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.
I wonder if familiarity with certain constructors is a help to solvers or a hindrance. "TV Audo Problems" is a pretty straightforward puzzle from Patrick Blindauer, based on simple TV show title puns. But I've seen him do so many envelope-pushing puzzles lately that I psyche myself out, expecting the puzzle to turn into a TV and I'm expected to program the Tivo or somesuch. The clue for 1-Across was Dreads and my first thought was "It must be FEARS." Then my second thought was "No, this is Blindauer, it must be trickier than that. Maybe he's referring to dreadlocks or something." Then I remembered it was Tuesday.
The TV puns are:
17A: Mechanic's request? (GIMME A BRAKE)
28A: Yankee sitting on the bench? (AMERICAN IDLE)
45A: Program about Chicago's mayor (THE DALEY SHOW)
59A: Spot for some medieval tennis? (KNIGHT COURT)
11D: Pleasant stupor? (HAPPY DAZE)
35D: Conga line of flatfish? (SOLE TRAIN)
Other entries of interest:
57A: Possible reply to "Would you like some more haggis?" (NAE) Considering that haggis is made from the heart, liver and lungs of a sheep boiled in the sheep's stomach, it's not a possible nae, it's a definite nae.
46D: PI, e.g. (DET) Another instance of my psyching myself out. I was thinking math not Magnum.
32D: Drops a liner (ERRS) That would be a line drive.
26D: Grace period? (AMEN) My favorite clue in today's puzzle. Two words, two plays on words. Rather than a period of time to pay, this is a punctuation mark, so to speak, when you pray.
13D: Phonograph record (DISC) I wrote a column awhile back for Country Standard Time Magazine, pointing out that we need a new name for CDs -- before they're replaced by something else. CD, of course, stands for compact disc, and they're only compact in comparison to LPs (Long Players) which of course are scarce as hen's teeth these days.