February 02, 2009

Tuesday, 2/3

Jonesin' 3:41
Sun 3:39
LAT 3:18
NYT 2:44

The New York Times crossword for Tuesday is by Katie Yeager, a constructor whose name I don't recognize. (Debut?) The theme entries are tied together by "ISN'T IT IRONIC?"—a [Musical question posed by Alanis Morissette, as suggested by 20-, 33- and 40-Across].

  • The SILVER DOLLAR is a [Coin composed of copper, nickel, zinc and manganese], and not made of silver.
  • A [Hair treatment that generally lasts three to six months] is called a PERMANENT WAVE.
  • The [Pro football team based in New Jersey] is called the NEW YORK GIANTS.
Now, Alanis Morissette came in for a lot of criticism over her misuse of "ironic" to describe things that weren't actually ironic at all. Now, do these three theme entries truly embody irony? Those of you who have studied literature and philosophy are encouraged to weigh in.

My favorite answer in this crossword is AQUAVIT, a [Clear Scandinavian liquor] with a great name. The most unexpected clue is [Anagrammatic cousin of Alice or Lacie] for CELIA. Other names in the grid include Mrs. O'LEARY, the [Catherine whose cow is said to have started the Great Chicago Fire]; SELA, or [Actress Ward]; RYAN, or [TV host Seacrest]; EDIE, or [Singer Brickell], ENYA, or the one-named ["Orinoco Flow" singer]; REDD [Foxx of "Sanford and Son"]; and Aaron BURR, [Victor in a duel with Hamilton].


Peter Gordon (writing as Ogden Porter) marks the 50th (!) anniversary of THE DAY THE / MUSIC DIED with his puzzle, "I Can't Remember If I Cried..." It was February 3, 1959 when a plane crash took BUDDY / HOLLY, THE BIG / BOPPER, and RITCHIE VALENS. Buddy Holly is the only musician I'm fond of who died before I was born—too bad he's not a 72-year-old man still putting on shows for his middle-aged-plus fan base. The Don McLean song "AMERICAN PIE" (9-minute video here) calls 2/3/59 "the day the music died. Peter's included 64 theme squares, which is a lot, in a 15x16 grid with left/right symmetry. I kinda see a fighter jet in the black squares, but I'm sure that's not intentional.

John Lampkin's LA Times crossword makes a logical progression from cause to effect:
  • [Soul mate] is a PERFECT MATCH. If you light a match, you get a...
  • Flame. MY OLD FLAME is a [Nostalgic 1934 Mae West song]. If the flame spreads, you've got yourself a...
  • Blaze. To [Forge a path] is to TRAIL-BLAZE. After the blaze burns out, you're left with...
  • Ashes. ANGELA'S ASHES is a [Frank McCourt memoir].
Matt Jones's Jonesin' crossword, "Verse for Wear," fills the three theme entries with 5-, 7-, and 5-syllable lines, like a haiku:
If you are the parent of a young child, you may appreciate the Momku Twitter feed. (Example: Son stuck paper clip / In outlet "just 'cause." And they / Wonder why I drink) Turning back to the puzzle, the answers I liked best include First Kid SASHA crossing OBAMA, across the puzzle from a CIVIC DUTY like voting; actress Susie ESSMAN of Curb Your Enthusiasm; GUAC, a [Nacho topper, slangily]; OK GO, the [Band that hit YouTube with the treadmill-choreographed video]; and THE EL, or [Chicago public transportation, familiarly].