Joel Fagliano’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s review
Unassuming puzzle? Innocent, everyday scenario? Is that what you SUPPOSE (16a)? Oh no, no, no. Something more surreptitious OCCURS here on a mild Monday. The grid is festooned—not with bathroom tissue, as 69a TPED would have it—but with plainclothes officers. Yes, these 60a [Sting operatives …] are UNDERCOVER COPS. What a disturbing, jarring notion so early in the week.
- 20a. [It’s measured by polls] PUBLIC OPINION. Wow, perhaps even more upsetting, another poll in this mad season. Make it stop!
- 24a. [Home of the San Diego Padres] PETCO PARK.
- 39a. [Conqueror of the Incas] FRANCISCO PIZARRO. You know, among many anthrolopolgists, the preferred spelling is Inka; I’ve been waiting years, over a decade, for this version to enter the vernacular and thence to crosswords. I don’t know that I’ve ever even seen it in a puzzle as an avant-garde var. Also, PIZARRO appeared in a different crossword that I solved within the last 48 hours.
- 55a. [Traveler to Cathay] MARCO POLO.
Three CO/P breaks, one C/OP. That’s a dissatisfying distribution; better to find another C/OP to make it half-and-half, or alternatively throw in a /COP/ (where it appears entirely within a longer word, such as ACOUSTICOPHOBIA) to stir things up a bit more. Nifty how there are two instances of seven-letter overlaps of themers within this tight 15×15 daily grid. Good also that there are no C-O-P sequences among the non-theme fill, though truth be told it isn’t a particularly common trigram.
- 4d [Jeans maker Strauss] LEVI, 31a [Some jeans] LEES. 33a [Hurt] ACHE, 54d [Hurting] IN PAIN.
- Ugly stack to open the grid in the northwest” SCH., IRA, TOS.
- Long downs are SUN CHIPS and ESCAPEES. Not bad.
Hum! ESCAPEES, LEES, EPEE, VEER.
- Some with-it cluing in 5d [Awesome, in slang] EPIC, 9d [Slangy request for a high-five] UP TOP.
- 3d [Company that makes Scrabble] HASBRO. Licensed in the US and Canada only; Mattel elsewhere.
- Cross-referenced clues: OOMPA | LOOMPA (58d & 53d); ANNA played by Deborah KERR in The King and I.
- Does this count as repetition? 24a [Home of the San Diego Padres], 73a [ __ Andreas Fault] SAN.
David Steinberg’s Los Angeles Times crossword
69-across sez [Colorful candy purchase, or what 17-, 24-, 38-, 49- and 60-Across all are] M AND M’S (yes, technically M&M’s). Hence, mesdames et monsieurs, phrases of that pattern:
- 17a. [Versatile, as clothes outfits] MIX AND MATCH.
- 24a. [Auto title data] MAKE AND MODEL. We would also have accepted [APB details].
- 38a. [Toon mouse couple] MICKEY AND MINNIE.
- 49a. [All one’s strength] MIGHT AND MAIN. Use it, and all will be right as rain?
- 60a. [Gentle] MEEK AND MILD, which sounds like a description of “False Alarm Chili” I saw the other day.
I don’t know about you, but the last two themers seem less in-the-language than the first three.
The grid’s a bit Scrabbly, with a pair of Zs, an X, a Q, some Ks and Ws. No Js, Vs or Fs, though.
Mentions and Musings:
- A bit duplicatory with John UPDIKE and DIKES (6d & 52d).
- Some unusual and more obscure fill for a Monday. Wondering if this is an editorial trend in the LAT. The former German duchy of SAXE-Coburg, Tom EWELL of The Seven Year Itch, the vinicultural prefix OENO-, AZO dye.
- Some ugliness too: NASD [Old OTC watchdog]—uhm, National Association of Securities Dealers (whence NASDAQ), and over-the-counter stocks? That’s way rough for a Monday also. Also, AAA MAP, partial A TOE (yes, I did that on purpose), and vague plural TYS.
- Long downs: nice US CONGRESS with not-so-nice clue containing oblig. abbrev’d. hint [Amer. lawmaking group], BORE DOWN ON [Approached rapidly].
- 1a [Capt. Kirk’s Asian lieutenant] MR SULU. My, oh my.
Bob Klahn’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Parting Parting”- Sam Donaldson’s review
The four longest Across entries contain the letter sequence B-Y-E (the “parting”), but that sequence spans two different words (thus there’s a “parting” of the “parting”):
- 20-Across: To [Show the way] is to LEAD BY EXAMPLE.
- 33-Across: The [Market-town birthplace of a style of football] is RUGBY, ENGLAND and not, as I hoped, WILDCAT KANSAS, or WEST COAST, NEVADA.
- 41-Across: A BABY ELEPHANT is the [Animal taking a walk in Henry Mancini’s jazzy “Hitari!” tune]. I know it as the opening tune for a popular live kids’ show that aired in my hometown of Portland, Oregon, when I was a little lad.
- 56-Across: I didn’t know TAXICAB YELLOW was a real shade, but apparently it is, though I kinda like [Hack hue] better for a title.
I had all but the last six lines done in just under seven minutes, and I needed about that much time to get through the bottom swath. There were few gimmes for me south of BABY ELEPHANT. I didn’t want to guess at the [“Jabberwocky” rhyme scheme] until I had enough crossings in place, but it turned out to be the simple ABAB (just an AC short of ABACAB). RAGA, the [Music named for the Sanskrit for “color”], kept eluding me, and I was mildly surprised to see both ABORTIVE and LIBIDOS in the same grid. I wanted the [Colonial soldier?] to start with ANT, but that proved to be the ending of ARMY ANT. Crosswords have conditioned me into thinking AS IF is the only acceptable answer to [“In your dreams!”], so I was flummoxed by NOPE. It might have helped if ROSITA, the [“Seasame Street” Muppet with two tongues?], didn’t post-date my viewing window for the series by a good twenty-plus years.
Thank goodness for Edgar Allan POE and Paul ANKA, or I might still be working on the bottom section of this grid. On most occasions I think I would have tumbled to ABNER much more quickly as the [Yokel Yokum], but for some reason the only acceptable answers in my mind today were PAPPY and MAMMY. And there was a part of me that thought if the answer was ABNER, it would be tied to the LI’L at 23-Across. That’s how you simultaneously under-think and over-think the same clue.
[Turbot or burbot] might as well have read [Never mind, Sam, you’ll never get this]. Not exactly the most straightforward clue for FISH. And while we’re here, E-FAX, the [Digital dispatch], is at once current and dated. Those lasted for, what, twenty seconds? Can’t wait for the E-TELEGRAM.
Favorite entry = DONE DEAL, the [Fait accompli]. Favorite clue = [Short subject?] for ELF. This’ll seem weird, but I also liked [Sleeper ___] for CELL, mostly because I had SOFA and CARS in there for quite a while.
Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”
My favorite part of this puzzle is the intersecting portmanteau words. 1d: TOFURKY comes from tofu + turkey, and 17a: FAUXHEMIAN combines faux + bohemian. I could do without some of the material in their corner (OPALINE, ULF, STUFFER, SNELL, OLEO), mind you, but those two duet nicely.
ED HELMS, H.J. HEINZ, STAN GETZ, and WU-TANG CLAN sing in the other sections. “You” is in three colloquial answers, twice with colloquialized spellings: “YER OUT!” and “WILL YA?” There’s also “ACT YOUR AGE,” which echoes 12d: “I’M AN AGE.”
Grossest clue/answer combo: 47d. [Big and red, say], SWOLLEN.
Spelling update: H-TEST is clued as 52a: [Enewetak trial], and I thought to myself, “No, it’s Eniwetok,” because that’s the spelling crosswords have taught me, but apparently the U.S. government dropped the older spelling in 1974 and switched to Enewetak, a better reflection of the Marshallese pronunciation. Why have crosswords decades later hewed to the old spelling?
Question: Why on earth do the ORIOLES play that song? (8d. [Team that plays “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” during the seventh inning stretch].) Baltimore is, last I checked, a city.