Yay for SethG! Everyone else with the keys to this joint lit out for Brooklyn for the weekend, and the blog would have been covered with fusty cobwebs by now were it not for Seth’s able stewardship. Let’s all give Seth a rousing round of applause!
There may be some sort of ACPT roundup after I catch up on sleep and find my sea legs again. Long story short, I did not disappoint my kid because I brought home a trophy (what is more coveted than the second-place-in-the-Midwest-region trophy, I ask you), and I didn’t disappoint myself despite making an error in easy puzzle 6 because I was shooting for the top 20 and finished 14th. Congrats to champion Dan Feyer and all the other finalists and trophy winners (particularly the second-place-in-a-region winners!).
Steve Salitan and Patrick Blindauer’s New York Times crossword
What a terrific Monday theme! Steve and Patrick managed to pack the grid with six fantastic phrases that mean ["Absolutely!"]. You know those colloquial spoken phrases that I love to see in crosswords? YOU BETCHA, AIN’T IT THE TRUTH, and their four friends are excellent examples. Love the theme. The fill and clues are generally Mondayish, so there you are.
I can barely type two words in a row correctly, so I’ll sign off for the night and see you tomorrow…maybe not first thing in the morning because I hope to sleep in!
Patrick Blindauer’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, “Body Language”—Evad’s review
It’s a good day when we have two puzzles to blog from the prolific Patrick Blindauer. The theme in this one is a bit harder to describe (which usually doesn’t bode well in my estimation of the theme’s appeal). Three phrases which include a body part (or, more specifically, something found above your neck) have that part replaced by a slangy nickname. The only indication of this change is a question mark added to the clue. It’s probably easier just to dive in and take a look:
- A [Birdbrain?] is a knucklehead. Here we actually have two body parts, but only one found above your neck, so the “head” part becomes “noodle,” leading to KNUCKLENOODLE. I was bothered that this phrase had two body parts as well as a general concern about not recluing these modified phrases in a more wacky way.
- The clue [Beatles song on "Help!"?], other than featuring 3 punctuation points in a row, leads us to I’ve Just Seen A Face. Your “face” is above your neck, and that becomes a “mug,” and so we have I’VE JUST SEEN A MUG. Only one body part here, so that’s a good thing. Not a familiar song in the Beatles canon to me.
- I first thought [Nickname for Frank Sinatra?] was Mr. Blue Eyes, but I soon remembered with the crossers that it was Ol’ Blue Eyes. Anyway those “eyes” became “peepers,” and we have OL’ BLUE PEEPERS.
So why limit the theme entries to those particular body parts? Even if you wanted to stay north of the neck you could have FALSE CHOPPERS, NEEDLE SCHNOZ, or RIVER YAP. For me, the joy in this one came from the longer fill entries as well as some creative cluing:
- LED ASTRAY, DREAMBOAT, VIDEO GAME and DEMI MOORE are all nice longer entries. I used to be a big fan of the video game Myst and its sequel Riven. Loved those worlds, the puzzles and the soundtracks.
- Hard to fit in MAMMALIAN for [Had breasts] when you only have 3 boxes; it was ATE instead.
- Had “I’M SO delighted” before “I’D BE delighted.” Was I thinking of Patti LaBelle?
- The [Theme song from "Beverly Hills Cop"] was AXEL F. The F is short for FOLEY, the character’s last name played by Eddie Murphy.
- Liked the rhyming clue [Joke or choke] for GAG.
David Levinson Wilk’s Los Angeles Times crossword
Oh, dear. I seem to be even more tired now than I was last night.
Theme is ROMAN, or “R.O. MAN,” and each of the four longest answers is a man with the initials R.O.:
- 17a. Actor RYAN O’NEAL
- 59a. Singer RIC OCASEK
- 10d. Singer ROY ORBISON
- 30d. Nineteenth-century automotive pioneer RANSOM OLDS, [Henry Ford contemporary]. Remember the Sesame Street game/song, “One of these things is not like the other”? I guess we haven’t got a quartet of R.O. men who fit the theme entry lengths and are all in the arts and more contemporary.
I wasn’t a fan of the fill in this puzzle, which wasn’t as zippy as I would expect from DLW. And the “coml.” abbreviation for “commercial” in the clue for 7d looks so, so wrong to me. I’m not saying it is wrong, I’m saying it looks crazy.
Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “You’re Solving…With What?”
I told you I was tired. I solved this whole puzzle, loved the interesting theme, noted the 17×17 size, and wondered why it wasn’t an ACPT puzzle with a theme and grid size like that. Then I noticed the “©2010 ACPT” above the puzzle. Then I read Brendan’s blog post. It’s utterly true: I didn’t remember it from last year. (Am brain-dead.) I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it took me longer the second time around.
Anyway, the sort of mind-bending required to solve this puzzle is typical of what you need to bring to any ACPT puzzle #5. I won’t discuss this year’s tournament puzzles right now since the solve-at-home-on-paper crowd haven’t gotten their ACPT crosswords yet. I do encourage everyone who wasn’t at the tournament to take advantage of the “play by mail” option. $20, cheap! Ellen Ripstein will even score your puzzles and tell you how you would have finished at the tournament with your solving times and accuracy.