Ian Livengood’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Guess I’ll be keeping this brief.
- 66a. [Chitchat … or an apt title for this puzzle?] SMALL TALK.
- 17a. [Toy in a water fight] SQUIRT GUN.
- 25a. [Crispy seafood dish] FRIED SHRIMP.
- 39a. [1995 crime caper based on an Elmore Leonard novel] GET SHORTY.
- 56a. [Hall-of-Fame Dodger nicknamed “The Little Colonel”] PEE WEE REESE.
See? Synonyms for ‘small’.
Triple vertical seven-stacks in each corner, nice.
Enlightenment two-fer: Chinese TAO, Japanese ZEN. 5a APES not gratuitously cross-referenced to 48d GORILLA.
BABS short for Barbara, TIL short for until, VET short for veteran, MRI ″ ″ magnetic resonance imaging, ALT-TAB ″ for alternate + tabulator, ISLE not short for island, UCLA short for University of California – Los Angeles, TBS ″ ″ Turner Broadcasting System, REFS ″ referees, SGT ” Sergeant, ETS ” extra-terrestrials, APP ” application, LES ” LESLIE, EMMY alt. of IMMY short for image orthocon tube.
Good puzz, but I’ve said too much already.
Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”
Two Scrabbly marquee entries here:
- 18a. [Businessman whose money goes up in smoke?], GANJAPRENEUR. New to me. The money doesn’t go “up in smoke,” though. The money goes up, in increased pot smoking. A little stretchy but passable.
- 50a. [It may tell you something about your personality], BUZZFEED QUIZ. Actually, it is highly unlikely to produce valid findings about your inner self.
Did not know: 34d. [Reflection seen with the Hubble telescope], LIGHT ECHO. Science!
Entries I liked best: PODCAST, BACKSEAT driver, POOL CUE, CARJACK, EDITH PIAF, KUMQUAT.
Five more things:
- 16a. [Milton Berle’s theme song], NEAR YOU. You don’t say. This is also one I needed to work the crossings for.
- 26a. [One running things, initially], BMOC. Clue is overly broad—needed a college/school reference in there. I don’t think there is such a thing as a corporate BMOC. Head __ in Charge is a broader thing (with more than one option for filling in the blank).
- 36a. [Canal growth], EAR HAIR. Eww.
- 37d. [Some computer game opponents], AIS. Does artificial intelligence take a plural? Or should this clue be [Three-toed sloths]?
- 25d. [Sucker in the Sahara], TSETSE. I don’t think that’s right. I think the tsetse fly’s range is between the Sahara and Kalahari deserts in the non-desert center of the African continent, and not inclusive of the deserts.
As with many a themeless, there’s some short fill I don’t care for (ONEA, OTO, this UCAL that the people in California assure us nobody ever uses). But overall, it’s not NO STARS, it’s 3.9 stars.
Amy Johnson’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Synonym element theme, sans revealer. Sans revelans?
- 20a. [McDonald’s freebies] HAPPY MEAL TOYS. Somehow I think the cost is built in. FREEDOM IS JUST AN ILLUSION, SHEEPLE!
- 27a. [Multi-day event featuring rainbow flags] GAY PRIDE WEEK.
- 43a. [Ride with wooden horses] MERRY-GO-ROUND.
- 51a. [Fruit-flavored hard candies] JOLLY RANCHERS®
The “light” of 3d LIGHT YEAR is another adjective suggesting happiness. Its symmetrical complement—SHRUGS OFF, 33d—is related to the theme concept only tenuously, and in toto, so I must conclude that the former is accidental and thus makes the crossword a bit inelegant.
Contra thema: 47d [“Little Broken Hearts” singer Jones] NORAH. 57a [Really bad turnout] NO ONE.
An abundance of lesser fill made me a little sad. Stuff along the lines of SNEE, ERAT, GTE, A-DEE, ON YOU, SSR, SSW, -ASE, CPO, ALEUT. Not bad per se, but … erm … per quantitativo …?
- 10d [“For shame!”] TSK, TSK, followed by 11d [“Shame __!”] ON YOU. Kind of a downer one-two. The funereal Tut (via TOMB) crossing at 10a is a clever and amusing touch.
- Appealingly not a run-of-the-mill-on-a-Monday clue: 35d [Oscar who quipped, “True friends stab you in the front”] WILDE. Et tu?
- [Ignore the teleprompter] for AD LIB at one-across is also good, an engaging introduction to the puzzle.
(Not that I think it’s that good, you understand:)
Average crossword. I’ll take it.
Jeff Chen’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Making Amends”—Ade’s write-up
Hey there, everyone! Hope you’re having a good start to the new week, and that you survived the Ides of March! Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Mr. Jeff Chen, has four theme answers in which common terms are amended by adding the letters “AM” at the end of the term.
- VITAMIN BAM (17A: [Big boost from a supplement?]) – From “Vitamin B.”
- GLORY BEAM (29A: [“The light” of “I saw the light!”?]) – From “Glory Be.”
- MIDDLE CAM (47A: [Spare tire monitor?]) – From “Middle C”
- MISTER EDAM (62A: [Cheesy spokesperson?]) – From “Mister Ed.” A horse (that eats edam) is a horse (that eats edam), of course, of course!”
Took a lot longer than usual to get started on this one. (Well, not doing crosswords for about a week can cause that!) Got JAVA pretty quickly (1D: [Indonesian island near Borneo]), but then mistakenly put in “adios” instead of ADIEU, and that slowed me up for a little bit (14A: [Parting word]). The long symmetric down answers added a lot of zip, though I wasn’t on to ADDED BONUS as quickly as I should have been (28D: [It’s put in as a sweetener]). Was actually thinking along the lines of brand names of sugars/sugar substitutes for a while. The Southeast portion of the grid was the last to fall, with KANJI being a challenge to fill in (66A: [Japanese writing system]). If your music earworm didn’t come from T. REX (13A: [“Bang a Gong (Get it on)” band]), then maybe it came from CREAM, even though its clue didn’t refer to the band with the same name (26D: [Smash into]). I know that was the case for me with Cream. Oh, and I want to congratulate my high school science teacher (and good friend) TESS Dorsey on becoming a grandmother last week after her daughter-in-law gave birth to a beautiful baby boy (67A: [Hardy heroine])!
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: RUBE (29A: [Bumpkin]) – One of the best pitchers during the dead-ball era of baseball (from c. 1900 until Babe Ruth started smashing home runs for fun in the 1920s), RUBE Waddell pitched in the Major Leagues from 1897-1910, most notably for the Philadelphia Athletics, from 1902-1907. Waddell led the American League in strikeouts in each of his six seasons in Philadelphia and led the AL in wins in 1905. Waddell was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1946.
Have a great day everyone, and I’ll see you tomorrow!