***No WSJ puzzle today due to the holiday. Enjoy your day! —Jim***
Kathy Wienberg’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Circled letters in phrases = anagram of word in felicitous phrase. In this instance, 49a [Sublime physical performance … or a hint to this puzzle’s circled letters] gives us POETRY IN MOTION.
- 20a. [2002 Tom Cruise film] MINORITY REPORT.
- 24a. [Related to fireworks] PYROTECHNIC.
- 44a. [They know how to have a good time] PARTY PEOPLE.
Just three (nonrevealer) entries, but I like the movement and distribution of the relevant six letters.
Interestingly, in this grid the longest non-theme answers are not among the downs, but stacked right alongside themers. 17a [Rebels] (plural noun or verb, plural noun or verb?) RENEGADES (noun!) and the lovely 58a MAELSTROM [Violent vortex].
- 14a [Tiny building block]. Of course I filled in LEGO at first, before ATOM.
- 16a [Farewell that’s “bid”] ADIEU. Strong collocation, there.
- KNOLL/KNELL. (42a, 31d)
- 43a [Put money into, as a meter] FED, 46d [Put together, as funds] POOLED. Past participle, both times. I suppose it’s just coincidence that the object is fiscal.
Uhm, that’s it. Fill’s pretty clean overall, there’s a coherent theme. It’s a Monday, and I still need to make dinner.
Kevin Christian’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Not quite a double theme here, but there is an extra, and timely, FLIP (3d) to it.
- 17a. [1994–2000 medical drama] CHICAGO HOPE.
- 24a. [One is made before blowing out candles] BIRTHDAY WISH.
- 48a. [Narrow-mindedness] TUNNEL VISION.
- 58a. [Historic 1963 civil rights speech words] I HAVE A DREAM.
Hope, wish, dream, vision. These are all loose synonyms. The added dimension is that the orator referenced in 58-across is the intersecting (and last answer in the grid) 62d [84-Across speaker, initially] MLK, whose BIRTHDAY is observed on this date.
For the record, HOPE appears 4 times in the text of the speech, the anaphoric DREAM an even 10, yet VISION and the prosaic WISH appear not at all.
It’s a minor shame that one of the theme phrases has an overtly negative connotation while the rest are implicitly inspiring or at worst, neutral.
Mostly respectable fill, but I could definitely do without the crosswordese ARN (60d) and the seldom-seen ISU (21a). Cluing is similarly competent, and overall this is a typical Monday offering.
Neville Fogarty’s BuzzFeed crossword, “Son of a…”—Andy’s review
Normally when I open a crossword grid and see two-letter entries, I’m skeptical. But knowing Neville as I do, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Of course, the final two-letter entry proved to be the revealer: 68a, MC [Letters preceding the second parts of this puzzle’s longest entries at the Golden Arches]. I might’ve gone with “on a certain fast food restaurant’s menu,” but either way it’s fairly clear we’re dealing with the McDonald’s menu:
- 17a, SNOW FLURRY [Phenomenon filled with a bunch of flakes]. I don’t love this clue, feels a bit forced. I do, however, love a good McFlurry.
- 22a, GOLD NUGGET [Prize in a pan for a prospector]. Did you know: Chicken McNuggets come in exactly four shapes?
- 32a, BROKEN RIB [Cage problem created during a cage match, maybe]. Is there a McRib near you?
- 41a, CYBER CAFÉ [Somewhat outdated place to sip java and use a Java applet]. If I’d solved this puzzle 2 hours ago, when I was near a McDonald’s, I honestly would probably have a McCafé beverage right now because I am the most susceptible to crossword-based suggestions. And because they are delicious.
- 50a, STUD MUFFIN [Total hottie]. I think Stud McMuffin was one of the doctors on Grey’s Anatomy.
- 59a, BODY DOUBLE [Stand-in on a set]. I only recently found out that the McDouble is a thing. McDouble your pleasure, I guess…
It’s been a long weekend of puzzle-solving at the MIT Mystery Hunt, so I’m gonna wrap this review up quickly. Solid idea, solid execution, the right kind of theme for BuzzFeed, but probably too difficult for a BuzzFeed Monday.
Until next time! (P.S. — Remember McGriddles? Are those still a thing?)
Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”
I did the puzzle this morning, but then moved on to editorial work instead of blogging. And now I’m headachy and sleepy, so …
Is DELINT an actual word? I could see myself using it regardless.
Likes: T-MOBILE, VAGUEBOOK (though I haven’t seen it without an -ing or -ed ending), “OH, GOSH,” ZAPPER, BLACKSTAR, “PLEASE, GO ON” (not “goon, please“), HAS DIBS ON, THE ONION, MARK SPITZ. Oh, and PERV and ADT (don’t try breaking into my place, man, I have an alarm system). The PERV clue is a less-specific (but no less applicable) [Scumbag].
Unlikes: SER, STERE, YSER, TEO, ST LO, TANA, STYE, LETT, KOSH. LINGER ON, SLIPPED ON, HAD DIBS ON, and PLEASE GO ON give us three ONs too many.
- 52d. [Nonsense word in a children’s clothing brand], KOSH. Not really. OshKosh B’Gosh was founded in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
- 23d. [Brand many piss all over], EPT. Yes, this is true. “Early pregnancy test,” basically.
- 25d. [One who takes things the wrong way?], THIEF. Clue doesn’t really even need the question mark, does it?
3.75 stars from me.
Jeff Chen’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Let’s Go Dutch”—Ade’s write-up
Hello there, everyone! My apologies for the delay in getting this up, as well as being tied up all weekend with reporter duty. Today’s crossword solution, brought to us by Mr. Jeff Chen, is a pretty slick one, with the first two letters of the theme entries starting with “BI” and the last two letters being “LL,” splitting the BILL (56D: [It gets split at 21-, 32-, 44- and 56-Across]).
- BIKINI ATOLL (21A: [Micronesian nuclear test site])
- BIKE BELL (32A: [Schwinn sounder])
- BIRD CALL (44A: [Producer of some trills])
- BIOFUEL CELL (56A: [Producer of food source-based energy])
Fun crossword, and it was surprising that I finished a puzzle of Jeff’s in the time that I did. This, even after putting in Tevye instead of YENTA to start, which cost me a few seconds, maybe a minute, up in the Northwest (2D: [“Fiddler on the Roof” role]). Can’t say that I’ve seen and/or heard REORGS too many times, but I guess it’s ok as fill (25A: [Corporate shake-ups, briefly]). Love the fill of GABFEST, and didn’t hesitate putting that down once I saw the G as the first letter (42D: [Meeting of chatterboxes]). Also appreciated the jazzed-up clue for MISTER ED, as well as the first part of the entry being spelled out in its entirety, instead of the abbreviation that’s usually featured (38D: [Sitcom Mae West, George Burns and Zsa Zsa Gabor guest starred on]).
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: TAKES A KNEE (3D: [Ends the football game by running out the clock]) – A quarterback who TAKES A KNEE immediately after receiving the snap from the center is now a common sight at the end of football games, as teams don’t want to run the risk of anything crazy happening when they have the lead with very little time on the clock. That practice became universally adopted after the game now known as the “Miracle at the Meadowlands,” when the Giants, while trying to run out the clock, fumbled the ball and lost the game when the Philadelphia Eagles’ Herman Edwards picked up the ball and scored.
Thank you for the time, and I’ll see you tomorrow!