Joel Fagliano’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
The circled letters in four of the rows indicate where holidays—stand-ins for mere days, as per the revealer—”leap” across a single black-square gap separating the two words that comprise each row. MOTHERS Day, LABOR Day, VETERANS Day, BOXING Day.
And the revealer’s in the center, at 39a [2/29/16, e.g. … or a hint to the circled squares in the puzzle] LEAP DAY.
A bit more sophisticated than a typical Monday, but still very accessible.
- 16a [Male sheep] RAM, 61d [Female sheep] EWE. 65a [Become less full, as the moon] WANE, 51d [Becomes fuller, as the moon] WAXES. 58d [“Iliad,” e.g.] SAGA, 59d [“Iliad” locale] TROY.
- Lousy fill, with even worse cluing: 18a [The past, from a feminist standpoint] HERSTORY.
- Long downs: 11d [Where the 9/11 Memorial is] GROUND ZERO, 30d [Johnny Rotten’s punk band, with “the”] SEX PISTOLS.
- 62a [Out of neutral] IN GEAR. See also 12d [The “P” of PRNDL] PARK.
- 6d [Ping-Pong table divider] NET. Am I mistaken in being surprised that a Will Shortz-edited puzzle opts for Ping Pong over table tennis?
- 43d [Aquafina rival] EVIAN, crossing 46a [Gullibility] NAÏVETÉ, which emphasizes the well-known EVIAN ↔ NAÏVE reversal.
- 31d [Scary experience for an LSD user] BAD TRIP feels more of a lexical chunk than the similar 66a [Quality of a diva] BIG EGO.
- 69a [Call for help] MAYDAY. Big dupe of DAY. Also, is 7a [“Ah, gotcha”] I SEE too close to 44a [“Well, I __ hand it to you …”] GOTTA?
For the record, the relevant contributing entries are BON MOT/HERSTORY, LA SCALA/BOREDOM, NAIVETE/RANSOMS, PHONE BOX/IN GEAR.
Enjoyed the theme, but ironically it feels a bit of a leap to get from DAY to the descriptive-parts-only of the theme [holi]days. That’s why the revealer uses the expansive “a hint to” construction.
Charlie Oldham’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “In Bounds” — Jim’s review
Happy LEAP Day everyone!
Our puzzle today comes from Charlie Oldham which may or may not be a pseudonym for editor Mike Shenk. If it is, it either anagrams to “Ah Lord, Michael!” or “Michael Harold”. Anyone willing to bet what Mike’s middle name is?
Being a Monday, our LEAP day puzzle has a simple theme. LEAP is hidden inside certain two-word phrases.
- 18A [Fuji or Red Delicious, for example] TABLE APPLE
- 25A [Suburb east of Orlando] AZALEA PARK
- 47A [Aid for an itchy pooch] FLEA POWDER
- 59A [Alternative to Microsoft Office] GOOGLE APPS
The revealer is at 68A: [Bound found in the four longest Across answers].
I love FLEA POWDER and GOOGLE APPS. I don’t love TABLE APPLE or AZALEA PARK.
The term TABLE APPLE is used (I guess) to differentiate raw-eaten apples from cooking apples or cider-making apples. But I have never ever heard anyone use that phrase. I think most people just call TABLE APPLEs “apples”. The phrase in quotes gets about 78k hits in GOOGLE, which isn’t much. In fact, the top images for “TABLE APPLE” are, understandably, tables filled with Apple devices.
And AZALEA PARK is a suburb of about 12,500 people. It doesn’t exactly spring to mind when one thinks about cities in Florida.
The rest of the puzzle is fine. I love RAT-A-TATS (but wish it was singular) and WEASEL. As for the rest, it’s all perfectly well-made, but there just isn’t too much excitement (PASTEL, SUPPOSES, ANALOG, O’NEILL, ORIOLE, SONATAS, ANTI-WAR).
C.C. Burnikel’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Predictable, more or less.
- R37a. [February 29th … and, based on the ends of 16-, 24-, 49- and 60-Across, this puzzle’s title] LEAP DAY.
- 16a. [Mideast protest movement that began in 2010] ARAB SPRING.
- 24a. [Cash cache] BANK VAULT.
- 49a. [Morally obliged] DUTY BOUND.
- 60a. [TV actor who played the Maytag repairman] GORDON JUMP. Not to be confused with Gordon Clapp, who was on (25d) “NYPD Blue”.
Spring, vault, bound, jump—all synonyms of leap. And it’s today, today!
Some flair in long stacked verticals, gastronomic CARBONARA and CLAM ROLL (poor cousin, seemingly, to the more celebrated lobster roll), the rather colloquial I’M NOT SURE and GOOD TIMES.
- Unpretty to start things with [Frequent-flier no., e.g.] ACCT at 1-across.
- Will solvers balk at ISOPOD on a Monday? Seems fine to me. 48a [14-legged crustacean]
And let’s call it there.
Randall J. Hartman’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Coat of Many Colors”—Ade’s write-up
How’s everyone’s Leap Day going? One extra day in the calendar means one (or more) extra crossword puzzles to solve for 2016. Today’s crossword, brought to us by Mr. Randall J. Hartman, deals with different types of jackets – real jackets and other “jackets” – all with a different color designation.
- COLUMBUS PRO (17A: [Blue Jacket]) – As in the Columbus Blue Jackets professional hockey team.
- MASTERS PRIZE (28A: [Green jacket) – More about the green jacket in the “sports…smarter” section.
- STINGING WASP (49A: [Yellow jacket])
- SENECA CHIEF (63A: [Red Jacket]) – Native American name: Sagoyewatha.
I typed the “sports…smarter” information first, and now just realized I missed a huge – and probably only – opportunity to turn BIG TICKET and give it a sports tinge, with that term also being the nickname for future basketball Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett (33D: [Very expensive]). Oh, well. I’ll just wait for the next time “big ticket” appears in a grid, since it’s sooo prevalent in crossword puzzles nowadays! Well, I never thought I would see EL CAPITAN in a grid after seeing it in a BEQ grid not too long ago, but here it is once again (11D: [Yosemite Valley rock climbing challenge]). Can’t tell you the last time I was out in the city until FOUR AM unless it involved working overtime at ESPN The Magazine or coming home from a long day of on-air reporting (4D: [Closing hour for many NYC bars]). It’s possible that the last time that happened was one of the last years that the ACPT was in Brooklyn! Aww, now I’m getting nostalgic about the tournament’s good times while it was in Brooklyn.
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: SNEADS (53A: [Golfers Sam and J.C.]) –Yesterday, we talked about the possible first family of baseball, and now, we hit on possibly the first family of golf, the SNEADS. Sam Snead holds the record for most PGA Tour wins with 82, and included in that haul is three green jackets (1949, 1952, 1954),three PGA Championships (1942, 1949, 1951) and a British Open title (1946). Sam’s nephew, J.C. won eight PGA Tour titles and finished in the Top 5 of three majors, including finishing second in Augusta (The Masters) in 1973 and a tie for second at the 1978 U.S. Open.
Thank you very much for the time, and I’ll see you all tomorrow.