June 11, 2008

Thursday, 6/12

LAT 4:03
NYS maybe 4:00 or so, felt easy for a Thursday Sun
NYT 3:18
CS 3:15

If you're having trouble getting the Sun puzzles to download this week (...or next), try Will Johnston's Puzzle Pointers .puz calendar page, and right-click to save the file to disk. Launch Across Lite and use it to open the file.

Alex Boisvert's New York Times crossword felt like a Wednesday puzzle to me, but a fresh one. Once I had the first two theme entries filled in and saw the clue for 56-Across—[Speaker of the quip revealed by the ends of the answers to 17-, 25-, 35- and 48-Across], I could finish the quip at the end of those other two theme entries. The line by GROUCHO MARX is "Time wounds all heels," and it's found in these phrases"

  • QUALITY TIME, or [Precious moments]
  • GOD'S WOUNDS, or [Phrase from which the exclamation "Zounds!" comes]
  • LOVE CONQUERS ALL, or [Motto derived from Virgil]
  • SPIKE HEELS, or [Dominatrix's wear]

It's a creative way to hide a quip theme so that the "aha moment" factor isn't kicked to the curb. Highlights in the fill: SOUSA and a SOUSE (["Semper Fidelis" composer] and [Drunkard], respectively); CAL STATE, a [Fullerton campus]; A-HOLE or rather, the partial phrase A HOLE [__ in the head], but it looks a lot like A-HOLE in the grid; AU JUS, a [French menu phrase] that sometimes gets bastardized as "with au jus sauce"; two [Bar choice]s, ALE (my preference) and STOUT (my husband's); and EZ-PASS, which is an I-PASS in Illinois.

Spencer and Eileen Pasero, a new constructing duo, are credited with the Thursday New York Sun crossword, "Loverly Lady." The theme entries elide an H à la My Fair Lady's ELIZA (28-Down) DOLITTLE (34-Across). A harbor seal becomes an ARBOR SEAL, or [Official stamp in a shady recess?], for example. The fill includes 10 7-letter answers, such as UMPTEEN, TABOULI salad, and "O CANADA." I had to rely on the crossings for [Character actor Herb] EDELMAN, but when I saw his picture at the Wikipedia article linked here, I said, "Oh! That guy!" I'm surprised to see that he didn't make the cut at the Hey! It's That Guy! site.


Jerome Gunderson's LA Times puzzle hides a diverse herd of BOVINES at the end of the theme entries:
  • ROY ORBISON, ["Running Scared" singer], has a BISON.
  • FLIP-TOP BOX, a [Trademark Marlboro package], has an OX.
  • TWO-MAN KAYAK, an [Olympics team craft], has a YAK.
  • GARBAGE SCOW, [Site of much trash talk?], has a COW.

Favorite clue: [Out to lunch and having a bite] for IDIOMS.

Lynn Lempel's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Common Complaints," has a clue that didn't make any sense to me. [David Copperfield's marvel] is a TRICK? Wow, I don't remember that being central to the Dickens novel at all. What the... Oh! That David Copperfield. The magician. The theme entries all begin with minor medical complaints: FEVER PITCH is a [Frenzied state]; COLD TURKEY is a [Way to kick a habit]; RASH PROMISE is a [Too-fast commitment]; and SORE SUBJECT is an [Unpleasant topic]—a bit like the words at the beginning of the theme entries!