Michael Dewey’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
No revealer necessary for this one. The theme kind of screams at you, you see.
- 17a. [Compulsion to steal] KLEPTOMANIA.
- 23a. [What a bracketologist is caught up in] MARCH MADNESS.
- 37a. [1977 hard-rock hit by Ted Nugent] CAT SCRATCH FEVER.
- 48a. [Miniskirts and oversize sunglasses, once] FASHION CRAZE.
- 59a. [What a major scandal results in] MEDIA FRENZY.
They all end in nouns synonymous with insanity. The second one provides a timely peg to hang the theme’s hat on. The first one differs from the others by being a single word. The third differs by virtue of being three words. But hey, why not get a little crazy or unpredictable with a theme like this, right?
Not part of theme: 6a [One way to be in love] MADLY. Adverb! 26a [Swings wildly] FLAILS.
- 44a [“Terrible” Russian autocrat] IVAN, 56d [Old Russian autocrat] CZAR. Judicious restraint of cross-referencing. Perhaps this crossword isn’t so crazy after all. Similarly no forced affinity between 18d [Rowboat rowers] OARS and 64a [Boat with a double-bladed paddle] KAYAK.
- 26d [French W.W. I general Ferdinand __ ] FOCH. In my Monday solve? Nutso. Crazy like a fox?
- 6d [Copycat] MIMIC dupes themer CAT SCRATCH FEVER.
- 47d [Missouri mountains] OZARKS. This seems like a propitious nexus to mention that I recently read the novel Gone Girl and then watched the film based on it. Let’s just say that the book had some plot holes and inconsistencies, but was richer and more complex than the movie. And the movie, in simplifying matters, eliminated some problems and introduced quite a few more. Mildly disappointed in director David Fincher on this one.
- 59d [Co. administration] MGT. Versus MGMT (not the band)?
- 25d [Like many users of sign language] DEAF. I like the conscientious qualifier.
No need to (11d) BICKER OVER the puzzle’s details any further, so I’ll just wrap up and say it’s a solid Monday, a bit above average.
Mary Lou Guizzo’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Monday Crossword. Modest conceit.
- 17a. [*Dots-and-dashes system] MORSE CODE.
- 36a. [*Entrée] MAIN COURSE.
- 43a. [*Boxy British economy car] MINI COOPER. Made by BMW, in the new incarnation.
- 61a. [*Venue for hypothetical legal cases] MOOT COURT. Had the plausible-sounding MOCK COURT through to the end of the solve. Took a while to suss out the error(s).
- 11d. [*Wallet alternative] MONEY CLIP.
- 29d. [*Hannah Montana portrayer] MILEY CYRUS.
68-across [Roast host, and a hint to the answers to starred clues] EMCEES (i.e., MCs, Masters of Ceremonies). Not ‘marked clues’? See also, model crossing EMME (54d).
Six themers: mighty courageous, or misguidedly cocky? OCAS, IS SO, N AS, OHOS, J AND B, CES, SHAILENE Woodley, POMES, et cetera: mediocre collateral? Monday content?
Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Send in the Clones”
In lieu of a Themeless Monday, Brendan offers up his 2014 ACPT puzzle #5, which I solved last year so here’s the answer grid and an explanation, as soon as I recall what it is, of the theme.
- 19a. [Stabs / Some lodgings], GUESTHOUSES. GUESSES are “stabs” and there’s another THOU crossing this answer insertion at 6d.
- 45a. [Crane’s location / African tourist destination], MARRAKESH. 26d RAKE inside MARSH.
- 72a. [Tried / 1964 title role], STRANGELOVE. STROVE with 65d ANGEL.
- 13d. [“Richard III” co-star / Fattening?], BROADENING. 28a ROAD in Annette BENING.
- 39d. [Something “fine” at a dinner party / Stole stuff, maybe], CHINCHILLA. 66a CHILL inside fine CHINA.
The crossing clones explain the cryptic-style insertions, but you could easily ignore the first of the two clone clues and solve the puzzle as an unthemed one. I reckon plenty of people at last year’s ACPT did just that, solving correctly without having any idea what was going on with the theme. I prefer a wicked puzzle #5 where you simply can’t finish the damn thing unless you figure out what the theme is doing.
No rating because I didn’t solve it this time around and thus have no sense of the overall fill and clues.
Bruce Venzke’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Makes It Better”—Ade’s write-up
Hello everybody! My apologies again, but the NCAA Tournament proved to be a vortex this past weekend, as I was in Jacksonville, then Charlotte, to cover the Madness. But we’re back, and we’re making amends…literally. In today’s puzzle, brought to us by Mr. Bruce Venzke, each of the theme answers start with words that are synonyms of each other, meaning to make better.
- CURES TOBACCO (20A: [Ages cigarette-making material])
- FIXES DINNER (37A: [Prepares the evening meal])
- REPAIRS TO BED (54A: [Turns in for the night])
For a long while, I’ve needed some LUDENS, as well as sone rest, since I’ve been flying around and had gotten a little sick (34A: [Throat lozenge brand]). Haven’t seen ABSCAM in a long while in a grid, and always remember laughing out loud when I first encountered that in a puzzle during the neophyte stage in my crossword solving (1D: [Notable FBI sting operation]). I refuse to put ALEXI in the “sports…smarter” portion of the grid, because all I’m going to do is rip him for how bad of a soccer commentator he is on television (23A: [Soccer Hall of Famer Lalas]). Honestly, have you heard him talk about international soccer? He’s HORRIBLE! Therefore, let’s go a different direction.
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: UTES (65A: [Versatile vehicles, briefly]) – Since we’re still in the midst of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, let’s mention one of the teams still alive for the championship, the University of Utah UTES, and their recent pregame tradition. The team’s head coach, former NBA player Larry Krystkowiak, burns sweet grass that’s braided in and comes from Montana (his home state) to fill the locker room with its aroma. It apparently is a plant used during Native American prayer and ceremonies. If Utah’s great basketball season is any indication, we’ll see more sweet grass burning in locker rooms across the country.
See you all tomorrow, and thank you for your time!