Randall J Hartman’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Can’t imagine this theme hasn’t appeared multiple times previously.
- 17a. [Air Force smart weapon] LASER-GUIDED BOMB.
- 25a. [Pioneering high jump maneuver of the 1960s] FOSBURY FLOP.
- 43a. [Thanksgiving entree] ROAST TURKEY.
- 55a. [1956 Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis comedy] HOLLYWOOD OR BUST.
Bomb, flop, turkey, bust. Each of the phrases concludes with a slangy synonym for failure.
Not explicitly part of the theme: 36d [Theater district thoroughfare] BROADWAY (37d [Appropriate word found in 36-Down] ROAD), 42a [Sign outside a sold-out show] SRO.
- 34a [Superboy’s love interest __ Lang] LANA, 39a [Superman’s love interest Lois __ ] LANE. Obviously the guy has a Type.
- 18d [Ending with church or movie] -GOER. Still haven’t read that walker Percy book.
- 1d [Say “I don’t” instead of “I do”?] JILT. Kind of a fun clue there.
Um, nothing else really to say. Very clean puzzle, anodyne theme. Quick solve, easy Monday.
Alice Long’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Flying Colors” — Jim’s review
1a hints at what this puzzle’s about with the answer FLAG for the clue [Flying colors?]. Our real revealers take up the entire bottom row:
- 63a [Color that can precede each half of each  answer] RED
- 64a [Color that can precede each half of each  answer] WHITE
- 65a [Color that can precede each half of each  answer] BLUE
Going back up into the grid, you’ll find these theme answers:
- 18a [Strabismus, familiarly] CROSSEYES. Red Cross, red eyes. Tough clue for a Monday.
- 20a [Doofus] MEATHEAD. Red meat, redhead.
- 34a [Alternative to paint ] WALLPAPER. Whitewall, white paper.
- 40a [Sommeliers’ handouts ] WINELISTS. White wine, white lists. Not familiar with the term “white list,” but I guess if someone can be blacklisted, someone else can be whitelisted.
- 54a [It’s bound for the classroom ] NOTEBOOK. Blue Note, bluebook.
- 56a [Lawn owner’s bane ] CRABGRASS. Blue crab, bluegrass. I wasn’t familiar with a blue crab either before this puzzle.
Nice selection of theme answers that do the job. If you want to be nitpicky about it though, you’ll notice that some answers can work with more than one color. Take the first one, for example. Blue Cross and blue eyes seem just as legit to me as Red Cross and red eyes. Also, you can have white meat and red wine. Curiously, the blue answers seem immune to this problem.
But if you don’t want to delve into that and enjoy the puzzle for what it is—a nice, Monday romp—you’ll be satisfactorily rewarded.
Our non-theme long Downs are FRYING PAN and LONGBOARD, both very nice, supported by DESKTOP and LITHGOW who gets the surprising clue [John who plays Churchill in “The Crown”].
I haven’t seen the show, but LITHGOW seems an unusual choice for the role: a tall, affable American playing the rotund, tenacious Brit. But he’s won wide acclaim for his performance. See the video below.
There’s very little to complain about in the grid unless you don’t like your BUTTs and your PALINs and your DUBYAs. Ah, the good ol’ days of DUBYA‘s simplicity. What I wouldn’t give…
Anyhoo, a fine grid to start this patriotic week. I’m sure we’ll see more tomorrow. Until then!
Brock Wilson’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
- 55aR [R. Kelly hit whose last title word is aptly rhymed with “sky” in the lyrics … and a hint to the starts of the other four longest puzzle answers] I BELIEVE I CAN FLY. That is am overly explanatory clue.
- 17a. [Law of the jungle, in the Old West] FRONTIER JUSTICE. Mixed metaphors! There oughtta be a law.
- 23a. [1867 territorial acquisition dubbed “Seward’s Folly”] ALASKA PURCHASE. Reminded me also of Fulton’s Folly (a steamboat), so I naturally wondered about early steamboats paddling up the rivers of “America’s Last Frontier”, but before I could investigate that silly notion (Pannie’s Folly?) I wanted to know about other X’s Follies. Searching led me to this, wherein some with the moniker AstroGremlin made a funny about it. Or at least tried to. I decided not to pursue the matter further.
- 35a. [1973 Helen Reddy chart-topper] DELTA DAWN.
- 49a. [Melted yellow square on a burger] AMERICAN CHEESE. So appetizingly phrased.
Anyone else now have an image of a judge making an early-morning trip to the supermarket—possibly an IGA (1a)—to satisfy a craving for dairy foodstuffs?
- I often complain when neutral terms are expressed as pejoratives, which I feel tends to erroneously circumscribe the language. So when there’s an instance that doesn’t—a 47a [Refreshing break] RESPITE if you will—I try to highlight it, otherwise that’d be at least a little hypocritical. Herewith, 53a [Smell] ODOR.
- 4a [First-string squad] A-TEAM, 21a [Top-notch] A-ONE. 52a HMM. 46d [Flip of a hit single] SIDE B. 58d [Mediocre grade] CEE.
- Not liking that opening across-down pair of IGA/IN F. And on a Monday!
- … All right, I’ve cycled through the clues and answers three times in hopes of finding something halfway interesting to discuss, and I’ve come up with nothing. Not even a tenuous excuse to introduce a timely song I wanted to share. Guess then that it’s time to 31a BEAT A hasty retreat (departure).
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s crossword, “Themeless Monday #421″—Andy’s review
Guess who has two thumbs and forgot he was supposed to be filling in for Jenni on this BEQ Monday?
It’s this guy.
Sorry for the VERY delayed write-up, but I’ve been told that better is late than never.
This played tough for me; I think there was something about those 7×3 stacks that made them challenging to get in and out of quickly. But first, let’s talk about the two marquee/longest entries:
- 19a, ESTIMATED TAX [Freelancer’s quarterly payment]. Despite being a freelancer myself, I really struggled with this one. Really wanted ESTATE-something off of the EST.
- 53a, CONCERN TROLL [Disingenous commenter]. Couldn’t parse this for the life of me, needed every crossing. And yet, it does exactly what it says on the tin: a CONCERN TROLL is a troll (internet commenter who deliberately incites confrontation or derails productive conversation) whose M.O. is feigning actual concern about an issue. Here’s a nice read on concern trolling by WaPo’s Alexandra Petri.
Since I’m already audaciously late with this review, just five more notes:
- 27a, DJ KHALED [Performer with the 2017 #1 song “I’m the One“]. Featuring Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper, and Lil Wayne. Five of the biggest names in music; five great tastes that taste great together!
- 62a, “I’D AGREE” [“Same here”]. Embarrassingly, while solving I kept wanting this to be “I DECREE!”. “I’D AGREE” seems perfectly conversational.
- 63a, RAELIAN [One who believes humans were created by extraterrestrials]. I was convinced I had this wrong, but the crossings wouldn’t budge. Never heard of Raël, and boy does that combination of letters look bad in the grid. But I sure did learn something today!
- 6d, “TOTAL LIE!” [“Bullshit!”]. I don’t think “Total lie!” is something people say, full stop. Maybe “That’s a lie!” or “That’s a complete and total lie!” or “Liar!”. Would love to hear some alternate clues for this one.
- 27d, DANCER [Raving one]. Cute clue.
Not my favorite BEQ Monday, but solid as always.