WSJ – No puzzle due to holiday
David Woolf’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Oh, I can’t imagine this theme hasn’t been done before. It’s driven by the revealing phrase, 62a [Common first course … or what’s literally contained in 17-, 23-, 32-, 44- and 49-Across?] TOSSED SALAD. In case there was any confusion, the five-letter run in each relevant answer is circled.
- 17a. [Tropical drinks often served with tiny umbrellas] PIÑA COLADAS.
- 23a. [Spicy ballroom activity?] SALSA DANCING.
- 32a. [Finishing eighth out of eight, say] DEAD LAST. See also 22d [Groups of eight] OCTETS.
- 44a. [Application to highways before a winter storm] ROAD SALT.
- 49a. [“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” author] DOUGLAS ADAMS.
Five theme entries—all solid—not including the revealer, and five different letter permutations. Good stuff.
Weird resonances: while solving I had some momentary misfills, but those incorrect answers cropped up elsewhere in the grid. Example: 30a, first I took 18d [With 13-Down, move at a snail’s pace] to be CREEP, and 24d [Hangs around and does nothing] as IDLES; 25d [Just all right] SO-SO; so 30a was EDO, no problem! But that wasn’t what was clued; it was [Try to win, as a lover] … that’s WOO. CREEP to CRAWL and IDLES to LOAFS. But lookee there! 19a [ __ Period (time in Japanese history)], that’s EDO. Another was 8d [Stowed on board] – would it be LADED or possibly LADEN? Turned out to be the former, but then along came 35d [Target of a decade-long manhunt, informally] OSAMA.
- I see that the repetition in 58d and 59d is intended to be a stylistic choice (see 42a [Rococo and Postmodernism] STYLES), but it feels strained. [Erupt] for BLOW is fine, but [What a volcano erupts] sounds awkward (‘spews’ would be better) for LAVA.
- Not impressed with the cross-reference payoff of the aforementioned CRAWL | ALONG. (18d, 13d)
- Longdowns: KEEP IT REAL, LAZY SUNDAY (I didn’t have one of those). Nice.
And done. Blah theme, but well-executed. Good quality fill and clues.
Janice Luttrell’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Take off your kid gloves and let’s get down in it. Five-across isn’t precisely a revealer, but it’s certainly simpatico to the theme: [Untidy situation] MESS.
- 20a. [Chicago bluesman nicknamed for the creek he played in as a child] MUDDY WATERS. Down on Stovall’s plantation. Born McKinley Morganfield.
- 11d. [Greeting from an affectionate dog] SLOPPY KISS. See also 30d [Fails to enunciate] SLURS.
- 29d. [Fast one] DIRTY TRICK.
- 56a. [Ill-gotten gains] FILTHY LUCRE.
Pleased to report that I didn’t feel at all dirty solving this. As crosswords go, it was pretty much a squeaky clean Monday. Except perhaps for LEO V (64a), [Fifth of thirteen popes]. Oh, and ELOI / ALOU (14a/2d). Er, and 57d LLBS, and 10d UAW. And of course my personal cruciverbal 34d BÊTE noire, 40d ESAI. And …, and … Tell you what, let’s just call it moderately clean fill?
- 27a [Filled with cargo] LADEN. See mention of NYT’s 8-down, above.
- 24d [Tenth of ten in a race] LAST. See mention of NYT’s 32-down, above.
- 30a [Wise guy sometimes “wearing” pants?] SMARTY. Aleck. His name is Aleck.
- 22d [Not family-friendly, moviewise] R-RATED. Not necessarily ‘dirty’, incidentally.
- An finally, 3d [Washer capacity] LOAD.
Gail Grabowski’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Cargo Carriers” —Ade’s write-up
Good day from Philadelphia! Here’s hoping your holiday will be a relaxing one. Also, I hope it’s a time for reflection, as we honor and thank the men and women who have lost their lives while defending our country and serving in the United States military.
Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Ms. Gail Grabowski, involves theme answers in which the first few letters of the first word of the theme answers also make up a type of vehicle used for transporting cargo.
- TRAINED EYE (17A: [Discerning vision])
- VANTAGE POINT (27A: [Place that offers a good perspective])
- TRUCKEE RIVER (44A: [Body of water that originates at the outlet of Lake Tahoe])
- SCOWLY FACE (59A: [Emoji with an expression of displeasure])
Can’t stay too long since the game I’m covering (NCAA D-1 Men’s Lacrosse National Championship) is about to get underway in a few minutes. But, I can say that NEED ASAP sounded a little disjointed, even though I had a feeling that “ASAP” was going to be part of the answer when first reading the clue (38D: [Exec’s note on a rush order]). Actually going to be heading to MoMA later this summer when a friend comes to visit, and I’m pretty excited since it’s going to be the first time in way too long that I’ll be heading there – or any museum for that matter (10A: [NYC cultural center]). I love to comment on press box catering when I’m reporting on games, and although I’m not chowing down on a FAJITA right now, there is some real good barbecue (brisket, pulled pork, etc) here at the stadium (which is home to the Philadelphia Eagles) today (53A: [Tex-Mex serving]). Alright, time to head out, but not before this…
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: TREE (31D: [Golf course obstacle]) – One of the best defensive players in the NBA in the 1980s, Wayne “TREE” Rollins led the NBA in blocks during the 1982-83 season as a member of the Atlanta Hawks, and also was named an NBA All-Defensive First Team selection in 1984. As of the end of the 2015-16 NBA season, Tree ranks ninth in NBA history in blocked shots with 2,542 blocks.
Thank you for the time, and I’ll see you tomorrow!
Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”
CHANCE THE RAPPER and PENALTY SHOOTOUT are the best of the 15s here, and they’re not in that center triple stack. The triple stack includes ESSENTIAL ORGANS, which didn’t ring true to me—we hear about “vital organs” much more commonly. Elsewhere in the fill, GOP DEBATE and SLAM DANCE are cool.
The clues had an unedited vibe today, though. HO-HOS are cylindrical, not round (the round Hostess cakes are Ding Dongs). OXEN is plural, while [Working steer] is singular. Both the [Laundry task], SORT, and the [Activity in a pit], SLAM DANCE, felt incomplete to me without an -ING. An ASST is seldom a [Junior exec.] and more likely to be the junior exec’s direct report. And NEAP TIDES aren’t [Twice-monthly occurances], they’re occurrences. (Crossword Compiler doesn’t offer any sort of spell-checker in the clue field. It should!)
3.3 stars from me.