October 08, 2008

Thursday, 10/9

LAT 4:20
NYT 4:11
Sun 3:57
CS 2:53

(updated at 10 a.m. Thursday)

It's Thursday (or is about to be), so it's only fitting that Doug Peterson's New York Times crossword features a rebus theme. As the clue for 52-Across's LITTLE DEVILS—[Mischief-makers (you'll find seven of them in the answer grid)]—promises, there are troublesome IMPs hiding all over this puzzle. Symmetry? Not for these IMPs. There's one in the middle, and the other six are split half on top, half on the bottom; half on the left and half on the right—but not in predictable spots. The IMPs are lurking here:

  • MISSION [IMP]OSSIBLE, a [TV series that's now a film franchise], crosses WRITING [IMP]LEMENTS, or [Quills, sometimes].
  • [Curious George, for one] is a CH[IMP], and he crosses P[IMP]LY, or [Broken out, in a way]. The latter answer's kinda icky.
  • LONG-TERM [IMP]ACT, or [Effects seen down the road], crosses BL]IMP]S, which are [Sights at many football games].
  • To SK[IMP] ON is to [Be stingy with], and a [Deadlock] is an [IMP]ASSE.
  • To [Call into question] is to [IMP]EACH, and to [Drive forward] is to [IMP]EL.
  • Maybe if you're PIMPLY, you can [IMP]ALE or [Spear] that zit. The IMP doubles up here in GL[IMP]SE, or [See for a second].
  • The final IMP shows up in TIGER SHR[IMP], a [Seafood cocktail ingredient], and [IMP]ROV, or [Spontaneous skits].
Too bad the classic TV imp, Bart Simpson, didn't make it into this puzzle; nor did the show he's in. I liked how IMPROV and LONG-TERM IMPACT both had deceptively plural clues; by Thursday, it's time for such trickery to be ushered into the cluing.

In the fill, I wasn't hip to [Russian Literature Nobelist Ivan] BUNIN. Have you ever had MUNG BEAN–filled cookies? They're tasty, and the MUNG BEAN isn't just a [Legume used to produce sprouts]. LYRA is the [Constellation with a music-related name]. My favorite snake name is the KRAIT; this [Banded snake] is quite venomous, so it's not the personality I like, just the look of the word. The pretty CEYLONESE is the old-school way of saying Sri Lankan; it's clued as [Like some black tea].

Mark Feldman's Sun crossword is a "Themeless Thursday" that I kept imputing a theme to. First there was 1-Down, [Moves slowly], which I answered with CREEPS. Nope, that one's CRAWLS—CREEPS appears down below as a [Feeling of disgust, with "the"]. So I got it in my head that the other corners of the grid were going to have creepy-crawly answers too, but this puzzle's themeless so of course they don't. There is, however, a mini-theme: WHITE LIGHTNING was a [1973 Burt Reynolds movie] I don't recall, and ROLLING THUNDER is a [1977 Tommy Lee Jones movie]. '70s movies with thunder and lightning in their titles? Cool beans (mung!).

Favorite entries and clues:
  • [Chopsticks, e.g.] is a WALTZ? I...have never danced to Chopsticks.
  • American Idol emcee Ryan SEACREST is the ["American Top 40" host]. Seacrest out.
  • [It always has mayo] refers to the Spanish month of May, and AÑO is Spanish for "year." Without the tilde, however, ANO means "anus," and with mayo in the clue...eek.
  • GOOGOLS are [Very large numbers]—to be specific, 1 followed by 100 zeroes.
  • [Bliss, e.g.] is a FORT, an Army post in Texas. I froze when I encountered F*RT in the grid with that clue.
Was this themeless puzzle among the easier ones you've seen recently, or was I just in the groove tonight?


Ray Hamel's CrosSynergy crossword, "It's Your Time," features "___ of the [unit of time]" phrases.
  • I'd never heard of OFFICER OF THE DAY, a [Rotating military position].
  • The MOVIE OF THE WEEK was an [Old TV offering], but not that old, obviously, because I remember those movies, and I'm still young, dammit.
  • The BOOK OF THE MONTH is the famed [Literary club] for book buyers.
  • ROOKIE OF THE YEAR is the [Eddie Gottlieb Trophy winner]. I'll guess this refers to hockey because I've never heard of it. Nope, it's the NBA.
The now-annual Storm of the Century is feeling left out.

Gendered language alert: SHREWS is clued as [Nags]. Here's one dictionary's entry for shrew: (1) Any of various small, chiefly insectivorous mammals of the family Soricidae, resembling a mouse but having a long pointed snout and small eyes and ears. Also called shrewmouse. (2) A woman with a violent, scolding, or nagging temperament; a scold. Nag, on the other hand, is a gender-neutral One who nags. I'd much rather have SHREWS clued as the world's tiniest mammals.

Bruce Venzke and Stella Daily's LA Times crossword features a quip: "KIDS HAVE A MIDDLE / NAME SO THEY CAN / TELL IF THEY ARE / REALLY IN TROUBLE." In the fill, WILEY is clued as the ["Non Sequitur" cartoonist]—so I just spent a few minutes reading all the "Non Sequitur" strips from the past month. I like them all, including this one. BAD BOYS is clued as this [1983 film set in a juvenile prison], but the 1995 action comedy by the same name is better known. YEARLY is clued as [Resolution frequency], and what was in my head for that clue was technical stuff like image resolution and megahertz frequency measures. Oh! New Year's resolutions, once a year! That's different. [Spam producer] refers to the capital-S Spam, and it's meatpacker HORMEL. The existence of the Comic Sans typeface led me astray in parsing the clue, [Pic Sans Nom, par exemple]—I decided it was a TYPE rather than an ALPE, French for "Alp." "Peak without name"? 1-Down in this puzzle is LOKI, the [Mischievous god] in Norse mythology. I kinda wanted LOKI to put in an appearance in the impish NYT crossword.