John Lampkin’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
The rails were greased for a rapid solve on this one. A porcine plethora, sure to send the most strident vegetarians on a JIHAD (32a) of not particularly epic proportions.
- 17a. [Unseen purchase] PIG IN A POKE. And what’s wrong with a cat?
- 39a. [You can’t make a silk purse out of it, they say] SOW’S EAR. But with the transgenic shenanigans they’ve been up to lately, who knows?
- 63a. [Like some wasteful government spending] PORK BARREL.
- 11d [Ecstatic state, informally] HOG HEAVEN.
- 34d. [Clumsy] HAM-FISTED.
We get some terms for the animal, and some terms for meats derived therefrom. Three of the former and two of the latter; if asked to predict, my gut reaction would’ve been that it’d go the other way.
- Intuitively, IONIZES and PRESLEY don’t feel as if they have the same letter count, but when you seem them on paper (or screen) it’s readily apparent. Must be the syllable differential. AEROSOL and WASHTUB are also a nice pairing.
- Very fond of SEE-THRU and ZIP-OUT linings; that they cross just adds to the zippiness. Their mates across the grid—ATTACHÉ and UP A TREE aren’t so bad either, and also have a sort of mutual affinity.
- TOOT AT [Greet with a honk]? Thin stuff.
- 1a/8d [Wood for a chest] CEDAR/OAK.
- Got my signals crossed at 10a [TV’s Dr. _ ]. With ––IL in place, I completed it as EVIL, proud of myself for not trying to squeeze in the Internet’s Dr Horrible. But it turned out to be someone more destructive than either, Dr PHIL.
- 46a [Buzz and bleep] SOUNDS.
- 71a [Attach, as a button] SEW ON. Ew, son.
Patrick Blindauer’s June website puzzle, “Carousel-ery” — Matt’s review
JUNE IS BUSTIN’ OUT / ALL OVER is the timely song in question, and it’s happening literally in Patrick’s June website puzzle. To complete the grid, you need to add the letters J-U-N-E outside the grid on all four sides:
The elongated words are JODIE, UNIBROW (!), NOTS, and EERIE across the top; JABBA, UPDATES, NEW CANAAN (1) I didn’t realize Mike Wallace had died, and 2) my college roommate was from New Canaan) and EATER across the left edge; THE DJ, GURU, SOYBEAN and COPSE across the bottom; and MINAJ, MOGADISHU (nice one), STANTON and CLOSE along the right.
Since Patrick is a complete and total pro it goes without saying that he placed the JUNEs consistently on all four sides (in the 4th, 6th, 8th and 10th rows/columns, to be speficic).
That’s a nice twist on the letters-outside-the-box trick, isn’t it? As I’ve said before, Patrick has a knack for putting a new wrinkle in a familiar idea, and he’s done it again here. I don’t think I’ve seen letters outside the grid on all sides before, and there’s an amusing and logical reason for it to happen here.
BLOW HIGH, BLOW LOW is slightly random as the bottom 15 since it doesn’t relate to the theme, but at least it’s a “Carousel” song so not completely arbitrary. Besides, there’s no ironclad need for the second 15 to be part of the theme, so we’ll just treat it as fill.
11-a [Org. with hookers?] = PGA. And shankers, which sounds even dirtier.
15-a [Face front?] = INTER, as in “interface.”
29-a [Drug dealer] = MERCK
51-a [Food processor?] = EATER
Very nicely done, 4.60 stars. See you in July for another Blindauer work of art.
Michael Dewey’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
- 20a. [Siblings, sons, daughters, etc.] FLESH AND BLOOD. Strong start.
- 29a. [“Along related lines …”] IN THE SAME VEIN. Good, but feels a tad incomplete
- 47a. [Main thoroughfare] CENTRAL ARTERY. Such a minimal metaphor, and kind of blah just sitting there by itself.
- 56a. [Have the song memorized] KNOW IT BY HEART. Also feels less than 100%; wants the personal pronoun, perhaps?
It’s a good theme, just not a great one. More or less what’s expected for a Monday crossword; nothing fancy, nothing to knock your socks off. How about we call it phlegmatic? My most trenchant response is that I’m unhappy with the sequence; HEART should be between VEIN and ARTERY, to better reflect the passage of BLOOD through the network. (Obviously it would be insane to try to incorporate arterioles, capillaries, cells, and venules into the grid.)
- 6d [Superficial, as beauty] SKIN DEEP, which at first seemed to impinge on the theme, especially crossing as it does FLESH AND BLOOD, but that sensation is easily dismissed. Similarly, the anatomical CEREBRAL cortex at 39d doesn’t cross the blood-brain barrier.
- SLR/OCD/IAN/GTE and XLS/ONA/EAP/EPA are unpretty rows.
- DRUDGERY and SANSKRIT are lovely longdowns, and go a long way in erasing the bitter aftertaste of Rows 5 and 11.
- Had a severe mis-fill which took a while to uncover and augmented my solve time significantly. At 19-across [Keister], REAR for RUMP, which provided the incongruous crossings of DREDGERY, DAA, and SUR. Really can’t explain how it took nearly a minute to locate the mess.
- 35d [17th-century year when… NEXT!
- Die Deutsch Sprache! 21d ACHT, 16a FRAU.
Good puzzle, but no heartstopper.
Randolph Ross’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Ivy League” – Dave Sullivan’s review
One of my most enjoyable CS daily puzzles since I’ve begun (or re-begun?) blogging them, constructor Randolph Ross jams six theme entries into a grid, each beginning with one of the eight Ivy League schools:
- [Test preparation company] is The PRINCETON REVIEW. Kaplan was the big player in the Boston market; in fact, I even went through the 5-week interview process with them but decided it wasn’t for me after all.
- [Tennesse Titans uniform color] is COLUMBIA BLUE. I see here that it’s also called “Jordy blue” (wha?), but since the name comes from the university itself, a small demerit in this theme entry.
- [Order at a Chinese restaurant] clues BROWN RICE. Most Chinese restaurants I know only offer white; brown rice has been linked to higher arsenic levels of late, so I’m a bit nervous about its purported health benefit.
- [Security devices since 1851] are YALE LOCKS. Yep, owned a few of these in my day.
- [Magician who competed on “Dancing with the Stars”] is PENN JILLETTE. Now if his partner on the show was Teller, then I’d watch it! For now though, I’ll stick with “The Voice” for my weekly competition show fix.(This despite them losing probably my favorite 2 singers last week and now way too slanted towards country singers. I know coach Adam Levine agrees with me.)
- Finally, [Formal ways to organize notes] is HARVARD OUTLINES. My guess this must also be named after the school, so another .2 deduction from the judges.
That’s a lot of theme material–perhaps it might’ve been a bit better to drop the entries tied to the school itself and just have those that have no connection to their alma mater. I was impressed by how little the fill seemed to suffer from these six entries; I’d have to say my FAVE entry was seeing [PBS new anchor Gwen] for IFILL in the grid, since I think that would be a great name for a crossword constructor. I’m not partial to French partials, so my UNFAVE this morning is ÎLE DU for [___ Diable, French penal colony]. Sacré (Jordy) Bleu!
Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”
I could do without the weird OIL HOLE, we-know-her-only-from-puzzles OUIDA, and the outdated PC CLONE, but the rest of this is solid. Top seven:
- 1a. PHOTOBOMB. Here’s an example—the guy in the doorway is photobombing.
- 16a. [The only movie to be the highest-grossing of the year and still lose money], CLEOPATRA. Trivia! That I didn’t know.
- 49a. [“PoliticsNation” host], AL SHARPTON. Full name.
- 57a. [Politician who wrote “The Gift of Rest: Rediscovering the Beauty of the Sabbath”], Joe LIEBERMAN.
- 2d. [Fashion designer whose real name was Roy Frowick], HALSTON. Trivia! That I knew.
- 33d. [Metal godfathers, informally], ZEPPELIN.
- 40d. [Where the Army goes], LATRINE. Why was I not even thinking of the potty? Is it because I was when the TILDE clue [Baño feature] did have me thinking of potties?