Alan DeLoriea’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
- 17a. [Atlantic site of strange disappearances] BERMUDA TRIANGLE.
- 26a. [“As is” transaction] FINAL SALE.
- 48a. [Excellent service] TENNIS ACE.
- 60a. [Punny description for 17-, 26- or 48-Across] POINT OF NO RETURN.
Aha. Ha, ha, ha.
No, it’s okay. It’s a fine little Monday crossword.
Not thrilled by abbrev. ATTY opening the proceedings at 1-across.
All right. I’ve cycled through the clues and answers twice, not inspired to say anything else about this crossword. Nothing particularly praiseworthy here, and nothing egregiously awful. No little factettes or tangents to embark on. It’s vehemently average.
*Perhaps it’s also my current disposition, at least in part.
C.C. Burnikel’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
- 54aR [Turning point in tennis, and a hint to this puzzle’s circled letters] SERVICE BREAK. And those three entries indeed feature phrases framed by the letters MASS—a church service—broken the three possible ways. In sequence, to boot (3rd position, 2nd, 1st).
- 20a. [Postgraduate degree] MASTER OF ARTS.
- 36a. [Mob kingpin] MAFIA BOSS.
- 41a. [Vase material named for its white color] MILK GLASS.
Disconcerting that there are two additional across entries that are longer than a couple of the theme answers, plus the pair of vertical elevens. 18a [Vermeer or Van Gogh] OIL PAINTER, 59a [Casino big spender] HIGH ROLLER, 3d [Course including romaine and croutons] CAESAR SALAD, 24d [“Enough!”] STOP ALREADY.
With all those big pieces, it’s surprising how free the grid is of unappetizing fill. Sure, there are a few stress points (e.g., RV LOT, ALEROS, PISANS, SO CAL) but they don’t distract meaningfully from the overall solve.
Again, it must be my prevailing mood, but I can’t find many ‘wow’ clues or fill to highlight. It’s a good puzzle even though the referent of the theme doesn’t speak to me, except in a musical context.
39a [ __ vincit amor] OMNIA.
(featuring idiosyncratic Japanese vocalist DOKAKA)
Daniel Hamm’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Bookmaking” — Jim’s review
We’re given two-word phrases in which the second word is a part of a book.
- 17a [Book publisher’s garment for boating safety?] LIFE JACKET
- 26a [Book publisher’s Capitol helpers?] SENATE PAGES.
- 42a [Book publisher’s low-growing plants?] GROUND COVER
- 53a [Book publisher’s market indicator?] STOCK INDEX
The clues have no surface sense and are disappointing (a book publisher with their own Senate page is too far-fetched, e.g.). I found the bits about book publishers to be tenuous and confusing. Once I eliminated them from my reading, the clues made more sense.
The other problem is that three of the entries are physical parts of books and one isn’t (the INDEX). Not all books have indices.
The fill is mostly sparkly with REMAIN CALM, LAID OUT (with a publication-themed clue, not a sun-tanning clue), and NATIVE-BORN being the highlights. I like BY JOVE because it has staying power; in contrast, OH ROB seems tired and pertinent only to those who’ve ever seen The Dick Van Dyke Show. DREXEL and CEREBRA are also nice.
So, the theme’s a little off, but the fill is mostly nice.
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website crossword – “Themeless Monday #407” — Jenni’s Review
Sorry this is so late in the day. I spent the morning preparing for Snowmaggedon. Extra bourbon? Check. Extra baking supplies? Check. After all, tomorrow is Pi Day.
It’s not tomorrow yet, thought. It’s today, which is Monday, and BEQ has given us a fun themeless. And I do mean “given.” His puzzles are free through his website and also available for no extra charge via the “Crosswords” app from Standalone. Thanks, Brendan.
Onward! Things I liked:
- 15a [Hamilton can be found on it] has nothing to do with the now-ubiquitous Founding Father. It’s the city of Hamilton, which is located on LAKE ONTARIO.
- 17a [“Puh-lease”] is I MEAN, COME ON. In my head, this is followed (or preceded) by “Moooom,” but then I have a teenager.
- 20a [Sammy no-no for nut-free schools] is PBJ. Is Rachael Ray responsible for “sammy?” HuffPo says she is. They also say she spells it “sammie,” but that wouldn’t allow for as much misdirection.
- 36a [Opened cell?] is an UNLOCKED PHONE. I tried to use JAILBREAK/BROKE in here. Nope.
- 38a [Time to talk strategies] is a SKULL SESSION. I have this image of a bunch of bald people planning…something…
Things I didn’t like:
- 9d [Jewish holiday eve]. Transliterating Hebrew into English leaves space for a lot of variation. In addition to the complexity of transliterating phonemes that don’t really exist in English, there are different pronunciations, most notably Ashkenazic (eastern European) and Sephardic (Mediterranean, and current Israeli Hebrew.) All that said, I have never seen this word transliterated as EREB, and have never seen it written in Hebrew with a concluding bet rather than vet. I’m sure it exists somewhere, and someone will tell me where, but I’ve never heard or seen it. This is one of those cases where actually knowing the answer was a disadvantage.
- 1a [Bullies]. BROWBEATS is a great word. BROWBEATERS is kind of a roll-your-own.
- 39a [___ the elbows (impoverished)] is a phrase I’ve never heard before. Is OUT AT the elbows a Britishism?
- Isn’t PENTAMETER the meter of [Lines of some sonnets] and not the lines themselves? I also don’t much care for the plural.
So it’s not my favorite BEQ themeless, but BEQ puzzles are like pizza. Even when they’re not the best, I still like them.
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that raccoons PURR.