Lynn Lempel’s New York Times crossword—Ben’s write-up
Ben here, filling in for Erica. The Oscars are in an hour, but Monday’s NYT is here now, so let’s take a look at what’s going on today:
- 17A: Country bumpkin’s counterpart — CITY SLICKER
- 27A: Woman having literary interests — BLUE STOCKING
- 43A: Pompous person — STUFFED SHIRT
- 57A: Know-it-all — SMARTY PANTS
I feel like I’ve seen this exact theme (entries that include an article of clothing) at least 2 or 3 times at this point, and this particular variation is solid, if not entirely fresh. I’m not familiar with a BLUE STOCKING, but that’s what crossings are for.
Elsewhere in the fill:
- My brain managed to immediately pull up ARIES as the “first zodiac sign” of the year. Good job, brain!
- CURRY isn’t just a “Usually spicy Indian dish” – it also pops up in Thai and Japanese cuisine, and all of them are very, very tasty.
- I did not know that CAPUCHINS are named for monks!
This was a fairly breezy puzzle. 3.5/5 stars.
Melina Merchant’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “To-Do List” — Jim’s review
Tidy little theme where the entries are a collection of two-word phrases of the form TO_ DO_, thus making the titled extraordinarily APT.
18a [Subdued] TONED DOWN
- 23a [Very high price] TOP DOLLAR
- 38a [Yorkshire terriers and Brussels griffons, e.g.] TOY DOGS
- 51a [Amount needed to produce a harmful effect, in medicine] TOXIC DOSE
- 55a [Folk song that was a #1 hit for the Kingston Trio] TOM DOOLEY
A strong set of entries although I’d never heard of the song. (See the video below if interested.)
The grid is impressively clean with nice entries ANGELIC, ART DECO, ANDORRA, CYLINDER, WHITTIER, ARIADNE, ORDERLY, TAPER OFF, and CLIP-ONS.
- 28a [Throw for ___]. You went with A LOOP, too, didn’t you? Nope, it’s A LOSS.
- 29a [“Snow-Bound” poet] is John Greenleaf WHITTIER, namesake for Mount WHITTER in New Hampshire and the city of WHITTIER, California.
- 38a [Yorkshire terriers and Brussels griffons, e.g.] TOY DOGS. Hadn’t heard of the latter. If a dog could look Belgian, this is it!
- 34d [Nickname of astronaut Cooper] is GORDO which means “fat person” in Spanish. I know this because it’s what we called our brother Gordy when we were kids. In our defense, he was older than us, was certainly not overweight, and none of us knew what it meant.
All in all, a very nice puzzle and a great start to the week!
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s themeless Monday crossword — Laura’s Review
Superquick post today because life. Let’s talk about:
[1a: Viral content in-jokes that are intentionally bizarre or no longer funny]: DANK MEMES. Here’s an example:
- [23d: Soft’n ___ Squishies (toys that look like food, and, well, you squish): SLO. Despite having tween children, target consumers for anything marketed with a COLLECT THEM ALL!!!!!!!!! banner, I hadn’t heard of these.
- [45d: Winter gutter blockage]: ICE DAM. Ice dams form when the snow at the edge of your very steeply pitched roof (say, near the crossword-friendly EAVES), melts, then freezes, forming a dam made of ice that backs up subsequent meltage that in turn leaks through the roof that they said had been repaired before you bought the damn house, and now you have to spend money on getting the thing replaced and oh well what about that basement leakage and did I tell you the water heater is busted, and why did we have to buy a 125-year-old house in New England, and [32d: Hunh?]: WHAT’S THAT? Yeah, ok, back to the post.
- [16a: “Deja Vu (Uptown Baby)” rappers Lord ___ & Peter Gunz]: TARIQ. An ode to the Bronx, this 1997 hit samples Steely Dan’s “Black Cow.” I can think of one other hiphop song (it’s one of my all-time favorites) that samples a song from crossword-friendly AJA — it will come back to you. Hey there’s an entire site where you can find out who sampled what from whom!!
- [51a: “Afternoon in Ostend” painter]: James ENSOR (1860-1949), about whom there is a song by They Might Be Giants, because of course there is:
C.C. Burnikel’s Los Angeles Times crossword—Adesina’s write-up
Good afternoon, everyone! This is Ade performing as panonica’s stunt double for today’s review of the puzzle, which was brought to us by Ms. C.C. Burnikel. In the grid, three of the four longest entries have circles on each end of the entry, which all end up spelling out the word D-E-A-L. The fourth theme entry, DEAL BREAKER, acts as the reveal to the theme (25D: [Negotiations killer…or, in a way, what each answer to a starred clue is]).
- DEAD AS A DOORNAIL (16A: [*Kaput])
- DRY CEREAL (19A: [*Life in a breakfast bowl, say]) – Enough times, I eat my favorite cereal, Corn Chex, dry. Am I weird for doing that?
- DELTA DENTAL (22D: [*Oral health care network])
So there’s AYE (36A: [Sailor’s agreement]) as fill in the grid, and there’s “aye” used in the clue for ALL (61A: [“___ in favor, say ‘aye'”]). I personally am not bothered by that, but definitely a nit that others might very will pick on. Though only based on this grid and on absolutely nothing else, something might tell me that Ms. Burnikel might very well own a Dalmatian, given the clues to both DOGS (35D: [Dalmatians, e.g.]) and SPOT (42D: [Dalmatian marking]). I first thought of “scuttle” instead of SIDLE when reading its clue, and hoping I’m not the only one that did that (20A: [Move like a crab]). I’m definitely hoping to make a trip to the North Side of Chicago to see those IVIED walls in the upcoming baseball season (21D: [Like the outfield walls at Wrigley Field]). Well, I’ll make sure to head to Chicago sometime after May so I won’t have to bundle up in 40-degree weather while sitting with the bleacher creatures on Waveland Ave.
“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: POE (14D: [“The 18-Down” poet]) – Defensive tackle Dontari POE, who currently plays for the Atlanta Falcons, is currently the person listed as the largest player ever to throw a touchdown pass in NFL history. Listed at 6-foot-3 and 346 pounds, Poe, while playing for the Kansas City Chiefs on Christmas Day in 2016, threw a “jump pass” which was caught by Demetrius Harris for a 2-yard touchdown against the Denver Broncos. Poe was drafted in the first round (11th overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft after playing his college ball at the University of Memphis.
See you all down the road, and have a great rest of your Monday!
Hang down you head Jim for not knowing the classic Tom Dooley based on a true story in North Carolina THE HISTORY .
Me head is hanged (kinda like Tom Dooley’s ba-dum-BUM!).
Coincidentally, I saw the other day an old line from one of Martin Mull’s routines: “Remember the Great Folk Music Scare of the 60s? That shit almost caught on!”
Stereogum (one of the sites I follow for indie music news and updates) is doing a series going through every song that’s ever been #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and Tom Dooley popped up in an early edition.
Oh wow. Thanks for this — I’ll be following that all year. Relatedly, here’s a stunning data visualization-auralization of all Billboard top-5 hits from 1958-present. Every song gets one second for every week it was #1. It’s set it to start 20 years ago.
Lynn Lempel’s Monday puzzles are so clean that she makes it look easy. And then you wonder why so many other puzzles don’t come up to her standard.
For no reason that I can think of, I loved seeing PORKYPIG today.
Re: BEQ – is there another definition of “SIEGE” that I don’t know about? I always understood it to be when an army surrounds an enemy encampment, town, castle, fort, etc., not allowing any supplies in. Basically a waiting game … how does a moat deter that?
Much tsuris in the NW corner – mostly about “IM ON A ROLL”. I wanted to put in “I CAN’T FAIL”, then couldn’t unsee “Don’t, Won’t, “Can’t” etc. Even when it was in, I thought, “What’s I MONA ROLL”?
Moats were excavated around castles and other fortifications as part of the defensive system as an obstacle immediately outside the walls. In suitable locations they might be filled with water. A moat made access to the walls difficult for siege weapons, such as siege towers and battering rams, which needed to be brought up against a wall to be effective. A water-filled moat made the practice of mining, digging tunnels under the castles in order to effect a collapse of the defenses, very difficult as well.
NYT – the theme answers are articles of clothing, but do you ever put on one stocking? I think it has to be the plural “stockings” for it to make sense. Just my opinion.
Interesting observation. I don’t ever wear a single stocking, but neither do I hang a pair of them up by the chimney with care … “Blue Stockings” according to Wikipedia and their sources, refers to a group of intellectual women; a singular member of this group is defined in the singular – hence “Blue Stocking”. It’s kind of like saying that a Boston baseball player is a “Red Sock” (or his Chicago counterpart is a “White Sock”). Works well in the plural, a bit clumsy otherwise.
My sense is that you are OK with the term as it might refer to a member of this group, but it doesn’t fit into the theme as neatly as the others – is that the case?
I would think putting on two stockings would make bank robbery nigh impossible.