Lynn Lempel’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
The theme entries take compound words and reinterpret them as a commanding verb and a famous person’s surname:
- 18a. [“Wilbur, get in the game!”], PLAY, WRIGHT.
- 20a. [“Elijah, press your clothes!”], IRON, WOOD. I didn’t know ironwood was a word. Term for trees with particularly hard wood.
- 33a. [“Eric, give some to us!”], SHARE, HOLDER.
- 42a. [“Sally, keep up the fight!”], BATTLE, FIELD.
- 56a. [“Larry, shoot!”], FIRE, BIRD.
- 60a. [“Emma, do that sexy dance!”], GRIND, STONE.
I’m actually surprised this ran on a Monday, as the lack of additional context for each famous person (there are other famous Emmas and Erics, after all) makes the theme a bit harder, and some of the fill (TBAR, AVEO, YAW, ILIA, DEBS) felt supra-Monday to me.
Favorite fill: SUBTLETIES, WOBBLY, BOGGED DOWN, CATTY BOZO.
3.9 stars from me.
Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”—Amy’s write-up
I love the central Down 15: 8d. [Waiter’s compliment], “EXCELLENT CHOICE.” They never suck their teeth and say, “Ooooh, I … don’t think you want to order that.” You know they wish they could.
- 24a. [When you might be turnt or rekt?], IN SLANG. Feels like this would be more of a “where” than a “when,” no?
- I never like EELY (30a. [Hard to pin down]), but here it crosses Cam NEELY, and I’m wishing he were called Eely Neely.
- 31a. [Tilted, near the Thames], LEANT. Hey! Cue for a Briticism.
- 33a. [Bless, old-style], ANELE. Oh, good lord. Been so long since I saw this crosswordese in a puzzle, I actually needed all the crossings. The tricky clue for NORTH (34d. [Straight up?]) slowed me down.
- 39d. [FaceTime necessities], WEBCAMS. On a phone or tablet, is the camera still called a webcam? I’d wager than most FaceTime users are on mobile.
- Toughest crossing: 45d. [Celebrity chef Garcia], LORENA, meets 43a. [One in basic training: Abbr.], ENL, at the L. Is that actually a common military abbreviation for those in basic training, ENL for enlistee or enlisted??
- 12d. [Pro Football Hall of Famer who served on Minnesota’s Supreme Court], ALAN PAGE. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of him.
Not keen on BRAES, TSARS, GLUER, EL-HI, NOT NEW, either. But I do like CITIZEN X, RUDOLF NUREYEV, STYRON and TURGENEV, CIA AGENT, and RIVER RAT.
3.6 stars from me.
Dan Fisher’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “B&BS” — Jim’s review
Based on the title, I was hoping some BS would be involved in the puzzle, but that’s not the case.
Instead our theme is AND phrases where the other two words start with B. That’s it. I know, I know. It’s Monday.
- 20a [Popular soup choice] BEEF AND BARLEY
- 25a [Song from 1948’s “The Paleface” that earned an Oscar] BUTTONS AND BOWS
- 41a [Fundamental source of livelihood] BREAD AND BUTTER
- 47a [Fox News Channel business show] BULLS AND BEARS
In other news:
- I liked PEABRAIN, PITTANCE, and WANNA BET, but ASSENT TO seems like a waste of an 8-letter Down.
- 40d RUMBLES, clued as [Gang fights], seems ridiculously outdated.
- 10d EPA LAB? ([Govt. water-testing facility]) *grumble*
- Other less-than-stellar entries are IAMB, UTILE, and RIAA. So…yeah.
Ed Sessa’s Los Angeles Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
The theme is 56a. [“Applause, applause!” … or what one might do in front of the last words of 20-, 29- and 46-Across], or GIVE ‘EM A HAND. Add the last word of each theme answer to HAND and you get a compound word:
- 20a. [Kid’s sidewalk business], LEMONADE STAND. Handstand.
- 29a. [Nestlé bottled water brand], POLAND SPRING. Handspring. A gymnastics sub-theme!
- 46a. [Soda fountain order], VANILLA SHAKE. “Soda fountain,” ha. How many “soda fountains” remain today as places you can get a shake? Ice cream parlors/stores, diners, or fast-food joints are more likely. Handshake … and the gymnastics sub-theme dies. I wish the STAND or SPRING had been BAG, RAIL, or SET to avoid the “two of one, one of another”-ness here.
Surprised to see AMAT, STET, and ADANO in a Monday grid.
NANNY GOAT, HEAD FIRST, and KNAVES are nice fill.
I just groused about seeing FOTO in an NYT puzzle, and here it is again as 67a. [Pic, in ads]. I challenge you to find a current ad running in the U.S. that uses this spelling for the noun.
10d. [Whiskers spot], CHIN? Not so much if you’re a cat.
3.25 stars from me.