Rich Proulx’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
A calendrically appropriate spread.
- 51aR [Weekly occurrence when 20-, 31- and 38-Across might be consumed] MEATLESS MONDAY. 28a [Consume] EAT.
- 20a. [Meal option #1] MUSHROOM BURGER. Big ol’ portobello, probably.
- 31a. [Meal option #2] SPINACH LASAGNA.
- 38a. [Meal option #3] BLACK BEAN CHILI.
And yet, the WOK is used to prepare a chicken dish rather than, say, a nice vegetable stir-fry: 25a [Moo goo gai pan pan]. Also, 7d [Raw bar offering] CLAM. 40d [Directive in a pasta recipe] BOIL; that’s ok.
- 5a.35d [Torso muscles, briefly] PECS, ABS.
- 2d [Freeze over, as airplane wings] ICE UP, 19a [Keep occupied, as a phone line] TIE UP, 58a [Fit to be tied] IRATE.
- 41d [Like the peninsula seized by Russia in 2014] CRIMEAN. Like? What else could it be? Also, illegally seized, just to be clear.
- 42d [“Mankind’s greatest blessing,” per Mark Twain] HUMOR. Perhaps.
- 51d [Mother horse] MARE, 54d [Father horse] SIRE.
Tasty little amuse-bouche, no?
Gail Grabowski and Bruce Venzke’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
By gum, it’s one of them standard Monday-type themes. Sometimes it seems as if there’s one of these born every minute! Anyway …
- 65aR [Wander aimlessly … and a hint to a divided word in the answers to starred clues] BUM AROUND.
- 17a. [*Half a percussion pair] BONGO DRUM.
- 24a. [*Fill-in-the-blanks agreement, e.g.] BUSINESS FORM.
- 34a. [*Cake soaked in alcoholic syrup] BABA AU RHUM.
- 44a. [*Brand for bubble blowers] BAZOOKA GUM.
- 52a. [*Security device that may be silent] BURGLAR ALARM.
Fair enough, but as with many early-week offerings, it’s a bit humdrum, borderline ho-hum.
- 15a [NYC area above Houston Street] NOHO, which is, y’know, North of Houston.
- 28a [Post-WWII feminine flyer] WAF. Why not use the adjective female here?
- 63a [Golf analyst Nick] FALDO. Who? In my Monday crossword? Also not exactly Monday material, but at least they’re familiar low-level crosswordese staples: 22a [Mount of Greek myth] OSSA, 26a [“Brusha, brusha, brusha” toothpaste] IPANA.
- 30a [Full last name of a “Happy Days” cool dude] FONZARELLI. Ehhhhh, pretty good fill.
- 40d [Doorbell sound] DONG. Kind of thought this was supposed to be DING. Dang.
- 41a [Figure skating jumps] TOE LOOPS followed by 45d [Nine-time U.S, skating champ Michelle] KWAN.
- 46d [Extinct emu-like bird] MOA, 56d [New Zealand settler] MAORI.
Daniel Hamm’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Baby Talk”—Laura’s write-up
(Note: Jim P. is on vacation, so you’ve got me for the WSJ daily this week.) Theme: Each theme entry is an IDIOM [13a: Manner of speaking] where the first word is also a term for a baby animal. Wacky cluing ensues, like so:
- [17a: Baby goat at rest?]: KID NAPPING
[24A: Person squealing on a baby lion to the authorities?]: CUB REPORTER
[37A: Temporary dwelling for a baby seal?]: PUP TENT
[46A: Baby bird’s fridge adornment?]: CHICK MAGNET
[57A: Bodyguard for a baby elephant?]: CALF MUSCLE
This felt as Monday as a Monday puzz can get: simple theme, standard fill, no cultural references from a period later than the [31d: Orlando cagers]: MAGIC, founded in 1989. In fact, with [38d: Former Indiana governor Bayh]: EVAN (elected 1989), [58d: Director Spike]: LEE (whose first film, She’s Gotta Have It, was released in 1986 and has been remade as a TV series this year), and [27d: Pulitzer-winning critic Roger]: EBERT (Sneak Previews ran nationally on PBS 1979-1996), the whole thing skewed 80s. No criticism there — while I love a pop-culture-crammed, today’s-headlines-jammed grid as much as the next solver, sometimes [32a: “Wouldn’t that be great!”]: I WISH more daily puzzles were as [28d: Fashionably anachronistic]: RETRO as this one.
Fill: Your standard ATO, ERR, ALI, ASIS, ALOE, AGEE, DUE, not much to object to, not much to inspire AWE. You’ve got your biblical trio with NOAH, MICAH, and ISAAC, your classical reference with NIOBE. What I didn’t know before solving this puzzle: a [5a: Two-masted sailboat] is a YAWL, which is a good thing to know for someone who [10d: Becomes a sailor]: GOES TO SEA.