Joe DiPietro’s New York Times crossword
Briefly, now: X of Y, where X ends in –ALL and both words are four letters in length.
- 16a. [Shooter video game franchise] CALL OF DUTY.
- 29a. [Very lively sort] BALL OF FIRE.
- 45a. [Cooperstown or Canton destination] HALL OF FAME.
- 61a. [Empire collapse of A.D. 476] FALL OF ROME.
Seems minimal to me. The first letters of X do not spell anything acrostically nor do they constitute a progression, the relationship in each themer between the first letters of X and Y is uncorrelated, and there is no other discernible relationship among the four. Rhyming is more or less incidental, and possibly moot, depending on region; to me—and I expect for most—they all rhyme with each other. Curious to know if there are those who pronounce any of those four words differently from the others.
- Pair of cross-references. TYSON and KOS, INCA and LLAMAS. Double-duty clue [Beat decisively] for DRUB and TROUNCE.
- One of the long non-theme answers, 28d SMALL WORLD, superficially veers too close to the theme, in my opinion. The intersecting 49-across, WALL-E, not so much.
- 10a [Internet image file, familiarly] GIF. Specifically, most of those that we see these days are animated, while JP[E]Gs and PNGs predominate.
- 47d [One with XX chromosomes] FEMALE. Despite the demonstrably simplistic,
anthropocentric,and erroneous biological misinformation here, it would be nice to think that the NYT crossword would at least be cognizant of, and conciliatory toward, significant social and cultural attitudinal change. This sort of cluing has been called out before in these virtual pages.
- 39d [Tightwad] CHEAPO. I generally consider tightwad a noun and CHEAPO an adjective, but recognize this may not be the general consensus.
- Fairly low CAP Quotient™ (crosswordese, abbrevs., partials). You know, the way most early-week offerings tend to be,
C.C. Burnikel’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Well-turned theme. 61-across is TIME FRAMES, clued revealingly as [Durations … and what this puzzle’s circled letters literally represent]. Each of the four other theme answers are phrases bracketed (i.e., framed) by such entities.
- 18a. [Place for legislative debate] HOUSE FLOOR. Hour.
- 24a. [Tinkers-to-Evers-to-Chance baseball event] DOUBLE PLAY. Day.
- 40a. [Faeries and pixies, e.g.] WEE FOLK. Week.
- 51a. [Work on casually, as an engine] MONKEY WITH. Month.
The natural progression of said TIME FRAMES adds logic and cohesion to the theme.
- The long verticals are SNAPDRAGON and NOT A CHANCE. Not thrilled with the latter’s repetition of one of the key elements (i.e., Chance) of the clue for themer 24-across. Completely unnecessary, as the clue could easily have been changed. In contrast, it would have been acceptable (though a bit confusing, creating a perceived imbalance) had the clue for 51a used the word ‘tinker’.
- As comments below have already touched on, there’s some controversy about 46d [“Downton Abbey” servers] for BUTLERS. Not having watched the show, I was unaware that it takes pains to discriminate among the duties of various household employees. Not being steeped in domestic culture among the landed élite, I can’t speak from authority or experience. But it seems to me that ‘servant’ is not necessarily synonymous with ‘server’.
The ballast fill is relatively clean and varied, with a modicum of spice. Solid Monday.
Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”
Solved the puzzle 5 hours ago but a phone call ate up my blogging time this morning, and now the puzzle’s not fresh in my mind. Took me a good 25% to 50% longer than usual. Just me?
- 7a. [Without reference to a previous practice], ZERO BASE. Completely unfamiliar with this term.
- 16a. [2008 French Open winner], IVANOVIC. Tried DJOKOVIC.
- 17a. [Early psychoanalyst Coriat], ISADOR. What? You got a more famous ISADOR to share with the class? Bleh.
- 20a. [Them’s fighting words], BATTLE PLANS. Clue doesn’t seem to match up with the answer.
- 22a. [Actor Mikkelsen of “House of Cards”], LARS. Who? Dude’s been on four episodes and is much, much less famous than his brother Mads, who I filled in here.
- 42a. [Pieces of sanctions, briefly], WMDS. Those are things that may be subject to sanctions, but they aren’t “pieces of sanctions,” I don’t think.
- 48a. [Starch sold in the form of pearls], SAGO. Tried SEGO first, which is the lily. SAGO is even more harshly in the crosswordese class.
- 63a. [Outer limits], EXCESS. No, EXCESS is what is beyond the limits.
- 10d. [Peeling potatoes, likely], ON KP. This answer is decades outdated, isn’t it? And military kitchen work is done by civilian contractors? The “likeliness” that any given person peeling potatoes is on KP is vanishingly small. (Okay, so I didn’t have a mental misfire here. Just a nit to pick.)
- 13d. [___-Spezialuhren watches], SINN. Never heard of it.
- 29d. [Some red dwarfs], M-STARS. Hate the letter-STARs in my crossword. Crossing should have had an easier clue—[Kellogg earnings, briefly] means the MBAS earned at the Kellogg School of Business and not corporate earnings from the cereal seller.
- 37d. [Pullman sch.], WSU. Washington State? Wyoming State? Western Something? Never, ever heard that Washington State’s main campus was in Pullman. Not such a famous college town, I don’t think.
- 55d. [Thing with lenses, colloquially], SPEX. Spectacles, or spex: plural noun. Clue should say “things.”
I like I CAN RELATE but ZIP-TIE HANDCUFFS depresses me. There is (or was) a typo in the 27a clue, too. 2.75 stars for this one. Did not enjoy it.
Jeff Chen’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Rows of Tulips”—Ade’s write-up
Good afternoon, and welcome to a new week of crosswords. Today’s crossword, brought to us by Mr. Jeff Chen, was definitely more of a challenge, though that’s to expected with his great puzzles. In today’s edition, there are three pairs of entries that share not only the same line, but also have the word “lip” embedded in the entry. Pretty slick. It’s possible that, while scanning the grid again, I might miss a pair or two.
- TIE CLIP (20A: [Haberdashery accessory]) and ELLIPSE (22A: [Figure with two foci])
- PAY SLIP (37A: [Stub reflecting compensation]) and CALIPHS (39A: [Islamic titles])
- EGG FLIP (52A: [Soda jerk’s creating]) and HELIPAD (54A: [Chopper’s landing spot])
All I could really concentrate on after solving the grid was the awesomeness of some of the land down answers, with probably my favorite being WHY I OUGHTA (28D: [Stooge’s threatening phrase]). Along with that, seeing MOE as well was a nice touch to connect the Three Stooges mini theme…either that, or Jeff is a big fan of the Three Stooges, which isn’t a bad thing at all (43D: [Stooge with a bowl haircut]). Didn’t know that HYPERSPACE was also a term used in mathematics, so got to learn something as well (29D: [Term common to science fiction and math]). Here’s a free “sports…smarter” tidbit (although all of them are free): LAKE PLACID is known for hosting the 1980 Winter Olympics, but it also hosted the 1932 Winter Olympics, which was the first Winter Olympics held in the United States (8D: [Setting for the “Miracle on Ice”]). I know that by heart because I had to answer that on a sports trivia tryout 14 years ago, and that was one of the answers I got right which helped me get on a televised trivia show. Can’t forget something like that!!
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: VIII (64A: [Shakespeare’s Henry ___]) – After the Miami Dolphins completed their perfect 17-0 season in 1972 with a Super Bowl VII win over Washington, they repeated as champions by defeating the Minnesota Vikings 24-7 in Super Bowl VIII at Rice Stadium in Houston. Though there was a franchise in the city of Houston at the time (Oilers), this was the first Super Bowl in which the stadium that it was played in did not host an NFL franchise, as the Oilers were playing their games at the Houston Astrodome.
See you all tomorrow, and have a good rest of your Monday!