Janice Luttrell’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Simple Monday theme: BREAD is the revealer, clued as [Moolah … or the makeup of the ends of the answers to the starred clues]. Two Across and two Down theme answers end with bread products, used in non-baked contexts:
- 18a. [*1938 Horse of the Year], SEABISCUIT.
- 54a. [*Hunk], STUDMUFFIN.
- 4d. [*Provide funds for], BANKROLL.
- 38d. [*”Bat Out of Hell” singer], MEAT LOAF.
It’s ever so slightly confusing to have so many longish two-part Across entries in the grid, which is why the theme clues have asterisks. KICK BACK, GOOD EGG, MYSPACE, and CAPS LOCK all have the look of potential theme answers, but they aren’t baked. They’re all great fill, mind you. Overall the fill was smooth, though younger solvers may have struggled with the LONI and BURT cross-references and Pia ZADORA.
Three more things:
- I have a melon question. I see watermelons in the store all summer long. I think cantaloupes and honeydew melons might be sold throughout more of the year (but I loathe both so I don’t know how seasonal they skew). But this 5d. [Yellow-skinned melon], CASABA—how common is that? I just checked a grocery site, and they have the three familiar melons but no casaba. Have you ever eaten it?
- 22a. [Artificial jewelry], PASTE. I feel like this may be an older term that’s not used much anymore (but prefer a cheap jewelry clue over a hitting-related verb clue; of course, the ssticky stuff is fine too). Is the term still in use? Also! It’s not artificial jewelry. The jewelry is real, but is made with cheaper substitutes for precious stones and maybe metals.
- 44d. [Original judge on “The People’s Court”], WAPNER! Judge Judy has eclipsed him but solvers of sufficient age may always have a soft spot for Judge Wapner.
Four stars from me.
Maxine Cantor’s (Manx Creation) Wall Street Journal crossword, “Killing Time” — Jim’s review
A rather ominous way to start the week, but maybe it’s somehow related to today being the tax deadline.
- 17a [Group that includes envy and anger] SEVEN DEADLY SINS. A gimme, though I normally see “wrath” instead of “anger”.
- 26a [Game franchise with a dragon logo] MORTAL KOMBAT. Anyone play this anymore?
- 43a [1987 buddy cop movie] LETHAL WEAPON
- 57a [1987 Glenn Close thriller] FATAL ATTRACTION. Wow. 1987 was a deadly year at the box office!
The obvious connection is that each phrase contains a synonym for “terminal,” as in “causing death”.
There are some inconsistencies in the theme answers: Two are huge hit 1987 films, two are not; three are pop culture titles, one is not; and those same three have the synonym at the beginning of their answers, the other’s is in the middle. If those inconsistencies don’t bother you, then you probably enjoyed the puzzle just fine.
Me, I didn’t notice the inconsistencies because I didn’t stop to think about the theme until I was done. It was a pretty quick solve with solid fill except for that challenging A TERRE / PAEANS section (45– and 46d), but the crossings there were simple. I have heard the phrase PIED-À-TERRE before (36a / 45d), but didn’t know that it meant […secondary home in the city]. Literally it translates to “foot on the ground.”
Good non-theme fill includes ONLOOKER, NATALIE, and FOLK TALE.
Missteps: I wanted NUDE for BARE (1a: [In the buff]), NON-PC for NOT PC (42d: [Sexist or racist, say]), and TALL TALE for FOLK TALE (37d: [“Pecos Bill or “Paul Bunyan”]).
Clues of note:
- 25a: [“Taste the Feeling” brand] is COKE. Didn’t know this. It’s part of a complete global marketing shift for the soda brand.
- 21a: [Everybody, in the South] is Y’ALL. Y’ALL is such a useful pronoun; it shouldn’t only be relegated to the South. Maybe if Y’ALL start using it, it’ll catch on nationwide.
- 13d: [Like taking candy from a baby] is EASY in the grid, but might not be EASY IRL.
Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”—Amy’s write-up
Highly distracted by tracking my husband’s progress in the Boston Marathon today! Solved this puzzle while he ran the final split. (3:35:11 unofficial finish!)
Likes: IN N OUT, “CAN’T HURT,” the ORANGE JUICE and RUM row (apparently that would be a Cuban screwdriver), NURSE’S AIDE, “YAAAS QUEEN” (though I feel that we want more than one S there), DINOSAUR EGG, the aquiline “LYIN’ EYES,” JAUNT, PALISADe, DELINQUENT, STRUDELS (those are glazed, though??), and HOT MESS.
I kinda dig the HIRT repetition between TEE-SHIRT and its crossing AL HIRT (and I wish people would quit complaining that such letter repetitions are somehow bad).
1d. [Minnesota city and county seat]? Yes, I’ve been through WINONA. And you?
Wait, is this a 64-worder? Feels mighty smooth for that word count. 4.25 stars from me.
C.C. Burnikel’s Los Angeles Times crossword —Ade’s write-up
Good afternoon, everyone! Hope you’re all doing well today. We have Ms. C.C. Burnikel presenting us with today’s crossword, and you’re definitely allowed to monkey around while solving. Each of the theme entries contains consecutive bubbles which, when standing alone, are words that also can come after the word “monkey.” YEAR OF THE MONKEY acts as the reveal, located at the bottom of the grid (60A: [It more or less coincides with 2016 on Chinese calendars…and a hint to this puzzle’s circles]).
- OPEN FOR BUSINESS (16A: [Ready to admit customers])
- SKI SUIT (38A: [Outfit for the slopes])
- FREE TRIAL (10D: [Seller’s come-on]) – If I remember correctly, there was a puzzle fairly recently that featured a clue which mentioned the Scopes Monkey Trial and where it took place (Dayton, TN).
- CANDY BARS (34D: [Snickers and Milky Way])
So not only are there theme entries in today’s grid, there’s another that easily could have joined that group, WENT APE (4D: [Came unglued]). Actually, that entry was part of the grid that went down last, as I initially had “whew” instead of PHEW, and correcting that was the last thing I did for today’s solve (1A: [“That was close!”]). For better or worse, the scene from The Silence of the Lambs popped in my mind when seeing CHIANTI (44D: [Wine in a straw-wrapped bottle]). Please tell me I’m not the only one who has had that happen to them when coming across the wine (or fava beans). Anyone here ever saw at least one episode of ALIAS, the former ABC drama starring Jennifer Garner (50A: [False name])? My brother used to be glued to that show, and, I know a few people my age started to really get into those spy thrillers because of that show. I’ll have to catch it sometime soon, though I’m sure my brother is getting ready to buy the DVD box set soon.
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: STOKE (23D: [Tend, as a fire]) – I couldn’t make this up if I tried. At the moment I’m typing this, I’m also watching an English Premier League soccer game, and one of the teams featured is STOKE City F.C., a professional soccer team in England located in the West Midlands county of Staffordshire. After a long period in the lower leagues of English football, the Potters, nicknamed so because of the once-thriving pottery businesses in Stoke-on-Trent and in the Staffordshire region, were once again promoted to the Premier League after the 2007-08 season, and have resided in England’s top flight since.
Thank you so much for your time, as well as for your consideration in reading the blog today from a pinch-hitter. Talk soon!
LOVE (13A: [Affectionate email closing]),
Patrick Jordan’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Motion Denied” —Ade’s write-up
Hello once again! Back to my regular post right now, and it’s time to break down today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Mr. Patrick Jordan. It’s a pretty straightforward puzzle with the same clue for each of the four theme entries in the puzzle.
- ORTHODONTIST (20A: [Professional who may say “Hold still!”])
- X-RAY TECHNICIAN (31A: [Professional who may say “Hold still!”])
- PORTRAIT ARTIST (41A: [Professional who may say “Hold still!”])
- TRICK SHOOTER (55A: [Professional who may say “Hold still!”])
Took a little while to get into a groove, as usually happens when this type of theme us utilized. (I get caught up in thinking what the actual jobs/occupations are, instead of just solving and letting the answers come to me.) We’re not too far away from the Run for the ROSES for 2016, and, one of these days, I’ll make it back to Louisville for it (53D: [Kentucky Derby winner’s garland]). If you’ve never been to Churchill Downs on Derby Day, definitely do yourself a favor and visit, especially on the first Saturday in May. (Well, for those who don’t mind horses being run for sport, you should head there and take it in.) Skipped out on lunch today, so seeing TACO is definitely helping in building up the appetite for dinner (15A: [Cantina menu item]). Well, speaking of food, it’s time to get some right now. So I’ll leave you with this…
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: GAR (30A: [Pikelike fish]) – One of the most famous shots ever made in NBA (and NBA Playoffs) history occurred in Game 5 of the 1976 NBA Finals, when GAR Heard of the Phoenix Suns hit a turn-around jumper with one second remaining to force the contest against the Boston Celtics into triple overtime at 112-112. Despite that, the Suns would lose the game in Boston Garden, 128-126, and the Celts would win the title in the next game (Game 6) in Phoenix. Here’s that famous shot by Gar, by the way, with Brent Musburger on the play-by-play…
Thank you so much for your time today, and I’ll see you tomorrow!