Joe Deeney’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
This one’s refreshingly just a bit off-kilter, something that’s pretty much always welcome in a Monday offering.
- 52aR [The change from Julian to Gregorian … or what would be needed to make 20-, 31- and 40-Across possible] CALENDAR REFORM. That’s because you’d be hard-pressed to figure out how these things could occur with the calendrical status quo. By the way, Julian chants? Not so compelling.
- 20a. [1965 Beatles hit that starts “Ooh, I need your love, babe”] EIGHT DAYS A WEEK. See, because, you know, a week has seven days …
- 31a. [HBO show hosted by John Oliver] LAST WEEK TONIGHT. Some kind of compressifying going on?
- 40a. [1974 John Updike novel] A MONTH OF SUNDAYS. Ah, maybe with some alternative topography?
So that was cute.
- 1a [Civil rights pioneer Du Bois] W.E.B. That’s a nice gesture for what could be a very pedestrian clue. Did a similar switch right below (14a), with the common word ILL clued for Illinois [Chicago’s home: Abbr.] – and then that’s followed by 15a [Racer with the tortoise] HARE, which is just a letter shy of O’HARE, the Chicago airport. Odd.
- 1d [Electronic money transfer] WIRE. Quaint that that’s the term still in use.
- 24a [Something a barber has to work around] EAR. Hey, that was a fun clue.
- 50a [Bug spray brand] OFF(!), 56d [Antipest spray] RAID.
- 28d [Google __ Viewer (tool for charting word frequency over time] NGRAM. Oh, we’re fans here at DOACF.
- 29d [Ship-to-ship communications?] AHOYS. Also kinda cute.
- 43d [Homer Simpson’s favorite beers] DUFFS. Really? They’re going with that awful plural? 22a [Donkey] ASS.
- 55d [Little injury, in baby talk] OWIE. What was it Nene commented yesterday?
- 58d [Things with ® symbols: Abbr.] TMS. Is that right? If so, why is there ™ and ®? Any lawyers in the house?
I’m out, have nothing else to say. Fun Mon!
Sergio Fanali’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Count of ITALY” — Jim’s review
We’ve seen this byline once before on another Italian-themed puzzle. It anagrams to “Foreign Alias.”
At first glance, the theme seems unusually light — counting in Italian. It’s no doubt due to the celebration (in some areas) of that famous Italian Christopher Columbus?
- 16a [*Like candidates in some easy races] UNOPPOSED
- 28a [*1946 Gregory Peck western] DUEL IN THE SUN
- 45a [*Game with a series of clues] TREASURE HUNT
- 59a [Start of an Italian count, and the start of the starred answers] UNO DUE TRE
Like I said, it seems light. And it’s not very engaging, I must say. However, it appears there are some other entries that are thematic, though they’re not billed as such, each with the clue [One of three historic ships]: 36a NINA, 32d PINTA, 2d / 51d SANTA / MARIA.
Clearly, then, this is the full theme. But it feels disjointed as presented, hidden, as these entries are, amongst the rest of the fill.
Impressively though, the Italian theme is extended to the longest Down entries: 10d CENTESIMO [Hundredth of an Italian lira] and 34d PANETTONE [Italian sweet bread popular at Christmastime]. And one more at 41d: SALERNO [Italian port southeast of Naples].
The rest of the fill holds all these pieces together in suitable fashion. Nothing to complain about, but not a lot to get excited about.
Janice Luttrell’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Standard theme type here, common-word-followeing-theme-answer-elements. But instead of the revealer being a phrase that suggests the position of the linchpin word, it tallies them. A minor variation.
- 60aR [Hot chili designation, and a literal description of the starts of 17-, 25-, 35- and 51-Across] FOUR-ALARM.
- 17a. [Unwise act that could be dangerous] FALSE MOVE (false alarm).
- 25a. [Time-out for a cigarette] SMOKE BREAK (smoke alarm). Blech.
- 35a. [Dashboard music provider] CAR STEREO (car alarm).
- 51a. [Pre-talkies movie] SILENT FILM (silent alarm).
Okay. This puzzle was a 42a [“Piece of cake!”] EASY. At least in the idiomatic sense. Just a few notes.
- 11d [Turkish travel shelters] IMARETS. Not a typical Monday-level, word, but all the crossings were fair. Phonetically echoed by the two abbrevs. that seemingly descend from it: 26d [911 situation” Abbr.] EMERgency and 50d [From the States” Abbr.] AMERican.
- 44d [Spotted wildcat] LEOPARD. Editorial suggestion: one-word wildcat, if not explicitly referring to the species that are called wildcats, at least suggests small- to mid-size felines. So I’d have clued Panthera pardalis (in this formulation anyway) as [Spotted wild cat].
- 9a [“__ Cross”: 1943 Lancaster movie] CRISS.
Tomorrow is the centenary of Thelonious Monk’s birth. One of the great musical geniuses and composers par excellence of the 20th century. Somehow I doubt there’ll be a tribute crossword.
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Themeless Monday crossword—Laura’s write-up
Toughest themeless I’ve solved in a while, from any venue. I deserve a GOLF CLAP [1a: Sarcastic gesture of support], because I LOST [45a: “You’re too good”]. Got the NE fairly routinely, thanks to [16a: Bespectacled boy in “Lord of the Flies”]: PIGGY being in the news lately because of the proposed all-female remake, as well as [18a: Gas used in insulation for some windows]: ARGON, having researched home improvements for a New England winter. And how about we edit this clue: [28a:
Dad’s Parent’s instruction to his their kid riding a bike]: STEADY.
A handful of proper names gave purchase to other quadrants of the grid: [15d: Two-time Emmy winner Loretta]: SWIT (for M*A*S*H, I presume), [27d: First US diplomat to France]: Silas DEANE (1738/9-1789 — his birthdate changed because of CALENDAR REFORM; see today’s NYT), [46d: Journalist Fallaci]: ORIANA, [2d: Jason of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”]: O’MARA, and the appearing-in-grids-with-pleasing-frequency [26a: Kate’s “The Mountain Between Us” co-star]: IDRIS Elba. Plus I seem to do fine with performing arts titles: [35a: 1977 Pulitzer-winning play by D. L. Coburn, with “The”]: GIN GAME and [40a: Opera that takes place in Gaul: NORMA. But the two entries that killed me were [38d: Excessive negativity]: HATERADE, and [64a: Somewhat thin]: SPARE-SET, neither of which I could parse. Even with [62a: Minstrel in “Robin Hood”]: ALAN-A-DALE, I stared and stared at that SE corner, started running the alphabet, and was shocked when the happy pencil finally appeared. No [10d: Long rant]: TIRADE from me today; I think I need a [60d: Time to shut it all down]: NAP. If you found this any easier, [14a: “Spill it!”]: I’M ALL EARS.