Monday, May 12, 2008

Monday, May 12, 2008

Title: She's a Gem
Author: Mark Feldman
Theme: Three descriptive phrases that include names of gems to describe a woman named Jewel, as follows:
  • 3d: "I met a woman who has___..." (PEARLY WHITE TEETH)

  • 10d: "...and ___..." (EMERALD GREEN EYES)

  • 19d: "...and ___..." (JET BLACK HAIR)

  • 59d: "...and her name is ___!" (JEWEL)

Nothing wrong with this for a Monday theme. Some may note that PEARLY seems a touch inconsistent, in that the other theme answers include the gem as its own word, but this is not a major flaw for me. Note that anytime the theme entries run down instead of across, you're probably looking at an irregular grid; sure enough, this one is 15x16, to accommodate the long theme phrases.

Sunny Spots:

You don't see that many puzzles that start off with 9 straight 3-letter fills. But this one salvages some self-respect with a few nice clues, including:
  • 7a: Ones who are neither het nor gay (BIS). A great, topical fill and a shout-out to the LGBT community. The mathematician in me wonders whether the clue is logically sound as is, or whether bis are both het and gay. I honestly don't know, but I like the clue. Perhaps someone out there can enlighten me.

  • 10a: Pole worker (ELF). Let's be independent together!

  • 13a: Microbrewery pint (ALE). Nothing fancy, but you know we love food and drink clues here.

  • 14a: When repeated, Yogi's pal (BOO). Interesting twist for a boo clue.

  • 16a: With 15-Across, Polo Grounds great (MEL / OTT). Nice to see his whole name make it in. And while you're thinking baseball, you've got:

  • 24a: Homecoming result? (RUN). Nice.

  • Other high points include:

  • 29a: National Day of Commitment to Eliminate Racism org. (YWCA). Another socially-conscious clue, that I'm going to pair up with:

  • 56d: "Star Trek" communications officer (UHURA), who shared a "ground-breaking" kiss some 40 years ago.

  • 55d: Trash-talking Muppet? (OSCAR). Who doesn't love Oscar the Grouch? Good clue.

  • 57a: Popular sandwich for kids, for short (P.B. AND J.). What do you mean for kids? Adults don't eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches anymore? I know I do.

  • 39d: Back burner? (SUN)

  • 64a: Eightball player's need (CUE). Love the pool references.

  • There are also a couple of nice skiing clues:

  • 27a: Skiing maneuver (TELEMARK). I always thought telemark was a whole separate type of skiing, like a cross-country/alpine hybrid. But I guess it's a particular maneuver as well.

  • 31a: High-speed skiing event (DOWNHILL).

  • And, to get you ready for both:
  • 49a: Leg exercise (KNEE BEND)


Other clues of interest:

  • 18a: Home of the NHL's Sharks (SAN JOSE)

  • 34a: Darfur's setting (SUDAN)

  • 38a: Sewing machine inventor Howe (ELIAS)

  • 40a: Like flan (EGGY). Eggy is probably my least favorite word in the puzzle. Feels a touch strained to me.

  • 41a: Dart along (FLIT). Flit, on the other hand is a great word.

  • 43a: Soviet ballistic missiles (SCUDS)

  • 47a: ___ pole (Native American carving) (TOTEM)

  • 55a: 1997 film starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau (OUT TO SEA). I have not seen this one. Bet it's not better than "The Odd Couple". :)

  • 65a: Kippered fish (HERRING)

  • 69a: Ten-millionth of a newton-meter (ERG)

  • 75a: "Weekend Update" show, briefly (SNL). "Saturday Night Live" has been around a long time, is sometimes great, and shows up a lot in puzzles.

  • 1d: Latin music (SALSA). Knew it would end in A, but didn't know if it was going to be RUMBA, SALSA, CONGA, or SAMBA until I hit a couple of crosses.

  • 2d: Distant (ALOOF). "Aloof" is a great word. It appears to be derived from sailing, meaning "toward the luff", which is the front part of the sail.

  • 5d: Jacket flap (COATTAIL).

  • 8d: What "ipso" means (ITSELF)

  • 11d: Primate of Madagascar (LEMUR)

  • 28d: Pout (MOUE). Another nice word that shows up a bit in puzzles.

  • 33d: Easter fleur (LIS). That's French for Lily.

  • 35d: Not fer (AGIN). I reck'n so.

  • 45d: Belgrade citizen (SERB)

  • 48d: Sponges (MOOCHES). Noun or verb, take your pick.

  • 53d: TV pundit Stephanopoulos (GEORGE)

  • 62d: Highway's counterpart in fuel economy (CITY). Which plays directly into:

  • 66d: Pumped stuff (GAS). For some reason, I wanted to put GEL here.

Suns of Bitches:

No real problem spots, which is to be expected on a Monday, except for a mild hitch on:

  • 7d: Baby sock. I knew what this was right away, but couldn't decide whether to spell it BOOTIE or BOOTEY, and decided on the former. Turns out this time it's BOOTEE. Apparently, it's a viable alternative, but it just looks weird to me. I feel like I've done this in puzzles before, too.

All in all, a decent Monday unless you hate 3-letter words. For me, it was fine.

Thanks for listening.

- Pete M.


Anonymous said...

I can't open today's (5/12/2008) NY Sun Crossword, even after downloading and saving to my computer. I keep getting a message that the file is corrupt. A directory listing of NY Sun Crosswords for the past few days, as saved on my computer, shows this one is much smaller in size. Perhaps there is a problem with the file?

Pete M said...

The week's puzzles have not been posted online yet; be patient.

Joon said...

do you actually subscribe to the paper copy of the NYS? i thought it was only available within the city.

Pete M said...

@joon: It is. I have been afforded the favor of an advanced copy from the editor, for which I am infinitely grateful.

Bill D said...

Couldn't download the puzzle yesterday; did it today (Tue). Very nice for a Monday puzzle - cute theme and nice fill. I usually don't like tons of three-letter words but this one didn't bother me. LEMUR always a plus!

Joon said...

at last, the puzzle.

i'm getting to be less and less a fan of three-letter fill, but today's puzzle had so many nice things going for it that i didn't mind.