Zhouqin Burnikel’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Quick take tonight.
- 55dR [Modern movement initialism … or a hint to the starts of 18-, 24+, 40-, 52- and 61-Across] LGBTQ.
- 18a. [“Super 8” actress, 2011] ELLE FANNING (Elle = L).
- 24a. [“Thanks, Captain Obvious!”] GEE, YA THINK? [gee = G).
- 40a. [Flower that attracts pollinating insects] BEE BALM (bee = B).
- 52a. [Whistlers in the kitchen] TEA KETTLES (tea = T).
- 61a. [Order to get a soundtrack ready] CUE THE MUSIC (cue = Q).
These are not all the ‘standard’ spellings of the letter names, but phonetically they’re AOK.
- What’s with the poker subtheme? 43a/66a [Money in the middle of a poker table] KITTY, ANTES (plural!), 50d [Groups of poker chips, typically] STACKS.
- Speaking of stacks, longest verticals are 11d [Dish in a bowl often served au gratin] ONION SOUP, 12d [Tinkler on a porch] WIND CHIME, tee-hee. 32d [Singer with the 1972 hit “Heart of Gold”] NEIL YOUNG—singer, songwriter, guitar hero— 33d [One-on-one talk] TÊTE-À-TÊTE.
- 54d [Less than 90°] ACUTE, 60a [Each one in a square is 90°] ANGLE.
- Not part of the theme: 39a [“Get the picture?”] SEE.
- Not typical Monday fare: 16a [Ancient land near Lydia] IONIA, 6d [Fútbol score] GOL, 53d [Locale of a film “nightmare”: Abbr.] ELM ST.
- More colloquialisms, like themer 24a: 1d [Not hold back] GO BIG (“… or go home”), sarcastic 8d [“That sounds good … NOT”] OH FUN.
I liked this crossword, but strangely… no ESKIMO.
Kevin Christian and Andrea Carla Michaels’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Hmmm…” — Jim’s review
Vowel progression theme which goes the extra step to include Y.
- 17a [Clobbered] HAMMERED
- 26a [“The Sun Also Rises” writer] HEMINGWAY
- 36a [Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” addressee] HIMSELF
- 38a [Won, for one] HOMONYM
- 48a [Figurative dish for the shamed] HUMBLE PIE
- 58a [Choir member’s need] HYMN BOOK
I don’t recall ever seeing a vowel progression that included the Y, so that’s a nice touch in an otherwise standard theme.
What’s notable here are the good-sized corners filled with 6s and 8s. I especially like ROOTLETS because it sounds like a kids cover band.
Not a big fan of AA CELLS because (1) it’s somewhat random and (2) who ever says that?
But otherwise everything else felt solid, and the clues felt fresh and interesting.
Steven L Zisser’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
A counting sequence.
- 17a. [Mega-mall convenience] ONE-STOP SHOPPING.
- 25a. [Small-time bad guy] TWO-BIT GANGSTER.
- 42a. [Office attire with a vest] THREE-PIECE SUIT.
- 56a. [Barbershop quartet blend] FOUR-PART HARMONY.
Two fifteens, two fourteens.
An added stipulation is that these opening numbers are all hyphenates. I appreciate that sort of rigor in a theme. Would have been even spiffier if all four clues also began with hyphenated constructions; as it is, just the first two do so, which toyed with my expectations.
Some fill doesn’t seem Monday-level, including 16a ELIA Kazan, 29d ELIHU Root/Yale, 48a [Part of many old German duchy names] SAXE, and 52a ATRA.
On the whole the fill is solid and the clues are competent, often engaging. This is a nice Monday crossword.
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website crossword – “Themeless Monday #413” — Jenni’s review
Very late, and thus short so at least it gets posted.
A lively puzzle that was a bit more difficult than the last few of these I’ve done. No complaints. Here’s what I liked:
- 5a [Dolphin’s smarts] has nothing to do with that very intelligent mammal. The answer is FOOTBALL IQ.
- 19a [Punish the bad behavior of] would be TEACH A LESSON. Not a fan of “punishment,” myself; I’m one of those annoying parents who talks about consequences instead.
- 37a [Bureaus] is a short clue for a long answer – CHEST OF DRAWERS.
- 44d [Middle name in poetry] is BYSSHE, an odd combo of letters that just looks wrong but is, of course, correct.
- 63a [Crossword answer that, while definitely a real thing, feels a bit contrived] is so meta. The answer is GREEN PAINT.
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: I had never heard of LAURA Prepon.