Tom McCoy’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
We get a 16×15 grid to start our week.
- 39aR [Police operation … or, when read another way, what a grammarian would like to do to 18-, 24-, 52- and 65-Across?] STAKE OUT … or, ‘S take-out’. An irony here is that a grammarian who feels obliged to meddle with the colloquial phrases would be horrified by the syntax of the alternatively-parsed revealer.
- 18a. [“The one thing that’s clear to me …”] ALL’S I KNOW.
- 24a. [Distant] A LONG WAYS OFF.
- 45a. [“Narrative connector] AND THEN I SAYS.
- 65a. [“What do you think of …?”] HOW’S ABOUT.
A little distracting with the other colloquialisms peppering the grid, especially since many also include quoted dialogue: most notably 45d [“Most likely …”] ODDS ARE, but also 11d [“You can’t joke about that yet”] TOO SOON, 63d [“What __, chopped liver?”] AM I, and even 22a [“Smoking or __?”] NON, 32a [“__ day now”] ANY, and 54d [“Fingers crossed!”] I HOPE.
51a [What Google’s Ngram program tracks, for word usage] TRENDS. Oh yes. We employ it here and in the comments, often.
Pairings! 1a [Set of pictures at a dentist’s] X-RAYS, 34d [Often-unheeded advice from dentists] FLOSS. 44a [Japanese soup] MISO, 50a [Vietnamese soup] PHỞ. 56a [Peach pit or walnut] SEED, 58a [Peach or walnut] TREE. 8d [Blow away] WOW, 41d [Expressed amazement] AAHED. 23a [Dance in which one partner might hold a rose between his teeth] TANGO (just as often the female partner holds one between her teeth—passing it back and forth is part of the dance—or perhaps the implication is that it’s two guys dancing …?), 29d [Thorny parts of roses] STEMS.
17a [Perfect world] UTOPIA, which as we all know translates literally to “no place”.
Morton J. Mendelson’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Two-part revealer across the center: 39a [With 42-Across, cars like BMWs and Audis … or 18-, 24-, 53- and 63-Across] FOREIGN | IMPORTS. Don’t know why two German manufacturers are used. Perhaps for consistency or misdirection.
- 18a. [Writer’s chief work (Latin)] MAGNUM OPUS. Literally, ‘great work’.
- 24a. [Done deal (French)] FAIT ACCOMPLI. Literally, ‘accomplished fact’. Also the name of a Brussels-based periodical (Les Lèvres Nues – Le Fait Accompli, 1968–1975) which often featured 15a [Artist Magritte] RENÉ.
- 53a. [English, in many non-English speaking countries (Italian)] LINGUA FRANCA. Literally, “Frankish language”. From the discussion at m-w.com: “In the Middle Ages, the Arabs of the eastern Mediterranean referred to all Europeans as Franks (the name of the tribe that once occupied the land we call France). Since there was plenty of Arab-European trade, the traders in the Mediterranean ports eventually developed a trading language combining Italian, Arabic, and other languages, which almost everyone could more or less understand, and it became known as the ‘Frankish language’, or lingua franca. Some languages actually succeed in becoming lingua francas without changing much. So, when the Roman empire became vast and mighty, Latin became the important lingua franca.”
- 63a [Young sensation (German)] WUNDERKIND. Literally, ‘wonder-child’.
Linguistically speaking these are all examples of loanwords, but English doesn’t have to give them back ad the originating languages still retain them. Maybe see also 58d [Tit for tat, e.g.] SWAP, okay?
- 50a [Lover of Euridice, in a Gluck opera] ORFEO. Although the Dance of the Furies is more stirring, let’s keep it nice and calm this Monday morning with the Dance of the Blessed Spirits:
- 68a [Cortés subject] AZTEC. Do we really need a tacitly pro-imperialism clue?
- 9d [Dreaming phase] REM SLEEP. My superannuated cat experiences REM SLEEP without atonia; this may be due to pontine lesions.
- 14a [Drilled bowling ball feature] HOLE. What a strange choice of clue.
- 45a [Siamese, now] THAI. Unrelated to 21d [Mai __ ] TAI, which derives from the Tahitian maitaʻi “good”.
- 7d [Thoroughly absorb] ENGROSS. 28a [Farm country skyline highlights] SILOS.
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website crossword – “Themeless Monday #20” — Jenni’s review
Back from Stamford. Back to Monday. Back to a BEQ themeless. This one had some twists and turns. ETA that this is a repeat. Note to self: read Brendan’s blog before writing about the puzzle. Original content back on Thursday.
- Right there at 1A is a word I had never heard before. [Now having the opportunity to bike across the country, say] and the answer is one letter longer than UNEMPLOYED. Huh? I filled in the rest of the puzzle and went back to that section, where I had _UNEMPLOYED crossing 1d [Stretch out?], which was _IB. Finally realized that FIB is stretching (out) the truth, which gives us FUNEMPLOYED. Urban Dictionary says it’s a word. Board Game Geek tells me it’s a game. I am, again, tragically unhip.
- 17a [“Swan Lake” lover, e.g.] is a reward for all the dance-class chauffering and leotard-purchasing I have done over the last 13 years. It’s BALLETOMANE.
- 12d suggests that 1a may not be fun and games for everyone. [Economist’s concern] is JOBLESS RATE.
- 13d [“The Daisy-Head Mayzie” narrator, with “The”] is CAT IN THE HAT. I’ve never heard of Mayzie or her Daisy, and I feel vindicated, since it was published after Dr. Suess’s death and was adapted from an animated TV show. Mayzie should not have a place with Horton and The Lorax, clearly.
- 48a is [Tabloid fodder of tomorrow, say]. Do we even have STARLETs any more?
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: That NEBraska’s motto is “Equality Before the Law.” Plus the stuff listed above.
David C. Duncan Dekker’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Descending Order” — Jim’s review
Sorry for the late posting today. I was back late last night from the ACPT and up early for the usual Monday routine. But enough excuses. On to the puzzle.
What a nice Monday treat to return to! We have a simple theme revealed by 34d [Scales back, or a hint to the starts of the starred answers] which turns out to be DOWN SIZES. And sure enough, each of our vertical theme answers starts with a size…in “Descending Order” (if you were to read right-to-left).
- 9d [*Easy-to-make-out text] LARGE PRINT
- 29d [*Steakhouse order] MEDIUM RARE
- 3d [*Chitchat] SMALL TALK
Each of the theme answers were evident in Stamford this weekend. People just meeting each other made SMALL TALK, solvers could get copies of the puzzles in LARGE PRINT, and uh…the burger I ordered from the hotel bar was MEDIUM RARE, despite my request for medium.
Easy, breezy theme with a nice revealer. But it’s the fill that really shines here: FEAR FACTOR, MOSH PIT, MAESTRO, LINE ONE, and “YOU’RE IT!” are the highlights with APOLOGIZED, FUTILE, GALOOT crossing GEEK, and “ENOUGH!” clued as [“Stop already!”] adding to the fun.
And I just noticed that it’s pangrammatic. Not that I care about such things, but the Scrabbly letters are handled well: QATAR crossing BBQS, RELAX with FOXY, DOWNSIZES with APOLOGIZED, and the best crossing for my money at EMOJI and JIVE.