Victor Fleming and Andrea Carla Michaels’ New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Nearly certain this sort of theme’s been done before, but that’s how it goes. Concise homophone pairs in the form present tense verb + plural noun. Beyond all the words being monosyllabic I can’t discern any consistency.
- 17a. [Asks Warsaw residents their opinions?] POLLS POLES.
- 11d. [Cures the backs of feet?] HEALS HEELS.
- 62a. [Peels some fruit?] PARES PEARS.
- 25d. [Finds buyers for smartphones?] SELLS CELLS.
- 39a. [Increases the number of commercials?] ADDS ADS.
It isn’t all Ls, nor is it double letters to single letters, they don’t all start with consonants or vowels, it isn’t a question of altering specific letters, and there isn’t anything holding them together as far as their ostensible subjects go. Looks as if my determination presented in the first paragraph stands.
What else have we got?
- 14a [Sergeant’s superior, slangily] LOOIE, 49a [Two steps above cpl.] SSGT. Huh, my intent was to put these two military ranks together because neither is the full form of the title, but I see that they comprise a significant duplication.
- 10d [Place to say “With this ring, I thee wed”] ALTAR, 69a [Church recesses] APSES. See? That was my intent for the previous item. I guess 67a KISS connects with the clue for 10-down.
- 20a [Modest swimming garment] ONE PIECE. Although it’s more expansive than a more revealing style. Modest vs generous, modest vs risqué.
- 30d [Plus quality] ASSET. I find the clue odd. Maybe it’s stilted to avoid conflict with 39-across? Still, I would have invoked value or advantageousness. “Plus quality” just sounds clipped and awkward.
- Favorite clue: 53d [Abbreviation on a pound sign?] ASPCA. An acarophobe flees fleas.
- 55d [Actor Morales] ESAI. So … we meet again, my old nemesis.
- 21d [Of the highest quality] FINEST.
Martin Leechman’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “What’s the Connection?” — Jim’s review
We get a brand new, never-before-seen byline this Monday morning. However, it anagrams to Melina Merchant which is a name we have seen before in the WSJ and which I suspect is another cruciverbonym of editor Mike Shenk. Both names can be anagrammed to Michael Remnant. I’m not sure of the “Remnant” part’s significance, but the “Michael” part seems pretty clear.
There isn’t much to this theme, but it’s kinda cute. 66a tells us that [The common connection shared by the answers to the asterisked clues] is TRUNKS.
- 17a [*Homes for some squirrels] OAK TREES. Part of said trees.
- 26a [*They’re really going places] TRAVELERS. Piece of luggage.
- 36a [*Whistle-blower at the beach] LIFEGUARD. Article of clothing.
- 50a [*Ones who work for peanuts?] ELEPHANTS. Animal appendage.
- 61a [*Their work is picking up] TAXI CABS. Car part.
I’m really impressed that we have five different uses of the same word. However, there are some nits that can be picked. 1) All trees have trunks, not just OAK TREES. The OAK is extraneous. 2) How many TRAVELERS pack their things in TRUNKS these days? 3) I guess we’re presuming the LIFEGUARD is male here. And why a LIFEGUARD? Why not just a SWIMMER? 4) That elephant-peanut thing? Myth. 5) CAR will suffice for the theme. TAXI CABS is unnecessarily specific. (See also 20a UBER.)
Favorite non-theme fill has gotta be 22d DADGUM. That is just funny any which way you slice it. I also like EGO TRIP and SEE THRU.
Harder stuff: For some reason I thought 18d TREADLE [Sewing machine activator] was TRESTLE. 51d PINON [Evergreen of the Southwest] is a rather un-Monday word. And 44d NBA GAME [Outing for the Bucks or the Bulls] has questionable in-the-language value.
Lastly, the puzzle’s title seems too generic and obvious, unless I’m missing some subtle level. Do TRUNKS connect things? Meh. Not really. Seems like a stretch. I’d rather see a title that hints more directly at TRUNKS.
Themeless Monday #380 by Brendan Emmett Quigley
This will be a short post. The puzzle is built around two 15s arranged vertically, although you could simply rotate everything and have them as acrosses. It’s an odd convention that the longest answers go across, isn’t it? Anyway GONZOJOURNALISM has Scrabble-cred, and LITERALLYHITLER is, literally, not something I have ever heard anyone say. Maybe Americans say it? Like Totally! Not too many other splashy answers among the supporting medium-length entries.
Things I didn’t know: SMOKEALARMs make a specific noise when they die… Is that brand independent? The name ALLBALL and what a HARDTEN is – though that was inferrable. I’ve also never heard of a TRAMMEL, and putting SLOP instead of GLOP made for SLUM not GLUM which caused moderate bemusement. I read the clue [Anther location] as [Another…], but only saw that now as STAMEN emerged with crosses.
Brock Wilson’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Would have been a nice touch if I could report solving this one in … hmm, what would be the appropriate time to reflect an LP’s rpm of 33⅓? Not 3:33, not 3:13, not 3:20, not 0:33… … 33:20?! Maybe with a nap. Know what? Let’s just scratch that idea.
- 16a. [Crustacean catcher] LOBSTER POT.
- 25a. [Weapon in Clue] LEAD PIPE.
- 42a. [Slip for a tardy student] LATE PASS.
- 55a. [decorator’s wall prettifier] LATEX PAINT.
- 10d. [Backyard bash] LAWN PARTY.
- 32d. [Keats or Byron, e.g.] LYRIC POET.
Six medium-length themers. The grid doesn’t really suffer from this much material though.
Tone of the clues seemed a bit strange, and this was due in no small part to the overly elaborate 1-across opening the proceedings: [Is blessed with, as talent] HAS. A few other notable examples, at least in my reading: 38a [Worse-than-one’s-bite quality] BARK, 34d [Pageant title with 51 contestants (the 50 states plus D.C.)] MISS USA, 4d [Title venue for Hemingway’s old man] THE SEA, 51d [Four-note- lights-out tune] TAPS, 34a [Scans for injured athletes, briefly] MRIS, 21a [Hiding spot for a cheater’s ace] SLEEVE. On their own they don’t seem peculiar, perhaps merely tweaked to be more gettable as befits a Monday crossword. So I re-conclude: my impression must be from the priming of the lofty clue for mundane fill of 1-across.
By the way, it was only in scanning the clues for examples just now that I encountered the revealer, 55d [Collector’s albums … and a hint to six puzzle answers] LPS.
- 31d [Study all night] CRAM, 22a [Put off bedtime] STAY UP.
- Significant literature content. In addition to Hemingway in 4d there’s 4a [Creator of Finn and Sawyer] TWAIN, 48d [“Mutiny on the Bounty” captain] BLIGH (the quotation marks indicate to me that it’s the novel (based on actual events) that is referenced), 29d [Salinger’s “With Love and Squalor” girl] ESME.
- 19a [Intent] PURPOSE. I had PURSUIT initially.
I’m, uh, done here.
Donna S. Levin’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post Crossword, “Hit the Sauce” —Ade’s write-up
Hello there, everyone! I hope you all had a good weekend and an even better start to your week this week. Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Ms. Donna S. Levin, is all about the sauce. In the grid, four theme entries start with words that, in a different context, can all immediately precede the word “sauce” to form a particular type of sauce.
- TARTAR CONTROL (20A: [Toothpaste type]) – Tartar sauce.
- DUCK AND COVER (27A: [Debunked procedure to avoid harm from nuclear fallout]) – Duck sauce. I used to love duck sauce, but now I barely use it when I eat Chinese food.
- HARD ROCK CAFE (46A: [Restaurant chain owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida]) – Hard sauce.
- COCKTAIL PARTY (55A: [Early evening soiree that might be wasted on a teetotaler]) – Cocktail sauce.
I can’t say that I was familiar with the term GEST (18A: [Heroic exploit]) before, and that made me do a double take even after I was 100 percent certain that it’s crossing, REGARD, was correct as well (6D: [Consideration]). The clue to SIS probably contained more words than it should, and it threw me off for a few seconds (33A: [Bro’s sib of the opposite sex]). Really was digging some of the longer fill in this puzzle, especially SOLAR YEAR (33D: [365 days + 5 hours + 48 minutes + 46 seconds]). Oh, and thanks to this puzzle, the line referenced in the clue to SCARFACE will be in my mind for the rest of the night (5D: [1983 movie in which Al Pacino utters the line, “Say hello to my little friend!”]). OK, I have to head out now; I’m covering a sporting event for a 15th day in a row and doing so in Washington DC. One of these days, I’ll get a good night’s sleep. It won’t be after tonight, though!
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: RED (38D: [Purple minus blue]) – There have been some famous sports figures who have gone by the nickname RED. The first one that comes to mind is Red Barber (real first name: Walter), the legendary baseball radio voice who worked for the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Yankees. Then there’s the late Red Kerr (real first name: Johnny), who was a three-time NBA All-Star while playing for the Syracuse Nationals/Philadelphia 76ers franchise and later became the longtime color commentator for Chicago Bulls games on WGN. Finally, there’s Red Cashion (real first name: Mason), probably the most well-known referee in NFL history because of the distinctive way he used to announce “first down” to the footballing audience. Or, should I say, “FIRST DOOWWWWNNN!”
See you all tomorrow and thank you for your time and patience!