Bruce Haight’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
The theme is phrases that end with terms for men’s undies, clued as if they’re actually about undies:
- 17a. [Underwear for judges?], LEGAL BRIEFS. We will not embarrass Judge Victor Fleming by inquiring about the sort of underwear judges wear. (Now I’m wondering if Scottish judges go commando under their robes, as if they were wearing kilts.)
- 24a. [Underwear for Frisbee enthusiasts?], DISC JOCKEYS. A brand name, but “Jockey shorts” is a lot like “Kleenex” and “Q-tips.”
- 34a. [Underwear for beginners?], AMATEUR BOXERS.
- 47a. [Underwear for actors?], MOVIE SHORTS.
- 55a. [Underwear for tycoons?], CASH DRAWERS. Although presumably your average tycoon doesn’t have most of their holdings in cash.
Fill that’s tough for a Monday: SET FEE, IDI, ALF, TEENA, OH YAY, TSAR, TERNS, ILIAC, ARA, O’SHEA.
Three more things:
- 21d. [Heart health evaluation, for short], EKG TEST. The “test” is superfluous here and I don’t care for it.
- 29d. [Victory in an away game], ROAD WIN. Interesting entry. The Milwaukee Brewers did not manage a ROAD WIN in these past four games in Chicago. Go, Cubs!
- 32d. [“Well, I never!”], HUMPH. I prefer either the full harrumph or the vowelless hmph.
Four stars for the theme, 2.75 stars for the fill because of the bits that are too daunting/unfamiliar for beginning solvers.
Matt McKinley’s LA Times crossword – Jenni’s write-up
I’m pinch-hitting for pannonica. Today’s offering is Monday-easy fill with a theme that is not obvious. I wasn’t all the excited when I got the payoff.
We have four theme answers:
- 17a is [Fruity 12-Down topping] with the unnecessary cross-reference. The answer to 12d is TOAST, and 17a is APRICOT JAM. I’ve never had apricot jam.
- 23a [Craftsperson using scrap metal, glass, etc.] is a JUNK ARTIST. I’d never heard the term; a quick Google search suggests this is my limitation.
- 38a [Tax filing option for married couples] is SEPARATE RETURNS. Accurate, and not particularly fun.
- 47a [Restriction for quarantined patients] is NO VISITORS. That’s an unusual edict these days. Most of the time, patients with an infectious illness are allowed visitors as long as the visitors take appropriate precautions.
What do all those answers have in common? They’re kind of boring…but that’s not the theme. We have a revealer: 58a [Feature of the time periods hinted at by the starting letters of 17-, 23-, 38- and 47-across]. First I tried spelling something with the initials. Nope. Then I looked again: starting letters are APR, JUN, SEP, and NOV. The answer to 58a is THIRTY DAYS. You remember: THIRTY DAYS hath September…
as I said, I wasn’t overwhelmed with excitement. It’s nice that it runs on April 30th.
A few other things:
- We start right off at 1d with 1d [Parts of cote tales?] which made me think of doves. Nope. Sheep. The answer is BAAS. Never mind the ridiculous plural; it’s obscure and has no place in a Monday puzzle.
- 3d [White wine apéritifs] are KIRS, and one of my favorite drinks. I prefer the KIR royale, made with champagne. Mmm.
- 7d [TV cop with a lollipop] was KOJAK. Who loves ya, baby?
- 24d [Tony or Hugo] is AWARD. Broadway and sci-fi, respectively. If they ever make a musical out of a John Scalzi novel…
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that the heroine of the “Divergent” films is named TRIS. Nice to see a clue that doesn’t involve ancient baseball.
I leave you with this, which can’t really be described, except that “singing” is not really accurate, and the lollipops were more attractive.
Daniel Hamm’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Do and Clue” — Jim’s review
Theme: Phrases that feature rhyming words separated by AND.
- 17a [Entertain with a lavish meal] WINE AND DINE
- 27a [Divide up for further analysis, as data] SLICE AND DICE
- 44a [Reception for a politician or celebrity] MEET AND GREET
- 60a [Stock fraud scheme] PUMP AND DUMP
Straightforward, smooth, and clean. Just right for a Monday. That said, I never heard PUMP AND DUMP before. I assume it refers to buying a stock, somehow artificially inflating its price, then selling it at its peak before the bubble bursts. (*Looks it up.* Hey! I was right!)
Other possible theme entries (which I found by looking at David Levinson Wilk’s LAT puzzle of 2006) could’ve been: WEAR AND TEAR, MOAN AND GROAN, HIGH AND DRY.
Lots of fun fill today: BIKINI WAX (well, fun as an entry, not so much fun (I imagine) as an activity), ANNE KLEIN, ARMPIT (no wax today, I guess), SWEDEN, CANADA, NEBULA, APLOMB, and AGE-OLD.
Cluing felt a touch harder than usual for a Monday.
- 11a [Tender spot?]. I thought this would be ATM, but no, it’s BAR.
- 26a [Gyrfalcon’s grasper]. This got an initial “Huh?” as a reaction. But then I broke it down and confidently plunked down TALON.
- 31d [Peer group?]. This is clever, but tough for EYES.
- 34d [Fashion designer born Hannah Golofski]. The only way I could get ANNE KLEIN from this was with enough crosses.
- And then there’s 15a [Hip-hop headwear] for DO-RAG. Hmm. This clue feels old and tired. I get that it’s after the alliteration, but it feels like it’s pushing a stereotype. Lots of other people (bikers, hikers, etc.) wear do-rags, not just those associated with hip-hop culture.
But that’s my only nit to pick. A simple, but lively puzzle today. I’d put it around 3.5 stars.
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s themeless Monday crossword — Laura’s Review
[18a: Major fault line?]: YOU HAD ONE JOB. How you didn’t do the one job that you had is a popular meme on the Internet, which I hear they now have on computers.
[22a: Bobbi who was the first woman to run the entire Boston Marathon]: GIBB. In 1966, Gibb ran unregistered in what has come to be known as the “pre-sanctioned era,” before women were allowed to compete. You’ve likely seen the photos of Katherine Switzer, who registered using her initials, being shoved by a race official in the 1967 marathon. Afterwards, Boston Athletic Association director Will Cloney said, “Women can’t run in the Marathon because the rules forbid it. Unless we have rules, society will be in chaos…. If that girl were my daughter, I would spank her.” Nevertheless…
[52a: Hockey fan’s late-spring growth]: PLAYOFF BEARD. What other facial-hair-growing yearly occasions are there? I also know of Movember, where you grow out your ‘stache to raise awareness for men’s health issues.
[33a: Noah of “The Librarian”]: WYLE. He’s arguably more well-known than he was in ER for this series, in which heroic librarians “solve impossible mysteries, recover powerful artifacts, and fight against supernatural threats” — just like we do in real life.
- [8d: 1979 Steve Martin movie]: THE JERK. It would be tough to pick just one favorite scene from this comedy classic, but how about this — which shows off just what a talented musician Steve Martin is, in addition to his comedic genius.