David Steinberg’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
No specific occasion or anniversary that I can discern for this puzzle’s theme. A mystery, then.
- 23a. [Fictional character who “died” in 1975] HERCULE POIROT. Unclear what precisely those quotation marks are transmitting, the fact that as a fictional character he can’t really die, or that his last published appearance penned by Agatha Christie was in the 1975 novel Curtain, even though the events therein occurred circa 1950.The New York Times took the exceptional step of providing an obituary (front page, no less!) on 6 August 1975, some months before the book was released. Close enough? More likely simple coincidence.
- 18a. [Notable 23-Across feature] MOUSTACHE.
- 39a. [What 23-Across thinks with] LITTLE GREY CELLS.
- 50a. [Notable 23-Across feature] EGG-SHAPED HEAD.
- 62a. [23-Across’s occupation] DETECTIVE.
- A contemporary of the noted investigator appears at 21a [Mr. __ (Marquand sleuth)] MOTO.
- Not really familiar with Poirot’s modus – was he, like Sherlock Holmes, able to infer much about people and situations from the merest APERÇU, 4d [Cursory glance]? Did he have an ASST? Would he eat a SCONE with his tea? Was he, like Nero Wolfe, one who TENDS to a garden? As a French-speaking Belgian it’s quite likely that he referred to many a young woman as MLLE, at least in epistolary matters. (30d, 68a, 71a, 29d)
- Not happy about 14a AGAPE crossing 2d AGAZE. Matters are not helped by the appearance of 66a ATONE and 56d AMEND in analogous locations. Combined, they knocked me for A LOOP but not in a good way (7d).
- 12d/41d [Pine (for]) ACHE, LONG. 45a/47a [Movie filming spot] SET, LOT.
- Longdowns, 11d COCKTAILS and 33d STILETTOS; both can be either formal and classy or forlorn and trashy, depending.
- And speaking of classy, how timely to make mention of the current GOP 2016 frontrunner? 35d [Big feature for Donald Trump or Kanye West] EGO. More editorializing in the crossword, please!
Ray Hamel’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Vowel-sound progression themes are pretty much a dime a dozen on Mondays. Today’s features phrases ending with D—, with the further restriction that each example is a three-letter word.
- 17a. [Thanksgiving, casually] TURKEY DAY.
- 21a. [Actress/activist who was Ossie Davis’ life partner] RUBY DEE.
- 38a. [Crooked craps cube] LOADED DIE.
- 60a. [Anonymous man] JOHN DOE.
- 65a. [“Where Are You!” toon pooch] SCOOBY-DOO.
There you have it.
Midlength vertical stacks in all four corners: GATTACA/EQUINOX/TURBINE, GOODIES/AL DENTE/SLEEKER, SUBJECT/ONE OVER/ROTH IRA, INFIDEL/CARTONS/EPISODE. Very high quality stuff there. SENEGAL, running down in the center, visually stitches them closer.
- 35a [When repeated, a former breath freshener] SEN. Sen-Sens were indeed discontinued, 2013. But their heyday was the 1930s and 1940s – they trucked in nostalgia. I’d definitely have preferred a run-of-the-mill ‘senator’ abbreviation (and found another way to clue 44d ROTH IRA). It is a Monday after all. Choward’s violet still going strong!
- Ancillary not-quite theme bits: 40d [See socially] DATE, 70a [Quattro automaker] AUDI, 41d [Salon colorings] DYES, and reversed for the last two, 19a [“Humble” home] ABODE/67d [Poetic tribute] ODE, 11d [Halloween treats] GOODIES (even more of a stretch: /ʊ/ vs /u/).
Randall J. Hartman’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Back Against the Wall”—Ade’s write-up
Good morning, crossword lovers! Hope the weekend went very, very well for you. Today’s crossword, brought to us by Mr. Randall J. Hartman, involves four theme answers and puns in which the last word in each can also come before the word “wall.” All of the puns are plays off of celebrities of the past and present.
- TRACK WHITE (17A: [Follow television host Vanna?]) – Who still has whitewall on their tires? Come on, you can own up to it!
- STROKE GLASS (30A: [Flatter radio personality Ira?])
- GROUND STONE (48A: [Punish actress Sharon?])
- STOP BERLIN (66A: [Block composer Irving?])
I can’t say that I’m familiar with anything that POCO has done musically (14A: [Country rock band formed in the late ’60s]). They’re probably one of those groups that I’m not familiar with, but have probably heard their music somewhere and didn’t realize it was them. Apparently, they’re still active as a music group. Although not great fill, at least I got to learn another Hungarian city, with EGER (47A: [Hungarian castle city]). Our constructor probably had some Asian cuisine before constructing this grid, especially since there’s the presence of UDON (16A: [Japanese noodle) and DIM SUM in the grid (49D: [Chinese restaurant order]). I’m so picky with my food that I have not had dim sum ever in my life, because I’m always wary of the filling inside of the dumplings, especially if it’s seafood (which I don’t eat). I know, I’m missing out on living life to the fullest! I wish I could live the ultimate epicurean life, but, alas, I’m far from it.
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: SNAKE (20A: [Python or anaconda]) – Sad news from the NFL last month, as former Oakland Raiders quarterback Kenny “SNAKE” Stabler passed away from complications due to Stage 4 colon cancer at the age of 69. Stabler was the quarterback for some great Oakland Raiders teams of the 1970s and finished with a career record of 96-49-1. Snake won the NFL MVP in 1974 and was the QB who helped lead the Raiders to victory in Super Bowl XI. With the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremonies occurring this weekend, I definitely want to lobby for Stabler, as he should be in the Hall of the game’s best ever players.
Thank you for your time, and I’ll see you tomorrow!
BEQ’s Website puzzle: #768: Themeless Monday – Gareth’s review
Hi. This is Gareth filling in for Amy, who is on maternity leave still, after the successful arrival of her new bouncing, baby kidney.
I started today at 1D with BAniSTER which was wrong, but right enough to have me off to the races. It seems a BALUSTER and a BANISTER are basically the same thing though.
I suspect that BOJACK/HORSEMAN was the actual marquee phrase today, and will please all those who have heard of it, and mystify those like me who haven’t. The longest pair are the crossing central 15’s, both spoken phrases: HERESTHEPROBLEM and READYWHENYOUARE. Outside of these, there’s not all that much going on. JOLTCOLA shares its J with BOJACK; I considered bOLTCOLA, but BOBACK sounded off…
In the clue what you know file: [Try to get things your way (if you’re a three year old)], CRY but hopefully not [___ dysfunction], ERECTILE.
[Bit of the “Hey Jude” outro], NANANA – the rest being “hey, hey, hey / kiss him goodbye”.
Least interesting difficult answer: [City and county seat in southwest Missouri], NEOSHO. Anyone slap this baby down with no crossings?