Agnes Davidson and Zhouqin Burnikel’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
- 39aR [Rough estimates … or what the ends of 17-, 24-, 52- and 65-Across are?] BALLPARK FIGURES.
- 17a. [Coating for fish that you might think would make you tipsy] BEER BATTER.
- 24a. [Cinderella’s carriage] PUMPKIN COACH. So. Before knowing the theme and with PU––KIN filled in I naturally completed it as PUSHKIN. Whoops.
- 52a. [Waiter’s refilling aid] WATER PITCHER.
- 65a. [Overhead cooler] CEILING FAN.
MLB’s 2017 Opening Day is today (Sunday). Happy Baseballery.
13d [Tree huggers?] SLOTHS, only when navigating the trunk. Didn’t care for this clue.
Longdowns: 11d [Host of TV’s “30 Minute Meals”] RACHAEL RAY, 30d [Words after “Reach Out” in a #1 Four Tops hit] I’LL BE THERE.
42d [Pollution police, for short] EPA. Not anymore.
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website crossword – “Themeless Monday #408” — Jenni’s review
I paused the timer when Emma texted me (emergency! prom planning!) and never turned it back on. This was one of those puzzles that felt daunting at first, as I tried to get a foothold. I finally latched on to a couple of crossings in the NE and then moved into the SW. The NW was the last to fall and in may ways the most satisfying. Let’s start there:
- 1a [“Get outta here”] was the last clue I filled in and it made me grin. The answer is NO EFFIN WAY. Perfect.
- 17a [“Never ever happening”] is the closely related ZERO CHANCE. In between we have INGRATIATE, which also amused me.
- 16a [Character who got fired in a recent pro-PBS video] was my foothold. It’s ELMO. ICYMI, it can be found here.
- And the two crossings: 12d [Ortega rival] is OLD EL PASO and 13d [“What? What happened?”] is I MISSED IT. Those helped, too.
- I really liked the SE stack of AUNTIE MAME/GREEN ACRES/GROSGRAINS, even with the odd plural of GROSGRAINS. And the clue for AUNTIE MAME is great: [Movie comedy with the line “Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!].
Brock Wilson’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
- 60aR [Start of a hopeful rhyme about bad weather, and a hint to what the first word of 16-, 24- and 46-Across may describe] RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY (“Come again some other/another day”).
- 16a. [Awkward situation] FINE HOW-DO-YOU-DO.
- 24a. [Weekly paycheck, e.g.] STEADY INCOME.
- 46a. [Golf practice facility] DRIVING RANGE.
Fine rain, steady rain, driving rain. Increasing in intensity, which shows a gentle touch (not a heavy hand). This is a very nice, compact Monday theme with a fairly clean grid. Any sticky fill is compensated by easy crossings.
Aaron L. Peterson’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Tool Time” — Jim’s review
Multi-word phrases are presented wherein the last word is a homonym of a carpentry tool. The first part of the phrase is hinted at by the profession mentioned in the clue.
- 17a [Jet pilot’s favorite tool?] TWIN-ENGINE PLANE
- 29a [Sound mixer’s favorite tool?] NOISE LEVEL
- 42a [Intelligence agent’s favorite tool?] SECRET FILE
- 55a [Parade leader’s favorite tool?] CLOSE ORDER DRILL
I’ve been in and around the military all my life (40+ years; mostly Air Force) and I have never heard the phrase CLOSE ORDER DRILL. But that doesn’t necessarily mean much. It seems like it’s a term more commonly used in the Army and Marines each of which has a history of combat while in formation. Today, drilling is mainly for ceremonial purposes. As such, while we certainly did plenty of drilling while I was in training, we simply called it “drill practice” or “parade practice.”
The rest of the themers are straightforward and make for solid, if Mondayish, fare.
I seemed to have more than the usual amount of re-writes in the grid, mostly in the bottom half. Maybe my clue radar needs adjustment, but I had MIND for TEND [Look after], AVOWED for SAID SO [Declared authoritatively], DRINKS for BOOZES [Hits the bottle], LOOSE for ROOMY [Not cramped], and inexplicably, CPUS for CRTS [Old PC monitors].
Good long Downs in DIRECTIONS, EVANSVILLE, TENTPOLE, CAR HORNS, SIRLOIN, PET DOORS, and SEED BEDS. And that center is filled really nicely with 5-letter or longer entries some of which are sparkly like TOP OFF, NYMPH, and EMBRYO.
But there seemed to be an inordinate number of plural answers in the grid; four in the long Downs (if you include DIRECTIONS) plus BINS, POLLS, CRTS, and PAILS. The shorter ones are more forgivable but the longer ones feel like a bit much after a while. At least they are all interesting terms with good clues.
Not much else to say. A fine Monday puzzle with nice fill.