Monday, October 24, 2022

BEQ 3:37 (Matthew) 


LAT 1:59 (Stella) 


NYT 3:46 (Sophia) 


The New Yorker 4:17 (Amy) 


Universal tk (pannonica) 


USA Today tk (malaika) 


WSJ untimed (Jim P) 


Joe Rodini’s New York Times puzzle – Sophia’s write-up

New York Times, 10 24 2022, By Joe Rodini

Theme Answers:

  • 20a [Spanish painter of “The Third of May 1808”] – FRANCISCO GOYA
  • 36a [Mexican muralist twice married to Frida Kahlo] – DIEGO RIVERA
  • 43a [Chilean American actor of “The Mandalorian” and “Narcos”] – PEDRO PASCAL
  • 57a [Puerto Rican singer with more than 50 albums, including “Feliz Navidad”] – JOSE FELICIANO

And as “revealers”:

  • 1a [French for “without”] – SANS
  • 70a [After 1-Across, what the first names at 20-, 36-, 43- and 57-Across all are?] – SANS

So, in a nutshell, each theme answer first name can follow the word SAN in the name of a famous place: San FRANCISCO, San DIEGO, San PEDRO, and San JOSE. I’m not exactly sure what the point of having two SANS revealers were? It seems like the reveal clue could be something like [French for “without”… or what could precede the first names of the other theme answers]. I spent a while trying to figure out if the double SANS actually added another layer, and honestly I’m still not sure. Let me know in the comments if I’m missing anything.

I think how difficult this will play for folks will depend on their knowledge of the four men in the theme answers. I knew all but JOSE FELICIANO, but my non-crossword friend sitting next to me while I solved knew him immediately, so I think that one’s just a personal blind spot for me. It’s always tricky to do a Monday puzzle based around proper names, but these ones span a pretty wide swath of pop culture, which helps with that issue (although after FRANCISCO GOYA and DIEGO RIVERA I did think we were heading towards an art theme).

I don’t have too many comments on the rest of the puzzle. The clue [Question that might have a ring to it?] for PROPOSAL was cute. I wrote in 67a [Elementary building block] as “lego” before ATOM. The CHOI/ODEON crossing could play a little tricky for newer to crossword folks, but there are only so many letters that could fit there. There also feels like there are a lot of men in the puzzle, and although some of that is theme-related I think the fill could have been more balanced (the only women mentioned are Juliet and Frida Kahlo, both of whom are only mentioned in relation to men). But overall, a solid Monday puzzle with a theme I enjoyed figuring out.

Congrats to Joe on a great NYT debut!

Lynn Lempel’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Back to the Office”—Jim P’s review

Theme entries are familiar phrases whose final words can also be activities that take place in an office setting.

Wall St Journal crossword solution · “Back to the Office” · Lynn Lempel · Mon., 10.24.22

  • 17a. [Verbal abuse of a sort] NAME CALLING.
  • 64a. [Precursor to a transfusion] BLOOD TYPING.
  • 11d. [Star’s promotional position] TOP BILLING.
  • 29d. [Magnetic bit in a physics lab] IRON FILING.

About as straightforward a theme as they come, but that’s apt for a Monday as is the back-to-work motif (though it feels a tad depressing).

What’s most notable here is the cleanliness of the grid. Yes, only four theme answers placed in a pinwheel formation reduces the amount of restrictions on a constructor, but it still makes for a clean, flowing grid which is fun to fill, and gives new solvers a good shot at completing the puzzle. Highlights include GREEK GOD, MESSIAH, RAINBOW, SCISSORS, HALF-TRUTH, and SURRENDER. Tough-for-Monday fill includes proper names MENDEL, MIRO, and BENIN, but at least they aren’t obscure crosswordese.

Clues of note: 52d [Tear to shreds] followed immediately by 53d [Love to pieces]. Those clues themselves could be the start of a puzzle theme themselves if a couple more similar phrases could be found.

Smooth, Monday grid. 3.5 stars.

Kyle Dolan’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Stella’s write-up

Los Angeles Times 10/24/22 by Kyle Dolan

Los Angeles Times 10/24/22 by Kyle Dolan

Appropriate for fall (although perhaps not in Los Angeles itself!), this puzzle’s theme is revealed at 61A [Wet-weather gear, and what this puzzle’s circled letters literally are?], which is RAINCOATS. That is, each theme entry is “wearing” a COAT of the letters RAIN, split differently each time:

  • 17A [Major annoyance] is a ROYAL PAIN, with RAIN split R/AIN.
  • 29A [Utter destruction] is RACK AND RUIN, with RAIN split RA/IN.
  • 45A [Train depot] is RAIL STATION, with RAIN split RAI/N.

As a constructor, I appreciate that the split in RAIN moves from left to right as you move down the puzzle, and also that the clues for each theme answer are just two words long, which is a nice indication that the phrases are very much in the language and don’t require clue contortions to make them work.

The grid is fine and smooth, and I appreciate any reference to Clueless (in this case ELISA Donovan at 35A).

Will Nediger’s New Yorker crossword–Amy’s recap

New Yorker crossword solution, 10/24/22 – Nediger

Whoa. A 4:17 finish means this felt more like a Wednesday New Yorker to me, much easier than I was anticipating. Smooth solve, at any rate.

Fave fill: VENTURE A GUESS (which is what we do many times while solving a crossword), FANTASY SPORTS (mildly misleading clue, [Team-building activity]), ROLE-PLAY, Wikipedia VANDALISM, “MY TURN!”, GOOSE EGGS.

Nice feint: 43a. [Literary device?], E-READER. Not a trope, symbolism, etc. Could have dispensed with the question mark for a MonTNY puzzle.

Fave clue: Really didn’t need the question mark today. 36d. [Viking period?], QUARTER. As in a quarter of a Minnesota Vikings football game, nothing from Norse history here.

Four stars from me.

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Themeless Monday crossword—Matthew’s review

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s Themeless Monday crossword solution, 10/24/2022

Somewhat rushed today after a busy workday — I found this gentler than most BEQ Mondays, particularly in that there isn’t one or two more obscure entries making an open corner work. Maaaaaybe PENTODE and COWPATS, but I’ve heard both, if many other alternatives for the latter. Cow Pie Bingo is a good time, though!

Somewhat surprising, but I’m not complaining to see Portuguese Dezembro in a clue intersecting another clue that references Portugal. POWER RANKINGS and NEIL ARMSTRONG are highlights of an interlocked center; I quite liked SUBCONTINENTS and SLATE SHINGLES as well. I missed SHAT [45a Eliminated waste] during the solve, feels like BEQ might’ve pulled a punch or two there. I have seen AKITAs in other places, but it always puts songs from Rent in my head.

Never a fan of SOPRANO (or BASS) being clued as “always high” (or low) – there’s plenty of range in any person’s voice and in most songs. I’ve never dug into DINER lingo, and I had to look up “eve with a lid on” — seems it’s apple pie. I can see it.

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16 Responses to Monday, October 24, 2022

  1. huda says:

    NYT: I finished without needing to read the clue for 70 across, and so I didn’t know it was a revealer… Thought it was a bunch of guys with Spanish names. It’s cute that they are all names of saints and cities (all to be found in California but also elsewhere).
    I’m thinking that having SANS in French to start and SANS in Spanish in the end is a way of bracketing the puzzle to make the reveal a bit more playful.
    Having the reveal did increase my appreciation of the puzzle.

    • MexGirl says:

      The revealer does work as SANS “SANS”, though the second one is definitely not Spanish. For me to work would’ve need to read SANS SANTOS, with santos being the Spanish plural for saints.

  2. Scott says:

    NYT: Sophia, I have the same query about the double SANS.

  3. BryanF says:

    All the long themes are sans “San”s (without “San”…. Diego… Jose… etc.). It would not have made much sense for the overall theme to just have one.

    • Mutman says:

      Agreed. As per the clue, the revealer is “SANS SANs”. Clever.

    • JohnH says:

      Yes, and that works fine for me, too. Maybe not a great puzzle, but how great can a Monday be?

      Anyway, SANS SANTOS could definitely not improve the puzzle for me. Quite the contrary. SANTOS is not itself in a single city name, and if we were simply removing saints, then that would mean the entries should be blank, without a person’s name, and the city would have no name at all!

  4. Sue says:

    Looks like the Saturday 10/22 write up for WSJ was prepared but then somehow disappeared. An interesting puzzle and I look forward to reading Jim P’s thoughts.
    Anywhere else I can look for it? Thanks

    • marciem says:

      Sat. WSJs are usually written up by pannonica.

      I’d guess she ran out of time for that one. She may have posted one up and taken it down, as she receives them early and might have posted the incorrect one for the date, if you saw it posted and then it disappeared.

      I agree it was a nice puzzle, and I liked the River Runs Through It revealer/themer. If that’s the one I’m thinking of… LOL, I toss them after the date, but I didn’t see that one written up.

      • JohnH says:

        I hope she finds time for it. Not only do I admire her reviews, but I could use the help. I finished but am not at all sure I got it. I see a reasonably ordinary themeless apart from circled letters that spell out the names of rivers, plus one near top center that spells out RIVER.

        Is that it? It doesn’t seem to affect one’s solving or to relate in any way to the clues or their answers, and the rivers have nothing obvious in common other than that they fit in the grid (and one or two are not at all everyday). Some also run straight, while others curve, maybe going with the flow, so to speak, but I can’t attribute any sense to that either other than the need to find enough letters to spell out rivers.

        I kept thinking that, gee, if they took ANY themeless and circled letters selectively enough they could get to this. But thanks in advance for hints or just the answer.

        • RunawayPancake says:

          WSJ (Saturday) – The circled letters that wind down the middle of the puzzle form an apt phrase. Also, a 1992 movie directed by Robert Redford.

        • marciem says:

          JohnH: As Pancake says, the long winding line of circles going down the center of the puzzle spell “A River Runs Through It” (that movie title) as the revealer of the theme. The circled rivers are spelled out as you noted. I believe there isn’t any more to it, if you’re looking for another level.

          • JohnH says:

            Thanks. From the ratings, the puzzle seems to have divided people with almost no one in the middle. I’ll guess it’s between those for whom that was enough and those for whom it wasn’t. Maybe you have to have seen the movie. For me, much as I like Redford, it just felt puzzling.

    • Jim Peredo says:

      pannonica does indeed usually cover the Saturday WSJ. But earlier last week she asked for coverage from Team Fiend because she knew she’d be traveling and without internet service on the weekend. Unfortunately, no one (including me) stepped up to fill in. I did intend to help out, but by the time I remembered, it was already today (Monday)! Oops.

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