Jay Kaskel’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
In which witches are summoned for seasonal thematic duty.
- 18a. [Computer help for a witch?] SPELL CHECK.
- 26a. [Educational institution for witches?] CHARM SCHOOL.
- 41a. [How one might be forced to accept a witch?] WARTS AND ALL.
- 53a. [Utterances from witches?] CURSE WORDS.
Simpatico material: 27d [Witches] HAGS, 40a [Like a haunted house] EERIE, 47a [“The Ghost and Mrs. __” (1947 movie)] MUIR, 32d [Like Michael Myers of :Halloween”] EVIL. At a greater remove: 4d [Sci-fi movie that’s inspired many a Halloween costume] STAR WARS, 24d [Hotter __ hell] THAN, 28d [Moans and groans, e.g.] CRIES.
Erm, what else?
- Nifty that the other entry in row 11 contains all the letters of 47a MUIR—44a [Japanese warrior] SAMURAI.
- 61a [“Hyperion” poet John] KEATS.
- 44d [Vanzetti’s partner in 1920s crime] SACCO.
- 7d/37d [“I’ll second that!”] AMEN; HEAR, HEAR.
- 26d [Dirt clump] CLOD.
Harold Jones’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Monsters, Inc.” — Jim’s review
Solved while watching Stranger Things 2, which seems appropriate.
Halloween is nearly here, so our puzzle is infested with OGREs (46d, [Monster incorporated into the four long Across answers]).
- 17a [Some shelter workers] DOG RESCUERS. This doesn’t feel very in-the-language to me.
- 26a [Gauge features using physical pointers, for example] ANALOG READOUTS. That’s somewhat better.
- 41a [Color akin to chartreuse] PISTACHIO GREEN. Not as common as olive green or kelly green, but more common than hunter green or forest green, per onelook.com.
- 53a [Be extremely successful] GO GREAT GUNS. Never heard this phrase before.
The thing I liked best about the theme was the revealer’s clue with its play on the word “incorporated.” Most of the theme entries however felt somewhat forced. I would have preferred to see different monsters in different entries, perhaps with FRUIT ROLL-UP, MONGOL EMPIRE, ROTATOR CUFF or similar. That would have jibed better with the title as well.
Most of the long fill was fine but not very exciting either: MORTGAGE, ACCUMULATE, RESEEDS, TEENAGER. But then I got to NUDIST CAMP, which is pleasantly colorful and for some reason seems to go very well with its near-neighbor, HAIR GEL.
There were a couple of non-Mondayish clues and answers in GOETHE [German author who wrote “The Sorrows of Young Werther”] and TIMON [Shakespeare’s title Athenian]. We’ve seen TIMON a number of times in the WSJ and I don’t recall ever seeing it clued with respect to the Disney character.
But the puzzle is very clean as usual, and there is some nice mid-range stuff like BISTRO, GREASY, DE SOTO, and THE CARS [“You Might Think” band].
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Themeless Monday crossword — Laura’s Writeup
This is Brendan’s 999th website crossword, so he should be SALUTED [12d: Toasted] with lots of PRAISES [56a: Some Amazon reviews]. Will there be a CRACKER JACK [18a: hot stuff] themed puzzle on Thursday, when we ENTRUST [2d: Hand over] the blogging reins to Ben? I HOPE SO [11d: “God willing].
My times for BEQ’s themelesses are always longer than for most NYT Fridays/Saturdays, but this one chugged along nicely, except for the SW corner, where I just couldn’t get GAM [51d: Humpback group] (despite having read Moby-Dick multiple times), NET MEN [55a: Court figures who play things close] (a tennis thing?), and JAPE [48d: Kid around] — I wanted JAKE for some reason, which gave me ON POKER instead of ON PAPER [53a: Theoretically]. Three things:
- [28a: Buffalo Bill’s capturer on film]: STARLING. That would be Clarice STARLING, HEROINE [34d: Leading lady] of The Silence of the Lambs. Buffalo Bill is the serial killer she must HUNT [21a: Search high and low] for, who is so named because … well, I’ve just eaten breakfast so look it up. STARLING crosses STERLING [7d: Fine silver], which I feel like most puzzle editors would ding but there’s the advantage to going indie.
- [1a: Band with an infamous butchered babies album]: BEATLES. This refers to the original cover concept for Yesterday and Today (1966), which pictured the Fab Four in butcher coats amidst … see above re breakfast and perhaps you’d like to read more about it in this Rolling Stone article.
- On the topic of subversive trends in 1960s American culture, we have JOHN CHEEVER [48a: “The Five-Forty-Eight” short story writer]. Here’s the trailer for The Swimmer (1968), which is Cheever at his most Mad Men-esque (with Joan Rivers in a brief scene).
Jake Braun’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
- 66aR [“Spring Forward” partner (a reminder for November 5th … and what the last word of each answer to a starred clue can literally have] FALL BACK.
- 17a. [*Palestine, to many] HOLY LAND. Landfall.
- 28a. [*Slam-dance area] MOSH PIT. Pitfall.
- 51a. [*What “blows no good”] ILL WIND. Windfall.
- 11d. [*Jam on the brakes] STOP SHORT. Shortfall.
- 35d. [*Regular dinner-and-a-movie evening] DATE NIGHT. Nightfall.
Compound words all.
- 14a [Top poker pair] ACES, 70a [Pre-deal wager] ANTE, 71a [Poker player, e.g.] BETTOR.
- 20a [St. plagued by wildfires in 2017] ORE. Kudos for eschewing the overused geological deposit and calling attention to environmental concerns, but that abbrev. for ‘state’ and starting the clue with it? Ouch. And as ever, state abbrevs. that aren’t the common two-letter postal ones are just kind of weird in crosswords.
- 33d [Classic Ford] MODEL T, 45d [“Cats’ poet] TS ELIOT.
- 6d [Say “You’re grounded” to, say] PUNISH. Say … say? Back it up, I say.
- 10d [Up-and-down playground fixtures] SEE-SAWS, 22d [Playground fixture] SLIDE.
- 60d [Jazzman Allison] MOSE. Haven’t shared this widely since a few times in December 2016, but it seems especially timely and urgent again (though it has been, all along).
Monsters of the id
no longer staying hid
and terrors of the night
are out in broad daylight
no need to knock on wood
don’t stop to say a prayer
it won’t do any good
they’re multiplyin’ in the airDemons of the deep
are going without sleep
and phantoms of the dark
have their own place to park
no need to lock the doors
they’re sprouting through the cracks
they’re making room for more
they’re deputizing maniacsPrehistoric ghouls
are making their own rules
and resurrected huns
are passing out the guns
no need to cause a fuss
don’t go and make a scene
they know what’s best for us
they’re fighting fire with gasolineCreatures from the swamp
rewrite their own Mein Kampf
just trying to make a buck
goblins and their hags
are out there waving flags
oh when will we be rid
of monsters of the id(©1969 Mose Allison)