Zhouqin Burnikel’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Pervasive as it is, I’m loath to look kindly on a theme based on a commercial venture such as facebook. Among regular clues and in small doses, no problem. Similarly I wouldn’t care for a theme centered on say, Apple or Coca-Cola or Nike.
Nevertheless, here it is. 62a [What the first words in 17-, 29- and 48-Across are] FACEBOOK BUTTONS. I went with … ACTIONS first, and that cost me some solve seconds.
- 17a. [As close as close can be] LIKE WHITE ON RICE. Not a fan of this expression. Further, white is the color in rice, after milling and polishing. Husk, bran, and germ removed.
- 29a. [“How’s it going?,” in Paris] COMMENT ÇA VA.
- 48a. [Stock quotes] SHARE PRICES. Yawn.
Technical point: that trio of options appears under status updates in facebook, but they are represented not as buttons so much as clickable text. I maintain that “actions” would be a more suitable phrasing.
Auxiliary entries: 20a [Log-in info] USER ID, 52a [140-character messages] TWEETS, 66a [Instagram posting] PHOTO.
Long downs: LAKE GENEVA, ALMOND ROCA. Nice.
38d [“American Progress” muralist] SERT. That’s going to scare off some tyro solvers, I should think.
Not thrilled, aesthetically, with both ETD and STD in the same grid.
Odd trivia: 51a [Rapper with a Harvard hip-hop fellowship named in his honor] NAS.
Gail Grabowski and Bruce Venzke’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
To start the week, we receive these OPENING WORDS, [Introductory remarks … and, in a different sense, what the ends of 20-, 35- and 42-Across are] (59a).
- 20a. [Place for a brewski] WATERING HOLE.
- 35a. [No longer valid] NULL AND VOID.
- 42a. [Imbalance of income distribution] ECONOMIC GAP.
Solid, simple theme, if a tad dry.
- Relative crosswordese: ELKO, ELHI, UVEA, ALOU, ETS.
- Longest non-theme entries are a quartet of downs: AIRGUNS, ONE PAGE [Recommended résumé length] (do not see also 31d [Walgreens rival] CVS), TAIL END, JUJITSU. The last, also rendered as jujutsu, translates approximately as “gentle art”.
- 25a [Scientist Wernher __ Braun] VON. See also 55a [Launched capsule] ROCKET.
- 16a [Main blood vessel] AORTA. 67a [Ore layer] VEIN.
- 14a [Home plate crossings] RUNS, 50d [Crosses home plate] SCORES.
- Really having trouble finding aspects to write about. Can you tell?
Bruce Venzke’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Four Vacation Postcards”—Ade’s write-up
Good morning, crossword fans! It’s the summer, and I’m sure a lot of people, myself included, have some vacation time that they might use during this time of year. (Maybe you’ll use it to attend Lollapuzzoola 8 in New York City in a few weeks?!) Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Mr. Bruce Venzke, offers us four different lines vacationers might use on a postcard to you while they’re having the time of their lives!
- WEATHER IS SUPERB (17A: [First vacation postcard message])
- HAVING A GOOD TIME (27A: [Second vacation postcard message])
- EXTENDED OUR STAY (45A: [Third vacation postcard message])
- WISH YOU WERE HERE (61A: [Final vacation postcard message])
No matter how many times I come across ACHT in a grid, I seem to always put in an O instead of an A at the initial time of entering it in (14A: [German “eight”]). Ach! So just in case you were barely managing today, the grid reminded you twice of it, with EKES (22A: [____ by (barely manages)]) and MADE DO (40D: [Barely managed]). Good thing I did the crossings to NAVE and never came across its clue, or I definitely would have put in ‘apse’ without really thinking (15A: [Church area]). Oh, and I initially, just for a split second, thought that the ZOOT being referenced might be the person the zoot suit is named after (69A: [Sax legend Sims]). I’m a pretty big jazz fan, but I have to familiarize myself on his music. It’s definitely going to be hot where I am, so, wherever you are, make sure you have an ICEE or something to cool you down (2D: [Popular frozen drink]). Good way to start a week of crosswords, even if you wish you were on vacation as this moment.
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: SHAQ (3D: [NBA nickname until 2011]) – Shaquille O’Neal, or SHAQ, appears in so many crossword puzzles that it’s hard to use him in this space for fear of overuse. But just know that the 15-time NBA All-Star and 4-time NBA Champion center who is 7-foot-1 went by many nicknames, and most included the word “big,” like “Big Aristotle”, “Big Daddy”, and the “Big Cactus” (for his time spent with the Phoenix Suns). If he were to know about his nickname being so prevalent in grids, should we also bestow upon him the nickname of “The Big Crossword Puzzle?”
See you all tomorrow, and thank you for your time!
Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”
Two completely unfamiliar entries for me:
- 15a. [YouTube celebrity né Felix Kjellberg], PEWDIE PIE. My son knows the name, has seen the videos. Gaming.
- 49a. [Google-like supercompany on TV’s “Silicon Valley”], HOOLI. Haven’t watched it. Too dudely.
- 26a. [Potential union break, in today’s headlines], GREXIT. An exit from the Euro Zone by Greece, that’s what it means?
- WEAKSAUCE is years old now. I like it.
- OPEN-ENDER? Is that really a thing? Never seen that term before.
Wasn’t loving the clues as much as usual. I’d give more detail, but it’s 5 pm and I have work to do yet. 3.5 stars from me.