Wow, another mind-blower from Patrick Blindauer. This one took me a while to solve and even longer to figure out what was going on. I could blame it on cranberry juice intoxication since I've been pouring it down trying to flush out this kidney ache -- or caffeine withdrawal since I haven't had any tea or Diet Pepsi today, but truth is it's a tough, fair puzzle -- and if you're smarter than me and tumble onto the theme a little sooner than five minutes after you finish the puzzle, it might help you crack the puzzle a little faster.
Anyway, here all fresh and rested from its one-day vacation is 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 -- 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.
Blindauer has taken all of the cards in the highest natural poker hand and shuffled (anagrammed) them into new phrases.
Starting with the TEN OF SPADES which becomes ONE STEP FADS (17A: Simple crazes?) and moving up to the Jack of Spades or SAFE JOCK PADS )(19A: Gear that keeps an athlete protected?).
The Queen of Spades morphs into FED OPAQUENESS (34A: Cause of difficulty in understanding Ben Bernanke?) and the King is now FAKES DOPINGS (51A: Creates false positives on drug tests?) and the mighty Ace is now an ESCAPED SOFA (54A: What a couch detective looks for?)I like all these new phrases but they don't lend themselves well to illustration. I looked all the web for a picture of an escaped sofa but found nothing. And I'm sorry, but I am not even going to look for jock pads.
The only other card themed entries I see are 9A: Vide ____ (see before, in Latin) (ANTE) and 58A: Fight (MIX-UP) (another word for shuffle) and I guess 61A: It's corny (TRIX) might slide in, as well. At least I can find a picture for it.
Other entries of interest:
26A: One out of ten (ZERO) That's almost a cryptic crossword clue. As I read it, if you take the digit 1 out of 10 you're left with 0.
39A: Cabal (RING) I had GANG for the longest.
38D: Bud holder? (KEG) Another misstep. I had MUG. That's what I get for thinking small, I guess.
46A: "Baby __ Back" (1992 #1 hit) (GOT) I am embarrassed to admit that this is where I got my initial toehold on this puzzle.
20A: Noted trio member (EGO) I realize it's got to be something simple that I'm just missing but I've got more curiosity than pride and I admit I don't get this one. What trio is ego a member of?
That's all for today. Have a great weekend.