December 28, 2008

Monday, 12/29

NYT 3:01
Sun 3:00
CS 2:59
LAT 2:18

(updated at 7:37 p.m. Monday)

The key to the theme in Kevin Donovan's New York Times crossword is 54-Down: [Something 18-, 26-, 42- or 51-Across might have] is a RUN. Mind you, the three Across answers that intersect with RUN were easy enough to fill in without ever looking at the clue for 54-Down, so I had zero idea what the theme was when I finished the puzzle. The four things with RUNs are:

  • RUMMY HAND, which [might include a 10, jack, queen and king of hearts];
  • BASEBALL GAME, clued as a [Yankees/Red Sox matchup, e.g.];
  • BROADWAY PLAY, which is a [Candidate for a Tony]; and
  • PANTYHOSE, a [L'eggs product].
This crossword's got some answers that we don't often see in a Monday puzzle. BIG TOE is [Something often stubbed]. [Most morose] means GLUMMEST. NO DOUBT means ["Absolutely"] as well as being the name of Gwen Stefani's band. Steve CARELL of The Office entertains me on Thursday nights. To REPHRASE something is to [Say another way]. [Much ballyhooed] is HYPED UP. Favorite clues: [Like half of Istanbul] for ASIAN; [Like an N.B.A. center] for TALL; and [Sunbathe] for TAN—sunbathing this week was lovely, but now that I've passed through O'HARE, the [Chicago air hub], I am months away from another sunbathing opportunity.

Updated Sunday evening:

Peter Gordon's alter ego, Ogden Porter, constructed the Monday Sun crossword, "Foodies." The six theme entries are food metaphors for people. A STRINGBEAN is a [Tall, thin person]. An [Insignificant person] is a PEANUT. A [Show-offy person] is called a HOT DOG. BUTTERBALL is a [Chubby person]. A [Crazy person] is a FRUITCAKE, and I'm pleased to note that I have encountered no literal fruitcake this holiday season. A [Weak person] may be called a CREAMPUFF. If you ate too much of that stuff, you might be hankering for ROLAIDS ([Ad answer to "How do you spell relief?"]). Other food-related answers include QUIZNOS, TUNA, Seven SEAS salad dressing, LIMES, SALAD, and the AGRIBIZ that provides some of this stuff. There's such a thing as GENOA salami, but the answer gets clued non-foodly as [Port south of Milan]. Non-theme answers of note: SAPPHIC, [Like some odes]; SHEILA E., [Former percussionist with Prince]; and NOZZLES, or [Hose spouts], with a double Z.

Updated Monday morning:

The Across Lite version of the LA Times puzzle isn't posted yet at Cruciverb, so check back this afternoon for that one.

Nancy Salomon's CrosSynergy crossword, "Midafternoon," finds PMS—[Afternoons, briefly (and hint to this puzzle's theme)]—in the midst of the long answers:
  • CHEAP MONEY is a [Result of low interest rates]. Is this term readily familiar to most of you?
  • SCRAP METAL is [Some industrial waste].
  • STRIP MALLS are [Easy-park shopping centers].
  • SLEEP MASKS are [Light blockers for slumberers.
I'm still waiting for PMS = premenstrual syndrome to be deemed acceptable for daily crosswords. It's not cancer, it's not scatological—it seems fussy to have it always be the plural of P.M. in crosswordland. Does mention of PMS really make anyone squeamish?

Good fill includes DR. PHIL, POP-TOP, the UPSHOT and LAY-UPS, and TEAM USA, the [2008 women's basketball gold medalists]. Salomon took a gamble on cluing RENO as [Betting setting] three answers before the [Skeptic's snort] I BET.

Updated Monday evening:

David Kahn's LA Times crossword was super-easy—all five long theme answers are "[name] THE [job]" monikers. When the clues and theme let you fill in a third of the puzzle with just five clues, everything else is bound to fall into place quickly too. The theme answers are:
  • ROSIE THE RIVETER, the [Iconic WWII worker];
  • BOB THE BUILDER, the [Animated kids' TV character with a yellow hardhat];
  • DORA THE EXPLORER, another current-decade kids' cartoon character—[Toon girl who's always traveling];
  • JOE THE PLUMBER, the [Middle America symbol of 2008 politics] who is on the way to becoming no more than a footnote in history; and
  • POPEYE THE SAILOR, [Bluto's rival] for Olive Oyl's affections. Though it must be said, Bluto is an abuser who Olive seems quite unfond of.
You might think that OMOO ([Melville novel]) and ORONO ([Maine college town]) are out of place in an easy Monday crossword, but the rest of the fill is straightforward and familiar enough that these shouldn't have given anyone too much trouble.