Paolo Pasco’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Not expecting a ton of clamor for people to read about this crossword, as we’re of course in the midst of Super Bowl evening, so maybe I have further cause to issue a minimal (though not shoddy!) write-up.
61-across is [Tabloid twosomes … or a hint to the answers to the starred clues] IT COUPLES. Ergo, phrases with the bigram I-T appearing twice.
- 17a. [*Like a nursery rhyme spider] ITSY-BITSY. Overtly reduplicative.
- 11d. [*Basics, informally] NITTY GRITTY. Ditto.
- 26d. [*Place often marked with a star on 24-Down] CAPITAL CITY. Ew! Theme is touching ballast gravy on my grid plate! Mommmmmm! Oh, that’s [Atlas contents] MAPS.
- 39a. [*Big seller for Sports Illustrated] SWIMSUIT EDITION.
I prefer the non-reduplicative themers, simply because they’re more unexpected. Or, possibly, less expected.
- What does it say about me—hey I wonder if I should initialize that since I tend to use it fairly often—that, despite ‘star’ and ‘starred’ appearing in theme clues (or perhaps because of them, and I was primed?) I first filled in 51a [Gesture of sarcastic support] as GOLD STAR instead of GOLF CLAP. Good thing I didn’t go into teaching.
- 5d [Long-distance lover’s lament] I MISS YOU.
- 9d [Coach who said “The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work”] LOMBARDI. Hey, that’s a football thingie. He was the winning coach in Super Bowls I and II. The quarterback was Bart Starr. I keep seeing stars!
- 13d [Stuck-up sort] SNOOT, 32a [Fussy sort] PRIG.
- 22d [Org. for Nadal and Federer] ATP. Not adenosine triphosphate, alas. Pfft.
- 45a [Palindromic boy’s name] OTTO. 29a [Palindromic girl’s name] AVA. See also, 64d [New Year’s __ ] EVE.
- 27a [What sets things in motion] CATALYST. That’s a nice word. Enzymes can catalyze adenosine triphosphate, incidentally.
- Meta! 71a [“I’d like ‘The New York Times Crossword’ for $200, __”] ALEX.
… and the Jeopardy! clue is the finale.
Andrea Carla Michaels’ Wall Street Journal crossword, “What’s My Line?” — Jim’s review
Good Monday morning to you! Whether you didn’t bother with or get enough of the big game yesterday, we have more games for you here!
ACM brings us classic venerable game shows clued with their conversational synonyms.
- 20A [“As a matter of fact…”] TO TELL THE TRUTH
- 40A [“Definitely worth getting”] THE PRICE IS RIGHT
- 57A [“Yes, absolutely”] YOU BET YOUR LIFE
Sparse, but nice theme set. To me though, the clue for THE PRICE IS RIGHT feels a tad off. I’m not sure those two EQUATE. “Worth” doesn’t necessarily mean a monetary price; it might be “worth the trouble” to get something. I should think the clue should use the word “value”, as in [“It’s good value for money…”] or something along those lines.
Of this set, my favorite is/was TO TELL THE TRUTH. I used to watch that with my family growing up. It always seemed very smart to me, and I enjoyed watching grown-ups lie to each other for entertainment. What was/is your favorite game show?
And then of course there’s the title “What’s My Line?”, which is perfectly chosen to not only allude to other game shows, but to ask solvers “What is the significance of these theme answers?” Nice choice.
At first, I thought there would be many other classic game shows that could’ve worked with this theme, like LET’S MAKE A DEAL. But then I found that few of them are as conversational as this set.
I need to cut this short, but the rest of the grid is tight and clean with Monday-level clues. Favorite fill includes NAME DROP, IRON LADY, DROLL, and BOOTIE. AZTEC and NEHRU might be challenging neighbors on a Monday, but they look GREAT together.
A couple of very minor nits. 38D: I wish SST would be retired like SSTs IRL. And 42D: If our theme is classic (game) shows, why not clue ROPER as the classic sitcom character? 61D: I SEE is clued as a bit of dialog [“Yes, it’s clear now”] but is not related to the theme, so it’s mildly distracting.
On the whole, though, light but fun puzzle.
Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”—Amy’s write-up
Lovely 66-worder today, with lots of fresh fill. I was most fond of IN IT TO WIN IT, TRUST FALL, POPPERS, PHLEGM (yes), SPACEMAN Spiff (we would also have accepted Dr. Spaceman from 30 Rock—that’s pronounced spuh-chay-min), TARA REID, ODDBALL, TSURIS, HAIR METAL BAND, HARD EIGHT, and SAVE PAR.
Granted, the grid also brought us STERES, REGRADE, plural ENEROS and RAHS, but they didn’t taint my solve. GRIPER‘s a bit roll-your-own as well.
Never heard of 48a. [Early TV detective show that took place on Honolulu], HAWAIIAN EYE. Apparently it ran for 4 seasons, brought Robert Conrad of battery commercial fame into the big time (he played a half-Hawaiian character—hey! just like his fellow white person Emma Stone in Aloha playing a half Asian/Pacific Islander character), as well as featuring what I’m guessing may well be American TV’s first Filipino-American regular cast member.
- 44a. [Language where “pitzootz” means “awesome”], HEBREW. Did not know that. It’s awesome.
- 21a. [Walter Payton Man of the Year Award league], NFL. Some prefer to avoid using “league” in NFL clues but I don’t think it’s that deadly. Also! Two relatives wore their Payton jerseys for the Super Bowl yesterday. Can’t believe Sweetness’s Super Bowl was 30 years ago.
- 10d. [Pill book: Abbr.], PDR. Physicians’ Desk Reference. I don’t think (m)any doctors are still using the printed PDR. There are so many apps and online references that supersede it and are handier than a giant hardbound volume.
Four stars from me.
David Steinberg’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
What with CROAK and OLDS appearing together in the second row, I couldn’t help feeling this crossword’s theme had a creaky and old aura about it.
- R56a. [Musicians found at the ends of 16-, 24-, 37- and 46-Across] ROCK GROUPS.
- 16a. [Birds on United States seals] BALD EAGLES.
- 24a. [Commonly multi-paned patio entrances] FRENCH DOORS.
- 37a. [Reptiles known for their strong jaws] SNAPPING TURTLES.
- 46a. [Bank transport vehicles] ARMORED CARS.
The Eagles, the Doors, the Turtles, and the Cars. Generally speaking, that’s 1970s, ’60s (×2), ’80s. Consistency in dropped definite articles among the band names, but see what I mean about a musty vibe? Even the contemporary 30a [Send a racy phone message to] SEXT and 64a [“I’m not impressed”] MEH barely offset the needle. YEA, the grid E’EN further reinforces a SEPIA-toned sense with AARP and DIRGE. (34a, 51a, 19a, 42a, 43a) But of course I’m cherry-picking for pointed effect.
- 48d [Desert plants] CACTI, 63a Fertile desert spots] OASES.
- Longdowns: 10d Post-race place for a NASCAR winner] VICTORY LANE, 23a [Versatile, as a wardrobe] MIX-AND-MATCH.
- 21a [Explosion noise] BAM. Has this ever been clued as the Brooklyn Academy of Music? It’s quite the major venue these days.
- Stacked partials: 55a [ __ Spumante] ASTI, 61a [Costa __ ] RICA.
- 38d [Good vibrations, in the cat world] PURRS. I trust my disapproval of the notion espoused by this clue is well-known in these parts.
- Favorite clue: 47d [Riveting icon] ROSIE. It isn’t much, but that’s what you get on Mondays.
For what it’s worth, there was a doo-wop group called the WRENS (66a), as well as a current indie-pop band with that moniker. Not to mention the short-lived British band the WEEDS (12d). No ASICS (53a) or TADS (4d) as far as I know, but there were the Four Lads. Obviously the ALARM (46d) doesn’t figure into this.
Alan Arbesfeld’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Go-Between”—Ade’s write-up
Happy Lunar New Year, everyone! I hope everyone is doing well, and hope those in the Northeast are coping well with another snowstorm. Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Mr. Alan Arbesfeld, is more fun with puns, as common phrases are altered by adding the letters “GO” consecutively in between the phrases, changing the meaning.
- CONGO GAME (17A: [African hunter’s quarry?]) – Con game.
- MANGO FRIDAY (32A: [Once a week special on a certain tropical fruit?]) – Man Friday.
- BONGO VOYAGE (48A: [Apt title for a Cuban drummer’s memoir?]) – Bon voyage.
- TANGO LINE (65A: [Queue for a Latin ballroom dance?]) – Tan line.
This might be the first puzzle in which both famous biblical twins, ESAU (15A: [Biblical twin]) and JACOB, appeared at the same time in the grid (29D: [Biblical twin]). Reunited at last, right?! Got off to a pretty sluggish start for some reason, and really got tied up with ENDO, as I put in “ecto” initially and caused some serious gridlock in the middle (26D: [Prefix with plasm]). (Did I put in “ecto” because of the times I drank the Hi-C Ecto Cooler drink, the one which featured Slimer from Ghostbusters on the front of the box? I hope not!) Finally tangled my way out of that when I finally saw the clue to ADELAIDE and made the change at the end of that entry (36A: [“Guys and Dolls” character known for her lament]). Favorite fill of the day was, by far, FAR AND WIDE (11D: [Everywhere]). Oh, and is it a coincidence to have LUNA in the grid for the Lunar New Year today (3D: [Moon goddess])?? Hmmm…
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: TACO (1D: [Menu item at a Mexican restaurant]) –Seeing this clue, almost immediately, made me think of the former Kansas State University wide receiver TACO Wallace, who spent two seasons in Manhattan (Kansas, not New York) in 2001 and 2002 and led K-State with 704 yards receiving and five touchdowns in the 2002 season. He was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the 7th round of the 2003 NFL Draft but never caught a pass in the league.
Have a good rest of your Monday, everyone!
Alex Eaton-Salners’s BuzzFeed crossword, “Drop a Beat”—Andy’s review
Another regular BuzzFeed contributor is back for more. In this one, rap, R&B, and hip-hop artists lose a single letter from their names; one of the artist’s hit songs is reimagined with a parenthetical about their new name; hilarity ensues:
- 16a, PUBIC ENEMY [Rap group that dropped “Don’t Believe the Hype (That I Have Crabs)”?]. Public Enemy loses an L.
- 21a, KID CUD [Hip-hop artist who dropped “Pursuit of Happiness (And Regurgitated Food That I Can Keep Chewing On)”?]. Kid Cudi loses the terminal I.
- 24a, FIFTY ENT [Gangsta rapper who dropped “Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (To Storm Isengard)”?]. Fifty Cent loses a C; the puzzle manages to include LoTR content.
- 48a, YOUNG HUG [Weirdo Atlanta rapper that dropped “Best Friend (Who Wraps His Arms Around Me)”?]. Young Thug loses a T.
- 50a, ICE CUB [N.W.A. rapper who dropped “It Was A Good Day (To Adopt a Baby Bear)”?]. Ice Cube drops the final E.
- 55a, HOUSE OF PAN [Hip-hop group that dropped “Jump Around (The Kitchen)”?]. House of Pain loses an I.
For me, this is an okay theme, but I wished it had had more of a raison d’etre. The title (“Drop a Beat”) didn’t quite do enough for me. I thought the dropped letters might spell something, but I’m pretty sure LICTEI isn’t anything (except an anagram of ELICIT). My guess is that PUBIC ENEMY was the seed entry because the other five themers weren’t quite as funny.
Where else but BuzzFeed could you get a 1a clue with the phrase “sweaty dog taint”? (YELP, [Crowdsourced reviewing website where a review of the French Laundry by Michael J. asserts that “most of the food tasted like a sweaty dog’s taint.”]). I learned that a swarm of GNATs at dusk is called a ghost.
Signature Caleb clue of the day: GOT [Understood, as the acronym for a popular HBO fantasy show]. (Namely, Game of Thrones.) Runner-up: ASS [A hardy and gregarious African or Asian perissodactyl mammal with long ears…or dat booty].
I won’t lie: I giggled at the clue for SHUT [Kindly close, as your loud-ass piehole]. Another favorite clue was for TUT TUT [“Tsk tsk” relative that is only different by four letters]. Loved seeing “ONE OF US” and GAG RULE in the grid.
Maybe a bit on the challenging side for a Monday, but this one was at least easier than last week’s Monday. Until next time!