Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Terribly good puzzle

Yay! I got my Sun puzzle fix today. It's a good one too, but then again I'm a sucker for a good oxymoron. Let's do our ever-popular SPOILER WARNING: Don't read any further until you've done today's New York Sun Crossword Puzzle. New York Sun puzzles are every bit as fun and challenging as the more well-known New York Times and they're indisputably better in one way -- they're free. If you'd like to read about an unbiased head-to-head competition between the Sun and the Times check this out. Or if you'd rather decide for yourself you can download this puzzle and join in on the fun here.

Opening Arguments is from Lee Glickstein, and each of the themed entries start off with two seemingly-contradictory words:
20A: Site of Custer's last Stand (LITTLE BIG HORN) Besides being the site of Custer's demise, it also inspired the title of Dustin Hoffman's "Little Big Man" and country band Little Big Town.

28A: 1957 hit for the Dell-Vikings (COME GO WITH ME). Besides this catchy doo-wop number the Dell-Vikings AKA the Del-Vikings, Dell Vikings del Vikings and just plain Vikings are also famous for being one of the few integrated bands back in the segregated 50's. Speaking of doo-wop 31D: Doo-___ (WOP) crosses this entry. I wonder if that was accidental or intentional.

36A: State song of the Granite State (OLD NEW HAMPSHIRE) This one gave me more trouble than any other. I'm far from perfect on my state nicknames -- especially Yankee states -- and when I had _ _ _ NE I put in MAINE, thereby slowing progress for some time.

44A: Neglected (OUT IN THE COLD)

54A: Digressing from the main topic (OFF ON A TANGENT)

Other opposites in the puzzle (albeit not in the same answer):

35A: Astronaut's affirmative (A-OK) and 46D: "You cheated" (NO FAIR)

5D: Level (BULLDOZE) and 67A: Do a nursery task (REPOT)

43A: Remove the skin of, as an apple (PARE) and 52D: Like movies on pay-per-view (UNCUT)

6D: Wearer of mini-skirts (BARBIE) and 55D: Dreaded person (OGRE)

As already noted by the great Rex Parker, on whose website there was a lively discussion about the word "nerd", it's kind of interesting that FONZ ("Happy Days" character, with "the") who used the word a lot and 13D: Dr. Seuss's "If I Ran the ___ "(ZOO) (which is where the word first appeared) both show up on the Sun puzzle today.

26D: Brand of tomato paste (AMORE) would have been easier for me if they'd clued it as Italian word for love.

15A: Company that produces wrap sheets (ALCOA) refers to Reynolds Wrap and other fine products.

33D: Other than Graham Joyce I try to stay from horror fiction, so 33D: 2003 Dean Koontz bestseller (ODD THOMAS) was unfamiliar to me. It must be pretty good though, since it's already spawned two sequels, Forever Odd and Brother Odd.

Your health tip of the day is at 61A: Stress and smoking, for two (AGERS), and your culinary tip of the day is from me, despite what 60D: W. Somerset Maugham's "Cakes and ___" (ALE) would have you believe, milk is a better beverage to consume with cake.

I've got to go back to work. See ya Wednesday.

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