Jason Mueller’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Easy Monday theme, if you know your famous Parisian sites (though the repeated 62-Across cross-reference clues may vex those who don’t zip through the crossings quickly enough to give away the game):
- 17a. [62-Across landmark], EIFFEL TOWER.
- 24a. [62-Across museum], THE LOUVRE. A little weird to include THE there, since that definite article also goes with SORBONNE (and PONT NEUF, and EIFFEL TOWER).
- 30a. [62-Across bridge], PONT NEUF.
- 44a. [62-Across school], SORBONNE. Newsflash from Wikipedia: “In 2018, two of the inheritors of the old University of Paris, Paris-Sorbonne University and Pierre and Marie Curie University, will become a single university called Sorbonne University.”
- 51a. [62-Across cathedral], NOTRE DAME. See also: the outcome of tonight’s NCAA Finals women’s championship game.
- 62a. [World capital that’s the theme of this puzzle], PARIS, FRANCE.
Bright spots in the fill: KING MINOS, SAFETY NET, NERF GUN. Lowlights: ANODES, TOR, ENE, ASK ME, DETOO, AONE, IDEATE, SSR. Oh, and FES, the [Second-largest city of Morocco, after Casablanca]—this is not really fair Monday fill.
- Thematic bonus: 49d. [St. Genevieve, for 62-Across], PATRON. As in patron saint.
- 11d. [Big name in Russian ballet], KIROV. Not sure this is familiar enough to throw at beginners wading into Monday puzzle solving.
- 46d. [At the point in one’s life], OF AN AGE. I’m sorry, what? You might say “He’s of an age that he should know better,” but I don’t know that OF AN AGE rises to the level of a crosswordable phrase.
3.2 stars from me.
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s themeless Monday crossword — Laura’s Review
Sometimes there can be a kind of synergy between constructor and solver, where a puzzle is just difficult enough to be challenging, and teaches you something, but with plenty of entries where you say, hey, how cool that this person thought to include that piece of trivia that I actually know!
- [37a: The range of ideas tolerated in public discourse]: OVERTON WINDOW. Formulated by political scientist Joseph Overton, this is a way of thinking about the political viability of ideas on a scale from “less free” to “more free,” and as a way of avoiding the left/right political schema. Hadn’t heard of it, but makes sense to me, and now every time I scroll thru Twitter, I’ll rate posts along the OVERTON WINDOW spectrum.
- [63a: The second-most-translated author in the world since 1979 (between Christie and Shakespeare)]: Jules VERNE, which I didn’t know either, but it makes perfect sense. VERNE features prominently in a great recent novel about WWII that you should read, All the Light We Cannot See (here’s a link to WorldCat so you can find it in your local public library), and in a 1990 movie, starring Mary Steenburgen as
- [56a: Doc Brown’s wife in “Back To The Future Part III”]: CLARA, who is utterly charming, and the whole movie is steampunky fun.
- [38d: Preliminary examination of a jury]: VOIR DIRE. Have you ever sat through one? Last time I was called up for jury duty, 10+ years ago, the defense attorney asked me what magazines I read. “Uh, The New Yorker, Wired, Bust…” I began. “Thank you, Ms. Braunstein. You’re free to go.”
- I can always count on BEQ to invoke a [5d: Song that takes you back]: OLDIE, in this case the 1982 one-hit wonder from [1a: New Wavers best known for “I Want Candy”]: BOW WOW WOW, covering a 1965 hit by the Strangeloves. Since you’ve probably seen the cover on VH1’s “100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 1980s” (guess what was #1), here’s the original. Check out the go-go boots.
Dan Fisher’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Around the Clock” — Jim’s re-cap
Puzzle posted very late, so this is just going to be a theme re-cap. I’m serious this TIME.
Theme: CENTRAL TIME (37a, [Illinois hours, and a feature of the starred answers])
- 17a. [*Feelings] SENTIMENTS.
- 26a. [*Approximate width of a pencil] CENTIMETER.
- 50a. [*Mix of text, sound, images, etc.] MULTIMEDIA.
- 59a. [*1973 Lillian Hellman book] PENTIMENTO
The title of the puzzle sounded promising, but with only one of the theme entries spanning two words (MULTI-MEDIA), this theme didn’t really grab me.
Never heard of PENTIMENTO, the book or the word, but its definition is interesting: “a visible trace of earlier painting beneath a layer or layers of paint on a canvas.”
I also never heard the word AMUSIVE (23d, [Tending to tickle]).
Brock Wilson’s Los Angeles Times crossword—Amy’s recap
62a. [It’s designed to elicit a certain answer … or where the end of 17-, 25- and 47-Across may be found] clues a LEADING QUESTION, and each of the other three themers ends with a word that can precede question. There’s LEFT THE DOOR OPEN (open question), BOOK BURNING (burning question), and DID THE TRICK (trick question). Nice set of themers, though “words that can precede X” themes tend not to excite me.
Fave fill: CHARLATAN. Not as pleased with the rest of the fill, though.
Overall, three stars from me.
Trip Payne’s Fireball crossword, “Cuckoo Crossword”—Amy’s write-up
The fastest I ever open up a Fireball email is when it’s April Fools Day and Trip’s “Cuckoo Crossword” (aka “Something Different”) rises from the mist to amuse me. A handful of the shorter answers are straightforward entries with legit clues, but all the rest of what’s in this 52-worder is totally goofball.
Among my favorites:
- The [Fake slang term for a fake red wine], CABERNOT (cabernet? not!).
- [Something that adds sweat to the body], PERSPIRANT (this product … would not sell well).
- [Delicious-sounding sarcastic response to a Muppet], “SURE, BERT” (this one’s for all those people who pronounce sherbet with an R before the T).
- [“When the stallion is charmed by his mate on the farm, that’s ___”] A MARE (playing on “that’s amore”).
- [Wearing a Kwik-E-Mart uniform, say], DRESSED LIKE APU. Well, sure.
- [“Costas? Lendl? How can I decide?”], “BOB OR IVAN?”
- [As blues singer King would], A LA B.B.
- [Ye olde hippe-hoppe musick], RAPPE.
Clue that rings wrong: 16a. [Where to get beer during surgery], ER TAP. Given that surgery is primarily done in an OR, why on earth is “during surgery” in the clue for an answer containing ER?
Five stars from me, although the alphabetical-order entry AAABCEHILLLPTY (31a. [How the letters of this answer should be entered]) pushes the acceptable limits of ludicrosity.