Andrea Carla Michaels and Michael Blake’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s review
A tidy little vowel progression to ease into the week.
- 18a. [One knocked off a pedestal] FALLEN IDOL.
- 24a. [Paid postgraduate position at a university] FELLOWSHIP.
- 39a. [Solve a crossword, e.g.?] FILL IN THE BLANKS. You know, the white squares.
- 55a. [Put a spade atop a spade, say] FOLLOW SUIT.
- 63a. [Illegal wrestling hold] FULL NELSON.
And there you have it. One F_LLEN, two F_LLs, and two F_LLOWs (trivially, they’re F_LLOWSs, or even F_LLOWS_I_s).
Speedy-smooth solve, low CAP Quotient™ (crosswordese, abbrevs., partials), with enough variety to remain interesting. Nothing too challenging or tricky, so a good introductory puzzle for novice solvers. Tougher sections readily gettable from crossings is another highlight of a well-constructed crossword.
- Fun long fill: FIDGETING, OLD YELLER, full (first) name ZSA ZSA.
- EVIL | BONO! Yes, the truth! No wonder he has so many attorneys on retainer, doing all that work for him!
- The three diagonal Ws starting at square 25 make me a bit dizzy. The nearby VNW combo does too, a little.
- Factette: 8d [Cream-filled pastry] ÉCLAIR is also the French word for lightning. I have no idea what the connection is, except that I find it safest to avoid both.
- Column 1: GRUFF/AFL/ABFAB. Try saying that fivetimesfast.
Fullfilling [sic] puzzle.
Bruce Venzke’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “What’s Come Over Me?” – Sam Donaldson’s review
60-Across says that VOODOO ECONOMICS is the [Derisive term for an ’80s fiscal policy, and a hint to the starts of 17-, 27-, and 44-Across]. As near as I can tell, however, the starts of those entries are only about voodoo and not about economics. Let’s see what you think:
- 17-Across: HEX-HEAD WRENCHESare [Common toolbox items]. “Hex” is clearly a voodoo-related term, but nothing much else has to do with economics.
- 27-Across: A CHARM BRACELET is an [Easily personalized piece of jewelry].
- 44-Across: SPELL-CHECKING is the [Word processing process].
So I guess my point here is that the clue for VOODOO ECONOMICS could have been a little clearer. Maybe [Derisive term for an ’80s fiscal policy, the start of which is a hint to the starts of…] would have been better. Can we just wave a wand and pretend the original clue didn’t happen?
Every letter can be found in this grid, and you’ll see more than one of some rare letters like K and Z. I’m not familiar with C STORE as a [Modern service station adjunct, briefly] (I assume that’s a “convenience store”–interesting how some shorten “convenience store” to “c store” for, well, convenience.)
Favorite entry =I’M UP, clued as [“My turn to bat!”] (Clue-wise I might have liked something along the line of [“You can turn off the alarm clock now”] better.) Favorite clue = [Like Tonto’s partner] for LONE, as in The Lone Ranger.
Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”
All right, this isn’t my favorite BEQ themeless. THERE. I SAID IT. 19-Across is, however, a kickass entry. It’s basically a two-sentence answer, and when do we ever see that? I also like the usually genial (but sometimes angry) THE SAME TO YOU, GEORGE VI, GORILLAZ (even though I know none of their music), and brand-name PRILOSEC (I’m a generic OTC Pepcid girl, personally). And the GARP clue that rewards those who actually read the book.
WORK BAG did not come easily to me with [It often gets notions]. As in sewing items, or ideas? How is the bag “getting” the notions? I also leaned on the crossings for TWO TRAINS PUZZLE, [Classic problem involving a fly]. A fly? I’m doing the wrong puzzles.
Clues I like:
- 34d. [Sucked from a Hummer, say] for SIPHONED, as in gasoline. If you think the clue is filthy, please note the capital H and wash your mouth out with soap.
- 21d. AUNT, [Viv on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” e.g.]. Recently saw a British talk show on which Will Smith was guesting, and he led the audience in a “Fresh Prince” theme song sing-along. Every single person knew the words. Viv, of course, is cited in the lyric “move in with your auntie and your uncle in Bel-Air.”
- 11d. [It goes over your head], a HOODIE. There are a couple other meanings of “goes over your head,” and I like those clues with multiple meanings.
Blah (to me) bits; DESTAIN, SOCA, L RON, SAXE, RIT.
Gail Grabowski and Bruce Venzke’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s review
Quick, belated write-up here.
64-across reveals the theme: [“That’s all she wrote,” and literally, what the last word of each starred answer can be] END OF STORY. Nice, in the language fill, too.
- 17a. [*Financial institution employee] BANK TELLER.
- 41a. [*Sunbather’s transition point] TAN LINE.
- 11d. [*Cigarette lighter alternative] MATCH BOOK.
- 35d. [*14-across-like sporting equipment] SNOW BOARD.
Simple, serviceable theme. I think MATCHBOOK and SNOWBOARD generally appear as compound words, so it’s possible to quibble with the wording of the revealer; does a “word” abdicate its wordiness when it’s subsumed into a compound word? More troubling to me, however, is the clue for 35d; when a themer cross-references a non-theme answer, it feels as if it’s slumming.
Overall, the puzzle is likewise serviceable, with a decent mix of words and cluing. Nothing spectacular, nothing awful. Just a solid early-week offering.
One note: 69a is a clever clue, [Landlubber : ship :: __ : ranch] for DUDE, but unfortunately the “dude ranch” phrase is so reflexive that the analogy trappings are wasted and the cleverness is short-circuited.