Book Binding

New York Times, March 14

Welcome to the Book Bazaar — or should I say Book Bizarre? — where today’s theme answers literally bind one book to another to create punny new titles. While clever, I found the original titles to be either too dated and/or too literary; that’s not bad, per se, but throwing in a “Twilight” or a John Grisham or Stephen King title might have broadened the puzzle’s appeal. Still, I have to say the rest of the grid was filled withcool, fun, modern words — when have you ever seen SALT N PEPA (19 Across, “‘Let’s Talk About Sex’ hip-hop group”) in a NYT puzzle? Awesome!

The titles: STORY OF O PIONEERS (24 Across, “Plot of a Willa Cather novel?”) binds Cather’s “O Pioneers” to “Story of O” by Pauline Reage; THE LONG GOODBYE COLUMBUS (41 Across, “Unabridged version of a Philip Roth novella?”) binds Roth’s “Goodbye Columbus” to “The Long Goodbye” by Raymond Chandler; LITTLE WOMEN IN LOVE (61 Across, “Pocket edition of a D.H. Lawrence novel?”) binds Louisa May Alcott’s classic “Little Women” to Lawrence’s “Women in Love”; HOWARD’S END OF THE AFFAIR (77 Across, “‘Frost/Nixon’ director’s copy of a Graham Greene novel?”) binds E.M. Forster’s “Howard’s End” to Greeen’s “End of the Affair”; THE LAST DON QUIXOTE (99 Across, “Final copy of a Cervantes novel?”) binds Mario Puzo’s “The Last Don” to Cervantes’ “Don Quixote”; A WRINKLE IN TIME AND AGAIN (114 Across, “Creased copy of a Jack Finney novel?”) binds Madeleine L’Engle children’s classic “A Wrinkle in Time” to Jack Finney’s “Time and Again”; and ART OF WAR AND PEACE (137 Across, “Illustrations in a Leo Tolstoy novel?”) binds Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” to Tolstoy’s “War and Peace.”

Again, not a bad theme, but the book variety left a little to be desired. I’ve never even heard of Jack Finney or “Time and Again.”

Other fun words: JORJA (14 Across, “Actress Fox of ‘CSI'”), which crossed with JAZZ GUITAR (17 Down, “Duke Ellington band instrument”), and CATGUT (2 Down, “String once used for cello” — with apologies to my feline, Phoebe), which crossed with YUCCAS (32 Across, “Desert bloomers”). In 73 Down, it’s all about the clue: “Film with line ‘Oh, we have 12 vacancies. 12 cabins, 12 vacancies'” — PSYCHO. Wow; I think the only line I remember from that film is, “Mother!”; the rest is all silhouette, shower and screeching music. And in 133 Across (“Community hangout, informally”), it’s all about the space: THE ‘Y’ (as in YMCA) — I’ll never look at “THEY” the same way again.

On a side note, I just ventured into the world of crossword construction this weekend. I created an 11×11 puzzle — too small, I know, for any normal daily puzzle in the NYT, but I had to start somewhere. I’m hoping to work up to a 15×15 by the end of the month! Maybe then I’ll start posting some.

Questions or comments? Twitter me @crosswordkathy

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