June 20, 2007

Thursday, 6/21

NYS 5:54
Time Out 5:14
NYT 4:19
LAT 4:14
CS 2:58

(updated at 9:45 a.m. Thursday)

The Thursday NYT crossword is credited to John Sheehan, which is not a familiar name. This might be his constructorial debut—if so, congratulations!

Anthony Salvia's Sun crossword, "Lots of Love," hinges on the tennis definition of love: NOTHING (25-Down). The four longest entries contain rebus squares that spell out ZIP, NADA, NIL, and ZERO (as in [ZIP]-A-DEE-DOO-DAH, baseball great BILL MA[ZERO]SKI, VA[NIL]LA FUDGE, and MONTREAL, CA[NADA]. Until I figured out the rebus, I was drawing a blank on what 4-letter city could be the [Capital on Luzon]; ah, MA]NIL]A! Someday I will get there. Fairly tough puzzle aside from the rebus action—did I know that Mia HAMM had a book? I don't think I did. The 4-square blank for [Hefty competitor] sure looks like GLAD until the [ZIP]LOC rebus nudged its way in there. Did I know that AERO was an internet domain name? I sure didn't. How about [Three-time NBA All-Star Larry] NANCE? Nope. Also didn't know Darryl Dawkins and his famous DUNKs—but it's an entertaining Wikipedia article so I'm glad I looked him up. There were other things I just plain didn't know, but I found the crossings to be eminently reasonable as I didn't have to blindly guess anything. What I liked best, aside from the rebus action: [Bolt with no threads?] for STREAK (streakers have a website complete with photos); KIT BAG; [Prepared to show] for GROOMED (as in dogs going to the Westminster Dog Show); DONUT crossing DUNK; and [They might get swung at if they go through the strike zone] for SCABS (I'm pro-union).

Sheehan's NYT crossword contains six theme entries with anagrams tied to the all-caps clues with an adjective. For example, [GENRES] are TOSSED GREENS, and PROSE scrambles up to KNOTTED ROPES. The resulting phrases aren't all ones that feel "in the language" to me—like KNOTTED ROPES and ADDLED BRAINS. FAUX PAS (clued with [SAP]) is completely "in the language" (in two languages, in fact!), and BAD DEAL ([LEAD]) has more Google hits than I'd expected. Speaking of that last one, did you first try NEW DEAL and/or RAW DEAL in that post, as I did? Favorite parts: the three Xs and a Q in the grid; [It may come after you] for ARE; [America's Cup, e.g.] turning out to be EWER rather than RACE; [You can see through it] for the IRIS of your eye; and [Turn blue, e.g.] for DYE (no sadness, no hypoxia!). I don't think I've ever seen crossword regular ASP clued as [1950s-'60s American rocket; Wikipedia says the Asp rocket was "used 30 times to study the explosion clouds of nuclear bombs." Who knew?


Apparently Brendan Emmett Quigley will have a weekly crossword in Time Out New York. Seems to be only in the icky sort of Java applet I don't much like (I kept reading the wrong clues and typing over the letters I'd already entered), alas. This week's offering, "Puzzle It Over," has a meta theme of crosswords themselves.

Stella Daily and Bruce Venzke's LA Times crossword offers three 15-letter definitions of HERO, sort of a reverse clue/answer set. (Nice 8-letter entries splashed throughout the grid, too.) Martin Ashwood-Smith's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Spring Training," has a similar theme—the theme entries have springing-related clues, [HOPPER], [SKIPPER], and [JUMPER].