Peter A Collins’ New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Second crossword I’m seeing and writing about that celebrates—if not explicitly acknowledges—the 50th anniversary of the release of Cool Hand Luke. The other one is the Chronicle of Higher Education offering from 27 October.
- 20a/37a/52a. [… #11 on the American Film Institute’s “100 Years … 100 Movie Quotes” list] WHAT WE’VE GOT | HERE IS FAILURE TO | COMMUNICATE. Length breaks down inconsistently with the sentence structure, alas. Such things are sometimes necessary in the cutthroat symmetrical world of cruciverbalism.
- Then along the bottom row: 65a/66a/67a [… source of this puzzle’s theme quote] COOL | HAND | LUKE. 3×4, nice observation.
Acrosses nearly as long as the two shorter theme-quote entries: 18a [“Told ya!”] I CALLED IT, 33a [Former lovers] OLD FLAMES (just after 32a [In the past] AGO), 41a [Accepts begrudgingly, as a minor flaw] LETS SLIDE, 59a [Make over] REFASHION.
- 6d [One poked through the eye?] LACE. Took me a few beats to understand this one. Not tatted or intricate lace material, rather a shoelace. Aglets and such.
- Seems like a lot of personal names. Let’s list them to pad the write-up, shall we? 26a [“Rebecca” author Du Maurier] DAPHNE, 44a [Meryl who played Margaret Thatcher] STREEP, 47a [43rd U.S. president, informally[ DUBYA, 9d [“The Simpsons” bartender] MOE, 10d [Actress MacDowell of “Four Weddings and a Funeral”] ANDIE, 14d [Olympic hurdlerMoses] EDWIN, 19d [Shipmate of Capt. Kirk and Mr. Spock] LT SULU, 26d [Author Roald] DAHL, 27d [PulitzerPrize-winning author James] AGEE, 30d [“The Sopranos” Emmy winner Falco] EDIE, 39d [Susan with the 1978 best seller “Compromising Positions”] ISAACS. At least a decent percentage of them are women. Guess it’s good that 13a FLAKE wasn’t clued as the Arizona senator and 42a TRU didn’t evoke Capote’s nickname, or that 3d CARA didn’t reference the actress Irene (she hasn’t done much in the past decade). See? A very lot.
- 12d [Fall bloomer] ASTER, 29d [Alternatives to mums] GLADS (chrysanthemums, gladioli).
Mark McClain’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
- 69aR [Highway breakdown need … or, initially, feature of 17-, 27-, 45- and 60-Across] TOW. (12d [Acronym parts: Abbr.] LTRS.)
- 17a. [Saber-rattling] THREAT OF WAR. Before knowing the theme, I had this as THREATENING.
- 27a. [Shed a few pounds] TAKE OFF WEIGHT. (37a [Shed purpose] STORAGE.)
- 45a. [Romantic triangle figure] THE OTHER WOMAN.
- 60a. [End up just fine] TURN OUT WELL. A natural choice for the final theme entry.
Seems kind of random for a theme.
- Other erstwhile mis-fills: 7d [Sch. before junior high] ELHI not ELEM (obviously I didn’t read the clue closely), 29d [Edmund who plaayed Kris Kringle] GWYNN not GWENN, and the one that lasted the longest because I never checked the crossings until the puzzle was completely filled and there wasn’t a ‘correctly solved’ flag: 59d [Hearty bowlful] SOUP not STEW (yes that’s where the revealer ended up hiding from me). But! I at least had the good sense to hedge on 23a [Carry on wildly] as RA–– until it was evident whether it was RANT OR RAVE.
- 50a [“__ le roi!”: French revolutionary cry] ABAS. *checks day of week*
Sure, there are some uncommon words and names in this grid, but at least they’re crossword familiar (e.g., MEL | OTT, EDO – 16a, 36a, 62d).
- 19a [Ravel classic] BOLERO.
- 26d [“Sprechen __ Deutsch?”] SIE, Oder, ‘Können sie Deutsch sprechen?’ Etwas besser.
- 51d [ASAP, to an MD] STAT. Shortening of Latin statim, ‘immediately, without delay’.
- 52d [Brownish purple] PUCE. From French word for flea, ultimately from Latin.
- 41a [Truckee River’s lake] TAHOE, 67a [Giggly sound] TE-HEE (presumably this only occurs when one is in a TEPEE).
Daniel Hamm’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Plane-Spoken” — Jim’s review
The puzzle posted later than usual, so I will make this quick. Our theme entries are common phrases in which the first word can also be a part of an airplane.
- 17a [Sentries in front of the airplane?] NOSEGUARDS
- 29a [Small dents in the airplane?] WINGDINGS
- 43a [Paint jobs at the back of the airplane?] TAILCOATS
- 57a [Rough drawing on part of an airplane?] FLAPDOODLE
Yup, that all works. Although, technically, I’d say a flap is part of a wing. I do love the entry WINGDINGS and its clue. I believe I’d heard FLAPDOODLE before, but wasn’t sure of its meaning. I had assumed it meant something like hullabaloo, but it means merely nonsense or hogwash.
I solved while the TV was on, so that might explain some of the difficulties I was having: CAMBODIA for CAMEROON (wrong continent, sorry), IN A SEC for IN A FEW, but worst of all GEESE for GOOSE [Flyer in a V formation]. I missed the fact that it wasn’t plural. The upshot of this was that the central upper left was a real bear for me. I didn’t know SEAWOLF [U.S. Navy nuclear sub class] nor STEWPANS [Cassoulet cookers] and POKER was impossible to see with my error and the unexpectedly-tougher-than-Monday clue [Hand-to-hand combat?]. Good clue though, but it took a few seconds post-entry for the meaning to seep through. I like the word SKULK, too.
Other goodness: DISTILLERY, GOOF-OFFS, CAMEROON, posh-sounding RIPOSTE, and theme-adjacent TWIN-ENGINE.
Straight-over-the-plate theme, but lively, clean fill throughout.
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Themeless Monday crossword — Laura’s Writeup
One has to be UNRELENTING [14a: Tenacious] sometimes, not to cry UNCLE [2d: “This is too hard!”]. Lots to TANTALIZE [26d: Beguile] solvers in this themeless, and little to SNORE [7d: [How lame]] at. That said, there were a few MARE’S NESTS [53a: Difficult situations] in the grid that took me more time than usual. A [41a: Digital Trojan Horse, for one] is indeed a THREAT, but for a clue that specific I wanted something like VIRUS or CYBERATTACK. And instead of GREEN PAINT, we have [12d: Green rock]: JADE STONE, plus two other somewhat arbitrary adjective-noun combinations: [32d: Colorful Mars candy piece]: RED M AND M and [45a: Marco Polo’s home?]: POOL AREA. As in Marco Polo, the game you play in the area of a pool.
- Apparently the Russians have overtaken the ARABS as top [42d: Oil suppliers].
- I eat in diners all the time but I have never seen, nor has it ever occurred to me to have [19a: Diner orders that are two eggs, hash browns, and a hamburger patty covered with chili and cheese]: SLINGERS.
- There’s an extremely accurate and reliable internet quiz that you can take to find out which punctuation mark you are. I am “quotation marks” because apparently I am “a reflective and gentle soul who enjoys curling up with a good book.” Uh, okay. If you take the quiz and find out that you are the INTERROBANG [48a: Two-in-one mark], let us know in the comments.