Note: No WSJ puzzle due to the Memorial Day holiday.
Jeff Chen and Seth Geltman’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
- 63aR [When TV viewership peaks … or a hint to 17-, 24-, 36- and 53-Across] PRIME TIME.
- 17a. [Epoch of rare distinction] GOLDEN AGE.
- 24a. [Topic of a happy annual report] BANNER YEAR.
- 36a. [Something circled on a calendar] RED-LETTER DAY.
- 53a. [Period of supreme courage and achievement] FINEST HOUR.
These are roughly synonymous for extraordinary moments.
Not part of the theme; merely tangentially related to part of the revealer: 1a [TV network whose logo is an eye] CBS, 66a [TV network whose logo is a peacock] NBC.
Favorite clue: 3d [Something you reach out and take] SELFIE.
45d [Goal for a mountaineer] ASCENT. Debatable.
These ominously undermine the theme: 44a [Darkest part of a shadow] UMBRA, 19a [Tool for the Grim Reaper] SCYTHE.
Gail Grabowski and Bruce Venzke’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
The theme was easy enough to discern, but the revealer wasn’t particularly revelatory for me. 73a [CFO’s monetary report, and a hint to this puzzle’s four longest answers] P AND L.
So… I’m going to guess that isn’t parts and labor. Let’s go see what it’s intended to be. To the AcronymFinders! Aha, profit and loss, as it certainly isn’t peace and love (though for some folks such things are plainly transactional).
You know the drill. Two-word phrases with the initials P·L.
- 17a. [Corporate world meal] POWER LUNCH. This one’s definitionally consistent with the revealer (but the other three are not).
- 36a. [Instruction on a Steinway] PIANO LESSON.
- 48a. [Political head] PARTY LEADER.
- 65a. [“The Maltese Falcon” actor] PETER LORRE.
Also: 13d [Chief exec] PREZ, 49d [Since Jan. 1, on pay stubs] YTD. <checks byline to make sure this isn’t the WSJ crossword>
- 36a [Four times a day, in an Rx] QID. Pretty sure this is relict. Not really Monday-level either. Going to put 25d [Capital of Samoa] APIA in the latter category as well.
- Tip for newer solvers: 3d [Nebraska neighbor] IOWA. Since the clue spells out Nebraska—as opposed to Neb. or NE—we know because of the convention of parallel construction that the answer will also be unabbreviated. So, no SDAK, no MINN, no COLO, no KANS. And, if your sense of geography is poor, no NDAK, no ABTA, no SASK, no OKLA, etc. Further, if your sense of geography and history is poor, no USSR. If your sense of geography and history is poor and you can’t spell to save your life, no UARP.Er, did anyone think it was OHIO or UTAH?
- 6d [Touch the edge of] ABUT, 26a [Helps with the holdup] ABETS.
- ¡Español! 11d [Havana “Hi!”] HOLA, 54d [Now, in Nogales] AHORA (see also 16a [What the little hand shows] HOUR), 55a [Historic Spanish fleet] ARMADA. And-sure-why-not 7d [“Oye Como Va” group] SANTANA.
- 16a/13d/12d [Force out] OUST. Tempted to go on (22a/48a/51a, etc.), but I’ll relent.
Finally, tried to find a DUET (72a) of Carlos (7d) SANTANA and 19d LINDA Ronstadt but the closest I found was a 1989 Cinemax special (“A Latino Session”) where the two performed one after another on the same stage.
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s website crossword – “Themeless Monday #416” — Jenni’s review
When you don’t have a regular M-F job and it’s a three-day weekend so the whole family is home, you might forget that it’s Monday until, oh, about 2:00 PM.
The NW corner of this puzzle is an absolute bear. It was the last thing I filled in and I was astonished when Mr. Happy Pencil appeared. 1d is [Private spa visit?]. I thought about going to the spa alone, but that little question mark meant it wasn’t straightforward. So then I thought about a military spa, and since the first letter is V, I dropped in VA at the beginning. VA FACIAL? I dunno. I left it and moved on.
- 6d [Migraine relief medicine] would probably have been easier if I knew less about meds. It’s EXCEDRIN, which should have been obvious.
- 18a [Server’s status?] is ACTIVE DUTY which made me think I was right about 1d and we had a little mini-theme going on about the military. Since it’s Memorial Day, that made sense.
- 41d [Non-com with chevrons], which is NCO, seemed to support the mini-theme idea, but I couldn’t find anything else.
- 45d [Type of smell] is NEW CAR, and BEQ playing with crossword conventions.
- Familiar words with unfamiliar clues, at least to me: ALTO at 15a is [AOL’s email app], not a choral singer, and ARIA at 59a is [Vegas casino with a musical name], not part of an opera.
Finally I circled back to the NW. I was quite sure that 17a [Rapper Wyclef] was JEAN, so I filled it in and voila! I had completely the puzzle correctly – and 1d turned out to be VAJACIAL, which amazingly enough is not a word Brendan invented. It’s a real thing. I always learn a few things from Brendan’s puzzles. Usually I pick up video game trivia or the name of an indie band. Today, well, I learned this.
Plus what I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that the main character of Better Call Saul was banished to manage a CINNABON store.
There are YouTube videos of vajacials. I am not posting one. You’re welcome.