Andrew Kingsley’s New York Times crossword—Jenni’s write-up
This is a twist on a vowel progression theme, and it’s well done.
The theme answers shift A-E-I-O-U down the grid, and each one has a rhyming counterpart.
- 17a [Five-time N.B.A. championship-winning coach with the Lakers and the Heat] is PAT RILEY.
19a [Cable channel with many science shows, familiarly] is NAT GEO.
- 24a [Garfield, to Jon Arbuckle] is a PET CAT.
27a [Notable statistic for Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates] is NET WORTH.
- 37a [Casino floor V.I.P.] is a PIT BOSS.
40a [Make tiny criticisms] is NITPICK.
- 51a [Road hazards that need filling] are POTHOLES. I live in PA, where the real problem isn’t the POTHOLES, it’s the bits of road that stick up in between.
54a [“Be patient!”] NOT YET.
- 60a [Peeved] is PUT OUT.
62a [Dessert loaf] is NUT BREAD.
All solid, in-the-language phrases, easily gettable from the clues. A good Monday theme. Despite the vast amount of theme material, the fill is pretty good.
A few other things:
- I got 8a [Maze runner in an experiment] from crossings and initially parsed it as LA BRAT.
- 10d [Proceeding from low to high] is BOTTOM UP, which is kind of awkward.
- 35d [Singer with the 1961 hit “Big Bad John”] is JIMMY DEAN. I forgot that he had a career before sausage.
- 46a is [Bygone monthly for the 12-to-20 set]. Really? 19 year-olds were reading TEEN BEAT?
- TETRA is not clued as the fish. It’s [Four: Prefix].
What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that RUGER is America’s largest firearm manufacturer.
Zhouqin Burnikel’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Brain Food” — Jim P’s review
Now this is how you make a Monday grid! The theme is simple but elegant, and the fill is fantastic. We’re given food dishes whose first word can be a slang term for your cranium.
- 16a [Fruit plate items] MELON BALLS
- 25a [Pho, for example] NOODLE SOUP
- 46a [Creamy sweet treat] COCONUT PIE
- 58a [Fiber-rich side dishes] BEAN SALADS
Has this theme been done before? Probably. Almost undoubtedly. But this is so clean and fun that it doesn’t matter, at least not to this solver.
With only four sparkly theme answers, there’s plenty of room for great fill, and Zhouqin delivers big time with UGLY AS SIN and “NOT SO FAST!” I’m also liking “ALL GONE!” and HENDRIX.
This was a tasty little morsel to start your week off right. 4.25 stars.
Kameron Austin Collins’s New Yorker crossword—Amy’s write-up
Quick recap! Fave fill: LASH CURLER, INNER VOICE, SAILOR MOON, IN TEARS from laughing, UBER DRIVER, PETER FONDA, TRADING UP, WHITE NOISE clued via the Don DeLillo novel about an “airborne toxic event,” journalism-speak’s NUT GRAF, ALUMNI MAGS, and DANA CARVEY. And also BLOOP!
Unfave fill: RE-ETCH, DEARIE ME.
Did not know: Bob Dylan’s “Love and THEFT.”
Clues I’m furrowing my brow at:
- 5d. [Stitch], CROCHET. I think of stitching as involving a needle going through an existing piece of cloth, whereas crocheting, like knitting, involves using doodads to loop yarn into a piece of cloth. The counterpart to knitting needle is crochet hook, and who stitches with a hook?
- 8d. [Big trophy], LION. Great. Now you’ve got me thinking about Donald Trump, Jr. and people who hunt “big game.” Yuck.
4.2 stars from me.
Bruce Venzke & Gail Grabowski’s Los Angeles Times crossword—Nate’s write-up
This dynamic duo of constructors is back for another great Monday puzzle:
21A: WINE STEWARD [Sommelier]
26A: WITNESS STAND [Court spot for giving testimony]
44A: WORRYING KIND [One constantly fretting]
50A: WIND BREAKER [Lightweight jacket, and a hint to 21-, 26- and 44-Across]
The revealer is quite apt: each of the theme entries has the letters of WIND span the phrase, and I appreciate that WIND was broken (so to speak!) in a different spot each time. That is the kind of attention to detail I really dig as a solver!
A few random thoughts:
– 15A: [Drink with a polar bear mascot] was ICEE, but I always want this clue to be COKE. Anyone looking to do a Schrodinger puzzle could certainly scoop up this double-answered clue!
– 49A: [Strips of developed film, briefly] was NEGS. Is this a commonly known shortening of negatives? It’s new to me!
– 5D: PROWLER for [Cat, or cat burglar] was my favorite clue of the grid!
– 40D: AORB for [Choice of two] was fun to parse when I didn’t fully have it yet. I had AO_B and was like ?!?!??! : )
#includemorewomen: We thankfully have a modern reference – ANNE Burrell from “Worst Cooks in America” – to balance out the more dated references: BRENDA Lee, MEG from “Little Women”, Harriet to TV’s OZZIE, TESS, and HEDDA Gabler. Either way, I’m always pleased to see as many women represented!
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Themeless Monday crossword #498—Judge Vic’s review
Finishing in 18:50, with a three-minute waste-factor-feeling, I assumed BEQ was not on his A game with this themeless puzzle. None of the clues really grabbed me, like Brendan’s usually do. But, on reviewing it after the solve, I concluded that it is a really nice effort.
Here are the highlights … and then I gotta go watch the National Championship football game:
- 7a [Got past things[ MOVED ON–Good ILSA. Nice clean clue.
- 14a [Places you might go] URINALS–Liked this one. It reminded me that Mel Rosen once rejected a puzzle of mine for having UROLOGIST in it.
- 19a [“Can’t you see I’m busy?”] JUST A MOMENT–I got this one quickly and it propelled me into uncharted waters timewise. Then I recovered from it.
- 31a [All-electric supercar with a quarter million dollar price tag] TESLA ROADSTER–This one also came to me quickly, as I guessed TESLA and saw it had to end in ER.
- 46a [Government reports] WHITE PAPERS–I read a really good one of these back in the early 1970s on the Kennedy assassination. Had to do the inter-library loan thing through my college ‘brary. I remember the looks I got from some of the assistants.
- 48a [US Air Force Academy freshmen] DOOLIES–This was one I thought I should have known, but didn’t. It rolled in with the crossers, though.
- 4d [Powder for lunch] INSTANT SOUP–I don’t think I’ve ever eaten instant soup.
- 13d [Container used in rinsing out nasal cavities] NETI POT–I’ve used one for years.
- 24d [Bad influence] ROTTEN APPLE
- 32d [College in Beverly, Mass.] ENDICOTT–Home of the Gulls, Div III.
Not bad at all. 3.7 stars.