Paula Gamache’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Methods of striking a small, dimpled white orb.
62a [Having debts … or where to find a golf ball after 17-, 30-, 37- and 48-Across’s starts?] IN THE HOLE.
- 17a. [They lead to garages] DRIVEWAYS. Or away from them, depending on how you look at it.
- 30a. [Tool for moving hay] PITCHFORK. Ironic hipster quotient might have gone up by cluing this as the on-line music review media organization.
- 37a. [Pressed, recycled paper used for notepad backing] CHIPBOARD. In some places, chipboard means particle board.
- 48a. [Slow motorboats, informally] PUTT-PUTTS. For obvious reasons, this couldn’t be clued as courses belonging to the miniature golf franchise.
The remainder of the crossword is mostly unremarkable and mostly inoffensive.
- Least favorite fill: partials “That’s ONE I haven’t heard”, In A ROW (lined up), BHT [Food preservative letters]. (43a, 67a, 22d)
- Favorite clue: 27d [Often-difficult part of a jigsaw puzzle] SKY.
- Favorite fill: 2d WARPATH.
Bruce Venzke and Gail Grabowski’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
I found the revealer, located in one of the typical locations (last long across), to be a bit unwieldy. Nevertheless, 62a DO THE SPLITS [Prefer a cheerleader’s feat, and a hint to what 17-, 23-, 40- and 50-Across’s first words have in common] gets the job done.
- 17a. [Sensible] LEVEL-HEADED.
- 23a. [Actor’s tryout] SCREEN TEST.
- 40a. [Romantic anniversary getaway] SECOND HONEYMOON.
- 50a. [Concert memento] TICKET STUB.
Split-level, split-screen, split-second, split ticket. Fair enough.
Some rough names for an ostensibly introductory-level Monday offering. 58d [Italian actress Virna] LISI, 54a [Irish actor Milo] O’SHEA, 25d [North Carolina university] ELON, perhaps even 21a [Actor Rob of “90210”] ESTES, 2d [Robert who played Anthony Soprano, Jr.] ILER, and 56d [Omar of “House”] EPPS. What’s that? Not enough actors for you? Okay, have some 46a [“Full House” acting twins] OLSENS and 9d [Cohort of Curly and Larry] MOE, 42d YEE-haw! Hum? Want more acting venues? Sure! A dollop of 43a [1970s–’80s sketch show] SCTV and 18d [“__ Girl Friday”: 1940 Cary Grant comedy] HIS for ya.
The grid feels a bit slapdash, with stale and stuffy three-letter fill such as AS A, AKA, LYE, STY populating the upper right and lower left corners. and lots more threes throughout. And then it winds down with SWISS and SSTS as the braces in the southwest corner—that’s 5 of 9 letters as esses—even though not all the words that they end are plurals, it still feels shoddy.
53d [Urban transport] BUS. Plenty of rural and interstate bus routes. Weird clue.
No fun or playful clues (with the arguable exception of the implicitly alliterative [Tricycle riders] for 12d TYKES), ho-hum theme with an awkward revealer, and a feckless grid add up to an insipid and unsatisfying crossword.
Alan Arbesfeld’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Labor Day Tribute”—Ade’s write-up
Good morning, everyone! Hope you all are able to take a load off on this Labor Day and enjoy the great weather. (Well, hopefully, there’s great weather by you.) So what better way to celebrate Labor Day by being reminded, in a crossword puzzle, of the final few stages of pregnancy while women are in labor? That’s exactly what we have today, from Mr. Alan Arbesfeld, as either an entire theme entry or the first word of a theme answer refers to just that. Definitely wasn’t expecting that theme when reading the title and given the day, but cool nonetheless.
- CONTRACTIONS (20A: [English teacher’s interest in Labor Day?])
- PUSHING ONE’S LUCK (34A: [Gambler’s interest in Labor Day?])
- BIRTH OF THE BLUES (46A: [Musicologist’s interest in Labor Day?])
- BABY EGGPLANT (54A: [Chef’s interest in Labor Day?])
Again, the funny thing was that I really wasn’t looking for that theme, and when I finished the puzzle, it took me about a couple of minutes until I knew what it really was. I didn’t really mind too much that one of the theme answers was just one word, while the others were multiple-word entries. I’m pretty embarrassed that I didn’t know SCOTCH carried that meaning before doing today’s puzzle (4D: [Put the kibosh on]). So I didn’t know that off the bat, but knew about ETONS immediately when seeing its clue (66A: [Waist-length jackets]). Go figure. Usually am not high on the syllable-related clues, like the one for SHORT I, since it’s not the greatest of fill and I’m usually slow to recognize that type of clue (5D: [Dinner has it, but diner doesn’t]). This was pretty straightforward, but others have gotten me IN TROUBLE in crosswords past (18A: [Up the creek]). Fun puzzle to do on a holiday.
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: GREGG (40D: [One of the Allman Brothers]) – Former National Football League player Forrest GREGG was a key member of five Green Bay Packer championship teams in the 1960s, including the first two Super Bowls. At one point, Gregg held the National Football League record for most consecutive games played at 188, from 1956 to 1971. After his playing days, Gregg went on to become a head coach in the NFL and in the Canadian Football League, and he was the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals when they reached their first ever Super Bowl (XVI) at the end of the 1981 season. Following his stellar playing career, Gregg was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.
Have a great rest of your holiday, and I’ll see you tomorrow!
Patrick Blindauer’s monthly website crossword “This and That” — Matt’s review
Two-way rebus from Patrick this month, with four squares taking one half of an “x and y” phrase on the across, and the other on the down:
23-A [Cartoons collected in “The Chickens Are Restless”] = THE (FAR) SIDE, and 4-D [Cruise vehicle of 1999] = EYES (WIDE) SHUT. Far and wide.
18-A [“Keep going!“] = DON’T (GIVE) UP, and 12-D [“Once it’s mine, it’s mine”] = NO (TAKE)BACKS. Give and take.
60-A [General’s command] = AS (YOU) WERE, and 38-D [“I want to be included”] = COUNT (ME) IN. You and me.
53-a [Know how to do masterfully] = HAVE (DOWN) PAT, and 35-D [Wind up] = TURN (OUT) TO BE. Down and out.
So that’s some reasonable two-way rebus action. I caught the idea pretty quickly; not at all shocked when the answer you’re expecting doesn’t fit into the allotted space in a Blindauer, and once the EYES (WIDE) SHUT / THE (FAR) SIDE square fell I saw what was going on.
*** Had the hardest time with 25-D, where [Criminal] yields ILLEGIT. Is that legit? It sounds good, but I had ILLEGAL and then ILLICIT and could not figure out what was going on for quite a while.
*** Dude crushed it on the sevens: RIP OPEN, CLINTON, ICEBERG, KANSANS, PLAYPEN, RIP OPEN, meta-reference REBUSES, and DIRECTV. Not to mention the sixes: EPI-PEN, CLICHE and SIN TAX are all nice as well.
*** [Reese’s “Pleasantville” costar] is TOBEY Maguire, who will be playing Bobby Fischer in a new movie coming out in a couple of weeks.
*** Favorite clue: [Letters on a hole card?] for IOU.
4.25 stars from me. Happy Labor Day!
Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”—Amy’s write-up
Hey! Shortly after I finished this puzzle, I looked at the TV and Victoria AZARENKA was playing at the US Open. Luckily, I knew the name while I was solving the crossword.
Other fill I liked: BBQ WINGS with its nutty consonant pile-up. HIPPOS are always fun. Almost bought ORBIT GUM in “sweet mint” yesterday. BEST CASE is optimal. NEPENTHE is your classical brain obliterator; pretty word, no? BOB VILA, BREAK IN, QB SNEAK, SILENT R, and PAY DIRT also good.
Could do without bits like ERNE and INRI, OARED and DAI.
Last letter I filled in: Changed an M in MFAS to a B in BFAS crossing the fish called the SAND DAB. Meh.
Unfamiliar references: [Peter Pan’s home] for BUS DEPOT—Peter Pan only operates in the Northeast, which makes the clue suboptimal for a nationwide audience. [Progressive Field, familiarly], THE JAKE? Never heard of THE JAKE, no idea where it is. Asked my sports-fan spouse, who also drew a blank; he’s heard of Cleveland’s old Jacobs Field but not its nickname.
3.75 stars from me for this 72-worder. More credits than debits.