Neville Fogarty’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
For your Monday morning blues:
- 39aR [Result of failure to comb the hair after sleep, maybe … or a feature of 17-, 25-, 49- or 61-Across?] BED HEAD.
- 17a. [1990s TV series about a murder in a town in Washington] TWIN PEAKS. A continuation series is slated to air this year.
- 25a. [K-K-K-5-5, e.g., in poker] FULL HOUSE.
- 49a. [English monarch with a “lace” named after her] QUEEN ANNE. Daucus carota, the ancestor of the domesticated carrot plant.
- 61a. [Hooded snake] KING COBRA. Not a “true” cobra of the genus Naga. The hood, while present, is narrower and longer than that of the snake you’re probably envisioning right now. The KING COBRA is among other things notable for being the world’s longest venomous snake, growing to over 18 feet (~5.5m). They’re also kind of scary if you, say, happen to come across one while hiking on a trail in the wild. Focusses one’s attention in a hurry.
Each of these phrases, as you can see, is headed by a typical bed size, which are presented here very smartly in increasing size order. Twin, full, queen, king. Don’t worry, king cobras aren’t native to California.
I just spent about ten minutes looking for a decent image of a queen size Queen Anne style bed. You know what? Not so easy to find. Non-bed pieces of furniture are relatively abundant, but the beds don’t seem to be too popular, let alone finding one of a particular size.
- The longest non-theme entries happen to be sportsy—3d [Weather-related stoppage in baseball] RAIN DELAY, 35d [Place to drink lined with TVs] SPORTS BARS—and the second-longest pair are animal-related—9d [Job that might involve watching the kids] GOATHERD (an always-welcome-in-a-Monday-puzzle playful clue), Joy Adamson book about Elsa the lioness] BORN FREE.
- Lots of French. Starting with the very-much-not-welcome-in-a-Monday 21a [Part of the conjugation of the French “avoir”] AIT, then 36d [French “to be”] ÊTRE, 40d [Fencing sword] ÉPÉE, 63d [Word before a maiden name] NÉE, 18d [Amorous cartoon skunk] PEPÉ, 38a [Pie __ mode] À LA, 64a Thin pancake] CRÊPE, 11d [French farewell] ADIEU (see also 37d [“So long!”] TA-TA. Sure, some of those are fully-ensconced loanwords, but I’m padding a list here, okay?
- 45d [ __ Ticonderoga] FORT. Anyone besides me picture a complex protected by a fence made of giant, sharpened pencils? But of course it wasn’t one of those wooden frontier forts; it’s on
the HudsonLake Champlain and is constructed with stone. This knowledge never completely stops me though.
- 10d [Variety] ILK. There is a small herd of Cervus canadensis maintained in New Zealand, mostly for game meat and alas also for trophy hunting. No linky.
Very nice puzzle, but with some material a little on the tough side for an early-week offering.
Zhouqin Burnikel’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Busy Time” — Jim’s review
I wasn’t sure what the theme was here until I finished the grid and had a look at the theme entries. It seems obvious in retrospect, but I was trying to connect it to the title, and, well, it’s just a bit off.
Our theme entries are:
- 16a [Bitterly cold] BELOW ZERO
- 24a [2002 Cy Young Award winner] BARRY ZITO
- 50a [Noisy patio gadget] BUG ZAPPER
- 62a [Cheesy ristorante order] BAKED ZITI
So you can see the connection — two-word phrases with the initials B.Z. But in my view, that’s pretty far off from the way most people pronounce “busy,” i.e. “bizzy.” The title is off-target, but I can’t think of any other justification for a puzzle using B.Z. phrases. Still, if you’re going to use “Busy” to justify B.Z., I’d go with “Busy Work” or “Busy Signal” or even “Busyness.” “Busy Time” seems less idiomatic.
And then there’s BARRY ZITO. The other phrases are great, but a Cy Young Award winner from 15 years ago? I couldn’t tell you who was last year’s, let alone 2002’s. Not really Monday fare, IMO, but the crosses were all legit.
In fact, the fill is fantastic. We’ve got a great pair of long Downs in “BE MY GUEST” and “AS IF I CARE” (with the nearby “OK BY ME” thrown in for good measure). Those are all wonderful. And then there’s BRITPOP, “SHAZAM!,” BUM RAP, and AT LARGE, with very little dreck fill (DROZ and maybe BOOER being the worst of it).
Overall, nice fill, but the theme was just a tad off.
Alan Arbesfeld’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post Crossword, “Double Talk” —Ade’s write-up
Hello there, everyone! Hope you all had a good weekend! Today’s crossword, brought to us by Mr. Alan Arbesfeld, features multiple-word entries in which each part of the phrase, when standing alone, can also precede the word “talk.” .
- BACK PILLOW (17A: [IT may help reduce lumbar pain])
- SWEET BABY (29A: [Newborn with a lovely disposition])
- SMALL SHOP (44A: [Boutique, often])
- EMPTY TRASH (58A: [Do some cleaning up, either at home or on a laptop])
I don’t think I’ve heard anyone use the phrase that’s the clue for HOW GOES IT, yet I have heard “how goes it?” a number of times (9D: [“What’s doin’?”]). Also haven’t heard CLEAR AS MUD in a long while, but definitely a fun entry in the grid for sure (11D: [Like an unhelpful explanation]). Seeing MISLAID currently made me think of a couple of things I’m currently looking for in my apartment that I can’t find, and then that reminded me that I have to do some early spring cleaning to boot (37A: [Lost]). Was tied up for a little bit with NO SIR, as I thought that entry, when reading the clue, would deal with something baseball related (26A: [Base reply?]). Not a bad start to the week, even if a SAUSAGE PIE might be a little too heavy to have for dinner tonight (28D: [Pizzeria order]).
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: MILNE (37D: [Eeyore’s creator]) – Former professional football player Brian MILNE played in the NFL as a fullback for five seasons between 1996 and 2000. While in high school, Milne was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, yet he was able to beat it and go on to a productive college career at Penn State, then to the pros. Milne’s most memorable play came during the 2000 NFL Playoffs, when, as a member of the New Orleans Saints, he made the game-clinching fumble (muffed punt) recovery in the fourth quarter to help the Saints defeat the defending Super Bowl champions, the St. Louis Rams, and clinch the Saints’ first playoff victory in franchise history.
Thank you so much for the time today and I’ll see you tomorrow!
Gail Grabowski and Bruce Venzke’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Long, trying day.
Brief, minimal write-up.
- 38aR [Big sale, where you can find the starts of 18-, 23-, 49- and 60-Across] SHOPPER’S DELIGHT.
- 18a. [“Just handle the problem!”] DEAL WITH IT.
- 23a. [Upstage one’s co-stars] STEAL A SCENE. See also 55a [Pro on camera] ACTOR.
- 49a. [Employ stalling tactics] BUY SOME TIME.
- 60a. [Take into account] BARGAIN FOR.d
They all check out: a deal, a steal, a buy. a bargain. Ah, but none of them are (I’M) FREE (48d).
Mostly clean puzzle—MSGT, ABRA, OH OH, and a couple others are a bit rough—fit for a Monday.