John Wrenholt’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
This theme is different from your typical Monday’s. A little arithmetic.
- 17a. [Somehow] ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.
- 30a. [Walkie-talkie] TWO-WAY RADIO.
- 47a. [Rare occurrence on “Jeopardy!”] THREE-WAY TIE.
Nope, it isn’t what you’re thinking.
… Assuming you’re thinking of FOUR-WAY somethingorother. Perhaps, for instance, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s 1971 live album, 4 Way Street (never mind the numeral bit). Oh look, here’s a bonus track from the reissue:
So, no. That isn’t our sequence today.
- 63a. [Completely … with a summation of 17-, 30- and 47-Across] SIX WAYS TO SUNDAY. 1+2+3=6.
How about that. Incidentally, there was a 1997 crime film with that title—I haven’t seen it, but by most accounts it wasn’t very good. One of the actors in it is Deborah Harry, whose band Blondie had a big hit in 1978 with … “One Way Or Another”. What goes around comes around, eh?
- 9a [Poet Robert who spoke at J.F.K.’s inauguration] FROST. Here’s a complete list of poets and poems read at presidential inaugurations. (It’s briefer than you might think.)
- 13d [Lebanese city that was once the center of Phoenician civilization] TYRE. Appreciated the refreshingly different clue but am surprised that for a Monday we didn’t get the British spelling of the noun TIRE.
- More atypical tricksiness: 55d [Toy on a string] is a deliberately ambiguous clue for either YO-YO or KITE.
- 6d [One who gives tips (and gets tips?) at a country club] PRO, 32d [Golfer’s gouge] DIVOT, 50a [Prop for a golf ball] TEE.
- Again, appreciated the neutral sense of 43 [Odor] cluing SCENT. Heck, even the often pejorative 18d NOSY is clued mildly as [Inquisitive]. This is a crossword with a dose of equanimity.
Jeff Stillman’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
I don’t know what the theme here is supposed to be.
- 20a. [Record-setting aviator of the 1930s] AMELIA EARHART. See also 14d [Maroon, as after a shipwreck] ENISLE; there’s a hypothesis that Earhart died not in a crash but on Nikumororu Island. Some recent reports, citing new evidence, sensationalize it as practically certain in their headlines. Take this one from CNN (2 November 2016): “Amelia Earhart’s last chapter was as a heroic castaway”. The preview headline (what shows up in a Google search and if you hover over the tab in your browser) is even worse, because it doesn’t make sense as written: “Amelia Earhart died as a castaway, not on air”. On air, really? Some kind of radio snuff thing? The subhed at least takes a more measured tone: “Study suggests Amelia Earhart landed on Pacific island”. nb: Don’t take this as evidence of CNN being purveyors of “fake news”.
- 29a. [2007-’14 E! comedy talk show host] CHELSEA HANDLER. That is some misguided typesetting in the clue. I’d go with [2007–14 E! …]. What does the Times’ style guide recommend? Another solution: reference a different aspect of her career. Unfortunately, her most well-known books have her name right in the title.
- 46a. [Looney Tunes rooster with a Southern accent] FOGHORN LEGHORN.
- 56a. [First to walk on the moon] NEIL ARMSTRONG. Why not ‘first man’ or ‘first person’?
So. What’s the theme?
Full names, okay. Body parts, okay. Big deal. It needs more. Another dimension, more cohesiveness, something.
It’s the last names that include the body parts. More specifically, the first part (the first syllable, actually) of each last name. Still not enough.
Ear, hand, leg, arm. That isn’t a logical anatomical group. Foot instead of ear would fix that if the criterion was limbs and their respective termini. Or, more tenuously, it could have been a (rather irregular) survey of anatomy travelling from top to bottom, but then the order should be ear, arm, hand, leg.
All right. How about the word structure itself? As I observed, we get first syllable of last name. Three of the four surnames are compounds: EAR-HART, LEG-HORN, ARM-STRONG. But not HANDLER, which has an agentive suffix. It’s also distracting but irrelevant that HART is a homophone of another body part (heart), and even that horn is also an anatomical feature (though admittedly not in humans, excepting pathological cornua cutanea).
Lastly, let’s try to assort the subjects. Three real-life figures, one cartoon character.
>bzzzt< Well, two are female and two are male, so there’s one small level of organization.
Crossword themes involving anatomy are rather common; those involving names, even more so. Seems to me that one incorporating both is likely to have been done before, perhaps many times. Can’t imagine such a theme would be as ramshackle as this one appears to be. I don’t feel I’m being too demanding here.
Oh, there were 69 other clues and answers in the puzzle.
Randall J. Hartman’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post Crossword, “Wriggly Field” —Ade’s write-up
Good day, everyone, and I hope you all are having a good holiday as we remember Martin Luther King, Jr. Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Mr. Randall J. Hartman, features puns as theme entries in which the letters “EEL” are added to a common/proper noun.
- DIAMOND REELING (20A: [Singer Neil suffering from a blow to the head?]) – Diamond ring.
- BOO STEELER CHAIR (36A: [Give a raspberry to Dan Rooney?]) – Booster chair. Did you know that Dan Rooney, son of the late Art Rooney – who founded the Pittsburgh Steelers – and current chairman of the Steelers, was a one-time United States Ambassador to Ireland?
- PARIS FREELANCE (47A: [Self-employed worker in the City of Light?]) – Paris, France.
Remember the time when there was actually a net judge in tennis and that person would put his/her hand on the net and yell “LET!” when a serve touched the net (54D: [Tennis umpire’s call])? Seems like that’s eons ago now. Liked seeing CHILL OUT in the grid, as I’ve been able to do just that the past few days after being on the road like a madman (38D: [“Dude, relax!”]). Well, until today, I hadn’t had the voice of a BEE GEE in my head for about…a week (44D: [Barry, Robin or Maurice]). Can’t stay too long now as I’m once again getting ready to head onto a bis for a road trip. But, there’s always room for jello…err, I mean the “sports…smarter” moment.
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: EARL (53D: [Gentleman’s title]) – Former NBA player Acie EARL was a first-round draft pick of the Boston Celtics in 1993 and played four seasons in “The Association.” Earl played his college ball at the University of Iowa, and, as a senior, was the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year. In the second round of the 1992 NCAA Tournament, Earl blocked eight shots in a loss to the eventual national champion Duke Blue Devils, one block shy of an NCAA Tournament single-game record at the time.
Thank you so much for the time, and I’ll see you tomorrow!