One of the goofier stats I track in xwordinfo.com is called Hitting for the Cycle. It's a baseball analogy and it means having a crossword published in each day of the week. Bob Klahn is mostly a tough-as-nails late-week constructor but he wrote today's Monday, July 7 puzzle (answers.) With that, he now joins the elite Cycle club, only the 23rd person to claim this high honor in the Will Shortz era. He has 46 puzzles total but only one each for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Now he can go back to his comfort zone, confounding us with killer crosswords. I haven't been blogging long but the most difficult puzzle since I started was his Dec. 29, 2007 disaster (try it, read my whiny blog post, see answers.) I wonder what he thinks of the very different challenges involved in creating a successful Monday entry.
By the way, back when Joon was guest blogging for me, he encountered the June 21 TLH monogram puzzle. Tyler Hinman became the 22nd cycler with that one, his first Saturday crossword.
The theme of today's puzzle is insignificant. Literally. It's barely there at all. In fact, the theme answers are so insubstantial that they need circles to act as magnifying glasses so we can see them.
It's nice to see naughty diarist ANAIS Nin right next to EROS. A little further down, NOOGIE makes its NYT debut which is, I believe, a word Ms. Nin employed in some of her steamier scenes. That's her in the black and white photo.
The color pic is Ms. Marisa Tomei, an actress whose convenient combination of last-name letters has saved many constructors but who, until today, has never had her full name in a puzzle. It's about time.