No WSJ puzzle today. Happy New Year!
Matthew Sewell’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
It’s a Torch Song Trilo— er, a Torch Song Pentalogy.
- 17a. [Jon Bon Jovi torch song?] BLAZE OF GLORY.
- 29a. [Elvis Presley torch song?] BURNING LOVE.
- 36a. [Bangles torch song?] ETERNAL FLAME.
- 45a. [The Doors torch song?] LIGHT MY FIRE.
- 59a. [The Trammps torch song?] DISCO INFERNO.
It’s also a 16×15 grid. Anyway, good job on the theme. A cohesive set, and the symmetry works. One observation: four nouns, one adjective.
New Year and all that.
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Themeless Monday crossword — Laura’s Writeup
Short post because it’s New Year’s Day and I need to get back to the Twilight Zone marathon on SyFy. Three things:
- [1d: Noted 2017 hijab wearer]: BARBIE. From the “Shero” line, she’s modeled on American Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad.
- [15d: Video game with a World War III theme]: MISSILE COMMAND. You can play on an emulator of the 1980s Atari version here (warning: it uses Flash).
- [35a: Took a stab at]: ATTEMPTED and [37d: Squeeze hit]: TEMPTED. That’s a seven-letter duplicated string, and yes, they’re related etymologically, per Wiktionary: “Late 14th century, from Old French atempter, from Latin attemptō (“I try, solicit”), from ad (“to”) + temptare, more correctly tentare (“to try”); see tempt. The noun is from the 1530s, the sense “an assault on somebody’s life, assassination attempt” (French attentat) is from 1580.” (Thus, the metaphorical “took a stab at” for ATTEMPTED has a source in language history.) As for the song, since you’ve heard the original a zillion times already (and you always sing along when it comes on the radio in the car [and by “you” I mean me]), here’s a more recent acoustic version:
“A foot without a sock…”
Ross Trudeau’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Typical Monday-type theme, various permutations of a letter string.
- 61a. [Political organization founded in 1995 by 35-Down … and a literal hint to each set of circled letters] REFORM PARTY.
35d. [’90s presidential candidate] ROSS PEROT. Can’t help noticing that he’s a near-rhyme for the constructor’s own name, and then wondering if that played a role in the puzzle’s genesis.
- 17a. [2006 best-selling Elizabeth Gilbert spiritual memoir] EAT, PRAY, LOVE.
- 24a. [Place to go blond] BEAUTY PARLOR. See also 21a [Salon goop] GEL and 59d [Hair-coloring agents] DYES.
- 39a. [Breakfast-in-bed surface] LAP TRAY.
- 51a. [Carnivorous plant] VENUS FLY TRAP.
It all works.
- [Edible epitomes of redness] seems a gratuitously hifalutin clue to open a crossword, a week, a year. (1a BEETS)
- As commenter P Ulrich notes below, the clue for 42a is problemmatic.
- 6a [Insurance giant with a spokesduck] AFLAC. I would prefer never to see the word ‘spokesduck’ ever again, thank you. Ditto ‘spokeslizard’, et al.
- 55a [Like environments where you can walk on air?] ZERO G. Definitely needs that question mark.
- 60a [Means justifier] END. Yes, I would like a qualifier, please.
- 1d [Hive denizens] BEES. Did you see the story from last week about the apiary vandalism? The hell?
- 54d [Mongolian tents] YURTS. But the word comes from Turkish via Russian.
Solid Monday offering.