June 04, 2008

Thursday, 6/5

NYS 7:19
Jonesin' #365 4:36
LAT 4:15
NYT 3:39
CS 2:59

After dinner a couple weeks ago with writer Gary Krist (a friend from the NYT crossword forum), I finally had the chance to photographically document an innovative means of conveying emphasis in a typographical manner: The overline. Why underline a word when you can overline it? I'm sure this is going to catch on soon.

What is this, Wednesday? Well, technically it is still Wednesday, but it's the Thursday New York Times crossword that seems like a refugee from Wednesday, on account of not being so hard. James Sajdak, whose puzzles appear most often in the LA Times, has an OPEN MARKET theme. That's [Where things are freely bought and sold...and what the starts of 17-, 23-, 36- and 46-Across do?]. The other theme entries are:

  • FLEA CIRCUS, or [Tiny sideshow attraction]—flea market
  • FARMER'S ALMANAC, or [Old weather forecaster]—farmers' market
  • SUPER BOWL SUNDAY, or [When a big game is caught]—supermarket
  • BULL MOOSE PARTY, or [Roosevelt group]—bull market

Most obscure answers/clues:
  • LOMA, or [Casa ___, Toronto castle]
  • OUIDA, or ["A Dog of Flanders" novelist, 1872]
  • ONEK, or [Short race, for short]—this is more of a "fun run" distance than a competitive racing distance, I suspect.
  • EADS [___ Bridge, first to span the Mississippi at St. Louis]—something I learned from crosswords.
  • [City nicknamed Gateway to the West] isn't St. Louis, home of the Gateway Arch, it's WINNIPEG, Manitoba.
  • RENEE [___ Montoya, DC Comics heroine known as the Question]—I'm not a big comic book person.
  • [Place to use an echograph] is the OCEAN.
  • ATTIC is an [Ancient Greek] as well as the top floor.
  • ARIL is crosswordese for [Seed case].

[What a person who's out may be in] is a COMA. Wait, is this a gay thing? The WWF is clued as [Former grapplers' org.]; please note that the WWF remains the World Wildlife Federation, while the goofy pro wrestlers are now the WWE. [Pool temp, maybe] isn't SEVENTY-TWO—it's a STENO. I thought [Fly catcher] might be a bird or a baseball glove, but it's a TOAD here.

Barry Silk's New York Sun "Themeless Thursday" felt like a Friday "Weekend Warrior" to me. Is it pretty tough, or am I just sleepy after 10 p.m.? My favorite and/or trickiest bits:
SOBRIQUETS, or [Monikers]—just a word I like.
[Tennessee Williams's "27 Wagons Full of Cotton," e.g.] for ONE-ACT PLAY; coincidentally, SHORT STORY also has 10 letters and ends with a Y, and that was the only crossing I had.
[Dip and skip, e.g.] are DANCE STEPS.
ADAH is the [Daughter-in-law of Rebekah] and the name of my favorite character in Barbara Kingsolver's novel, The Poisonwood Bible. (She digs palindromes! Not many fictional characters do.) The same clue is also used for RACHEL.
"SLOOP JOHN B" is a [1966 Beach Boys hit].
UMA THURMAN gets promoted from first-name-only status in the grid.
[Grapity purple is one of its flavors] refers to TRIX cereal. "Grapity"? Ick.
There's a non-Anderson LONI, [Ackerman who portrayed Evita on Broadway]. Don't know the name.
[Gutsy?] is INTESTINAL.
ELENORE is a [1968 Turtles hit]. Rhymes with "deplore," which is what I do to the song's spelling.
A [Blast furnace opening] is a TAPHOLE. Will we be tested on this again?
TJ MAXX! [Store with the slogan "Never the same place twice"]. Alternate slogan: "We love disorder."
[There's a semicolon in it] means what? Ah, yes: the HOME ROW on a keyboard, after the ASDFGHJKL bit.
[Simon Bolivar University setting] is CARACAS, of course. Why, he was born there! Or so I recently learned in another crossword.
YSL is the [Haute couture monogram]. Yves Saint Laurent died a few days ago, as you've probably heard by now. I've never owned any of his designs, but when I was a kid, we had a couple multicolored washcloths embroidered with his classic YSL logo. When I did a Google image search for "YSL" in the hope of finding a good picture of the monogram, I was distracted by a male nude in a YSL fragrance ad.


Paula Gamache's CrosSynergy crossword, "Initial Positions," has a good vibe in the fill and clues. [Football legend Favre] makes it sound like you're looking for a long-retired athlete, but BRETT has been retired for only a few months. There's SCOOTER Libby; a KILIM ([Flat, woven rug from the Middle East]); NIRVANA ([State of bliss] as well as Kurt Cobain's band); [24/7] cluing NONSTOP; and the [1949 Hepburn/Tracy comedy] ADAM'S RIB. The theme is hyper-literal—the clues are common 2-letter abbreviations, while the answers are what those letters could also serve as:
  • [L.A.] is a LATE START, as in the the starting two letters of the word late.
  • [E.R.] is BITTER END.
  • [P.O.] is POLAR FRONT.
  • [A.D.] is BAD BACK. (This one's my favorite theme entry.)
  • [I.E.] is a DIET CENTER.
One START and one FRONT, a CENTER, and a BACK and END—nice symmetry among the phrases, though BAD BACK is the one in the center of the grid.

Matt Jones's Jonesin' crossword, "Hag in There," has a stuffy nose and thus the theme entries have a hard time with the nasal NG sound. WAG, CHUG are [Two things a beer-swilling Rottweiler can do?] as well as the band Wang Chung minus the N's. [Hot action in the grocery checkout lane?] is KISS KISS, BAG BAG, a play on the Robert Downey, Jr., movie Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. The theme also dishes out PIG POG PADDLES; A LOG, LOG TIME AGO; and DIG DOGS. Freshest fill: PREGGERS, or [Expecting, in tabloids]. Are you familiar with the works of ["SNL" cartoon creator Robert] SMIGEL? Here's his spoof of "Dora the Explorer"—hilarious if you've ever seen any Dora.

Dan Naddor's LA Times crossword could be titled "Scram!" The theme entries end with synonyms:
  • DO NOT PASS GO is a Monopoly [Direction that costs you $200].
  • MAD AS ALL GET OUT is [Fit to be tied].
  • CLEAR FOR TAKEOFF is a [Message from the tower] at an airport.
  • MATERNITY LEAVE is [When many deliveries occur].
  • BANANA SPLIT is an [Indulgent dessert].

Favorite clue: [Iffy thing to wear in a windstorm] is a TOUPEE.