Timothy Polin’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
- 38aR [“Shut up already!” … or what you can do to the start of the answer to each starred clue] STUFF IT.
71a [Former celebrity] EX-STAR.
Now, where was I …?
- 17a. [*Iron Man’s love interest] PEPPER POTTS. Or maybe Tony Stark’s.
- 26a. [*Intimate chitchat] PILLOW TALK.
- 52a. [*Annual Thanksgiving Day run] TURKEY TROT.
- 60a. [*Knit headwear that may have a tufted ball at its end] STOCKING CAP.
But wait! There’s more!
- 11d. [*Classic comedy set at the fictional Faber College] ANIMAL HOUSE.
- 25d. [*Offer of reconciliation] OLIVE BRANCH.
That’s, er, a lot of theme material to put in a 15×15 Monday grid. Three of the six main themers are, in theme context, food preparations. Oh, incidentally, 47d [Perpetual troublemakers] BAD EGGS, eggs are another thing that can be stuffed. So that’s a little distracting. Incident to the incidence: deviled eggs combine two of my least favorite things—mayonnaise and hard-boiled eggs—into one easily-avoided travesty.
- Not dupes: aforementioned EX-STAR and 51d [Prima ballerina] ÉTOILE, aforementioned BAD EGGS and 62d [Fertilizable cells] OVA. British folks can connect that to the theme, but let’s not.
- With a few answers in place, 6d [Mexcian shawl] –E–––– looked surprisingly to be REBOZO, which I thought was tough for a Monday. But 20a [Mean dog sound] ending in L was certainly going to be GROWL, so the O was practically confirmed. Nope, nope, nope. Was SNARL and the garment a more solver-friendly SERAPE. Maybe the election has me thinking unconsciously of ol’ BEBE.
- Playful clue alert! 1d [Concert haul?] for the nearly-unavoidable AMP. 11a [Breaks you wish would end?] ADS.
- Weakest entry: 58d [Chips and popcorn, in commercialese] SNAX. Not so horrible.
Hey, have I mentioned the revealer? It’s [“Shut up already!” …
Nancy Cole Stuart’s (Mike Shenk’s) Wall Street Journal crossword, “P.O. Boxes” — Jim’s review
Access woes at the WSJ site continue, which means I didn’t get hold of this puzzle until late Sunday evening. So I’m going to keep this short.
You can guess by the title what’s going to happen here, and you’d be right.
- 18a [Climbing plant that can cause itching] POISON OAK
- 28a [Navy counterpart of sergeant] PETTY OFFICER
- 45a [Hawaii surroundings] PACIFIC OCEAN
- 57a [It’s often used in stir-frying] PEANUT OIL
And crossing two of the above themers are:
- 3d [Wall Street order] PUT OPTION. I don’t know what this is, but it’s the WSJ after all.
- 34d [Music maker in a cathedral] PIPE ORGAN
Pretty Obvious (see what I did there?) theme, but then it’s Monday. The grid is squeaky clean except for a XII here and an I’M A there. All the long entries are taken by themed fill, so if the theme doesn’t thrill you, you have to be satisfied with SOOTHED and WALNUTS.
The strangest looking entry is 31d [Symbol on a cellist’s sheet music]: F CLEF. I’m not a musician, but I normally hear this referred to as a bass clef, although I do know it goes by multiple names. Anyone know if there is a specific reason why the clue refers to cello music?
Clues of note:
- They are playing 6d TAPS [Bugler’s call] outside as I write this on McChord AFB, Washington. That’s how I know it’s 10 pm.
- Favorite clue is 6a [Their miles are measured by meters]. It successfully planted the metric vs. imperial debate in my head, so I needed multiple crossings to get TAXIS.
That’s all for today. A clean and straightforward grid makes it great for beginners.
Lila Cherry’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
And now, without further ado,
… the revealer!
- 58a. [Broadway do-or-die philosophy, and a hint to the ends of 17-, 30-, 37- and 44-Across] THE SHOW MUST GO ON. Probably not a little responsible for the confusion between trouper and trooper. Yet not at all for poseur and poser. As for gauntlet and gantlet, how dare you challenge me to pass through that?!
- 17a. [End that “I face,” in Sinatra’s “My Way”] THE FINAL CURTAIN.
- 30a. [It has 32 pieces and a 64-square board] CHESS SET. Chess is also a Broadway play, a musical.
- 37a. [Prepare to fly] SPREAD ONE’S WINGS. Awk. “one’s” phrase.
- 44a. [Vital phase] KEY STAGE.
Three fifteen-letter grid-spanners in this lot. THE FINAL CURTAIN and SPREAD ONE’S WINGS are metaphorical idioms (despite the literal characterization of the latter’s clue), not so the other two themers. Further, 17-across is metaphor directly related to theatrical performance, unlike any of the others.
Additional thespiana: 50a [Marquee name] STAR, 57d [ __’acte: intermission] ENTR.
- 1a [First assassin to attack Caesar] CASCA. That’s a jarring way to open a puzzle!
- 49d [Buffalo Wild Wings nickname based on its initials] BDUBS. I don’t understand this and have no desire to learn the connection. Oh wait, dubs for double-ues. Yay, me.
- 10d [Twirled sticks] BATONS crossing 25a [Twirl or whirl] SPIN.
- 30d [Easily tipped boat] CANOE; not always—flatwater racing canoes come to mind. 67a [Furry swimmer] OTTER. So I, uh, found this, which is kind of cute, I suppose:
It’s from a Zazzle seller. Found something elsewhere that was supposed to be funny, which didn’t seem so to me. No linky for that.
- Minor dupe? 4d [The jolt in joe?] CAFFEINE, 39d [Coffeehouse connection] WIFI.
- 27d [Eye surgery acronym] LASIK. “Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis”—not sure precisely how it’s derived.
- Row 11: 48a [Blessed] HOLY, 49a [Get-out-of-jail money] BAIL. Needs only an S for holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum).
THEMELESS MONDAY #382 by Brendan Emmett Quigley – Gareth’s Summary
No time for a proper write-up today. Suffice to say, was a tale of two puzzles: the top-right, and everything else. Top-right of KARASEA/MARIA/KIMYUNA/LANDSAT and several other vague clues was close to impregnable. Rest of the puzzle was easy-ish except figuring out the vowel at CAPOE?RA.
The grid design is four large, though isolated corners creating a low word count. This means fewer “seeds”, though the grid itself is relatively clean considering.
Donna S. Levin’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post Crossword, “Just a Trim, Please” —Ade’s write-up
Hello there, everyone! Today’s crossword, brought to us by Ms. Donna S. Levin, is very decorative, with each of the four theme entries starting with a word that also can be used to describe a type of decoration or ornament used to dress up an object.
- BEAD OF SWEAT (17A: [Droplet resulting from exertion])
- RIBBON CANDY (27A: [Color confection])
- FRINGE GROUP (47A: [Outlying sect])
- BOW AND ARROW (62A: [Archery gear])
Some fill (and terms) that I’ve never come across in crosswords or in conversation was what I first noticed when finishing the grid. Specifically, I’m talking about AGATINE (9D: [Marblelike]) and TENNER, with the latter being something which I would usually say “ten spot” in its place (35D: [Bill equal to a pair of fins]). Outside of a $100 bill, do people still use slang to describe American currency? Knowing my luck, once I finish this blog, I’m going to overhear someone saying, “Can you lend me a sawbuck?” and then laugh hysterically upon hearing it. Sadly, I only think of the tobacco when I see SKOAL instead of a toast (6A: [“Cheers!”]). To boot, how can you not see the clue to OINGO and not think of the band that blessed us with the title song to one of the best movies of the 1980s (15A: [_____ Boingo])??? Hey, at least I think it’s one of the best movies of the 1980s. If you don’t think so, then I feel bad for you!!
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: SANE (37A: [Wit-ty?]) – Have to be creative with this entry today since I wasn’t afforded too many (or any) entries that I can give a sports spin. Let’s just add an accent to a word, SANÉ (pronounced suh-NAY), and I’ll be able to mention Leroy Sané, the professional soccer player who currently plays for the team leading the English Premier League, Manchester City. Sané, who also is a senior member of the German national soccer team, comes from good blood lines. Leroy’s father, Souleymane Sané, is a Senegalese-born former soccer player who was one of the most prolific scorers in Germany in the 1980s. Leroy’s mother, Regina Weber, won a bronze medal in the rhythmic gymnastics all-around competition in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.
Thank you very much for your time, and I’ll see you tomorrow!