Robyn Weintraub’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Nice, basic theme. A quartet of well-known pop songs whose titles feature g-dropping. Or g-droppin’.
- 17a. [1975 Eagles hit about a woman having an affair] LYIN’ EYES. Homophonic with lionize, incidentally.
- 24a. [Title hit of a 1952 Gene Kelly musical] SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN. The song itself long predates the musical.
- 47a. [1930 Harry Richman hit whose title describes ostentatious living] PUTTIN’ ON THE RITZ. [insert Young Frankenstein clip here] and/or [insert Taco video link here].
- 59a. [1978 Billy Joel hit that gave its name to a 2002 Broadway musical] MOVIN’ OUT. (Anthony’s Song).
In the center we see 36a [Lost … or, in two words, an apt description of 17-, 24-, 47- and 59-Across] MISSING, or MISSIN’ G. I happen to think the puzzle would be better off without this lame-o revealer. Even better, it’s a safe bet that there’s an adequately familiar one-word song title—7 or 9 letters—that could have gone here. I just can’t think of one at the moment, under the gun as I am. Feel free to provide examples in the comments. [erratum: 9 letters would be impossible for a centered entry in a 15×15 grid that doesn’t allow for sub-three-letter words. duh. erratum to erratum: Oh, right. It could simply be the sole entry in the row, with blocks of three on either side. Duh redux. Thanks, Gareth! Maybe I need a nap.]
- Really liked the paired vertical nines in the upper right and the lower left: APPLAUDED/CHEMISTRY and HERCULEAN/EXCITABLE.
- Rara avis: playful clue in a Monday: 64a [Where chicks hang out?] NEST.
- 37a [Victor’s cry] I WON. I hate this (fairly common) clue because I never know if it’s going to be I WIN or I WON.
- 26d [Part of a rhinoceros] HORN. Surely there are a plethora of better clues for this.
- Grid opens with initialism BSA stacked over initialism OAS, which is (a) aesthetically unappealing, (b) duplicative, if you care to be nitpicky. Corollary I’M A atop LPS in the lower right is not so hot, either.
- Cross-dupe of IN: 51d [How much food is fried] IN OIL (blah fill inandofitself) and 56a [Memo heading] IN RE. I realize it’s just a small preposition, but when crossing itself … >bzzzt!<
- 61a [Yammerer] TALKER. So often I complain when BARKER appears in a crossword, explaining that the preferred term is TALKER. Were this puzzle in the back half of the week, it would have been an opportunity to make modest, partial, initial amends.
Solid Monday crossword, maybe a few too many abbrevs.
Jerome Gunderson’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
60-across says [Soldier’s group, a member of which might be stationed at the start of 17-, 27-, 47- or 62-Across] ARMY. It’s a bit circuitous to compose it to encompass both this answer and the themers, but it works.
- 17a. [Letter-routing number] POSTAL CODE.
- 27a. [Can in an Andy Warhol painting] CAMPBELL’S SOUP.
- 47a. [World Series setting] BASEBALL FIELD.
- 62a. [California Gold Rush figure] FORTY-NINER.
Humdrum fill per se, but the theme is a micronotch above typical Monday fare by virtue of the incomplete nature of the uniting elements. Rather than simply being the first word of each two-word phrase, the relevant element is the first part of it: post, camp, base, fort. No need to get picky or pedantic about shared etymologies, compound constructions, and so on. It is only Monday, after all.
- Just for once, I’d like to see the four-letter answer to [Tide type] be like Bobby ORR on an odd-man rush and DEKE me out by being the banal, multipurpose HIGH instead of the tide-specific NEAP. 15a, 35d, 13d
- Speaking of tides, the moon is possibly inferrable somewhere in the cross-referential ether between 52a [Mars neighbor] EARTH and 53a [Traveled around 52-Across, say] ORBITED.
- Horrible, horrible typographical error: 27d [Chocolate substitute] CAROB. It’s patently obvious that the entire word ‘inferior’ was somehow omitted.
- 43d [Saloon souvenirs] T-SHIRTS. Of all types of places, why saloons? Seems odd.
- 64a [Once] IN A [while] I can tolerate short fill-in-the-blank clues A LITTLE (25d), as well as the odd indefinite article phrase. I guess today is like that.
- 31d [Tartan pattern] PLAID. … >grumble, grumble<
- 5d [Fried Taco Bell offerings] CHALUPAS. Wow, are those still around? Wait, no, don’t tell me. I don’t want to know.
Moderate CAP Quotient™ (crosswordese, abbrevs., partials). All told, let’s call it an average Monday and call it a day.
Brendan Quigley’s website puzzle, “Themeless Monday #286” — Matt’s review
Matt here, filling in for Amy. I blazed through this puppy in 6:17. All my hunches turned out to be correct, starting with 1-A [Came up short against, as in a competition] which I thought would be LOST OUT TO. It was, but I waited before putting it in for verification at 8-D [Element before antimony in the periodic table] which had to be TIN since that’s the only three-letter element.
I also thought 33-A [On-off switch, e.g.] for T????? had to be TOGGLE, but was thrown off by its crossing A????C???? for [“Goodbye, Columbus” star] since then I’d have the unlikely looking A????CG???. But it was ALI MACGRAW, so all good.
Many other very good entries along the way: APHEX TWIN, TEENY-TINY, TWILIGHT, PELOSI, SKATE OVER, BREAK-UP SEX, KING RAT, crossword fan DANA DELANY, VEXING and OXYGEN. Phew!
***At 10-A, [Singer Peniston] clues CECE. Most celebs wouldn’t use their given surname if its first five letters were as here, but Cece kept it real.
***35-A [Bruce ___ Day (October 3, at least in Seattle)] = LEE. So if you were walking around Seattle last Friday and someone 1-inch punched you, that’s why.
***55-A [Chelsea’s egg] = NIL. Cleverly timed, since we were all thinking about Chelsea Clinton’s new baby, whose name (I just looked this up) is Charlotte. But this is the soccer team.
***47-A [Shampoo in a green bottle] = PERT. Actually the only brand you can buy now is Pert Plus, not just Pert anymore. I know this because it’s the only shampoo I use because…I don’t put any thought into shampoo.
***32-A [Degree earned (in astrophysics) by Queen guitarist Brian May] = PHD. Now that’s an amusing factoid. Is this a Brit thing, getting a PHD and not using it? Chess great John Nunn has one in math (earned at age 22 from Oxford) that he never used, and Crossword Compiler creator Antony Lewis has one in astrophysics but I think he just does software now (could be wrong on that).
Fun stuff, 4.30 stars.
Doug Peterson’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “It’s All in Your Mind”—Ade’s write-up
Welcome to a new week, everybody!
Here’s hoping you all have happy thoughts to start another week of crosswords. Today’s crossword, offered up to us by Mr. Doug Peterson, hits on some of the different types of brain activity, as each of the last words in the theme answers suggests. My mind is currently daydreaming that it’s a little bit warmer outside than it actually is, so I don’t have to wear this fleece on the back of my chair when I have to head back out.
- WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA: (17A: [“Hey!”]) – Loved the clue/answer combination!
- TEENAGE DREAM: (28A: [2010 double-platinum Katy Perry album])
- FINAL FANTASY: (47A: [Role-playing video game franchise since 1987]) – Final Fantasy has been around since 1987????? This is one of those nuggets of information you come across and say, “Now I feel OLD!” I’m pretty sure I’ve been aware of the existence of Final Fantasy since about 1990.
- ON SECOND THOUGHT: (59A: [Words of reconsideration])
Starting with Asian geography, love to see INDONESIA in the grid after seeing Java and other elements of the country dot different grids all over the crossword world (11D: [Jakarta’s country]). Right now, something with BEEF in it definitely sounds like a good move for lunch right now (33D: [Common burrito filler]). Despite the cooling weather, might also match that beef entrée with a GELATO as well, even thought I should be laying off the sweets right now (30D: [Italian-style ice cream]). I did not follow in my father’s footsteps in terms of loving root beer, so A AND W won’t be my drink of choice at lunch anytime soon (16A: [Alternative to Barq’s or Hires]). My favorite fill of the day, by far, is BORN LOSER, not that anyone on here, or anyone I’ve ever met could be described as such (35D: [He can’t catch a break]). I guess you can describe sports teams as born losers, and if so, the METS might be one of the teams that best fits that description since the team’s inception in 1962 (32D: [1969 World Series champs]). Maybe with that championship in ’69, as well as in 1986, the Mets aren’t born losers as much as they are lovable losers, which means I’m taking the lovable loser title away from Amy’s Chicago Cubs, who haven’t won a World Series since 1908. Or maybe the Cubs are the epitome of born losers. Hmmmm….
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: ICE UP (62A: [Glaze over, in a way]) – Bear in mind that a good number of college and professional athletes, after participating in a sporting event, take ice baths (sit in a tub filled with ice cubes/ice cold water), with the rationale being that the ice cold water session will reduce muscle soreness, tissue swelling and recovery time from a hard and very physical workout/activity. Given that, I give you this video of the ever loquacious Steve Smith, one of the best quote boards we have in the sports business. He officially introduced “ICE UP” into the slang dictionary after a Monday Night Football game last year. Enjoy the video…
See you all tomorrow for some more crossword action! Ice up, son!