March 09, 2008

Monday, 3/10

CS 3:19
LAT 2:39
NYS 2:30
NYT 2:28

Well, I still want to blog about Puzzle 7 and the ACPT finals puzzle, and maybe do some retroactive blogging about a couple Saturday puzzles I did during the tournament. But at least I'm back in the swing of the regular daily blogging.

The New York Times puzzle by Ken Bessette has a cute theme—OBEDIENCE SCHOOL is where you might teach a dog to SPEAK (OF THE DEVIL), SIT (ON THE FENCE), and STAY (THE COURSE). Pretty easy crossword with few places to get snagged. Okay, so I wanted [God, in Italy] to be DEO (Latin, yes?), until Donald Duck's nephew LOUIE fixed that. I love THIS SIDE UP as a non-thematic fill entry. [Knight time?] for YORE and [Freudian one] for EIN were perhaps supra-Monday-level clues, but the crossings tended to be easy.

The New York Sun puzzle by Mark Feldman is uncommonly easy for a Sun crossword. The "Four-Legged People" theme includes four animal phrases that describe people—three are felines (SCAREDY CAT, PAPER TIGER, LITERARY LION) and one is equine (CLOTHES HORSE). If only the cougar (e.g., Jenna on 30 Rock) had a two-word idiomatic phrase that is 12 letters long. Four Z's in a Monday puzzle makes for some zippy fill, but the Z-less fill is also crisp: SPINSTER (the fate a cougar seeks to avoid), SHEKEL, and Henri MATISSE.

Updated: seems to be down this morning, so the Across Lite version of the LA Times puzzle is out of reach.

Paula Gamache's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Side Dish," has five theme entries with a unifying entry crossing the middle one. The first words of those five phrases can precede PLATE: boilerplate, fashion plate, home plate, silver-plate, and vanity plate (as in car license plates). Despite the relative beefiness of this Monday theme, the fill is ambitious—John TRAVOLTA, the THRILLA in Manila, an SOS PAD, THE FBI, MACABRE, both FIB and "caught IN A LIE," and au courant OTOH, short for "on the other hand." REG is clued as [Gas pump choice: Abbr.]; is that regular vs. unleaded, which hasn't been a choice for many years, or regular vs. silver or premium grade?

Updated again:

I forgot to mention that the New York Times puzzle clued EEG as [Brain scan, for short]. As numerous physicians pointed out the last time the NYT clued EEG thus, the electroencephalogram records a tracing or brain waves and is in no sense a "scan." The primary medical imaging modalities include X-ray, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging, CT (computed tomography), PET (positron emission tomography), and fMRI (function MRI). These "scans" all take a picture of the body in some fashion, as opposed to recording the zig-zag amplitude of electrical signals the way an EEG or ECG/EKG (electrocardiogram) does. (Doctors, forgive me if I mangled the concepts at all. I'm a layperson.)

Diane Baldwin's LA Times crossword has a tired, old theme I haven't seen before: both YESTERDAY'S NEWS and HISTORY REPEATED are the SAME OLD, SAME OLD.