No WSJ puzzle due to the holiday. Enjoy the day whichever president you choose to celebrate.
Ed Stein and Paula Gamache’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Singular US presidents.
- 17a. [Only president to scale the Matterhorn] ROOSEVELT. That’d be Theodore, not Franklin.
- 27a. [Only president whose grandfather was also president] HARRISON. That’d be Benjamin, whose ancestor William Henry—I would just like to point out—served only 31 days, dying in office.
- 37a. [Only president born outside the continental United States] OBAMA. That’d be in Honolulu. Crossed by 34d [Nut from Hawaii] MACADAMIA.
- 39a. [Only president to have 15 children] TYLER. Only president that we know of to do so. That’d be with two wives: Letitia Christian (m. 1813; d. 1842) and Julia Gardiner (m. 1844). He remarried while in office (1841–1845). Factette: Two of his grandsons are still alive.
44a. [Only president to be a lifelong bachelor] BUCHANAN.
- 58a. [Only president to be married in the White House] CLEVELAND. But he is not the only president to share a name with a muppet.
- 12d. [Only president to serve as both vice president and president without being elected to either office] FORD.
- 53d. [Only president to administer the oath of office to two other presidents] TAFT. That’d be Coolidge and Hoover, after Taft was appointed by Harding in 1921.
As a bonus, in the center is 38d [Bo or Checkers] DOGS who happened to be White House residents (associated with Obama and Nixon, respectively).
With all the theme content, the grid creaks and groans under the strain, including some fill unusual in a Monday offering, including AGRO-, ORGANDY, HAMID, ADDN, SMEW, TRALEE, ATILT, LLCS. (14a, 21a, 57a, 64a, 65a, 39d, 56d)
Least favorite clue-answer combo: 35a [Moms] MAS.
Mark McClain’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
A quartet of ordinal numbers, in order.
- 19a. [Panama Canal nickname] EIGHTH WONDER. Of the world, presumably.
- 34a. [When baseball closers usually shine] NINTH INNING.
- 42a. [NYC thoroughfare that becomes Amsterdam at 59th Street] TENTH AVENUE. That is, in line with Columbus Circle, which is to say, where Ninth Avenue crosses Broadway and becomes Columbus Avenue, by which I mean, coincident with the southern limit of Central Park, where 59th Street is called Central Park South and Eighth Avenue is christened Central Park West. Did I mention that Eleventh Avenue also takes on a new mantle? It becomes West End Avenue. The East Side is much less chaotic as regards to Central Park. Dialect query: “as regards to” vs “in regard to”?
- 57a. [When time is running out] ELEVENTH HOUR.
Is this part of a series of ordinal-themed crosswords? Seems as if it could be.
The rest of the grid, with just a pair of eights and sevens, is kept almost entirely clean and smooth. Anything remotely challenging (eg, Golfer Lorena OCHOA at 14a) is ameliorated by relatively simple crossings. There are some unfortunate entries (eg, 3d E-MAGS, 45a HOR) but they are definitely fewandfarbetween.
- 6d [Have __: (freak out)] A COW, 41a [“I’m hungry enough to __ horse!”] EAT A,
- 53a [Wash or spin] CYCLE, 52d [Bicycle feature] PEDAL.
I haven’t got anything else to say. It’s a decent crossword.
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website crossword – “Themeless Monday 404” — Derek’s Review
It’s always a privilege to substitute blog. Especially since I appreciate when someone subs for me when I am ill or otherwise unable to fulfill my duties. I am a big fan of Brendan’s puzzles also, so this makes it doubly nice!
The entry at 1-Across is only doable in an indie crossword site venue, but boy is it timely! State Senator Daylin Leach used this term to describe Donald Trump in a Tweet on Feb 7, along with the adjectives “fascist” and “loofa-faced!” I found the definition shown below online. It obviously got a lot of attention, from both sides of the political spectrum, and since this term will certainly NEVER appear in a NYT puzzle, a venue like this is the place to see it! In typical Brendan fashion, this grid design seems effortless, but after 20+ years of doing this, he is definitely one of the masters of this craft. 4.3 stars for this themeless poke at current events!
A few more observations:
- 23A [Tenor saxophonist Lateef] YUSEF – If you say so. I would have thought he could use the former Cat Stevens new name, but he is YUSUF Islam.
- 32A [“Dateline NBC” correspondent Meredith] VIEIRA – I don’t watch Dateline, but I did watch The Today Show when she was a regular. An all of us puzzle people probably rememeber her best from her stint as host of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
- 38A [NFL analyst Edwards] HERM – One of my favorites on ESPN. Very outspoken, as former coaches usually are, but a lot of old school common sense from this guy, and that is always good.
- 50A [Toy whose last name is Carson] KEN DOLL – Great piece of trivia!
- 59A [“All the Things She Said” one-hit wonders] TATU – Or as they spell it, t.A.T.u. They were an answer to a LearnedLeague question a few months back, and I didn’t know who they were then either! They just didn’t play that song very much in Indiana!
- 11D [Hiker’s chewy snack] GRANOLA BAR – These are not automatically chewy. In actuality, some of them can be quite hard and crunchy!
- 12D [Greyhound’s routes?] PET DOORS – Best clue of the bunch!
- 34D [Celebrex alternative] ADVIL – Why have I never heard of Celebrex?? It looks like it is a prescription only drug? If so, Advil may not be an appropriate comparison. Aleve or Tylenol seem like Advil alternatives to me.
- 40D [Sitting Bull or Crazy Horse] LAKOTA – I wonder what they would say about that pipeline going through that area today?
- 43D [Brief summary] APERCU – I am not that familiar with this word, even though it is in puzzles fairly often. It is also actually aperçu. A French word.
- 51D [Guided By Voices recording style] LO-FI – I had to look this up, and this page explains it all.
- 56D [Constellation that looks like a coat hanger] LEO – I suppose it does!
That is all! See you in Stamford, Brendan!
Patrick Jordan’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post Crossword, “Bonus Time” —Ade’s write-up
Good afternoon, everyone! Today’s crossword puzzle, brought to us by Mr. Patrick Jordan, features four longer theme entries in which the final word of each can also come after the word EXTRA, which acts as the reveal to the theme at the very end (69A: [Bonus, and a word that can precede the last words of this puzzle’s four longest answers]).
- MIRACLE MILE (21A: [Fashionable shopping area])
- MOVIE CREDIT (54A: [Gaffer or key grip])
- BIG CHEESE (3D: [Head honcho])
- GOOD POINT (34A: [“That’s a cogent comment”])
How about the Middle East portion of the grid right smack dab in the middle with IRAQ (22D: [Sunni Triangle country]) intersecting QATARI (32A: [Saudi neighbor])? Definitely don’t mind turning common crossword entries and livening them up, even just a little bit, by having them intersect each other. Don’t know why I’m gravitated to HOARY, but love the fill (White with frost or age]). I think/know it was because I came across that word on a flashcard when preparing for the SAT eons ago and it just stuck out to me. That, and “ameliorate” were the two words that stuck out like sore thumbs when I went through those flashcards. Oh, and I was soooo tempted to have BLADES in the next graph and talk about one of the video games I loved playing when I was a kid, a Nintendo hockey game called Blades of Steel (26A: [Mower spinners]). Just look at the amazing 8-bit (I think) graphics! Look at how the losing player in a fight would be the one sent to the penalty box! It is all-around awesomeness, don’t you think?!?!?!
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: HARDEN (48A: [Become firm]) – Known for his long, bushy and scraggly beard, Houston Rockets point guard James HARDEN is one of the most outstanding players in the NBA, currently leading the league in assists (11.3 per game) while ranking third in “The Association” in scoring (29.2) this season. The 2012 NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award winner (best player who doesn’t regularly start games) while playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder, Harden just wrapped up playing in his fifth consecutive NBA All-Star Game yesterday in New Orleans.
Thank you so much for your time and attention once again, and I’ll see you tomorrow.