John Lieb’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
I count four theme answers, plus a long revealer at 58-across. [They disprove claims … or 17-, 23-, 38- and 47-Across, in a way]. What’s this? INSURANCE AGENTS has the right number of letters (I counted), but only one matches a crossing entry. Ohh… it’s COUNTEREXAMPLES, and the referenced answers are people who ostensibly count things.
- 17a. [Strike zone arbiter] HOME PLATE UMPIRE. Counting strikes and balls, just like Chief Justice Roberts.
- 23a. [George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life”] BANK MANAGER. Money, supposedly.
- 38a. [One getting hit in Vegas] BLACKJACK PLAYER. Cards, perhaps.
- 47a. [Decennial official] CENSUS TAKER. People! Census Green is … people!
Decent theme, though I suspect most would say that it’s the bank tellers who do the counting of the money while the manager, for lack of a better word, manages, though he or she is ultimately responsible for making sure the proper amount of money is lying around.
Excellent long non-theme answers, PRATFALL and MOCCASIN. And a Scrabbly bid with fill such as KIX, ZAGAT, Ft. DIX, TEXACO. On the disappointing end of things I’ll include non-Monday AON Center and Villa d’ESTE, crosswordese ASTA, FITB/partials AT IT, lean-TOS, General TSO’S, chemical suffix -ANE, and two predicative adjectives with progressive aspect: ATOP and ABOIL. That’s nine questionable entries to start with, but who’s counting?
61d [Tues. preceder] MON. That’s “today”!
Average Monday, in the final tally.
David W. Cromer’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
How good are you at detecting dishonesty? How can you [Be certain] KNOW (15a)? Are you in a state of [Having no doubt] SUREness (57d )?
What I can say with confidence is that this crossword has four theme answers, each beginning with a synonym for “untrue”.
- 17a. [Man-made organic pump] ARTIFICIAL HEART. “Man-made organic” seems a little weird, but I understand the intent.
- 27a. [Dish not made from the reptile it’s named for] MOCK TURTLE SOUP.
- 46a. [Pseudonym] FICTITIOUS NAME. Aren’t all names fictitious, really?
- 62a. [Finger-pointing perjury] FALSE ACCUSATION.
Two of the themers are 15 letters long, and the other two are 14 letters long, fact!
7d [“Just __”: Nike slogan] DOIT. As per m-w.com, a doit is 1. an old Dutch coin equal to about 1⁄8 stiver; 2. a trifle (=something of little value, substance, or importance). Now, a stiver is equal to 1/20 of a gulden and is also metaphorically something of little value, so one-eighth of one-twentieth of a gulden is very insignificant. Fact! Hmm, what does that say about Nike? Don’t like this interpretation? So sou me.
If an I were placed to the left of the square numbered 55, the two linked across answers would spell PEATINESS, fact! However, SHIPIEND is not a true word. Nor can I think of a letter to complete ETTU–MRES or UGH–TEST meaningfully.
Fact: 19-down and the immediately subsequent 24-down have the same clue: [Break in the action] for LULL and STOP. The correct answer to 34-down [Do nothing], despite beginning with LO––, is not the similar-to-LULL LOLL, but LOAF.
What a strange clue. 51a [Encouragement “on the back”] PAT. Opinion! Did not care for the alphabet-soupy quartets of the pluralized MRES and PFCS, AARP, the prefix ALTI-, and INSP. More opinion!
4d [They give films stars] CRITICS. Cutesy clue for a Monday, though it could use a “may” or “might”, which breaks the spell a bit. Concatenated opinions!
Average Monday crossword, fact!*
* not a true fact.
Randolph Ross’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “All Aboard”—Ade’s write-up
Good morning everyone!
How can anybody cope with Mondays without Monday Night Football NOR How I Met Your Mother? Well, I guess we’ll have to just cope, right? Regardless of that, this isn’t a bad way to start a Monday, with Mr. Ross’s puzzle not leaving us bored by having SIX theme answers, with each of the first words to those six answers being words that can come before the word “board.”
- FLOOR LEADER : (17A: [Congressional VIP]) – Alternate cluing, which I now give you the permission to use: Point guard, in basketball vernacular.
- STARBUCK: (24A: [Chief mate to Ahab]) – Who knew our favorite literary Quaker would end up becoming the namesake of a store chain that everyone loves (or loves to hate)?
- BLACK KEY: (48A: [One of three dozen on a piano])
- DRAWING CARD: (57A: [Audience attraction])
- OVERDRAFT: (11A: [Banking problem]) – Seeing those red numbers on your bank statement after having an overdraft is the WORST!
- BACKSTORY: (33A: [What an actor might want to know about the character he is playing])
The northwest had one of the more AWKWARD (44A: [Socially uncomfortable]) starts in a puzzle I’ve seen in a while, with LIFTS (1A: [They’ll make you taller]) and LEFTS (1D: [Some turns]). Putting those words together sounds like a new car magazine. Hey, you got that new issue of Lifts & Lefts? I have to put it next to my Car & Driver that just came in the mail! If you miss a question someone directs at you, do you want them to ask the question again, or do you tell them to REASK the question (7D: [Repeat the question])? As I’m typing this, I’m wondering how many times I have ever said the word reask? Every time I say it now, it adds to that total, which was somewhere between zero and three before today. I liked seeing BOOP in the grid (23A: [Flapper girl Betty]), but used to always be confused by the popularity of Betty Boop apparel among my elementary/high school girl friends who probably had no idea of the origin of the character. Guess you can say the same thing about when those same young ladies wore Tweety Bird shirts/book bags, but since I LOVE Looney Tunes, and Looney Tunes characters, I had no problem with it in the long run. Biases, biases!
The infallible (at least in the courtroom) Gerry SPENCE (6A: [Lawyer Gerry who authored “How to Argue and Win Every Time”]) made sure his opponents/clients were or weren’t ENCAGED (42A: [Puts behind bars]). Even with his perfect record in trials, thinking about that fact is still a little EERIE (50D: [Bone-chilling]). If you’re an Oklahoma Sooners or Texas A&M Aggies fan, you might have had a chuckle seeing DEHORNS (28A: [Makes safer, as a herd]), since that’s what those sports teams want to do to their chief rival, the Texas Longhorns.
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: PEETE (15A: [Calvin of the PGA])– Lost in the excellence of Tiger Woods, Calvin Peete was the person who was the most successful African-American golfer ever on the PGA Tour prior to Woods’ arrival. Peete ended up with 12 PGA Tour wins in his career, all coming in either the ’70s and ’80s.
Can one of these days coming up resemble something along the lines of spring weather? If it’s already springtime weather where you are, just know I’m officially jealous of you.
Take care, and will talk to you all tomorrow!
Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”
I … don’t know what this is. 21d: MELON DOME? [Hemispherical covering with a circular base and ribbed vault]? Is this slang? No, it’s architecture. I couldn’t tell you why a dome with a ribbed vault is named after a melon. Is there a lot of ribbing in melons other than if you scoop it out to intentionally form ribs?
- 1a. [A lot of material to be mined?], BIG DATA.
- 36a. [Place for little learning?], CHILDREN’S MUSEUM.
- 58a. [He opens things up with a roar], MGM LION.
- 12d. [“Breaking Bad” drug kingpin], HEISENBERG. Haven’t watched past the pilot episode yet (when will my son be old enough to watch?) but I know this is a Walter White alter ego.
- 25d. [Singer with the 2013 #2 hit “All of Me”], JOHN LEGEND. Still getting Top 40 radio play.
- 26d. [Progressive Field logo], CHIEF WAHOO. That’s the Cleveland Indians mascot, and it is anything but progressive. More racist than anything else.
Tepid fill: ONE-O’-CAT, REHINGE, partial A DOSE OF, and short stuff like INRI ENDO ENE REL NIM.
If you add up the letters in the juicy fill and in the lackluster stuff, you can see that the good outweighs the bad 59 to 38. I just might start using that as a test for other puzzles. A grid with a couple juicy long answers offset by a bunch of subpar short fill generally doesn’t do the trick for me, but I liked today’s puzzle alright. Didn’t love it, but the good stuff is good.