Hollywood From Right To Left


Leaving NYC, a view of the Empire State Building from outside Penn Station.

New York Times crossword Oct. 30 / Constructed by Andrea Carla Michaels & Patrick Blindauer

So I am in NYC, the motherland of the crossword puzzle. After wandering through the snow falling in Manhattan on Saturday, we stopped at a newsstand to buy the early edition of the Times. That’s right: Sunday’s news on Saturday, and for a dollar cheaper than what I pay for the Times in Philadelphia. What a country.

That, unfortunately, was about the extent of the excitement for me with this puzzle. The clunky title hints at a simple device: Theme answers are names of movies with their “R”s changed to “L”s.

“One of St. Peter’s heavenly duties?” is ANGEL MANAGEMENT (23 Across), taken from the Adam Sandler comedy; “‘Snakes on a Plane,’ e.g.?” is a SCALY MOVIE (42 Across), from the comedy-horror flick; “What a lazy mover prefers to carry?” is THE LIGHT STUFF (52 Across), from the astronaut adventure; and “Workout class on a pleasure cruise?” is PILATES OF THE CARIBBEAN (67 Across), from the Johnny Depp/Keira Knightley franchise.

Others: “Unbelievable court infraction?” is a FANTASTIC FOUL (88 Across), from the live-action comic book; “Cabby’s nonstop patter?” is TAXI DRIVEL (96 Across), from the Robert De Niro classic; and “Guests at a Hatfield/McCoy marriage ceremony?” are WEDDING CLASHERS (119 Across), from the Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson rom-com.

Bizarre Clue of the Day Dept.: “Number of X’s in this puzzle’s answer” is TWO (86 Across), which I’m guessing refers to the number of times the letter X appears in the finished grid. Who would bother to figure that out in order to write that clue?

Polar Opposites Dept.: “Opera whose second act is called ‘The Gypsy'” is IL TROVATORE (17 Down). In the opposite position in the grid is LENNOX LEWIS (“World heavyweight champion who was once an Olympic boxing gold medalist,” 69 Down).

Home Sweet Home Dept.: Later on tonight, we’ll take a train back to Philly from Penn Station, which sits under MSG (“Rangers’ venue, for short,” 82 Across).

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