Trenton Charlson’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Series or groups the contents of which may be represented—but not necessarily exclusively—by single letters. The clues exhaustively, and alphabetically, list the members that qualify.
- 18a.[A B C D E F G] MUSIC NOTES.
- 23a. [A B C D F] LETTER GRADES. Academically speaking.
- 39a. [B C F H I K N O P S U V W Y] CHEMICAL SYMBOLS.
- 52a. [G R X] MOVIE RATINGS.
- 62a [A B O] BLOOD TYPES.
- 29a [Hay storage areas] LOFTS, symmetrically paired with 46a [Bundles of hay] BALES.
- 44a [French affirmative] OUI, 63d [Affirmative] YES.
- 49a [Strands in a cell?] DNA. Little too strained for the joke to work, don’tcha think?
- Liked both longdowns: 3d [Utterly ruined, informally] SHOT TO HELL, 30d [Play and film about a 1977 series of interviews with a former president] FROST/NIXON.
- 65d [Cry upon getting a tough crossword clue] AHA. Ironically, I mistook “getting” in the clue to mean “receiving” rather than “resolving”.
Alright Monday, didn’t feel like much.
Theresa Schmidt’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Making the Bed” — Jim’s review
Theme: Parts of a bed.
- 20a [Burglars may escape under it] COVER OF NIGHT
- 35a [Winter wonderland feature] BLANKET OF SNOW
- 52a [Window makeup] SHEET OF GLASS
The theme feels rather light and slightly off target. A “blanket” and a “sheet” are well-defined, but a “cover” seems vague. A “quilt” or “pillow” would have been more welcome. Also, the long Across answers BARGES IN ON and MOLTEN LAVA at first appear to be theme answers, but it turns out they’re not.
Nice fill in FREE FALL, ERITREANS, and MARY ASTOR. I had never heard of a BOBOLINK [Black songbird named for its call], but it looks like the Dennis Rodman of the bird world (see video below). Also good: PASCAL, FIASCO, ENCINO, and MASH-UP.
One clue still befuddles me: 41a [Gut courses] for EASY A’S. Can anyone clear that up for me?
Not much else to say. It’s a Monday. Lots of long non-theme fill, but a rather light theme.
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Themeless Monday crossword—Laura’s write-up
Hey, I KNOW A GUY [1a: Diversion dropped when you’d rather not explain things] who constructs awesome crossword puzzles. You can get them for free on Mondays and Thursdays at his website. But if you’re here reading this blog post, you already knew that, so IGNORE ME [36d: “I’m just babbling here”]. I found this a reasonably challenging (for pre-Monday morning coffee) grid that was DOABLE [47a: Not out of the question], with some WEIRD [55a: Off the beaten path] cluing, which I liked with IMMENSITY [57a: Enormousness]. Nothing to put me IN A DITHER [63a: Fit to be tied], no LE SIGH [44d: Pepé Le Pew’s humorous phrase of disappointment].
LINDSEY STIRLING [35a: Classical crossover violinist with the 2016 album “Brave Enough”] was described on her America’s Got Talent debut as a “hip-hop violinist” but I kinda like the steampunk/Mad-Max-Beyond-Thunderdome vibe of this video:
- [17a: Item in a case]: STAIRSTEP. A case … of what? I thought, BEER CAN? No, a STAIRSTEP is one item in a staircase.
- [12d: Alternative to bow ties]: RIGATONI. ASCOTS? BOLO … something? Ah, pasta! Farfalle, or bow ties.
- [52a: Caboose]: ASS. When you publish your own puzzles on your own site, you can clue a common word in the sense that most people use it. In contrast, ASS (which is a very convenient word for constructors, what with its A and two esses) has been used in the New York Times around 1,000 times since 1942, and it has always been clued in reference to either a “braying pack animal” or “buffoon.”
Brock Wilson’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
You can count on Monday puzzles to be straightforward.
- 17a. [Evening show with headlines and stories] NEWS AT TEN.
- 29a. [Like perceptive hindsight] TWENTY-TWENTY.
- 47a. [Generic pre-sunrise error] OH-DARK-THIRTY.
- 64a. [Farm’s remote acreage] BACK FORTY.
Tail ends of these answers progress by tens. No real viable alternative to the number-also-at-the-front entry at 29-across, though it afforded the opportunity to learn about the SACRED TWENTY. There’s the band MATCHBOX TWENTY, but then we have no viable 14-letter phrase for x THIRTY. Just so.
Though I could trawl the crossword for a few elements to highlight, I’m pressed for time this morning. Suffice to say that there’s nothing notably bad or amazingly good among the supporting fill. As I said, Mondays.