June 24, 2008

Wednesday, 6/25

NYS 5:07
LAT 4:14
NYT 3:23
CS 3:20

Still another crossword debut in the New York Times, it looks like—the byline reads Rob Cook. The theme entries are five words that start with RE, broken into two words that are pronounced differently:

  • The noun [Talk in one's sleep?] is a REST ORATION.
  • [Building the Berlin Wall?] was a RED ACTION.
  • An [Equestrian addiction?] is a REIN HABIT. ("Whoa, I can quit any time I want.")
  • The [Back burner?] is a REAR RANGE.
  • And a [Literacy campaign?] is a READ MISSION.

The fill contains a baker's dozen of 7-letter entries and another dozen 6-letter entries. You might get likkered up with the COGNAC ([Snifter filler]), MADEIRA (one [Dessert wine]), and ETHANOL ([It gives punch to punch]) in general. I love the word PURLOIN, or [Make off with]. People at CASINOS may fancy themselves to be ON A ROLL. [Barry Bonds, to Willie Mays] is a GODSON.

Fun theme in the New York Sun crossword by Stella Daily and Bruce Venzke, "Silly Songs." These goofy song titles are the sort of theme entries that can be tricky to spell correctly. There's the Police song, "DE DO DO DO, / DE DA DA DA," which I think is the one my Police-nut friend says is no good (but I like it just fine). Iron Butterfly recorded "IN-A-GADDA-DA-VIDA," and The Simpsons further immortalized it. Manfred Mann had "DO WAH DIDDY DIDDY," and the vaudeville era gave us "TA-RA-RA BOOM-DE-AY." I was so pleased to see that the [Rotund cartoon cat] was STIMPY (full name, Stimpson J. Cat) rather than Garfield. MEADOW gets a pop-culture clue, [One of the Sopranos]. Did you know that the robo-vacuum Roomba had a floor-washing cousin named SCOOBA? And do Isaac ASIMOV's Three Laws of Robotics apply to these appliances?


Sarah Keller's CrosSynergy crossword, "Inanimate Animals," assembles a set of three "[animal] in the [place]" phrases. There's a FROG IN THE THROAT, or [Slight hoarseness]; BIRD IN THE HAND, or [Proverbial sure thing]; and SNAKE IN THE GRASS, or [Concealed danger]. Hey, speaking of animals in the place, if you have kids and you're ever in the Twin Cities, don't miss Wild Rumpus Books. CHICKENS IN THE BOOKSTORE? Check. (Roaming freely, too.) And cats. And in cages, a tarantula, chinchillas, a ferret, birds, and a rat. We bought Eric Berlin's youth novel, the puzzly Puzzling World of Winston Breen, there.

Gary Steinmehl's LA Times crossword describes four theme entries with a fifth: CORNY ENDING. The [Fair fare] COTTON CANDY gives us candy corn, which I used to love but won't eat at Halloween time any more. Stacked below that answer is Peter Piper's PICKLED PEPPER, for a peppercorn. MOM AND POP, as in mom-and-pop store, crunch popcorn. [To the point] means SHORT AND SWEET, and sweet corn is indeed delicious. Anyone else feel estranged from the cluing wavelength in this puzzle?