Joel Fagliano’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Straight-shooting theme here. Adjectival phrases negatively describing ingestibles. They also have strongly metaphorical connotations.
- 20a. [Online aggregator of movie reviews] ROTTEN TOMATOES.
- 32a. [Fox’s feeling in an Aesop fable] SOUR GRAPES.
- 41a. [Hard-to-accept consequence] BITTER PILL.
- 53a. [Not sit well … or what eating 20-, 32- or 41-Across might do?] LEAVE A BAD TASTE.
This being Oscar night, and this puzzle officially being published tomorrow, I suppose it can be expanded and interpreted to be applicable to those who didn’t go home with golden statuettes. There’s the film-site reference in the first one … c’mon, play along … and Fried Green Tomatoes, and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?, and The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant. And, uhm… 49d [Assigns stars to, say] RATES. Oh, plus perennial Academy Award contenders Jackie CHAN and MEGAN Fox and …
Okay, forget that. It’s just a Monday-level puzzle with a themey theme. The long downs feature stacked nine-pairs ANGORA CAT/STATE DEBT and ART MUSEUM/PARENTING. An absence of cross-referencing (where it would have been easy to include a few – e.g., 6a [Lobster limb] CLAW and 25d [Sidling sea creature] CRAB) made for a shorter solving time.
Most casual clue, perhaps the puzzle’s best by that virtue: 38d [“Anyhoo …” or “As I was saying …”] for SEGUE, which, hey!, is also a film term. And look! Noted Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres gets a mention in the last across clue: 67a [Groundbreaking admission from Ellen in a 1997 sitcom] I’M GAY …
Anyway, pretty good, standard Monday crossword.
Kurt Krauss’ Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
The theme is US States (note: not an example of RAS syndrome) and food products for which they are famous.
- 20a. [The’re juiced in Jacksonville] FLORIDA ORANGES.
- 33a. [They’re baked in Boise] IDAHO POTATOES.
- 42a. [They’re boiled in Bangor] MAINE LOBSTERS.
- 57a. [They’re shelled in Savannah] GEORGIA PEANUTS.
The parallel and alliterative clues including city names enhance and unify the theme. It’s a nice touch.
- Stuff in the southwest: 47a [Sets aside for future use] LAYS BY seems archaic, or at least strongly colloquial. Is it the sort of thing 28d [“Li’l Abner” matriarch] MAMMY YOKUM might say? Fairly icky 51a [Suffix with transit] for -ORY; I suppose it’s too much to ask of early-week solvers to know jazz trombone great Kid ORY, not that that would be a hell of a lot better. Unusual clue for 48d AREOLE, [Bump from which cactus spines grow].
- Some rather strong duplications that surprisingly don’t jump out: 8d [“Star Wars” droid, familiarly] ARTOO alongside 9d [Hollywood hopeful] STARLET. 40d [Museum collection] ART and 71a [One-named Art Deco artist] ERTÉ. Conversely, a dupe is deftly avoided between 36d [Neural impulse connector] AXON and 67a [Guts] NERVE.
- Simpatico symmetricals 5d [“Be quiet!”] ZIP IT UP and 45d [Scolds but good] BERATES. Ouch!
- The grid is a near-pangram, lacking only a Q. Shoehorning that letter in would undoubtedly have forced severe compromises and degraded the overall fill and thus the solving experience (for dubious distinction). Good call.
Solid Monday offering.
Brendan Quiggle’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”
An Ithaca news reporter emailed me last week with an interview request and said he got my name from “Brendan Quiggle.” I hereby petition Brendan to go to court for a legal name change because that is delightful.
This 70-worder has five sections packed with entries of 7+ letters. I like that top stack with SKI JACKET, “OH SUSANNA,” LAID AN EGG, and TYWIN LANNISTER. If you’re not a Game of Thrones viewer/reader, you probably don’t know that 14, but the crossings are all fair. Also love APRIL FOOL’S JOKE, SHOUT-OUTS (though I think the clue doesn’t need the “homies” cue at this point), and CLAPTON.
Anyone else try UPDOS instead of COIFS for 1a. [Elaborate hairstyles]?
Five more things:
- 37d. [Loser at heart?], ESS. Never like ESS in the grid, and usually don’t like this sort of clue, but this particular clue seemed more evocative than most.
- 10d. [“For beginners”], AS A START. Brendan knew the phrase was awkward but took the tradeoff for that great stack with otherwise solid crossings.
- 32a. [Like liquid stocks], DAY-TRADED. I hadn’t really seen the conjugated verb form of this before, but the dictionary assures me it is solid.
- 7d. [“Star Trek II” villain], KHAN. And also in Star Trek Into Darkness. Benediction Cucumberbatch played Khan there. (Spoiler alert!)
- 50d. Soak to the bone], DOWSE. That clue corresponds to DOUSE; dowsing is using a forked stick to supposedly find underground water. The clue you see may be different if you downloaded this puzzle later than I did.
3.66 stars from me.
Bob Klahn’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “The Big Five-O”—Ade’s write-up
Hello guys and gals! Hope you’re all doing well. Can you believe we’re already starting the last week in February? Oh, you can believe that? Never mind then! Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Mr. Bob Klahn, involves four 15-letter entries in which one-third of the letters consist of the letter “o.” Oh, and looking at its title, as well as interjecting my regular inanity into things, I just came up with an alternate title to the grid: “Book em’ Danno-o-o-o-o!”
- ON TOP OF OLD SMOKY (17A: [Folk song recorded by Gene Autry, Burl Ives and the Weavers]) – This theme answer was the toughest nut to crack!
- TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE (28A: [Fantastic])
- A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH (43A: [Biblical retribution]) – The heck with the eyes. When getting your revenge, go for the teeth!!
- BY HOOK OR BY CROOK (56A: [Some way, somehow]) – Someway, somehow, this was the easiest for me to get. Legendary British soccer announcer Martin Tyler has used this line a good number of times when I’ve listened to some of the games he’s broadcasted, and the term has been stuck in my mind ever since.
I was on to what was happening with the theme when getting both DROPSHOT (36D: [“Soft hands” stroke]) and O’TOOLE, as I thought to myself then that one of these long theme answers (which turned out to be ‘A tooth for a tooth’) is going to have a few Os in it (47D: [Peter who voiced Anton Ego in “Ratatouille”]). It’s a great feeling when you come across a tough clue in a Klahn puzzle and know the answer immediately, and, today, there were two that I got from the get-go that helped in solving the top part of the grid: TATTOO (3D: [Word from the Tahitian for “puncturing”]) and FIFA, the world soccer governing body (15A: [“For the Game. For the World” org.]). Though it took a longer time than it should to comprehend, really liked the clue for KENNEDY, especially given the fact that, when I was growing up, my father had collected half-dollar coins and put them in a jar under his bed (25A: [Half portrait]). I’m pretty sure I was the only kid in my neighborhood using half-dollar coins to buy bags of potato chips before smuggling them into school. Haven’t watched OH, GOD, but just by reading the clue, I could figure out what the answer was, if you have ever heard of the George Burns’ film (18D: [1977 film featuring the line “So help me Me.”]).
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: GATO (35D: [Tijuana tabby]) – Venezuelan and former Major League Baseball player Andrés Galarraga played 19 seasons in The Bigs, best known for his stints with the Montreal Expos in the late 80s’/early ’90s and with the Colorado Rockies in the mid ’90s. Galarraga was nicknamed “El GATO” because of his quick reflexes when playing defense at first base, which belied his 6-foot-3 and 235-pound frame. Of all of Galarraga’s accomplishments (399 career home runs, two Gold Gloves, 1993 batting champion), he might be most remembered for successfully coming back from missing all of the 1999 season due to treatment for non-Hodgkins lymphoma to continue his baseball career.
Have a great day, and I’ll see you tomorrow!