LAT 3:10 (Jeffrey – paper)
NYT 3:03 (Jeffrey – paper)
Jonesin' untimed (Jeffrey)
CS 5:09 (Sam)
Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas! This is Jeffrey, the Crossword-blogging Elf, here for your holiday enjoyment. Let’s see if we can find Santa.
Ellen Leuschner and Victor Fleming’s New York Times crossword – Jeffrey’s review
- 20A. [1966 Johnny Rivers hit] – SECRET AGENT MAN
- 25A. [Create skid marks, perhaps] – SLAM ON THE BRAKES
- 43A. [One with lots of experience] – SEASONED VETERAN
- 48A. [Certain holiday mail … or what 20-, 25- and 43-Across have in common] – LETTERS TO SANTA
Three solid phrases and a revealer. Light and easy for the holiday.
Fun fact: If you use the postal code H0H 0H0 in Canada, the letters get to Santa in Montreal.
- 16A. [“___ the other reindeer” (common mishearing of a Yuletide lyric)] – OLIVE. I’ve got issues with those reindeer and their reindeer games.
- 41A. [“Stop right there!”] – FREEZE
Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ crossword, “Spellbound” – Jeffrey’s review
Theme: Say the letters out loud and they make a wacky phrase.
- 16A. [Written test involving a sly prison breakout?] – KGSKPSA – Cagey escape essay
- 20A. [“C’mon, those sunglasses don’t fool me!”] – EZPZICABDI – Easy-peazy, I see a beady eye
- 39A. [Statement from a codependent tent dweller?] – OKFURNATPIMNATP – Okay; if you are in a teepee, I am in a teepee
- 55A. [How quickly pachyderms get seen at the hospital?] – LFNTRXPDNC – Elephants are expediency
- 63A. [Help save people, like a trained dog?] – BRSQNML – Be our rescue animal
Um, not sure what to make of these. Please let me know if there is some deeper meaning here. I don’t see how all the suboptimal fill is worth these phrases.
- 65A. [Singer Carly ___ Jepsen] – RAE
- 13D. [“Upstairs at Eric’s” band] – YAZ
- 27D. [Suzanne Vega song with the lyric “I live on the second floor”] – LUKA
John Lampkin’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Jeffrey’s review
Theme: Where’s Santa?
- (17a, 26a, 48a) [Unexpected Christmas morning observation] – SOMETHING HUGE IS CLOGGING UP OUR CHIMNEY
- (61a.) [Goodies unclaimed as a result of this puzzle’s predicament] – COOKIES FOR SANTA
Hey, who needs to figure out what to write about a puzzle when the constructor provides helpful information. Tell us about this puzzle John:
The puzzle is a reincarnation of a song I composed and recorded in 1996. Mara & Sue, a popular local kid-oriented duo performed the vocals and I myself performed all the instrumental tracks—keyboards, bass, drums and percussion. I recently remastered it. Watch it here:
Something Is Clogging Up My Chimney
Totally could have had Canadian clues department:
- 46A. [ExxonMobil trade name] – ESSO
- 2D. [Matty or Felipe of baseball] – ALOU
- 4D. [Underwater weapon] – SPEAR GUN
- 62D. [Ocean] – SEA
- 63D. [Ocean traveler] – SUB
- 68A. [Paul’s partner in song] – ART
Patrick Blindauer’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “P’s on Earth”- Sam Donaldson’s review
It’s official: I was on Santa’s “nice” list! How else to explain receiving a Patrick Blindauer puzzle to solve on Christmas Day? Patrick’s gift to us today is
peace, er, Ps. Lots of them: 29, by my count. According to xwordinfo.com, the record for most Ps in a 15×15 NYT puzzle is a “mere” 19 (the record is shared by Paula Gamache and a puzzle co-constructed by BEQ and Ian Livengood). I don’t know about other puzzle outlets, but I wouldn’t be surprised if today’s puzzle sets the all-time record. More importantly, though, it was a fun solve throughout.
Normally I list all of the theme entries and discuss them in my review. But by my way of thinking, anything with a P in it would be a theme entry. And if I took the time to list them all out here, you’d quit reading much sooner. So I’ll just focus on the three long entries that traverse the grid:
- 17-Across: The [Equipment used in a tabletop game] refers to PING-PONG PADDLES, featuring three Ps.
- 38- and 41-Across: Something that’s [edenic] is PICTURE / PERFECT. It’s nice when a 14-letter entry can break in half since that allows for placement in the middle row.
- 63-Across: Two things about PEPPERMINT PATTY: (1) she’s got four Ps in her name, and (2) [Marcie calls her “sir”]. Ever wanted to know what happened to Peppermint Patty? Find out here.
I didn’t know Joseph PAPP ([…who started Shakespeare in the Park]), but given today’s theme it was pretty easy to figure him out. My only real error in solving was having CROCK POT as the [Specialty cookware item] instead of CREPE PAN. Silly me–I should have known there’d be another P in the correct answer. Oh, and I really wanted PAPAYA as the [Fruit also known as “prairie bananas”]. Yeah yeah, I know papayas aren’t exactly from the prairies, but when faced with PAPA- already in the grid, you can see why I was seduced into it.
Favorite entry = ALLSPICE, the aromatic [Pumpkin pie component]. Favorite clue = [Play thing?] for PROP. Indeed, many props to Patrick for this puzzle!
Merry Christmas to Vic, Ellen, and all of you here. Healthy and happy year to come and PEACE, please, everywhere.
Thank you, Zulema. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you as well! No comments on the puzzle, huh? In that case, I’ll just take a bow and bow out.
Thanks Jeffrey and Sam for holding down the fort. Happy holidays to all!