December 15, 2007

Sunday, 12/16

PI 9:49
WaPo 9:17
NYT 8:14
LAT 7:38
BG 6:52
CS 5:11

As I wrote yesterday, I'll be out of town Saturday night and during the day Sunday, so feel free to talk about all the Sunday crosswords in the comments.

I had fun with Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon's Across Lite Boston Globe puzzle. The "Snake Charmer" theme involves puns incorporating snake names. Just last night, my son was telling us what he'd learned about some sort of green snake at school, and my husband and I were riffing on mamba vs. mambo. And here are the RED-HOT MAMBAS, which we'd not worked into last night's riffs. I don't know what it is about herpetological puns, but this batch didn't evoke any groans in me.

Leonard Williams' Washington Post crossword, "No Rest for the Weary," features eight phrases that begin with action-packed words, such as ACTIVE VOICE and ANIMATED SHORT, with the phrases redefined to emphasize the action aspect. I don't think the clues were as tough, comparatively speaking, as the solving time indicates—I was on the phone part of the time, but was enjoying the puzzle and didn't want to put it aside 'til the call was over. (I know, such multitasking is rude. But I was talking to my sister, also a phone-call multitasker.) Anyway, it's an enjoyable, smooth, fun crossword.

What's included as this weekend's Philadelphia Inquirer crossword, "Murray Christmas!", actually ran in the Inquirer in January 2006, but wasn't made available in Across Lite until now (Lloyd Mazer explains here). The theme is famous Murrays, but the nonstandard treatment of names didn't sit right with me. Fred MacMurray is FRED MAC OF MY THREE SONS? F. Murray Abraham is A ABRAHAM OF AMADEUS? Ow. And apparently there is or was a Jan Murray I never heard of, JAN OF EARLY GAME SHOWS. This theme was so not my cup of tea. It felt like a slog to me. Ah, well. Next week's will be more fun for me.

Updated Sunday night:

David Kahn and (no relation) Steve Kahn's New York Times puzzle, "Movies You May Have Missed," packs in 11 theme entries—10 movie titles minus an L and one never-heard-of-her actress's name, NOEL NEILL. Noel sounds like "no L," and thus the entertaining theme unfolds. Fun for movie buffs who've heard of the movie titles in question—as I had.

Charles Barasch's syndicated LA Times puzzle, "Power Outage," has seven theme entries that have lost an AC, as in alternating current electrical power. Good fill throughout. My favorite clue: [Fiend] for OGRE. "Diary of a Crossword Ogre" definitely has potential.

The themeless CrosSynergy "Sunday Challenge" from Lynn Lempel is quite good. A couple Saturday-tough semi-obscure words (CONUS and EDDO), interesting fill (FARM CLUB, GRIT ONE'S TEETH, SCANDALMONGER, NO ANSWER, BALTHAZAR of the Magi, MR WIZARD), and a few things I ate up: the interjection "HORRORS!"; OPPOSABLE thumbs; PINT-SIZE; and a Valencia ORANGE.