February 04, 2007

Monday, 2/5

NYS 3:17
CS 2:59
LAT 2:58
NYT 2:41

Joy C. Frank's Times crossword boasts an especially lively trio of theme entries and some sparkling fill. The theme phrases start with METRO, UNDERGROUND, and SUBWAY, all of which mean, er, "subway." The [Modern fashion-conscious guys] are METROSEXUALS, naturally (or not naturally, if they color their hair). The best bits of fill included the movie THE STING, NO-HASSLE financing, and PSEUDO. STIR is clued [Use a swizzle stick], and the party subtext continues with the OPEN BAR and the KEG. So long as nobody overimbibes or gets some bad SUSHI, they won't end up needing the PAILS. There're a couple moderately clunky words (UNPOT, REWASH), but the zippiness of the theme entries more than compensates.

Jack McInturff's Sun puzzle, "Big Raise," pays homage to some folks whose last names are common in crosswords—CHARLOTTE RAE, MARTHA RAYE, RACHAEL RAY of the Food Network, and CAROLINE RHEA. (Stephen Rea's agent, of course, wants to know why he wasn't in this puzzle.) Good fill includes MR ZIP (my local post office had a wooden cutout Mr. Zip that was taller than me), a bunch of X and Z words (including the Dr. Seuss short story, "The ZAX"), PHYS ED, and RHUBARBS.