September 30, 2008

Wednesday, 10/1

Sun 4:36
CS 3:48
NYT 3:12
LAT 3:09

(updated at 9:15 a.m. Wednesday)

Here's the word from Peter Gordon tonight:

The Sun may have set, but not the crossword. I had many puzzles in the pipeline when the paper folded, so I will be publishing them online. Go to sometime this weekend to find out where to get them. There will be 108 puzzles starting with October 1 and running until February 27. The cost will be $12* for all 108 of them. I'm hoping to get over 2000 subscribers so that I can pay the authors their fees and still make it worth my time. If I don't get that by January, then it will stop on February 27. If I do, then it can go on indefinitely. So spread the word!

For the October 1, 2, and 3 puzzles, they're still online at the Sun's website, so you can get those three the way you've always been getting them. (If that doesn't work, go to and click on the appropriate date.)

*Or $12.67 to cover the Paypal transaction fee.

The Sun newspaper didn't publish on holidays, but the newspaper-free crossword will publish five days a week, Monday through Friday.

I liked Barry Boone's New York Times crossword just fine even before I carried out the theme instructions and played CONNECT THE DOTS (and did so ALPHABETICALLY). The central theme entry is NO PLACE LIKE HOME, and the picture you make by connecting A to B to C...and so on through L is of a basic house with a chimney on the side of the roof. Cute! If you ever drew a house in grade school, you can probably visualize this puzzle's house without drawing lines between the letters on a hard copy.

The fill didn't seem overly constrained despite the specific letters in specific spots in near proximity to the theme entries. My favorite parts (and random thoughts that have little to do with this crossword):
  • [Kind of cuisine in which onions, bell peppers and celery are the "holy trinity"] is CAJUN. I tend to like informative trivia clues.
  • I hadn't read the Langston Hughes poem "I, TOO" even though I've seen it in crossword clues before. This time, the clue was [Hughes poem with the line "They send me to eat in the kitchen"], and that teaser sent me in search of the poem. The rest of the lines are here. I think Hughes (d. 1967) would have liked Obama's candidacy.
  • [Introductory course, often] is SALAD. Shouldn't all 100-level courses at colleges be called soup or salad courses?
  • A new (?) clue for ALOE: [Cleopatra used it as a beauty lotion].
  • One [Way to find your way: Abbr.] is by using GPS. I think my husband and I are getting GPS for ourselves this Christmas.
  • A [Big name in kitchen gadgets] is OXO. Those clever bastards also make a great shower caddy, which I've had for a week.
  • I like the word CAVIL, clued with [Quibble]. Carping, nitpicking—they're all at the same party.
  • Euro car corner! [German car] AUDI meets [Russian car] LADA. I saw junky old Ladas in Prague in '97.
  • This week, who doesn't appreciate the FDIC? It's a [Bank protector, for short].
  • SHOO-IN is a [Sure thing].
  • [Gardeners may work on them] refers to their KNEES. Orthopedists may also work on the gardeners' knees.
  • Old-school geography! Dhaka used to be transliterated as DACCA. It's [Bangladesh's capital, old-style].
  • [Athlete who's not dashing?] is a MILER. The Chicago marathon is October 12—Mr. Fiend and I will be spectating at the finish line for a change. The Olympic gold medalist in the women's marathon will be competing here in Chicago, so it should be another good race.

Dave Tuller's 15x16 Sun crossword, "Genre Artists," adds six musical performers to the playlist because their names ends with a genre of music:
  • PANIC AT THE DISCO is the ["A Fever You Can't Sweat Out" band].
  • KID ROCK is one [Singer once married to Pamela Anderson].
  • ["Nights in White Satin" band, with "the"] is MOODY BLUES.
  • Scottish nationalist band BIG COUNTRY is clued as [Stuart Adamson's band].
  • IGGY POP is called ["The Godfather of Punk"].
  • I've never heard of the ["Shattered Dreams" band] JOHNNY HATES JAZZ. Let's see... Their biggest hit came in 1987, when I was ensconced in college and obligated not to listen to top-40 music.

David Soul is heartbroken that there was no room in this theme for him, even though his "Don't Give Up on Us" was a #1 hit in the '70s. DId you know David Soul is now a British citizen and acts on stage in the West End? I sure didn't before I looked up his Wikipedia bio.

Some of the fill in this crossword spins a line of dialogue: "YOU DIG BRUNETS, BATGIRL?" Alas, I can't make any other sentences as good as that one from the fill.


Mel Rosen's CrosSynergy crossword, "Huh? (Olympics Division)," takes as its theme a quip that splits into three 13-letter pieces: NO ONE HANDS YOU / A GOLD MEDAL ON A / SILVER PLATTER. At the same time, nobody is bronzing your baby shoes, either. I slowed myself down a bit here by trying FEIGNING instead of FEINTING for [Making a false move]. There were a few apt crossings that leapt out at me while solving. AXL Rose crosses an ice-skating AXEL. The akin SPY and PRY cross at the Y. NADIR and FAKIR, with their unusual consonant-I-R endings, intersect at the I, which could have been an E (FAKER, NADER) with a new pair of clues. TO TERM, as in nine months' pregnant, aptly crosses ENORM. I wasn't wild about [Take off] as the clue for AVIATE, especially with a not-so-well-known AVA ([Marilu's "Evening Shade" role]) crossing it.

Mike Peluso's LA Times crossword has a FAIR (71-Across) theme, with the four long answers beginning with kinds of fairs, so to speak:
  • [Help-wanted listing] is a JOB OPPORTUNITY. (Job fair.)
  • VANITY PLATES are clued with [Players on the game show "Bumper Stumpers" had to figure out what they meant]. A friend of mine recently saw a vanity plate that read CNTPRTY and I hope that one wasn't on the game show. (Vanity Fair.)
  • One's STATE OF BEING is the [Physical condition]. (State fair.)
  • [One with an array of skills] is a RENAISSANCE MAN (or woman). (Renaissance Fair.)

A solid theme for a Wednesday. There's some intra-puzzle synchronicity today. Abel TASMAN was in the CrosSynergy puzzle, while TASM. is in this LAT, clued with [Hobart is its cap.]. FDIC is in the NYT as well as LAT, clued as [S&L guarantor] this time.