September 19, 2007

Thursday, 9/20

NYS 5:59
NYT 5:32
LAT 4:17
CS 3:44

Between late-onset seasonal allergies (who gets hayfever for the first time at the age of 41?) and being slammed with freelance work, I am plumb tuckered out and need to sleep. So tonight's post will be an abbreviated one.

Alex Boisvert's New York Times puzzle offers a Thursday rebus: ERNEST HEMINGWAY holds court in the center of the grid, and there are six rebus squares spelling out his novel with the title consisting of six 3-letter words: THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA. The rebus squares are found at the two ends and smack dab in the middle of the second row and the second-from-last row. THE appears in 1-Down, where ATHENS crosses THELMA at the [THE]. At 7-Down, there's FOLDED crossing SMOLDER. At 13-Down, EMANATE and HERMAN. In the bottom of the grid, there's ERRANDS/ANDEAN, ESTHER/EAT HERE, and NAUSEA/RESEAT. Kinda tricky to figure this one out, eh? Props to Alex for including my favorite Law and Order SHRINK, Dr. EMIL Skoda. He was played by the actor who also portrayed evil skinhead Vern Schillinger on Oz.

Patrick Blindauer's New York Sun puzzle, "Booty Call," has a trickier theme. I filled in the grid correctly, but I don't know what comes next. The instructions in the long entries are CONNECT THE X'S / WITH TWO LINES. Then 34-Across's clue is [After following the instructions to make a big one, hint that tells you where to look around to find hidden booty]. The answer to 34-Across is X MARKS THE SPOT. I'm too tired to make sense out of this. Why don't you clever people explain it to me?


Harvey Estes' CrosSynergy crossword, "Hot Movies," throws up a SMOKE SCREEN with three silver-screen ventures that are afire: Elvis's FLAMING STAR (a Western I've never heard of), Mel Brooks' BLAZING SADDLES (a comedy classic), and IS PARIS BURNING, a [1966 Charles Boyer film] I've never heard of. I will take that SWEETIE PIE in the fill over all the HONs we usually get, though.

Verna Suit's LA Times puzzle adds a letter to the initials of various famous people, giving an added fillip to the name. P.G. Wodehouse turns into PGA WODEHOUSE, a [Humorist on the links?]. Anyone who hasn't done this puzzle: Do you know the merchant Woolworth's initials?