Brian Greer’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
DISCLAIMER: I am not the best person to discuss this crossword, as I am wholly uninterested in the theme subject.
That said, I appreciate aspects of its mechanics.
- 15a. [With 25-Down, alchemist’s quest in a book released on June 26, 1997] THE PHILOSOPHERS (25d) STONE.
That’s correct, this is the 20th anniversary of the début of the Harry Potter books.
- 62a. [Star of the film version of the book referenced in 15-Across/25-Down] DANIEL RADCLIFFE.
Further, circled in the middle ROW: the author JK ROWLING. appearing as part of the under-normal-circumstances-this would-be-inexcusable-fill 38a [Alphabet chunk after D-E-F] GHIJK, 39a [Column’s counterpart] ROW, and 40a [Specialist’s vocabulary] LINGO.
But wait there’s more. Unannounced in the bottom row is the protagonist himself, clued on the down-low as 67a [Persistently torment] HARRY 68a [Crafty person at a wheel?] POTTER.
As a theme, that’s more involved than a typical Monday NYT offering. But the anniversary falls on this day, so there you have it.
- Pursuant to 38a GHIJK is 53d [Letters before gees] EFFS. Jeezes eff.
- Atypically wry cluing at 12a [Person in a detached state?] ALASKAN. 33d ]Abandoned European capital] LIRE, 52d [Subject of a long sentence?] LIFER. I like all of these.
- Contemporary 13a [Hit Jordan Peele thriller] GET OUT. Have yet to see it, but I very much want to.
- 31a [Lion in “The Chronicles of Narnia”] ASLAN. Harry Potter and Narnia?? I’m sure this was intended as a feature, not a bug. But not so as far as I’m concerned. At least there’s no Tolkien content.
- 8d [Be in a sorry state?] REPENT. Had REGRET for quite a while. I make no excuses.
- 1d [Given benediction, the old-fashioned way] BLEST; 9d [Biblical verb ending] -ETH. Speaking of archaic, that’s followed directly by 10d [Like volleyball that’s played jointly by men and women] COED—sorry, dressing it up doesn’t save it.
- 32d [Open’s opposite] SHUT; 34d [Not quite closed] AJAR.
- 7a [Like the posture of humans] ERECT, 49d [Exemplify humanity, say] ERR.
- AGAS and ADA (or ARDOR) in column 1 both feel a tad obscure for Monday content. 31d [Turkish pooh-bahs], 55d [Palindromic Nabokov title]
So—quite a good crossword, despite me personally being the opposite of 37a [Enthusiastic] KEEN about the theme’s subject.
Well if your house catches on fire
And there ain’t no water ’round
Throw your trunk out the window
Let the doggone shit burn down
Come ti yi yippe
Ti yi yippee yippee yay
Come ti yi yippe
Ti yi yippee yippee yay
Dan Fisher’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “H.O.T. Stuff” — Jim’s review
Theme answers are three-word phrases with initial letters H. O. and T.
- 17a [1981 hit for ELO] HOLD ON TIGHT. Not familiar with the song, but obviously the phrase stands up on its own.
- 27a [Flip decision] HEADS OR TAILS
- 43a [Henry VIII’s dynasty] HOUSE OF TUDOR
- 57a [Blast, so to speak] HIGH OLD TIME. Not sure that I’ve ever heard this one, but it sounds old timey itself. The Flintstones had a “gay old time.”
Things certainly got HOT today here in Washington state. We saw 90-degree temps for the first time this year. Tomorrow will be in the 70s, so go figure. Suits me just fine.
A couple of my favorite fictional characters are in the grid today (WONKA and ZELDA), though I prefer the video game ZELDA to [F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife]. Plus a favorite singer in PAUL SIMON.
I don’t know the phrase LOTUS LAND. It refers to Greek mythology and the lotus eaters in the Odyssey. Per Wikipedia, “The lotus fruits and flowers were the primary food of the island and were a narcotic, causing the inhabitants to sleep in peaceful apathy.” Sounds nice. Maybe I’ll go there tomorrow after I get my tooth pulled.
Just re-noticed ED HARRIS and POOLSIDE and GEE WHIZ and RED WINE. Fun entries. And DOOZIES, too. A lot of good ones today!
One nit: The clue on ZITS at 21a [Clearasil target, informally] feels like it’s calling for the singular.
Otherwise, a pretty easy, breezy Monday grid with A LOT of good fill.
Oh yeah, I’ve heard this song before, but not in a long, long time:
Bruce Venzke and Gail Grabowski’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
- 17a. [Cellphone revitalizers] BATTERY CHARGERS.
- 23a. [Cake mix giant] BETTY CROCKER.
- 36a. [Confection not a s sweet as the “milk” variety] BITTER CHOCOLATE.
- 48a. [Lowest dresser compartment] BOTTOM DRAWER.
- 57a. [Affectionate touches with one’s lashes] BUTTERFLY KISSES.
Batt-, bett-, bitt-, bott-, butt-.