Tom McCoy’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Adventures in mis-parsing!
- 39aR [Something to mind … in 18-, 24-, 47- and 58-Across] THE GAP. As is advised in the London Underground.
- 18a. [Feet in the city? (3 wds.)] URBAN LEG ENDS (… legends).
- 24a. [Friendly Communist ghost? (3 wds.)] KIND RED SPIRIT (kindred …).
- 47a. [Slim monarch who gets around fast? (3 wds.)] QUICK THIN KING (… thinking).
- 58a. [Head off to stare at some pictures? (3 wds.)] GO OGLE IMAGES (Google …).
Almost as if to emphasize the introduced gaps, the grid spreads out to 16×15.
Filling out those meatier flanks we have stacked tens: 12d [It’s safe to click on a computer] SECURE LINK, 13d [Wave measurements] AMPLITUDES, 29d [Player on first, second or third] BASE RUNNER, 30d [Inventor of the cotton gin] ELI WHITNEY.
42a [City in southern France] TOULON. Not really a Monday thing, est-ce?
62a [General who’s 34-Down spelled backward] LEE. 6d [Brandish, as a weapon] WIELD. 61d [Group carrying torches and pitchforks] MOB. 12a [Unhappy] SAD. 16a [Dolts] IDIOTS.
56d [“Hey you!”] PSST, 33d [“Oh, be quiet!”] SHUSH, 42d [Disapproving syllable] TSK.
25d [“__ a long story] IT’S, 35d [“A long time __ in a galaxy far, far away …”] AGO.
Roger and Kathy Wienberg’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Some sort of irony going on here, at least I perceive so.
- 53aR [Abundant farm yield … and what the first words of the answers to starred clues comprise?] BUMPER CROP. See also 18a [Sprouted] GREW, 3d [Garner from the fields] REAP.
- 16a. [*Feature of gated community entrances] GUARDHOUSE (bumper guard).
- 21a. [*GEICO product] CAR INSURANCE (bumper car).
- 33a. [*Plaything for a backyard swimming spot] POOL TOY (bumper pool).
- 44a. [*Source of a showroom shock?] STICKER PRICE (bumper sticker).
This just feels kind of uninspired as a theme. The theme answers inandofthemselves are kind of blah, and three of the four reference vehicles. Please don’t misunderstand, it’s competent and serviceable, just not particularly interesting. Such are Mondays, often.
- 9a [With 15-Across, Apple media player since 2005] IPOD | NANO. I just solved a different crossword that mentioned it was recently discontinued. Aha: “Apple discontinued the iPod Nano on July 27, 2017, citing lack of consumer interest in the product resulting in poor sales.” Was probably too late to make an editorial change here. And in light of that information, perhaps it was the BEQ this past Thursday?
- Amused by the duo of 38d [Got giggles out of] TICKLED and 41a [Spun, as a baton] TWIRLED.
- Also liked seeing 37a [Warns of] PORTENDS, which is a less common word. More so—and probably not apt for a Monday—is 41d [Apprehensive] TREPID, an unadorned root which we mostly see in other formulations: intrepid, trepidatious.
- 9d [Thankless sort] INGRATE. Literally. Hope I don’t sound like too much of one, criticizing a free crossword for being on the blah side.
- A pair of long downs: 10d [Like “X-Files” cases] PARANORMAL, 26d [Match, as clothing colors] COORDINATE.
- 45d [Sum] TOTAL. Like, uh, today’s solar eclipse, for millions of lucky residents and travellers.
Howard Barkin’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Look Sharp!” — Jim’s review
Jim here, back from a week off. Many, many thanks to Laura for sitting in for me in such colorful fashion!
Our revealer today is GOOD POINT at 60a with the clue [“Your argument makes sense,” and a feature of the ends of four Across answers]. Those Across answers all end with an object that has a sharp point, though the meaning’s been changed.
- 17a [Uncommon boxing tactic] RIGHT HOOK. As in a fishing hook. I don’t follow boxing closely enough to know that a RIGHT HOOK is uncommon. I guess it’s because most boxers are not southpaws?
- 25a [Fragrant forest falling] PINE NEEDLE. Sewing needle.
- 36a [Ranch enclosure] CATTLE PEN. Writing pen.
- 51a [It’s left hanging on the line] CLOTHES PIN. Straight pin.
These seemed fine, but not entirely consistent. The meaning of HOOK and PEN is entirely changed, and that’s good. But PINE NEEDLE and CLOTHES PIN felt too close to the thematic meaning. Those objects would seem to have “points” as well. I’ve been poked by a PINE NEEDLE many a time while hiking in a forest.
A 9-letter central theme answer means the grid gets pretty well bisected, and there’s not much opportunity for very long fill. Still, we get nice entries SNOW DAY, REVENGE, DALTREY, and a slew of other 7-letter niceties.
It’s refreshing to see IRANIAN instead of the odd-but-I-guess-legit IRANI. And I liked KNISH for [Stuffed dumpling], but I went with GYOZA first.
Only one real gripe: The answer to 56a‘s [Sound from a massage recipient]. In my mind, the only correct answer to this would be AHH which sounds more breathy than AAH. I don’t recall ever seeing this extended to four letters because it’s a slippery slope. How far are you willing to let it go? Five letters? Fifteen? But if you are going to go with four letters, I would definitely prefer AHHH to AAAH which looks more pained than relieved.
One last note. I know 30a CRATER is clued as [Meteorite impact result], but I can’t resist including this photo of Kilauea’s Halema’uma’u Crater which I took last week on the Big Island of Hawaii. This is as close as you’re allowed to get to the crater rim, but eagle-eyed viewers might see actual lava spatter in the picture.
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s crossword, “Themeless Monday #427” — pannonica’s write-up
One-across is [“No! … No! … NO!”] for THIS CAN’T BE, so I am compelled, compelled to again include this clip of Ben Kingsley’s excellent Don Logan from Sexy Beast.
We get this stacked with Dwight David EISENHOWER and SETI’s raison, ARE WE ALONE. Complimentarily in the lower right: 59a [Bad with the 2017 #1 album “Everything Now”] wait-they’re-still-popular ARCADE FIRE; 62a [“The Man With the Golden Gun”] SCARAMANGA, Francisco SCARAMANGA; 64a [“Let me show you how it’s done,” in some memes] HOLD MY BEER – gotta love that one.
- 21a [Key tone] NOTE. Are people really going to think about ketones? See also the cleverish 55a [Posted notes] BAIL.
- 23a [Treat that comes in Alexander the Grape and Little Orphan Orange flavors] OTTER POP. This clue is not enticing me.
- Oh, more stackage, this time vertically: SNOOP DOGG/CARTOONED/STEEPNESS, RAN SCARED [Turned yellow, in a way]/PRO KADIMA [Big name in beach paddleball]/32d STRIKE OIL [Hit it big, metaphorically]. “Big.name.in.beach.paddleball.” let that sink in. And I grew up at the beach, mind you.
- 8d [Popular connect-like-colored-circles puzzle sequel] TWO DOTS. I have played this game. But it is not my current phone app obsession.
- 51d [Like a baa maid] OVINE. *groan*
A fine, fun themeless.