinda wish I'd written the copy for their head cheese.) The Sun puzzle's missing just a few vowels in the theme entries, yielding warped phrases that end with LBS (LaBS), JR (JaR), BLVD (BeLoVeD), KG (KeG), and CTR (aCToR). The theme left me surprisingly unmoved. Grossest clue/fill of the year: [Lump in one's throat?] for PHLEGM.

Moving back to the NYT crossword, I liked the grid's framing with four 15-letter conversational phrases (two taunts, a question, and LOVE CONQUERS ALL), none clued with a synonymous phrase in quotes, which I thought was an elegant touch. (Though a couple shorter phrases are clued with quotes.) There were a few answers I wouldn't necessarily have known a few weeks ago. Just recently, someone on the NYT forum mentioned that Alice FAYE can be deemed pig Latin, and a crossword taught me that ROSH is [Hebrew for "beginning"]. Here's hoping that a subsequent crossword will let me take advantage of learning here that LARA is an [1814 Byron poem]. Dig it: Byron's Lara is Count Lara. Favorite clue: [Nitpick?] for DELOUSE. I'm hoping the entry was included specifically because of the clue.

Updated:Fairly easy Wall Street Journal puzzle from Elizabeth Gorski, "Easy New Year's Resolutions."

Steven Lewis's December 15 Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, "Classical Physics," redefines five physics terms with classical music clues—wait, does Lawrence Welk's orchestra count as classical music?

Thomas Schier's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Familial Role Reversals," swapped MOTHER and SISTERS with FATHER and BROTHERS in the theme entries. Elsewhere in the grid, I half expected the answer to ["Treasure of the Sierra ___"] to be PADRE.

Doug Peterson's LA Times puzzle inserted YOS into base phrases to concoct things like MAYOR'S ROVER, [Canine at city hall?]. It took me a while to grasp the theme, and even more time to figure out the fill clues. Either the clues were a tough batch, or I just couldn't hit on the right wavelength.