Lynn Lempel’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Phrases, et cetera, which happen to be bookended by synonyms for ‘fool’, as per the revealer at 64a [Engage in some horseplay … or a hint to the words spelled out in the circles] FOOL AROUND. Fool … around, get it?
- 17a. [Leave one’s vehicle in a traffic lane, say] DOUBLE PARK. Dork.
- 24a. [Iconic U.S. cabinetmaker of the early 1800s] DUNCAN PHYFE. Dunce. Iconic, really?
- 37a. [Physical expression of victory] CHEST BUMP. Chump.
- 55a. [Spinal cord cell needed for muscle contraction] MOTOR NEURON. Moron.
Some good vertical stacking in the corners. Maybe it’s just my general ennui at the moment, but this seemed like a decidedly adequate crossword. Nothing to get excited about, and a reasonable theme.
- 9a [What ran away with the spoon, in “Hey Diddle Diddle”] DISH, 53a [Spoon or spatula] UTENSIL.
- Least favorite abbrevs.: ISR, ASSN, ENGR. But there were more.
- 20a [Larch or birch] TREE. 43a [Slovakia and Slovenia] NATIONS.
Okay, I’m out of ideas,
Oh wait, “iconic 1800s cabinetmaker”. Let me laugh again.
John Lampkin’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Down in the Mouth” — Jim’s review
Puns for dentists, today!
- 20a [When drill hits enamel?] MOMENT OF TOOTH
- 35a [Chinese for “harmonious canines”?] FANG SHUI
- 42a [Huge orthodontic misalignment issue?] MEGABITE. As opposed to a simple overbite.
- 61a [Dental work using alloys?] MIXED FILLINGS
Fine theme, though it seems a little light, especially when two of the four themers are only 8 letters long. Maybe add another entry involving molars? Perhaps, MOLAR TIME? (Miller time…I know, terrible.)
But the light theme allows for some really great fill. Check out this clutch of 7-letter Down entries: CLAM BAR, HUMOR ME, GOOF OFF, AIM HIGH (clued as [Have lofty goals], but we would also have accepted [Air Force motto]), GREMLIN, JIGGERS, and APE SUIT. Plus, EDIFICE, IN A MOOD, and INANITY.
There are only a handful of abbreviations and acronyms, such as AGT, GMC, SCI, HMO, MPS, and F.A.O., and nothing at all uncommon. I think the strangest-looking thing in the grid is SAYST at 73a, but the clue [“What ___ thou?”] is straightforward.
Republicans are reminded of [Trump’s demeaning label for Megyn Kelly], i.e. BIMBO. But thankfully everything is now hunky-dory in Republicanland.
Overall, a modest, punny theme with some humor, but what stands out is the really shining grid.
Randall J. Hartman’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Final Words” —Ade’s write-up
Hello there, everyone! Hope you’re having a good start to the new week. Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Mr. Randall J. Hartman, includes theme answers in which the final few letters of the last word in the theme answer, if standing alone, form a word that’s synonymous with arguing. Speaking of arguing, the fourth theme entry, CLOSING ARGUMENTS, acts as the reveal (55A: [Courtroom conclusion (and a hint to 17-, 25-, and 43-Across)]).
- RICHARD DREYFUSS (17A: [1978 Academy Award winner for Best Actor])
- JACK SPARROW (25A: [Captain of the Black Pearl])
- SCARED STIFF (43A: [1953 Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis comedy])
The clue to SCOT make me laugh so much because of the enchant of the English press to call Andy Murray a Brit in articles when he wins and is in good form, but call him a Scot when he loses matches (48D: [Andy Murray, notably]). Usually never heard the word ROVER in terms of softball, as I usually hear that position being called “short center” (28D: [Recreational softball position]). No fill really stood out, but seeing CONG was definitely an eyesore (59A: [Reps. and Sens.]). Actually, the intersection of BURY (21A: [Put six feet under]) and BODY stood out, in a macabre kind of way (7D: [Crime scene figure]).
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: RACE (3D: [Badwater Ultramarathon, for one]) – Described as the “world’s toughest footrace,” the Badwater 135 RACE takes place every year, starting in Death Valley, the lowest point in the United States at 282 feet below sea level, and ends at Whitney Portal, at over 8,000 feet above sea level. Each runner is allowed to have four crew members and one support vehicle. This sounds…ROUGH!
Thank you for the time, and I’ll see you tomorrow!
Lila Cherry’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
With the prominent blocks in the grid, one might suspect the theme would involve TL or LT, but don’t jump to conclusions! As per 47d [Wedding music provider … and a homophonic hint to six puzzle answers] DEEJAY, the letters are D and J, here representing disc jockey.
- 17a. [Hardcover protector] DUST JACKET.
- 25a. [Improvisational music style developed in 14-Across] DIXIELAND JAZZ. 14a [Mardi Gras city acronym] NOLA. I’m on the record regarding theme-ballast miscegenation.
- 43a. [Local jurist] DISTRICT JUDGE. *yawn*
- 58a. [Maneuver that captures two checkers] DOUBLE JUMP.
- 10d. [Guy’s breakup letter] DEAR JANE. Yay for gender parity? Hm.
- 37d. [Clerical office positions] DESK JOBS. People in such positions are sometimes called desk jockeys, which brings us back to 47-down.
Most notable during the solve were some heavy duty crosswordese, all the more glaring in a Monday offering. Row 15 alone consists of plural OLÉS, OASTS, and YEGG! You want awk. abbrevs.? We’ve got ’em! Have a KOR, an ACLS, or perhaps an OBJ! Partials? Sure, come on down! Young ’UNS, -NIK severed from its NEAT host, IDI Amin, and more! Of course there’s a Random Roman Numeral, here in Pope form (LEO XI). And so on. EGAD! (64a, 65a, 66a; 48a, 6d, 24a; 59d, 7d, 34a; 23a; 27d; 16a)
>AHEM< So, there was some other stuff in the grid, but nothing very exciting. By no means is this an awful crossword, but it was rocky for a week’s opener. (1a)
Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”—Amy’s write-up
Mixed review on this one. Like EIDERDOWN and a bunch of Down answers: I AM AMERICA, CLEGANE BOWL (which my GoT-fan husband had not heard of, but could make predictive sense of), HASTA LUEGO, POSTMODERN, SEXIEST MAN ALIVE, and “LET’S JUST SAY.” And PESCI, I always like. My husband and I use that as an adjective, per that “Wayne’s World” sketch.)
Have seen NSEC at least three times in puzzles in the last week or two, and that is too many. LEERS AT, kind of an extraneous AT. E-LIST and DONEES, meh. SRI, LOOIE, HAVER (how does this not get a Proclaimers clue, I ask you?), ENE, STS, also meh.
The most intriguing clue was 42a. [Steely Dan album whose cover was done by the comedian Phil Hartman], AJA. Apparently, though, this is not true (though the incredible Hartman did do plenty of other album cover art).
3.75 stars from me.
Dork is an interesting word, in that its definition in some dictionaries is almost the exact opposite of how it is used in everyday conversation. According to the Free Dictionary online, a dork is “a stupid, inept, or foolish person.” But I only ever hear it used to mean somebody who, far from stupid, is wonky about a subject to the point of social awkwardness — crossword puzzle dork, music dork, math dork, etc. I think of it as a synonym of nerd or geek, not fool.
It is not surprising, however, to see it used in a strict dictionary sense in today’s puzzle. Crossword puzzles tend to skew older in their definitions. I mean, you can still find the word BONER in crossword puzzles clued as “Gaffe,” when nobody has used the word that way in like 50 years. For people of my generation BONER means something entirely different: Michael Seaver’s best friend on “Growing Pains.”
I think of myself as a “crossword wonk,” not a “crossword dork.” Then again, I’m probably older than you.
Only a dork thinks it’s a term of respect. “Wonk” and even “nerd” carry the implication of knowing a great deal about certain things, although being socially inept. “Dork” just conveys socially inept. Even “geek” can imply socially redeeming value (think “Geek Squad”). But nobody would hire a Dork Squad, I fear.
If you mom ever told you the other kids were calling you a dork because they were jealous — well, I’m sure she meant well. (Mine did.)
Quick CS question: I just got done with the last week’s selection of them in the process of trying them out (never done them before). Is there supposed to be a difficulty progression of any kind or are they just there?
Hi, Glenn. The Sunday themeless puzzles are several notches about the Monday-Saturday in terms of difficulty level … but if you find a variation in the level of difficulty of the daily themed puzzles, it will be attributable to the constructor’s identity, not the day of the week. Some of the CS constructors tend to make trickier puzzles, while others specialize in more straightforward puzzles. I hope that’s helpful to you … and I’m delighted you’re giving our puzzles a try.
Thanks for your response.
NYT was a definite downer. Playing around with synonyms of MORON as a theme? Can’t we raise the bar slightly?