Brian Thomas’s New York Times crossword—Jenni’s write-up
Happy Last Puzzle of the Year!
This is a nice Monday theme. I figured it out early on and still enjoyed the revealer at the end. Not all the fill is as Monday-friendly as the theme.
Each theme answer has OOO somewhere.
- 17a [“You young people go ahead!”] is I’M TOO OLD FOR THIS.
- 25a [Lack in energy] is HAVE NO OOMPH.
- 44a F[orce to exit, as a performer] is BOO OFFSTAGE, which is not as common as the others but still not bad.
- 58a [Traffic reporter’s comment] is IT’S A ZOO OUT THERE. My favorite of the four.
And the revealer: 65a [Another name for O3 (as appropriate to 17-, 25-, 44- and 58-Across?)] which is OZONE. Nice.
We have two 15s in the theme answers and four nice 8-letter entries: LAID ASIDE, IMPLORED, WAIT HERE, and STEGOSAUR.
A few other things:
- Two U-less Qs to start off with Q AND A at 1a and Q-TIP at 1d.
- 18d [Kingly name in Norway] could be OLAF or OLAV; I always need the crossing.
- Is anyone still doing TAE Bo, or does it just live on in crosswords?
- 48a is [Broadway’s ___ O’Neill Theater]. Is the theater more famous than the eponymous playwright?
- AUNT is a common word with a host of possible clues. Do we really need the reference to a racist stereotype at 46d with [___ Jemima]?
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: when I said some of the fill wasn’t Monday-friendly, I was referring to 40d [Scoundrel, in British slang]. I have never heard of a TOE RAG.
Lewis Porter’s (Mike Shenk’s) Wall Street Journal crossword, “Seize the Day” — Jim P’s review
The hidden word of the day is EVE (63d, [Day before that’s found in the starred answers]).
- 17a [*Contrariwise] VICE VERSA
- 21a [*Soothing lotion additive] ALOE VERA
- 39a [*They’re followed by direct objects] TRANSITIVE VERBS
- 53a [*Safety wear when boating] LIFE VEST
- 60a [*Island nation west of Africa] CAPE VERDE
I find hidden word themes to be less and less interesting, especially when there’s no “reason” (a clever word or phrase) explaining why the word is hidden. (I should talk. I have a hidden word theme over at Universal Crosswords out today, but at least it has a revealing reason.) So this theme didn’t thrill me, even though the entries are solid enough.
I enjoyed the fill much more, though, with entries like SVENGALI, MAZEL TOV, SKIVVIES, TAROT CARDS, and SCUTTLE.
SVENGALI reminded me of the Seinfeld scene where Elaine mispronounces the word. Then, who should show up a few entries later but Julia Louis-Dreyfus herself in the clue for VEEP. Don’t know if that was purposeful or not, but it was fun.
Back to the puzzle. What do you think of the bizarre entry BUTTLE (23d, [Work in a manor, facetiously])? Not one I’ve ever heard, but the word shows up in multiple dictionaries. It’s also in Urban Dictionary, but the definition is, uh, entirely different.
That’s about all I can muster. Three stars for the theme, 3.5 for the fill, which puts the whole affair at about 3.25 stars.
C. C. Burnikel’s Los Angeles Times crossword—Nate’s write-up
Ironically, this puzzle wasn’t a pain at all!
17A: NAGGING PAIN [Persistent ache]
23A: GLASS PANE [Window section]
48A: LIAM PAYNE [Heartthrob in the band One Direction]
57A: THOMAS PAINE [“Common Sense” author]
This puzzle was easy breezy and every bit as strong as you’d expect from a Burnikel puzzle. My only real challenge was filling in the PA_NE in the last two theme entries, but thankfully those crosses were easy enough. Oh, and INESSE and MSED, which were a bit tough for a Monday. Even with those, though, I sailed through this grid in one of my faster Monday times recently.
#includemorewomen: It can sometimes be lost behind the initials, but C. C. Burnikel is one of the most prolific woman constructors in CrossWorld – it matters that she consistently publishes fantastic grids! In this grid, she includes women like NIA Vardalos, TINA Fey, EDNA Ferber, and LARA CROFT. These women are outnumbered by the men in the grid for sure, but Burnikel has inspired so many women in the field that she certainly counts as fantastic representation/inclusion herself!
I hope each of you has a wonderful end to the year and a fantastic, prosperous, and fulfilling 2019!
Anna Shechtman’s New Yorker crossword—Ben’s review
Happy Monday, all! It’s the last New Yorker puzzle of the year, after last week’s delightful series of puzzles themed around the year in culture. Those felt a skosh easier than the New Yorker’s typical output, but that felt like a natural part of how the puzzles were themed, and I loved getting a great review of movies/books/etc. from earlier this year.
We’re not here to discuss those puzzles, though, we’re here to discuss the latest entry from Anna Shechtman. This was a grid I needed to trust myself more on – I held back on putting in my first guess on a bunch of these clues because I didn’t have any crossings, only to come back when I did and find my intuition was correct.
An example: I figured 1A‘s “Twenty-first century Superman” was Henry CAVILL but waited until I had ABHOR and LPS (“Spinning supply”) going down to enter it in.
Google used to serve up this TWEE video for Peter Bjorn & John’s “Young Folks” if you searched “indie whistling song”
Other things I liked: horror villain (and gay icon, as the New Yorker highlights as this weeks’ post-puzzle clue) The BABADOOK, SCREEN TIME, HOMEBODIES (though I disagree with the notion that they’re necessarily ANTISOCIAL, as its linked clue in 23D suggests), radical SELF CARE, I Dream of JEANNIE, and “TIFFS, e.g.” cluing IMAGE FILES instead of FILM FESTS like I initially tried to make work despite not having enough letters for the grid.
Your “Pope of Mope” and mine, MORRISSEY
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Themeless Monday crossword #497—Judge Vic’s review
This one for me was a bear. Finishing in just under 30 minutes, I found I had numerous errors, as expected. I had no idea on 1a [Irish country club] SHILLELAGH even after getting SCATHE, HIREON, INMATE, LEANS, and GLEN. Make of that what you will: I’m a moron, or it was a tad too hard. Maybe a little of both.
Some of the clues upset me, but that could be because I was a bit pressed for time. 19a [Parlour cup] I thought should have been “cupful” or the like. As worded, the clue touted me off of TEA.
37a [Short person’s condition] had me searching for a noun. The answer, NO MONEY, is not a noun.
57a Water event with a board POOL DIVING–I got diving, but would never have inserted pool had it not materialized from the crossers.
10d [Uncompromising adherences], as a clue for HARD LINES, just makes me want to say that there’s something wrong somewhere. What is an adherence? My adherence to a hard line is not the hard line itself, is it?
And these I just didn’t get:
32d [Splinter group, briefly] TMNT
[36d [Tender parts?] COAL BINS
In fairness, I really liked some of this puzzle:
- 15a Character who didn’t wait for the other shoe to drop CINDERELLA
- 17a Piece broker? ARMSTRADER
- 20a 1988 U.S. Small Business Persons Of The Year winners BEN AND JERRY–Though, I’d not have capitalized of and the.
- 5a. Comic actor who starred in “The Post” BOB ODENKIRK
- 13d 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Music winner NED ROREM–Who knew?
- 31d Country club regular COURSEPRO–I haven’t played enough golf lately.