Damon Gulczynski’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Let’s start the week with … 54a [Plan that has no chance of working … or the answer to each starred clue?] NON-STARTER. Oh, it’s going to be like that, eh?
- 17a. [*Serving between appetizer and dessert] MAIN COURSE.
- 11d. [*Reason for jumper cables] DEAD BATTERY.
- 24d. [^Athlete who “rides the pine”] BENCHWARMER.
- 36a. [*It’s signaled by a white flag on the racetrack] LAST LAP.
I appreciate how each of the answers provides a slightly different interpretation of “non-starter”, but feel that 36-across stretches the concept a little too far.
- Longish non-theme fill: OK CORRAL, ART DECO, PIE CHART, LAPTOPS, LIBERAL, PAGEBOY, SWAP OUT, LUCKY ME. 5d, 10d, 38d, 41d, 22a, 26a, 48a, 50a.
- 55d/56d [Stadium cheer] OLÉ, RAH.
- Momentary mis-fills in the middle: 29d [Stopped lying?] STOOD before SAT UP, 31d [Bill also called a benjamin] C-NOTE before C-SPOT.
- Television-clue-that-I’m-guessing-is-fresh-because-it’s-about-a-new(ish?)-popular-show: 23d [Glazer of “Broad City”] ILANA. [Looks it up …] She and ABBI Jacobson are costars, co-creators, and are among the executive producers of the Comedy Central show, which premiered in early 2014.
All right, there it is. Solid Monday.
Carolyn Farmer & Mary Lou Guizzo’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
- 56aR [Ironic change in destiny … and, literally, what happens in this puzzle’s circles] TWIST OF FATE.
- 17a. [Noir film temptress] FEMME FATALE.
- 28a. [Football-like sport played with a disc] ULTIMATE FRISBEE.
- 43a. [Close kin] IMMEDIATE FAMILY.
25a [“__F!”: pre-weekend cry] TGI.
Aaron L. Peterson’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Gratuity Included” — Jim’s review
New byline! A relation of constructor Doug Peterson, perhaps? Nope, it anagrams to “Not a real person,” so there ya go.
The title on this puzzle telegraphs the theme a mile away. You will find TIPs inside each theme answer, as we’re told at 61a [Gratuity included in the six longest Across answers].
- 17a [“How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?” singer] PATTI PAGE. One of my mom’s favorite songs.
- 21a [Fixed regular payments] STIPENDS
- 26a [Degree, for one] ANTI–PERSPIRANT
- 42a [Grassy area of northern Tanzania] SERENGETI PLAIN
- 47a [Come up with a product?] MULTIPLY
- 57a [Classic shoot-’em-up arcade game] CENTIPEDE. So many of my quarters went to ATARI to play this game.
I know there are places and times where the gratuity is already factored into the final bill, but it seems more often than not that it’s added on at the discretion of the payee. Therefore it would make more sense to me if TIP was added to existing phrases to make something different — even if it was stuff like TIP TOE JAM or WING TIP DING.
This puzzle lacks spark. We’re given words and phrases that have a certain three-letter string in them and that’s it. The convention in crosswords is to have that string span at least two words, but this puzzle doesn’t even do that in half the cases. A puzzle where three theme answers are STIPENDS, MULTIPLY, and CENTIPEDE doesn’t seem worthy of one of America’s leading daily newspapers.
Aside from the blah theme, the fill is good with one exception: 60a DOYEN [Ranking member]. I’ve never encountered that word before, so it doesn’t seem very fair on a Monday, especially crossing YEOW and two proper names (NYE and RL STINE).
I just can’t say I LIKE IT. Oh well. There’s always tomorrow.
Randall J. Hartman’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post Crossword, “Cut Bait” —Ade’s write-up
Good day, everyone! Hope you all had a pretty good weekend. Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Mr. Randall J. Hartman, contains four theme entries in which the first two letters in the answers are “BA” and the final two letters are “IT.”
- BABY SPLIT (17A: [2-7, in bowling])
- BANK DEPOSIT (28A: [Wells Fargo transaction]) – Because “FRAUDULENTLY OPENING UP TWO MILLION BANK ACCOUNTS TO MEET SALES AND ROB CUSTOMERS BLIND WHILE TOP EXECUTIVES POCKETED MILLIONS” wouldn’t fit.
- BATHING SUIT (48A: [Something to swim in])
- BAD CREDIT (66A: [Chapter 7 result, ususally])
Haven’t watched the movie Steve Jobs, but I’ve been a SETH ROGEN fan a little while now, so I should see how he portrayed Jobs’ partner in creating Apple (36D: [He played Steve Wozniak in “Steve Jobs”]). Nothing else really stood out for me, and I didn’t have any trouble spots in solving the grid, which I guess isn’t the worst thing to have happen on a Monday. I actually like using the word “esoteric,” so ESOTERICA will start getting a little more use in conversations that I’ll have in the future (35D: [It’s hard to figure out]). I like the intersection of geography with TEHRAN (51D: [Capital near the Caspian Sea]) and HAIFA, a place I first knew about when watching soccer and seeing a team called Maccabi Haifa (63A: [Israeli seaport]). Alright, time to skedaddle!
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: WEBB (33D: [2012 U.S. Open champion Simpson]) – After two rounds of the 2012 U.S. Open in San Francisco, WEBB Simpson was five over par. (The course was a par 70.) On the weekend, Simpson shot back-to-back 68s to win the U.S. Open by one stroke over Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell – the 2010 U.S. Open champion – and American Michael Thompson.
Thank you for the time, and I’ll see you tomorrow!
THEMELESS MONDAY #386 by Brendan Emmett Quigley – Gareth’s Review
Another week with a conservative grid design. I’d say the seeds were WHITEPIZZA (never heard of it) and PIPSQUEAK, quirky ANNONUEVO and SANSASTARK, which, since I have no interested in soap operas, I got from crossings, except that I recognized the STARK part.
[___ G. Komen (breast cancer non-profit)], SUSAN is timely, though the company has gotten an increasingly bad reputation for a number of irregularities.