Edgar Fontaine’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Twistier-than-usual theme for so early in the week. Take a celebrity’s full name, add an apostrophized s to the given name—et voilà!—the noun that was the surname is now possessed by the first name. However, the twist is that each first name is also the last name of another celebrity, whose first name appears in the clue. So there are eight personages for the four themers.
- 20a. [Part of a bushel belonging to Dick?] GREGORY’S PECK. (Dick Gregory, Gregory Peck)
- 34a. [Car belonging to Rex?] HARRISON’S FORD. (Rex Harrison, Harrison Ford)
- 41a. [Lite beer belonging to Bea?] ARTHUR’S MILLER. (Bea Arthur, Arthur Miller)
- 55a. [Rock belonging to Ariel?] SHARON’S STONE. (Ariel Sharon, Sharon Stone)
Ambitious theme and for the most part well carried out. I will point out some inconsistencies, though, just because it’s in my nature. Pronunciation: one name undergoes a pronunciation change—Ariel Sharon’s surname has the emphasis on the second syllable while Sharon Stone’s first name is pronounced the conventional English way. Gender distribution: a mere two women to six men. Profession: six of the eight are performers, one is a playwright (also involved in the performing arts), and one is a politician (the cynical among us might say that that makes him a performing artist as well); of the six performers one is primarily a comedian (as well as a social activist, etc.) while the others are actors.
The ballast fill isn’t so appealing,, with its EBAN, INST, ELIA, III, LESSEES, and the like. The long downs, PARENTHETIC and AMOUR PROPRE (which is decidedly not Monday-level) help liven things up. Have never heard the term EYEPIT before [Facial socket].
As already noted, the theme is ambitious, but much of that ambition is “behind the scenes,” so the rest of the puzzle doesn’t deserve to suffer as much as it does. In the end, then, the puzzle was less than it could have been,
possibly on the shy side of average.
Erik Agard’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Good, solid puzzle to begin the week. Not an innovative theme, but unimpeachable and well executed. Phrases in the format D— and D—. Four of them, two at 15 letters and two at 11.
- 16a. [First two reindeer mentioned in Rudolph’s song] DASHER AND DANCER. You know them.
- 25a. [Use a mouse to move a file between folders, say] DRAG AND DROP.
- 43a. [List of behavioral recommendations] DOS AND DONTS.
- 55a. [2003 prequel subtitled “When Harry Met Lloyd”] DUMB AND DUMBERER.
All are well-enough known and the arguably weakest of the bunch—the paired reindeer—are buoyed in credibility by virtue of appearing that way verbatim in the jingle.
Elsewhere, there’s a surprising abundance of long non-theme answers, all downs: NO-HIT GAME (the clue is pitched trickily for a Monday as [Diamond gem]), ANAGRAMMED, FACTORED IN, BAD MOODS, MOTÖRHEAD, LOOSENED, SNARE DRUMS, RAGING BULL. Wow!
On the (minor) downside are the partials/fill-in-the-blanks I BE and ALAI, Roman nvmeral DVI, RAN AT, and rhyme scheme AABA.
14a [Nothing, in Nicaragua] NADA and the neighboring 17d [Nothing, in Nice] RIEN are artfully placed and clued. 22a [It has a trunk but no wheels stymied me momentarily because I couldn’t get past ELEPHANT, which was far too big: TREE. Guess I need to brush up on my kiddie riddles.
In general, the cluing is at the appropriate early-week level and the fill is very strong. Above-average crossword.
Randall J. Hartman’s CrosSynergy crossword, “MAP Quest” – Dave Sullivan’s review
Today’s puzzle is a “quest” to find three phrases of three words each, where those words begin with the initials M A P.
- [Acting with purpose] clued MAKING A POINT – hmmm, this clue seems a bit off to me, I think of this phrase more in the conversational realm that the realm of action. “Making a difference” seems to be something you do rather than say.
- [Apothecary’s tools] were MORTAR AND PESTLE – do pharmacists use these anymore? And do they sometimes refer to themselves as apothecaries? We actually have one of these in our kitchen to grind herbs, like basil or mint, but never use it. Kind of messy to clean up after and heavy as well!
- [All-American dessert] was MOM’S APPLE PIE – let’s forego these stereotypes, shall we? Dads are as perfectly capable of baking pies as Moms.
Three theme entries are a bit on the lighter side, but it did allow some stellar fill, such as B-SCHOOL, BROHUG and DODO BIRDS. I’m not a fan of partials such as O SOLE and AS IT and AHN Philip (or is it Philip AHN) of “Kung Fu” was a new name to me. Enjoy your Monday, folks!
Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday 243”
Brendan being Brendan, this 7-dense grid steps up the game in two ways: First, the 7s are stacked (occasionally with congenial 6s) four deep in the corners, not the more common three deep. Second, he includes fresher fill: IPAD AIR, MR BODDY, GIGOLOS, Mayor ROB FORD, Tolkien’s SARUMAN, SUNMAID raisins.
Did not know: 18a. [Small, barrel-shaped cheese], TRUCKLE. Dictionary adds, “esp. cheddar.”
- 34a. [Many modern-day pirates], SOMALIS. No RIAA piracy here. Although perhaps some Indian Ocean pirates have the technology to illegally download music and movies?
- 56a. [Rough patches for a freelancer], figurative FAMINES.
- 58a. [They’re full of stars, often], FLICKS.
- 59a. [Taken to the recycling bin?], DELETED. Windows “recycling.”
- 8d. [R.E.M.’s sound?], SNORE. Rapid eye movement sleep.
- 33d. [Drive ruiners, maybe], VIRUSES. Hard drives, not Sunday drives or golf drives.
- 35d. [Construction involving a crane, often], ORIGAMI. Nice!
53d. [Lancer’s item] is a BOIL? Breakfast test! *shudder* Don’t make me post a link to a video of a boil being drained.
Four stars. Surprisingly little junk for a 66-worder.