January 01, 2007

Tuesday, 1/2

NYS 3:36
CS 3:36
NYT 3:20
LAT 3:19
Onion tba
Tausig tba

The New York Sun is back after the holiday with a new year of crosswords. The Tuesday puzzle, "Less Is More," is by Steven Ginzburg, and I'm surprised to note that there are only three theme entries, because they're so solid, it felt like there were more of them. Ginzburg assembled three nouns that are also comparative adjectives, and paired them with their adjectival opposites. Ergo, [Less hip wine drink?] is SQUARER COOLER. (Quick poll: Do restaurant drink menus include wine coolers where you live?) The northeast and southwest quadrants each contain adjacent pairs of 8-letter entries that link the top and bottom theme entries to the one in the middle, which is a nice touch. And the northeast pair share the same clue, [Desire]—one noun (APPETITE) and one verb (YEARN FOR). A COOLER puzzle, eh?

Sarah Keller's NYT puzzle plays the anagram game with "Cómo ESTA?" How is it? Scrambled up in five ways at the beginning of the theme entries. TEAS IN THE HARBOR strikes me as a little contrived, but I love SATE SAUCE—a spicy, peanutty, lively crossword entry.