September 30, 2007

Monday, 10/1

NYS 3:31
CS 3:10
LAT 2:39
NYT 2:26

October already! How did this happen?

Another week, another Monday puzzle I liked. Allan Parrish's New York Times crossword clears out the JUNK DRAWER, [Location for the ends of the answers to the four starred clues]. I like this twist on the standard "one word in each theme answer is related to the others" theme—it's more fun to link those components based on what they are rather than on what other word they might follow or precede. Here, the FLORIDA KEYS, PIGPENS, TICKER TAPE, and THIRD STRING have all been cluttering up that drawer.

Dominick Talvacchio's New York Sun puzzle skates into the National Hockey League's preseason with "The Icemen Have Arrived." The trio of theme entries end with singular hockey players from the New York metro area: THE LONE RANGER (NY Rangers), a PACIFIC ISLANDER (NY Islanders), and OH GOD, YOU DEVIL (New Jersey Devils). Plenty of longish (6 to 8 letters) Monday fill, including limey slang RIGHTO, ELIXIR and EXHALE with X action, and BUNGLE. (I did not bungle this crossword while solving.) A little bit of supra-Monday stuff, too—XIAN, home of the terra cotta warriors in China; [Silvery salmon] called SMOLT ("A smolt is a juvenile fish. This is the stage where Salmonid becomes physiologically adapted to saltwater and begins its trek to its salt water environment."); and PALS clued slangily as [Peeps]. There's also a double hit of A.A.—[Pooh creator A.A.] MILNE followed by [Ohio city where A.A. was founded] for AKRON.


Patrick Jordan's CrosSynergy crossword, "Correction Rejection," offers this quip: I MARRIED MR. RIGHT / I CAN NEVER GET HIM / TO ADMIT HE'S WRONG. I dunno about the gender politics in this one. The clue specifies [a wife's remark], but in Massachusetts, Canada, and Europe, a gay man could easily say the same (if he were disposed to making quasi-"Lockhorns" remarks). Then GUYS is clued as [Dates for gals]—except when the guys are dates for other guys. And besides, who says "gals" any more? C'mon, CrosSynergy team—get with the century! Then there's OGLE, clued as [Eyeball an eyeful]—the word (and act) OGLE is so steeped in male privilege, and the clue reduces womankind to no more than "an eyeful," a mere object to be beheld by another. If a woman is beautiful in the forest, does she fail to exist unless there's a man nearby to see her? Putting aside the gender politics, I liked the X, Z, Ks, and J in this grid.

Curtis Yee's LA Times puzzle compiles three "too ___ to ___" phrases from our language—a clean and simple Monday theme. Curtis classes up his Monday puzzle with six longer (8 to 10 letters) entries. Other pluses: Instead of Mao getting a fill-in-the-blank clue for an outmoded transliteration of his name (TSE in so many crosswords), MAOISM is ["Little Red Book" ideology]; nice string of vowels in that word, no? (And crossing MAUI, too.) My husband likes Guinness STOUT, while I prefer ALE ([Darker-than-beer brew]); we don't keep lager in the house. Why, just last night, we both had Newcastle Brown a barbecue joint. What goes better with ribs and jalapeno cornbread than English beer?