Janet R. Bender’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Two-word phrases, each constituent commencing with the letter CEE (22d [Major component of the Euro symbol]), in its ‘hard’ phonetic form. Cute coincidence that it’s 2-2 there.
- 20a. [Ship heading] COMPASS COURSE. Not the most common colloquialism.
- 27a. [Liberal arts school in Waterville, Me.] COLBY COLLEGE.
- 49a. [Service at Staples or FedEx Office] COLOR COPYING.
- 58a. [Person in overalls sucking a piece of straw, stereotypically] COUNTRY COUSIN. I would have used “stalk”.
Competent creation, adequately entertaining. Bunch of additional Cs among the ballast fill; eliminating them would no doubt have put undue construction constriction on the grid.
- 52d [Bygone cry of high spirits] YOICKS. Not Monday-level at all.
- Intentional misdirection clue? 68a [Long guitar parts] NECKS.
- 23a [The Bible’s Queen of __ ] SHEBA. One of my all-time favorite rhyming verses in pop music is in John Hiatt’s “Thing Called Love” (covered more famously by Bonnie Raitt):
Don’t have to humble yourself to me
I ain’t your judge or your king
Baby, you know you ain’t no Queen of Sheba
We may not even have our dignity, no
This could be just a prideful thing
Baby, we can choose, y’know, we ain’t no amoebas
- Not thrilled with the dual partials in the opening corner, La PAZ and One-A-DAY. Introduces the crossword clunkily.
- Long downs quite nice: CANCELLED (with my preferred two-L spelling), INDIGNANT, SARONGS, and DON’T ASK.
David W. Cromer’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Nifty little Monday theme, explained at 64-across: [Nostalgic films for family gatherings … and what 18-, 28- and 50-Across are?] HOME MOVIES. Those three entries are film titles containing a synonym for home.
- 18a. [2001 Redford/Gandolfini film, with “The”] LAST CASTLE.
- 28a. [1990 Connery/Pfeiffer spy film] THE RUSSIA HOUSE. Completely unnecessary duplication with the crossing 25d [Russian ruler until 1917] TSAR.
- 50a. [2003 Eddie Murphy film, with “The”] HAUNTED MANSION.
Feeling dissatisfied. Two of these extract the “The” from the grid and the third includes it. Further, it would have been stronger if there were some sort of order imposed on the films, whether it be the chronology of the films, size of domicile, or another criterion.
CASTLE may seem a bit overblown for a mere HOME, but remember that “a man’s (or woman’s home is his (her) castle.” Drawbridge is down for that one.
Surely there must an expansive list of films that would fit this theme? And that it could therefore have been executed better?
- Unusually playful clue for a Monday: 20a [Rap session?] SÉANCE.
- 26a [Letters on a Soviet uniform] CCCP. Actually, СССР (Сою́з Сове́тских Социалисти́ческих Респу́блик, Soyuz Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik). Yes, I know it looks the same. Hey, at least the clue wasn’t [Letters on an erstwhile Russian uniform].
- Oh look, another strong duplication with a theme entry (the revealer): 63d [Dinner and a movie, say] DATE. Maybe Rich Norris, the editor, doesn’t care about such “infractions”.
- FIASCOS and SNOWMAN are nice in the grid.
Disappointing crossword puzzle.
Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”
Super quick, gotta run. Executive summary: 70-worder, lots of good stuff, nothing I groused at, 4 stars.
Fave fill: FART JOKE (a great 1-Across), CAVORT, THE GREAT SATAN, old-school CRUMHORN, COOLS IT, “NO EXCUSE,” single-vowel WRECKS, END TIMES, FORAGE, EXACT CHANGE LANE, GRETCHEN Carlson, BEATNIK, John CLEESE, CASH COW.
Didn’t know: 50a. [Kombu, e.g.], KELP. Is kombucha a cha(i) made from kelp, then?
5d. [Sitcom title character who is called a “Virgin”] clues JANE. I hope someday to see the very funny Mallory Ortberg’s book (out tomorrow), Texts from Jane Eyre, in a JANE or EYRE clue. Snarky humor for literature nerds? Yes, please! (Haven’t seen Jane the Virgin but this CW telenovela seems to be the best-reviewed new show this fall.)
Martin Ashwood-Smith’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Fast Track”—Ade’s write-up
Welcome to a new week of crossword fun, everyone!
If you had to get into the car and drive to work today, here’s hoping you didn’t get caught in some serious traffic. Today’s grid, brought to us by Mr. Martin Ashwood-Smith, is all about getting to your destination as fast as possible, as each of the theme answers has the word “LANE” hidden inside, with the reveal, INSIDE LANES, as the last theme entry (61A: [Passing areas, and a hint to what 17-, 24-, 38-, and 47-Across have in common]).
- MISCELLANEA: (17A: [This and that])
- POLA NEGRI: (24A: [Hollywood idol of the ’20s])
- LOCAL ANESTHESIA: (38A: [It may be used in minor surgery])
- BOIL AN EGG: (47A: [Prepare a quick breakfast, say]) – Or pop in waffles into the toaster, which was my quick breakfast for today.
Had a little bit of trouble actually putting the finishing touches to the grid as I mistakenly put in “and” instead of ADD (45A: [Say further]), so the down clue of A TAD did not come for a while (35D: [Very little]). Loved RCA VICTOR in the grid, being a television/audio history junkie (31D: [Color TV pioneer]). Sounds like I need to experience DEATH, at least in terms of having it in dessert form (53D: [_____ by chocolate (calorie-heavy dessert)]). Despite wanting to drown myself in calories, I’ve lost a little bit of weight the past few months, and my already BAGGY jeans look even baggier, and that might call for a trip to Old Navy to get a couple of new pairs of jeans (47D: [Loose-fitting]). There were a couple of partials in the grid, including A TAD, NEED I (13D: [“_____ say more?”]) and LET A (39D: [____ smile be…”]), but other than that, not a bad start at all to the crossword week.
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: NANCE (49D: [John _____ Garner]) – Not to be confused with CBS Sports broadcaster Jim Nantz, former AFL/NFL running back Jim NANCE (1942-1992) was one of the lone bright spots for the Boston Patriots (now New England Patriots) in an otherwise awful era of football for the franchise while in the American Football League. Nance led the Patriots in rushing for six straight years, from 1965-1970, and led the AFL in rushing yards in 1966 (1,458 yards) and 1967 (1,216). As a collegian at Syracuse University, Nance, along with being a football star, was a two-time NCAA heavyweight champion in college wrestling.
Thank you all for the time, and I’ll see you all tomorrow!