Vic Fleming and Lynn Lempel’s New York Times crossword
In honor of Valentine’s Day, the theme is love songs. Vic and Lynn have assembled a batch of four 18-letter song titles that end with YOU, and they’ve stashed YOU at 62-Down so the titles will fit a 15×15 grid. Now, I can’t say I know more than one of the four songs, but it’s a Monday grid and the crossings get the job done.
The fill is smooth and has some zip to it (particularly 20a: T-SHIRTS, 40d: LUNCHBOX), but there’s not much else to talk about in a Monday puzzle. Actually, I think it’s a Tuesday or Wednesday puzzle shifted to Monday to land on Valentine’s Day. Could be I tired myself out by walking outdoors in 50° air Sunday afternoon and need the weather to be colder in order to think most effectively…
Ian Livengood’s Los Angeles Times crossword
Did I mention that it’s Valentine’s Day? If you hang out on the right side of this puzzle with FERMI, ADELE Astaire, and Pope LEO V, you can be HEAD OVER HEELS in LOVE:
- 20a. PRICE ON ONE’S HEAD is [Bounty, to the hunted]. If “one” is hunted. If you are the one being hunted, you’re probably going with MY rather than ONE’S.
- 38a. To [Examine quickly] is to GIVE THE ONCE-OVER. That’s a great phrase there.
- 53a. To KICK UP ONE’S HEELS is to [Frolic vigorously]. Two ONE’S’s in one theme.
- 69a. LOVE gets the utterly romantic clue, [With “in,” what can follow the phrase formed by the ends of 20-, 38- and 53-Across].
Words I like:
- 14a. AJAX, the heroic [Sink cleaner] of Greek mythology.
- 9d. [Total flop] clues FIASCO. I’m waiting for rapper Lupe Fiasco to be joined by others with adopted surnames of Flop, Dud, Failure, and Snafu.
- 27d. The late [“Werewolves of London” singer Warren __] ZEVON was great. If you don’t know him, you might be thinking 25a is the less ambitious [From A__] TO B instead of TO Z and you might be Googling “Warren Bevon.”
- 31d. A MAVEN is an [Expert].
Fill I’m not wild about:
- ILIAC, KOLA, TO Z, AN OX, ISTS, POLA Negri, NET WT., ELIHU, MALA, ILER, ELMO…there are a lot of people’s names here, aren’t there? FERMI STADLER STU POLA ELIHU ZEVON LLOYD ADELE REX EVA KANT ILER NORA ELMO and LEO V makes 15.
Martin Ashwood-Smith’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, “Test Cases”—Evad’s review
I know that constructor Martin Ashwood-Smith has a penchant for 15-letter entries; here he pulls four “cases” together that have the letters TEST hidden between them:
- The dreary [Expense forecasts] is the even drearier BUDGET ESTIMATES. The less said about these the better.
- [One seeking a second degree] is a GRADUATE STUDENT. I began three master programs, an M.A. in Education, an M.S. in Math and an M.Div. in Theology, but didn’t finish any of them. Too bad there’s not a degree in Procrastination!
- How often do we see what makes up the crossword-friendly SSR spelled out? [Latvia and Estonia, once] were SATELLITE STATES. Still looking for an interesting phrase here….
- …and I won’t find it in the last entry, LEGITIMATE STAGE, or [Serious theater]. Is there illegitimate stage? This is a term I’m not familiar with.
Though the phrases didn’t show a lot of star power, I did like how the TEST entries stair-stepped down the grid from top to bottom, moving one square to the right each time. I had ALMOST at first for [Very nearly]; ALL BUT sounds like an order at a pork BBQ shack. And then I confused the OXEYE with the ASTER for [Daisy variety]; I had chosen LATINA over LATINO for [Hispanic] which set me down the primrose, I mean, aster path. Finally, I enjoyed the reference to what certainly was the gay anthem of the late 70s and early 80s, IT’S Raining Men.
Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”
What the…? Three insane crossings took me from appreciating the cool fill (ANGRY BIRDS! DEAD CAT BOUNCE! That’s OLD NEWS!) and into the realm of being irritated at the puzzle. I’m not holding my missteps against the puzzle—where I had CASE for ABET and DUE for SHY and kept myself from figuring out that corner for a good long while—but I am holding those three crossings against it. Have never, ever heard of FLAVOR TEXT, and the typos in the clue weren’t helping any ([Colorful introductory to a puzzle], with two spaces before “puzzle” and “introductory” missing a noun). So [Juice type] for a V-EIGHT engine was super slow to emerge (who talks about car horsepower as “juice”?). And with a husband named RENE, I’m usually pretty attuned to the famous RENEs who might show up in a crossword, but this erstwhile White House chef? Never heard of him. You should’ve seen me: “FLAGON TEXT? GEIGHT’s not a word. FLA*OG something? GENE Verdon?”
The other deadly crossing was where a prefix could be ENTO or ENDO. Had zero idea whether a video game character would be ADA (yes) or ATA (no). Yes, ADA is a more common name, but why go to the pool of video game characters unless you need to clue an obscure name? That was my thinking for trying the T first.
No idea what HOME PORTS are, either. And ACTION LINE is nothing I’ve ever run across (so poor LORELEI LEE is sandwiched between two long answers that merely served to irk me). Not sure AVID READER rises to the level of “lexical chunk.” Don’t like singular PAJAMA here.
Interesting clues for OWL, PHD, MANAGEMENT, and SALAMI. Not wild about PRO TEAM as an answer, really, but the Buffalo [Bills, e.g.] make for a great misdirection clue.