Kurt Mengel and Jan-Michele Gianette’s New York Times crossword — Ben’s write-up
It’s Monday! There’s a crossword! Let’s talk about it!
Sorry for all the exclamation points – I’m trying to get myself excited to talk about this one but it’s just not taking. Let’s look at the theme clues today:
- 17A: Barbies, e.g. — TOY DOLLS
- 25A: Land, as a plane — TOUCH DOWN
- 36A: Big Band trombonist — TOMMY DORSEY
- 49A: The highest price — TOP DOLLAR
- 59A: Planner’s aid…or what 17A, 25A, 36A, and 49A are? — TO DO LIST
I would’ve loved a “or a hint to the starts of…” in the revealer for this one, since while all the themers are two words that start with TO and DO respectively, calling them a TO DO LIST just doesn’t jive for me. Add in the fact that TOY DOLLS feels redundant to me and this seemed more listless than list when it comes to the puzzle theme. A few other notes:
- 30A: Kanye West’s genre — RAP (I’d argue that Kanye is more HIP HOP than RAP, but okay, NYT.)
- 65A: Linzer ___ (pastry) — TORTE (Yum. Totally down for some Linzer torte any time, especially over other fussy tortes like Spanische Windtorte, which involves TWO separate types of meringue.)
- 42D: Pokemon Go, e.g. — APP (The New York Times Crossword Puzzle Is Hip To The Trends Of The Day)
- 44D: Skip dinner, say — NOT EAT (This feels inelegantly put. FAST? okay. NOT EAT? meh.)
I give the whole puzzle a ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Theme was just okay, fill was varied but again, just okay. 3/5 stars
Jason Mueller’s Los Angeles Times crossword —Ade’s write-up
Good morning, everybody! Ade pinch-hitting for pannonica, and I’m doing so at a Tim Hortons in Montréal waiting for my bus to New York, so my apologies if this isn’t the most thorough of crossword blogs. Today’s grid, brought to us by Jason Mueller, includes four theme entries that are television shows whose titles also include a word that also is a color. Right in the middle of the grid is COLOR TV, which is the reveal (40A: [1950s RCA innovation…or this puzzle’s four longest answers?]).
- GREEN ACRES (17A: [Albert/Gabor sitcom set on a farm])
- BLUE BLOODS (59A: [Tom Selleck TV series]) -What?! Where’s the Magnum P.I. love?!?!
- MURPHY BROWN (11D: [Sitcom for which Candice Bergen won five Emmys]) – Don’t we all long for the days when squabbling at the executive level included Dan Quayle being chafed at a fictional character being a single parent and hurting “family values”?!
- ORPHAN BLACK (25D: [Drama in which Tatiana Maslany plays several clones])
Fun solve, especially when you knew the gimmick. Tried to resist not jumping to the rest of the theme entries first when discovering the theme, but old habits die hard. Though a reference to South America, I liked the intersection of CALI (53D: [Colombian metropolis]) with COLISEUM, as I immediately think of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, site of the 1984 Summer Olympics (53A: [Amphitheater]). Coliseum was one of a few longer entries that I liked, with STAND PAT being the best of the bunch for me (21A: [Remain firm]). I’ll admit that I watched a few episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show, and, while solving, thought about the (Alan) Brady Show and “Brady” more for the answer and totally blanked on PETRIE (33D: [“The Dick Van Dyke Show” surname]). My brain is usually scrambled to begin with, but that was a doozy just now!! OK, time to catch a bus. But, before that…
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: GRIMES (46A: [Tony winner Tammy]) – Coming out of the football “powerhouse” that is Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Penn., current Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Brent GRIMES has done very well in his decade in the NFL. Grimes signed as an underrated free agent in 2006 with the Atlanta Falcons, and made the first of his four Pro Bowl appearances with Atlanta in 2010. He joined the Miami Dolphins in 2013 and made three more Pro Bowls with the Fins, including earning a first team All-Pro selection in 2013.
See you later for the CrosSynergy/Washington Post blog!
Sheryl Bartol & Debbie Ellerin’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Canine Training” — Jim’s review
Super cute puzzle today from newcomer Sheryl Bartol who teamed up with experienced constructor Debbie Ellerin. With the theme in the Down direction, I didn’t catch on until I saw the revealer which then made me smile.
- 4d. [Fashion-forward sort] TREND SETTER
- 9d. [Good thirty-foot jumper] BARBARA BOXER
- 21d. [Longtime California senator] THREE-POINTER
- 26d. [Yoga pose, or a hint to 4-, 9- and 21-Down] DOWNWARD DOG
Early in the week I usually go through all the Acrosses before I go Down. So I was looking for the theme in NOTRE DAME (18a, [Quasimodo’s cathedral]), SANDMAN (23a, [Legendary sleep inducer]), WEIRDOS (51a, [Oddballs]), and ZINC OXIDE (61a, [Sunscreen ingredient]). Not finding any meaning there, the revealer did its job perfectly and pointed out what I had missed in the long Down entries. (Oh yeah, Go Irish!)
Really nice theme entry choices and a very satisfying AHA moment for me. Getting that all on a Monday is especially rewarding since themes are usually very basic.
Aside from the great theme choices and the four nice non-theme entries above, we also get OUTER EAR and TAKE FIVE. Plus, there’s “NO FAIR!” and HOOCH. In total, a fun and lively collection of non-theme fill.
Clues of note:
- Just two weeks ago BO-PEEP (21a) was a [Careless shepherdess]. Today she’s just an [Ineffectual shepherdess]. I guess that’s an improvement.
- I absolutely do not get why the clue for 27a‘s SIR is [Address for a superior officer]. Why why why? The clue may be technically accurate, but it’s awfully presumptuous. Just tack on a “maybe” at the end! We just held my wife’s retirement ceremony last Thursday. After 20+ years of active duty service in the Air Force, she achieved the rank of Colonel. I don’t think she’d appreciate being called SIR.
- In addition to being a UV absorber, did you know that ZINC OXIDE has an incredible array of other uses? Check them out here.
Despite my problem with the SIR clue, this is a clean and entertaining puzzle. Just perfect to get your solving week started!
Oh, by the way, I am now officially relocated to the west coast, so my normal solving and blogging time will probably change, especially in the short term as I am still in transit until we find a new home to live in. Please bear with me. Thanks!