Sam Ezersky’s New York Times crossword — pannonica’s write-up
Terminal oh-ay entries. Long O, long A.
- 17a. [“Would you mind?”] IS THAT OKAY?
- 22a. [Informal breakfast beverage order] GLASS OF OJ.
- 33a. [Hypnotist’s command] YOU WILL OBEY.
- 51a. [“Ulysses” star, 1967] MILO O’SHEA.
- 57a. [Cappuccino relative] CAFÉ AU LAIT.
- 1a [Pour love (on)] DOTE. Or, you know, “to exhibit mental decline of or like that of old age”. (m-w.com)
- 19a [Letter accompanying a college application, informally] REC(comendation), 42a [College dorm overseers, for short] RAS (resident assistants), 8d [College person with a “list”] DEAN. Do I detect a preoccupation? 34d [university of Illinois city] URBANA.
- 2d [Board game named after a Shakespeare play] OTHELLO. I hadn’t realized there was a formal connection. From Wikipedia (qv for primary sources): “The name was selected by Hasegawa [Goro] as a reference to the Shakespearean play Othello, the Moor of Venice, referring to the conflict between the Moor Othello and Iago, and more controversially, to the unfolding drama between Othello, who is black, and Desdemona, who is white. The green color of the board is inspired by the image of the general Othello, valiantly leading his battle in a green field. It can also be likened to a jealousy competition (jealousy being the central theme in Shakespeare’s play), since players engulf the pieces of the opponent, thereby turning them to their possession.”
- 13a [“Vous __ ici” (French for “You are here”] ÊTES.
Vous avez atteint votre destination.
Parikshit S Bhat’s Los Angeles Times crossword — pannonica’s going-over
Standard-issue initial theme.
- 41dR [Like many animated films … and a hint to 21-, 31-, 41- and 52-Across] PG RATED.
- 21a. [Admit to wrongdoing in court] PLEAD GUILTY.
- 31a. [Location-based smartphone game release of 2016] POKÉMON GO. In the grid POKEMONGO looks like a weird place name, reminds me of both Cucamonga (CA) and Tishomingo (MI).
- 41d. [Similar set of individuals] PEER GROUP.
- 52a. [Inland sea between Iran and Saudi Arabia] PERSIAN GULF.
I’d be astonished if such a theme hasn’t been done before. Turned up nothing in searching this website, but themed crosswords have a long history preceding this humble blog.
- 6d [Disney mermaid] ARIEL. Rated G.
- 37a [1998 biopic about model Carangi] GIA. Uh, okay. There’re some other entries that seem out of place in a Monday offering.
- 1d [Two-faced god] JANUS. Pretty good timing on this one. Little more than a week after the new year.
- 5d [Steel-gray metallic element] GALLIUM. Couldn’t have told you the color of it. ATNO 31.
- 27d [Ice cream thickener] AGAR, 64d [Gumbo thickener] ROUX.
Note: constructed by neither Peter Gordon NOR (47a) Paula Gamache.
Martin Leechman’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Pack of Words” — Jim’s review
The online applet on the WSJ site was exhibiting some strange behavior as I solved this. It got to a certain point then stopped accepting new letters. Whatever I typed got written over by whatever I typed next in the same square. In other words, it would not advance to the next blank square. This consistently occurred toward the end of the solve. Consequently the attached image shows an incomplete grid. The final two rows are ELKE / FINED / ETNA / REST / TARS / REEL. When I can get an image of the completed grid, I will replace the picture and delete this paragraph.
- 18a [It’s the equivalent of eight chops] RACK OF LAMB
- 26a [One of the one-eyed face cards] JACK OF SPADES
- 41a [Remote spot] BACK OF BEYOND
- 53a [1527 act committed by Emperor Charles V’s army] SACK OF ROME
Self-evident theme needing no explanation. Just right for a Monday. I like how the entries are consistent in that each first word starts with only one letter before the repeated -ACK. (That is, you don’t see an entry like STACK OF BOOKS.)
Very good long fill in OHIO STATE, SKYDIVER, DRESS CODE, SPRINKLE, SPEEDOS, EPSILON, EURASIA, ATE CROW, URANUS, and even FAR OFF and PICK OFF, despite the repetition.
Not such a fan of RETITLE, CASER, and partials A DAY, A TALE, and ON A, but I think these are outweighed by the rest of the solid fill.
Love love LOVE the clue for SKYDIVER: [Down-to-earth sort?]! I don’t know if that’s ever been used before, but as SKYDIVER doesn’t show up very often, if ever, the clue sure feels fresh.
Overall, sure, it’s a simple theme, but it feels mostly clean with sparkly fill, and that clue for SKYDIVER—lovely!
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s “Themeless Monday #448” — Andy’s review
With a BEQ themeless puzzle, it’s often fairly easy to see what the seed entries were. In a puzzle with only four long answers, it’s even easier:
- 19a, SAOIRSE RONAN [“Lady Bird” star]. She won a Golden Globe last night, to boot! This was her third nomination, after a breakout role in Atonement and starring in 2015’s Brooklyn.
- 42a, BOMB CYCLONE [Blizzard condition with an explosive name]. The currentest of current events; it’s this year’s “polar vortex.” And they’re both 11s! [wink wink]
The symmetrical entries, CURRENT YIELD and APPLE DANISH, are both nice if not highly topical. Running through all four of those entries is 20d, RENT VS. BUY [Real estate dilemma]. I dropped in RENT OR BUY first, but I like RENT VS. BUY too.
A few clues of note:
- 34d, SKI LODGES [Accommodations for moguls?]. As in these moguls. They’re not exactly accommodations for moguls… more for mogul lovers, really.
- 1a, LOL NOPE [“Hahaha, UR dreaming”]. The entry is very much in the common vernacular — the clue, less so, although now I really want to start using “Hahaha, UR dreaming.”
- 37a, OKAPI [Quadruped whose males have ossicones]. They’re those little horn-like protrusions coming out of their heads. Giraffes more famously have them.
- 7d, EROICA [Its original name was “Bonaparte”]. A little trivia chestnut: Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony, EROICA, was dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte.
- 13d, REZA [Tony-winning playwright Yasmina]. She won for the play Art.
Just a little glue in the corners: SMIRCH, LON, GLO. OLD SONG feels a little green-paint-y, as does POLO ADS (though for some reason I like the latter more).
Solid puzzle as always from BEQ.