Thursday, August 30, 2007

Doubling up

The title of today's puzzle was a lot more help than yesterday's title. It's "Two Against One" and I figured that had to mean more than just Francis Heaney and Patrick Blindauer against me in the crossword ring.

First our 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 -- No, you know what, they're better. That's right, I said it, the New York Sun's puzzles are better than the New York Times's puzzles, and I can only imagine how frustrating it must be to be Peter Gordon and to keep putting out this superior product and have everybody just blog, blog, blogging and yak, yak, yakking about the Times, Times, Times. Look, if you don't have time for two great puzzles a day, do the better one, do the SUN -- (we now return you to your regularly scheduled spoiler warning) -- 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 puzzles check this out. Or if you're ready to decide for yourself you can download this puzzle and join in on the fun here.

Like I said, I had an inkling of where this one might be going and the fact that the themed entries all say something like 1A: "With 1-Across. . . " or 72A: "With 72-Across. . . " Two-part answers are nothing new but if it's paired up with itself it must be a case of two letters sharing one box. I knew 4D: Author of "The Call of Cthulhu" could only be HP LOVECRAFT and I put an H and a P in that first box even before I got HOCUS POCUS at4A: With 4-Across, spelling phrase. JET SET at 9A: With 9-Across, frequent fliers was the next to fall, and after that I skipped down to 72A: With 72-Across, Toro product and confidently filled in POWER MOWER. BIG DIG at 1A: With 1-Across, Boston public works project (BIG DIG) took a little bit longer cuz I'm just not as informed about Beantown building boondoggles as I should be and because I was unfamiliar with BD WONG (1D: "M. Butterfly" Tony winner). But I got 27D: FedEx doesn't deliver to them (PO BOXES) and that helped me to get PUT OUT at 27A: With 27-Across, retire.
It also messed me up a little bit because by now I was sure all the themed entries had the doubled up letters in the first box of the answer and it actually occurred in the last box at 56A: With 56-Across, eat (BREAK BREAD) and in the middle at 48A: With 48-Across, rap (HIP HOP) but all in all I finished this in about the same amount of time I normally finish a Friday Sun puzzle, which I felt pretty good about, considering who I was going up against. (The fact that there are 5 entries with doubled up letters in the first box and 2 elsewhere does lose the puzzle a few elegance points.)

Other entries of interest:

57D: Knight costar on '70s TV. I figured they were probably talking about Ted Knight on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, but man he had a lot of five-letter co-stars on that show. Besides MOORE herself, there was Ed ASNER, GAVIN MacLeod, BETTY WHITE, and of course ultra-ditzy Georgia ENGEL.

23A: Thou (G NOTE)
Earlier in the week, the Sun thought it could always substitute the word "spot" for "note" in this slang terms for big bills, and ended up with something more lascivious than legal tender when they had C-SPOT for an answer. I'm glad they didn't do it with this one or I'd know for sure they were trying to corrupt America's morals.

Speaking of sexy stuff, I know it's an old-fashioned slang term, but AARP is not the first thing that I think of when I hear the phrase PUT OUT.

45A: Exercise done on a bench (ETUDE) That one stumped me for a while. I wasn't thinking of a piano bench.

In Genesis Chapter 29 Lia tricks Jacob into marrying her after he had slaved for seven years to marry her younger sister Rachel. I was kinda hoping LIA might show up in this puzzle to go with 67A: Scala of "Ride a Crooked Trail" (GIA) and 39D: Lunes, e.g. (DIA), but we had to settle for 22D: '80s rocker Ford (LITA)

That's all for today and for this week. Monday's a holiday, so there won't be a new crossword puzzle until Tuesday. We'll have new content this weekend so come on by unless all you care about is crosswords -- if that's the case, I'll see you Tuesday.


Matt M. said...

I'm surprised no one has commented on this clever puzzle yet. (I always feel bad when a few comment on this blog and 30+ (too many to sort through, IMOO!) regularly comment on RP's.)

Not knowing who B.D. Wong is or many German words or what/where Doha is made the NW impossible for me. Also, I don't know OZAWA and thought that "Ozaka" sounded better and just figured UAK (University of Alaska?!) was possible for 7D. And then I had to Goggle (grrrr) for the SE.

In short, cool theme but not so much fun for me.

Rex Parker said...

This blog deserves more commenters, but leave my blog out of it.

Knew BD WONG. Sadly, couldn't SPELL BD WONG (WANG!). Otherwise, felt easy for a Sun Friday. SW corner gave me trouble - otherwise, smooth sailing.


Norrin2 said...

Matt, I think some of my readers must be shy. I get almost as many e-mails about the puzzle posts as I do comments here. I wasn't familiar with OZAWA either, I had to put that together letter by letter.
And Rex, maybe you got the wrong WONG because a lot of people with the last name W-A-N-G -- like the Yankees' Chien-Ming Wang and HGTV's Suzanne Wang -- pronounce it like WONG.

aallll said...