August 12, 2008

Wednesday, 8/13

CS 5:03
NYS 3:56
NYT 3:44
LAT 3:38

(post updated at noon Wednesday)

The theme in Vic Fleming's New York Times crossword made me feel a little young. Of the four 15-letter theme entries clued with [Kitty], two were sort of before my time—17-Across's crossings gave me CARLISLE easy enough, but what word comes before that? ACTRESS, as it turns out. I hear she was a game show panelist, but I didn't see her on game shows or in her acting manifestation. For 46-Across, the crossings pointed quickly to GUNSMOKE-something, but what? BARKEEP, that's what. (POKER TABLE MONEY and NICKNAME FOR A CAT were less troublesome for me.) Favorite clues and entries:

  • [Where to get off] is the railroad or bus DEPOT.
  • Two Muppets join the party, GUY [Smiley of "Sesame Street"] and [Miss Piggy's pal], KERMIT the Frog.
  • [The Stooges, e.g.] are a TRIO. Not Iggy Pop's band The Stooges but rather, old-time comedy's Three Stooges.
  • XEROXED with its copied X's means [Reproduced, in a way].
  • The [Hoffman who has won two Oscars] is DUSTIN. Philip Seymour Hoffman has won one Oscar, for Capote.
  • [Soup spherule] is a PEA. Speaking of edible spherules, have you seen the commercial for a Dippin' Dots type of ice cream beads now available in your grocer's freezer case? Aaaand...I still don't want to eat it.
  • [Corporate gadfly's purchase, maybe] confused me until the crossings told me it was ONE SHARE of a company's stock, bought so that the gadfly can attend the shareholder's meeting and be ornery.

David Kahn's New York Sun puzzle, "Go Team!," roots for the American Olympians by means of tossing a "USA!" into each theme entry:
  • The G.E. Building becomes USAGE BUILDING, or [New grammar student's goal?].
  • Med school becomes MEDUSA SCHOOL, or a [Group of young jellyfish?].
  • The phrase so to speak turns into SOUSA TO SPEAK, or [Headline about an upcoming lecture by "The March King"?].
  • Sage advice + USA = SAUSAGE ADVICE, or [Tips on cooking meat in a casing?].

I would write more about the clues and answers I liked, but I'm feeling carsick. I'm not in a car, so that's odd. See y'all in the morning.


I was half-blind for Bob Klahn's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Jump Ropes," as I was oblivious to assorted typos in one section and couldn't figure out what words could fit in their crossings. [Snap at the finish] is a PHOTO, not a HPOTO, and [Powerfully built] is SINEWY, not SINESY—and those typos blocked my discovery of APPETITE ([Craving]) and CHEW ON ([Ponder]). The theme entries have the letter string ROPE jumping across a word space in the phrases LETTER OPENER, DROP EVERYTHING, and TOUR OPERATOR. Lots of great fill in this crossword—a PUTSCH is a [Coup d'etat], DAIQUIRI completes ["It's a hickory ___, Doc!" (bar joke punchline)], OBLIVION is [Total forgetfulness], the KREMLIN was a [Cold War citadel], RAPUNZEL was a [Locked-up long-locked lass], and a TOPKNOT is a [Hair ball] in a sense.

Michael Langwald's LA Times crossword contains six theme entries whose end parts can precede the word MARK (65-Across):
  • A [Package-mailing option] is PARCEL POST (postmark).
  • [Big band venue] is a DANCE HALL (hallmark).
  • [College exam handout] is a BLUE BOOK (bookmark).
  • [Big trouble] is HOT WATER (watermark). 
  • [Town green feature] is a PARK BENCH (benchmark).
  • And a [Word processor function] is SPELL-CHECK (check mark).
The word AND shows up within two entries, with a pleasing ECHO ([Hollow responses?])—C AND W, or country and western ([Oft-twangy genre, briefly]), and OOH AND AAH, or [React to a trapeze act].