Jacob Stulberg’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
29dR [Place for airing an opinion … or what five of this puzzle’s Down answers contain?] OP-ED COLUMN. Indeed, those longest answers contain vertical strings—columns!—of the letter sequence O-P-E-D. Op-Ed, for anyone who might not know, is a truncated form of opposite [the] editorial [page].
- 3d. [One of three at the base of a Steinway] PIANO PEDAL.
- 33d. [Decline, as a ramp] SLOPE DOWN.
- 17d. [Large gem at the Smithsonian] HOPE DIAMOND.
- 9d. [Annual celebration when a 12-star flag may be flown] EUROPE DAY.
- 29d. Oh, here we are again. Neglected to notice that the revealer includes itself in the tally. It’s strictly and technically accurate.
Aside from the revealer, the breaks are three as OPE/D and one as O/PED. A reasonable alternative entry is TOP EDGING. Plenty of possibilities too for single-word containers, ENCYCLOPEDIA, ORTHOPEDICS, TELESCOPED, et cetera.
Regarding the theme answers actually in the puzzle, I find them underwhelming, but they serve their function adequately.
34-across [Pulitzer-winning writer Maureen] DOWD appears on the op-ed page of the New York Times, but 12d [Pulitzer-winning James] AGEE, influential a critic and author as he was, was not particularly known for his op-ed style contributions.
- Of course I put in STEW POT before STEW PAN at 7-across. Didn’t you?
- Not duplications, but the placements of 18a TON and 19a EATON, 17d HOPE DIAMOND and 28d HOP, and to a lesser extent the overlapping 32a ODESSA and 36a MODEL could make one feel as if they were seeing double.
- Favorite clue by far: 42d [Word before north or after payment] DUE.
Decent Monday, in my estimation.
Melina Merchant’s (Mike Shenk’s) Wall Street Journal crossword, “Good Buddies” — Jim’s review
Breaker one-niner, breaker one-niner. Back it down, bear bait. Grab your Hundred Mile Coffee and solve today’s WSJ crossword. All is revealed at 36a [Trucker’s medium, and a hint to the artists in this puzzle]: CB RADIO. That is, we get musical artists with the initials CB.
- 17a. [“Don’t Wake Me Up” singer] CHRIS BROWN. R&B. Didn’t know this 2012 song that reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 100. Per Wikipedia, it took 11 people to write the thing.
- 58a. [“One O’Clock Jump” bandleader] COUNT BASIE. Big band.
- 11d. [“Maybellene” singer] CHUCK BERRY. Early rock and roll.
- 28d. [“Nothin’ But the Taillights” singer] CLINT BLACK. Country. Appropriate song title for the theme.
Listening to CB RADIO might get repetitive after a while, but at least it’s eclectic.
Favorite fill: BY CRACKY, which I don’t think is current CB lingo though it should be, LINGUINI, clued after the Ratatouille character, JUICE BAR, and the fictional hero crossings of TONTO / THOR / and TARZANA [Los Angeles neighborhood named for a fictional character].
Some harder-than-usual fare for a Monday: GREELEY [Editor who popularized the phrase “Go West, young man”], LEDA [Mother of Castor and Pollux] (I can never remember this), and a pair of zinger clues: 29d [Diesel purchase] for JEANS and 19a [The Jets and the Sharks may fight over one] for PUCK. There’s a hockey team called the Jets?! (Yup, from Winnipeg.)
Ok, gotta go. The packers are here to pack up our house. It’s moving day!
Joel Mackerry’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Theme-BUDDS are ABLOOM (53a, 55a) all over this grid. Four acrosses and two downs present us with two-word A-B phrases.
- 17a. [Fancy burger meat] ANGUS BEEF.
- 35a. [Powerful northern cold front] ARCTIC BLAST.
- 44a. [“30 Rock” co-star] ALEC BALDWIN.
- 63a. [Color of a clear sky] AZURE BLUE. Sure, that’s redundant, but it’s something people say. Perhaps while they’re traversing the Gobi Desert or mired in the La Brea Tar Pits
- 11d. [“Good Eats” series creator] ALTON BROWN. Another guy? 2♂ – 0♀ is the tally. If you’re going to include people in the theme, it’s better not to be so uneven. There are plenty of female candidates here. ANNE BOLEYN, ANITA BAKER, ANNE BAXTER, ALISON BRIE, ASHA BHOSLE, AMANDA PEET (10), AMANDA BYNES, ANNE BANCROFT (11), and so on. Alas, the fitting ALISON BECHDEL (13) is too long to fit.
- 23d. [Injury treatment brand] ACE BANDAGE.
Not a thrilling theme, but there is a lot of it.
Know what else this crossword has a lot of? Baseball. 52d [Tips caught by a catcher, e.g.] FOULS, 56d [Strike’s opposite] BALL, 15a [Cleanup hitter’s stat] RBI, 19a [Athlete on a Houston diamond] ASTRO, 47a [One throwing the first pitch] STARTER, and … Oh! Whaddaya know, right there at the end there’s a revealer in this puzzle! 70a [Hitter’s statistic, and, when abbreviated, a hint to the six longest puzzle answers] AT BAT. Despite the nature of this revealer, there really isn’t a an explicit connection or justification for such pervasive baseballery.
Additionally, there’s some predictable fallout to the theme heaviness in the form of fill that seems inappropriate for a Monday. 51a [Popeye creator Segar] ELZIE (generally known, if at all, as E.C.), 51a [Juvenile newt] EFT, 3d [“Picnic” playwright] INGE. Arguably 28d [Certain Balkan] CROAT, 36d [Boxer Max] BAER, and 36d [USN officer] CDR. More awk. fill and/or clues: 20a [When repeated, an African fly] TSE, 39a [Musical inadequacy] NO EAR, 37d [State-issued driver ID] LIC.
I think this crossword should’ve laid off the steroids.
Jeff Chen’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Contents of Table” —Ade’s write-up
Good morning, everyone! It’s a scorcher outside where I am, so I hope you all are staying cool and hydrated. Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Mr. Jeff Chen, takes us into the game room for some billiards, as each of the first four theme entries end with words that relate to the game of POOL, which also happens to be the reveal in the grid (61A: [Game whose table contains the ends of 18-, 28-, 49-, and 62-Across]).
- CLEAN SLATE (18A: [Tabula Rasa])
- HANDRAILS (28A: [Providers of stability on stairs])
- HEARTFELT (49A: [Very sincere])
- HOT POCKETS (62A: [Big brand in microwavable snacks]) – Every time I see Hot Pockets, I think of the hilarious Jim Gaffigan stand-up skit.
Fun grid to do, and the only real hangup was realizing that “mammoth” would come up a letter short and putting in MASTODON soon thereafter (4D: [Prehistoric beast with tusks]). I’m glad that YURT was in another puzzle, as I really needed to put that into longterm memory for future puzzles (21D: [Siberian tent]). At first, I thought the clue to NBA ALL STAR had to be wrong, but I forgot that Julius Erving spent a number of years to start his professional career in the ABA (30D: [Dr. J, 11 times]). That’s sports related, and I’m torn right now because I can give OIL CAN a sports-related reference and talk about former Major League Baseball starting pitcher Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd, who was an integral member of the 1986 Boston Red Sox team that was so close to winning the World Series over the New York Mets and breaking the Curse of the Bambino (10D: [Service station vessel]). If there’s any better nickname than Oil Can Boyd, then I haven’t come across it! What’s your favorite nickname related to an athlete? OK, now for the actual “sports…smarter” entry for today…
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: HALEY (28D: [“Roots” writer]) – One of the most dominant pass rushers of any generation, former NFL defensive end Charles HALEY was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last year after a career in which he recorded 100.5 career sacks while playing for two of the most dominant teams in league history – the San Francisco 49ers of the 1980s and the Dallas Cowboys of the 1990s. Haley remains the only player in NFL history to be a part of five Super Bowl winning teams. He also was known for his erratic behavior in the locker room, and, after his career ended, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Thank you for your time and I’ll see you tomorrow!
NYT: The concept is clever, the theme entries don’t sizzle and pop… they sorta SLOPE DOWN, except for the HOPE DIAMOND, which is a great choice.
I like the tie in to Maureen DOWD… I used to love reading her stuff, I found it edgy and funny. Nowadays, I feel that some of it is harsh, bordering on mean. Maybe it’s just me.
Definitely had STEW POT before PAN. Points for being pretty clean and minimizing crosswordese.
Re: Maureen Dowd – had to smile at your description. I lean right-of-center politically. When I started subscribing to the NYT in the early 2000’s, I found Ms. Dowd’s writing harsh, bordering on mean. During the Obama administration, I’ve found it edgy (not necessarily funny) and worth reading. Recently, I’ve found it edgy and sort of sad, given the choices we have in the upcoming election.
Re: STEW PAN – never heard of such a thing before this puzzle. Google n-gram says prior to 1940, “stew pan” was more common than “stew pot,” but faded quickly from there.
Personal (almost) Natick today – I knew the name of Seinfeld’s neighbor, but not the spelling, and it seems to me that DUI is at least as common as DWI. Guessed right on the “W.”
Gary, I take your point…our reaction is probably related to our feelings re the subject matter.
I don’t recall whose OpEd piece it was, not Dowd, I think… But there was one that spoke about how devoid of scandal the Obama administration has been. The lack of personal drama has been remarkable, in a good way. And not likely to last…
I think that may have been David Brooks – right-leaning, generally pretty well-reasoned and pretty even-handed.
Your forecast, I’m afraid, is likely to be on target.
Very nicely constructed Monday puzzle with a simple yet not boring Monday theme. I did not find theme answers underwhelming. Pannonica, a minor nit that EUROPE DAY is underlined all the way through instead of just the OPED letter string.
I have a small objection to the clue at 39D; it seems backwards to me. Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say, “Pb, to a NON-Chemist”, or “Lead, to a chemist?” I am not a chemist myself, but I would think that “Pb to a chemist” would be “Pb”.
Lead is that which is Pb, to a chemist.
Weren’t the answers to the 7/13 AV puzzle supposed to be revealed today?
Hi Sandra! Ben Tausig mentioned on Twitter over the weekend that since no end date was initially given for the contest, entries would be accepted through Tuesday. The writeup on the puzzle is scheduled to go live Wednesday once the entry period has closed.
Thanks! Looking forward to seeing it!